'Most Important Campaign in the Country': Virginia GOP Pins Its Hopes on Youngkin for Governor
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The Virginia governor's race is dominating politics this year. It's seen as a national bellwether following the 2020 general election and a glimpse of what may lie ahead for the upcoming midterms.
Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin believes he can put the Old Dominion on a better course.
The face-off between Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe is seen as the country's most important race right now. National Republicans are investing heavily hoping to turn this blue state back to red.
Youngkin, who is a political newcomer and homegrown Virginian, defeated a slate of other Republicans for the nomination.
"We've traveled all over this Commonwealth. Tens of thousands of miles," says Youngkin in a political ad.
Youngkin grew up in Virginia Beach and now lives outside Washington, D.C. with his wife of 26 years, Suzanne, and their children.
He says, "Faith is the foundation of everything I do." A former dishwasher, Youngkin became a highly successful businessman as CEO of an investment firm.
He quit that job the day after telling his wife he was running for governor.
"This great Commonwealth that was the best state in America to live, work, and raise a family, is not anymore," says Youngkin in a campaign ad.
He's considered the GOP's best shot at winning the first statewide race in the Old Dominion in 12 years.
"This is an amazing moment for Virginia. It's not just about Republicans. It's independents, it's Democrats all coming together and saying very clearly, 'no' to this left-liberal agenda that's we've been subjected to from governors over the course of the last eight years," he said.
Although this is the 54-year-old's first campaign, polls show a virtual tie with McAuliffe, a long-time establishment politician looking to land the governor's chair a second time.
President Biden is already on the campaign trail with McAuliffe, a sign the numbers are too close for comfort.
Youngkin has the support of Donald Trump. "One of the great things that happened when I won the Republican convention was that all Republicans came together. All Republicans came together and said, we're for Glenn. And so, President Trump endorsed me and the next day and I thanked him for it," said Youngkin.
Youngkin's agenda includes tightening state election laws, protecting gun rights, backing the blue, and pushing back against an array of national issues playing out locally.
He is against Critical Race Theory being taught in public schools, says he will follow the science on COVID precautions like masks and mandates and will fight to protect religious liberty.
"The ability to practice our faith and express our religious beliefs is absolutely paramount," he said.
Though staunchly pro-life, he raised eyebrows with recent comments made to undercover activists about avoiding the issue until after the campaign, saying he could not win over independent voters on that issue.
Youngkin insists he is "More than happy to talk about it because everyone knows where I stand. But as a campaign and questions around jobs, schools, and safe communities are really what's on so many voters' minds."
While Democrats may still have the upper hand going into November, the GOP is more confident they can win with Youngkin on the ticket.
"Republicans actually recognize that if we aren't together, we won't win. If we are together, we can win, and that's been a fabulous development in this race," he said.
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