Gubernatorial candidates Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe have traveled all over the state of Virginia to campaign as Election Day quickly approaches. On Friday, Republican candidate Youngkin made several stops in the Charlottesville area, including the beloved Guadalajara restaurant near the downtown mall. Youngkin also made several other stops in Albemarle County and nearby Greene County as part of his bus tour. Jason Miyares, candidate for Attorney General, was with Youngkin at the restaurant. The event brought forth large crowds and UVA student supporters sat on the floor just to see the candidate speak.
To start the event, Miyares spoke about the problems with Virginia’s current law enforcement mechanism of the court, referencing the current parole board and the problems many Virginians have with it. Miyares continued by saying that, if elected, he and Glenn would work together to replace the parole board with individuals who follow more closely what the voters of Virginia want in regards to parole for criminals.
Youngkin was introduced by the current President of UVA College Republicans with a speech commending the campaign for reinvigorating young people to get involved in the race.College Republicans have been working every weekend of the semester to further the campaign and get the word out to members of the Charlottesville community about Youngkin’s platform.
When Youngkin took the stage, he spoke about the problems plaguing Richmond and Northern Virginia in terms of politics, and pledged to be representative of all Virginians. Youngkin later talked about the current state of the economy and pointed out problems with his competitor, saying he halted economic and business growth while governor from 2014 to 2018.
During the event, a group of protestors wearing khaki pants and white dress shirts stood outside while holding tiki torches in an attempt to associate the Youngkin campaign with the 2017 Unite the Right rally. Members of the media as well as Mcauliffe campaign officials originally reported that they were part of the event. It was later discovered that the group was affiliated with Virginia Young Democrats, claimed to have been funded by the Lincoln Project , and was attempting to smear Youngkin prior to Election Day.
Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe has also campaigned aggressively to get the word out on his candidacy. His campaign has delivered large amounts of direct mail to residents all across Virginia— university students included. Students have been helping McAuliffe campaign with door knocking, writing chalk messages on sidewalks and hanging up flyers. McAuliffe has even purchased advertisements in the University of Virginia’s Cavalier Daily to encourage readers to vote.
Virginia’s gubernatorial race has focused on education, taxes, the Covid recovery, and a wide array of other issues. The race has recently narrowed in on the debate over curricula and policies in public schools, after fallout from an incident involving the sexual assault of a young girl in a Loudoun County school bathroom. This has made girls’ safety in public schools a leading issue as voters head to the ballot box. McAuliffe, in the second debate, also made a statement that parents should not be involved in the education of their children.
With Election Day today, most are hoping there will be results released by the end of the day. The most recent polls have the election in a toss up, and the polls have both candidates within the margin of error. Although Terry McAuliffe was the initial favorite, the Youngkin campaign has gained massive momentum, turning Virginia into a hotly-contested battleground.