Election Coverage / Opinion / Politics

Strong GOP Nominee in Virginia Puts Dems on Notice

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Virginia

Republicans have their first official nominee for a major race following President Trump’s departure from the White House. Earlier this week, Glenn Youngkin, the first-time political candidate with a background in private equity, edged out Pete Snyder for the Republican nomination in the Virginia Governor’s race. Youngkin is looking to be the first Republican to win statewide in Virginia since 2009. Following years of Republican dominance in the state, Democrats took control of both chambers of the Virginia statehouse for the first time in more than twenty years in 2019. In addition, nine of Virginia’s thirteen congressional representatives – two Senators and seven House Members – are now Democrats. Nonetheless, Republicans are optimistic that a stagnating economic recovery in the state, an increasingly radical Democratic Party, and a strong candidate in Mr. Youngkin provides an avenue to victory this November.

As AMAC has previously reported regarding the Virginia race, off-year elections often prove to be useful indicators for how a political party will fare nationwide in midterm and presidential election years. With the general election campaign now in full swing in Virginia, Republicans are eager to highlight how the Democratic Party is hopelessly out of step with most Americans. Terry McAuliffe, the odds-on favorite Democratic nominee, has lurched leftward during his primary campaign, mirroring the radical shift of Democrats nationally. McAuliffe, who was previously governor from 2014 to 2018, is also the standard-bearer of the Democratic political establishment in the state, while Youngkin has embraced his identity as a political outsider dedicated to reviving Virginia’s status as a national leader in everything from education to industry.

During his acceptance speech this past week, Youngkin promised to end pandemic restrictions, open schools, and churches, defend law and order, and lower taxes, among other pro-growth policies. The remarks articulated a powerful vision for Virginia’s future, with Youngkin asserting that his mission as governor would be to “make Virginia the best place to secure a job, the best place to start a business, the best place to go to schools that are open five days a week, and the best place to raise a family, the best place to make a home, the best place to dream a dream and then go get it.”

During the speech, Youngkin also pointed to Virginia’s proud history as the home of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, promising to “reclaim Virginia’s historic place for leading our nation to excellence.” While McAuliffe and Virginia Democrats have chosen to depict Virginia – and indeed the rest of the United States – as deeply flawed and in need of radical change, Youngkin painted a very different and more positive picture of Virginia, one drawing on the commonwealth’s heritage as a cradle of democratic ideals and individual liberty. Youngkin evinced a deep respect for the leaders who came before him, saying, “I will never forget that the job [to which] you have nominated me…was once held by Patrick Henry, by Thomas Jefferson, [by] James Monroe… This Commonwealth is where the world first heard the words ‘give me liberty or give me death.’ And it is the state that gave us the most revolutionary idea of all time – that ‘all men are created equal.’”

Democrats have been quick to label Youngkin a “pro-Trump extremist” following his convention win. Apparently, Democrats now classify wanting secure elections, low taxes, and individual liberty as “extreme” views. Yet the overall lack of substance in early attacks on Youngkin clarifies that Virginia Democrats know pro-growth Republican policies may resonate even more than usual with voters in a year defined by government-induced economic hardship as a result of overly restrictive coronavirus lockdowns and rising inflation thanks to unprecedented government spending.

Critics have also tried to say that Youngkin’s personal success in the business world makes him out of touch with ordinary voters. But Youngkin’s story should be seen as a testament to the power of the American Dream – a Dream enabled by conservative policies and now denied to so many Virginians by Democrat governance.

As Youngkin stirringly described in his remarks, he grew up the child of working-class parents in Richmond and Virginia Beach. As a teenager, he bused tables at a local diner before working his way up to cook. After earning a basketball scholarship that enabled him to attend Rice University, Youngkin earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and began his career in an entry-level job at The Carlyle Group, spending the next 25 years working his way to become CEO. Youngkin led Carlyle to become one of the leading investment firms in the world, all while still finding time to serve on the board of various nonprofits, coach youth basketball, and remain active in his church community. In response to government-induced layoffs during the pandemic, Youngkin also founded Virginia Ready, a 501(c)(3) organization that uses short-term, targeted training programs funded by companies in desperate need of skilled labor to fill job openings in sectors like technology, healthcare, and manufacturing. Look for Youngkin to highlight this initiative frequently throughout his campaign as an example of championing private-sector investment to drive economic opportunity.

Youngkin’s vision for the future of Virginia is filled with reverence for a proud history and hope for a prosperous future. As Democrats continue to preach the politics of division, the Youngkin campaign is betting that Virginians are ready for a new direction where people can find a job, raise a family, and don’t have to apologize for their country, their state, or their values. The success of that message may tell us much about the political winds ahead.

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Jeff
4 months ago

Virginia GOP is typical of blue run states. The party picks good old boy network candidates that are out of touch with the new GOP. If by a freak they get elected its business as usual. Virginia like NY,NJ Michigan, Illinois and California are to far gone to change at this point.

David Reinhart
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

Whatever else he may be, Youngkin is not part of the RVP “good old boy” network. There are several other people who would have fit that description far better in the race. The winner on the LG spot certainly doesn’t fit, given she is black and female!

Myrna S Wade
4 months ago

There is hope.

David Reinhart
4 months ago

Personally, I think he will turn out to be a RINO. He certainly wasn’t my choice in the nominating convention, but he wasn’t the state party’s, either.

PaulE
4 months ago
Reply to  David Reinhart

The Carlyle Group is notorious for being a breeding ground for old guard Democrat operatives and RINOs. Nothing wrong with the private equity industry in general, but Carlyle is well known for being a safe haven well connected political types. So people should definitely do a deep dive into this guy’s background. The last thing we need in Washington is another Romney type, who will flip on the people that elected him to office.

If the guy is legit, then great. However, there are too many RINOs out there, who want to take the party back to the bad old days of country club republicanism.

Dan W.
4 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

All true but little late for a deep dive since Youngkin is already the party’s nominee for Governor. The alternative is four more years of Democrat rule in the executive mansion in concert with a Democrat legislature. Not a very attractive prospect.

PaulE
4 months ago
Reply to  Dan W.

Given the percentage of voters in Virginia that are employees of the federal government or spouses of those employees, which means they also are likely Democrat voters themselves, it’s not hard to understand why the state ended up with a Democrat Governor and a Democrat Legislature in the first place. The federal government epicenter of Washington, D.C. is and has been overwhelmingly dominated by the Democrat party going back several decades and as the federal government grew in size and scope, it reached out into the surrounding states and suburbs. Even under the best of circumstances, it will be a hard slog to get a Republican of any sort in the Governor’s mansion there.

My point was not to try and over-turn Youngkin’s selection, as it clearly too late for that, but rather for the people to understand what they will honestly be getting if he should win. Too many people see an (R) after a candidate’s name and think they are all constitutional conservatives. The reality, as we both know, is they are not. Which is why I referenced a RINO like Romney as a cautionary example. If Youngkin is legit, then great. If he is just a RINO pretending to a constitutional conservative until he is elected, then little will change for the better in that state. That’s all I’m saying.

Dan W.
4 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

I still remember the 2012 GOP takeover of the Senate, oh never mind. Thanks Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin, etal.

In the swing states, sometimes you need to turn mother’s picture to the wall and nominate someone who might actually win.

David Reinhart
4 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

There was plenty of “deep diving” on Youngkin before the election. Unfortunately too many people dismissed the questions raised out of hand without bothering to look at their validity. Now we’re stuck him.

Lee S McQuillen
4 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

He’s not running for something in DC. He’s running for governor of VA.

B Smo
4 months ago
Reply to  David Reinhart

Time to come together to support all three of our nominees. In party bickering is counterproductive and what our opposition hopes for. Keep the big picture in mind and support our three nominees who will serve us well.

Moose
4 months ago

I am lately disappointed in AMAC! Who in their right mind believes that the economy, the immigration policy or climate change or the CCP hoax has any bearing on the election. Fix the voting system first! Knock off ignoring the elephant in the room!

Dan W.
4 months ago
Reply to  Moose

if the GOP makes makes voter fraud the number one issue in 2022/2024, that issue only resonates with about 30% of all voters.

Thomad Sansoni
4 months ago

Outstanding individual

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