McAuliffe Win hosts Virginia Clash with Outsider Youngkin | New policies
By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Terry McAuliffe, a longtime member of Democratic politics, easily won his party’s nomination for governor of Virginia in his quest for a second term, setting up what should be a hotly contested general election against a wealthy businessman and political newcomer, GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin.
In his victory speech Tuesday night, McAuliffe argued that Youngkin is too conservative for a state that has long been in fashion.
“Let me be clear: Glenn Youngkin is not a reasonable Republican,” said McAuliffe, who beat four challengers to win the primary.
Youngkin fired back, describing Virginia as a state that over the past two Democratic terms has become less secure, more expensive, and has not offered enough economic opportunity.
“We need a new kind of leader to bring a new light to Virginia,” Youngkin said in a statement. “Prepare yourself, because Terry McAuliffe will return by default to the same political games he has played all his life. “
A longtime Democratic Party fundraiser and close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, McAuliffe served from 2014 to 2018. Like all governors in Virginia, he was barred from running for a consecutive term. He entered the race in December after deciding in 2019 against a presidential bid.
Virginia is the only state in the country to have an open gubernatorial race this year, and the contest is expected to garner inordinate national attention as a barometer of voter sentiment in every party ahead of the midterm elections.
The race has also gained in importance with the referendum on the sweeping changes Democrats have implemented since taking full control of state government in 2020. They have passed gun control and police reform, marijuana legalization and a higher minimum wage, turning what was once a reliable red state.
“We are a different state than we were eight years ago, and we will not be going back,” McAuliffe said in his speech.
McAuliffe, 64, focused his campaign on the need for bold action to address the backward pay of Virginia teachers and inequalities in education funding. He also pledged to work to accelerate the increase in Virginia’s minimum wage to $ 15 by 2024, protect access to abortion, and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
It got approval from Gov. Ralph Northam, who said McAuliffe was in the best position to pull Virginia out of the post-pandemic economic recovery and cement the transformational changes Democrats have implemented.
McAuliffe also raised significantly more money than the other candidates: State Senator Jennifer McClellan, former MP Jennifer Carroll Foy, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax and MP Lee Carter. From the jump, he had the support of a substantial number of elected officials across the Commonwealth, including many powerful black lawmakers.
“I liked what he did and I believe he can do what he promised. And I think he can win, ”said Joe Glaze, a 70-year-old retired clergyman who voted for McAuliffe Tuesday afternoon in Richmond. “Bottom line: I want someone who is going to win and beat Youngkin.”
McAuliffe drew criticism from some more progressive voters who criticized his energy and criminal justice record and saw him as an obstacle to Carroll Foy and McClellan, who were each trying to become the country’s first black female governor.
Either would also have been Virginia’s first female governor. The Commonwealth has elected only one woman in its history to a statewide post and never to its highest office.
The two released statements congratulating McAuliffe on Tuesday night.
“Let’s go to the trenches. Let’s get the job done because at the end of the day we have to win in November, ”said Carroll Foy.
Of the. Hala Ayala won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor on Tuesday, while assuring that Virginia will soon elect its first female lieutenant governor – her Republican opponent is Winsome Sears, the first black woman to receive the approval of a big party for a statewide position.
Meanwhile, Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring secured his party’s nomination in his candidacy for a third term, avoiding a daunting challenge for Del. Jay Jones, who sought to portray Herring as insufficiently progressive. Herring will take on the Republican State Del. Jason Miyares in November.
Republicans picked their candidates for this year’s statewide races during a multi-site convention process in May. Youngkin, a former investment fund executive with no voting record to review, has pledged to use his personal wealth to fuel his campaign.
Bobbi Andrews, 85, said she voted for McAuliffe based on her past as governor and, in part, because of her stance on education. But she said she had already voted for Republicans and considered Youngkin a strong candidate.
“I’m happy to see a strong Republican running because we need two parties,” Andrews said. “If we don’t have two parties, neither of them will be honest.”
Associated Press writer Ben Finley contributed to this report from Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
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