Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin on Monday made a final appeal to voters in the Richmond suburbs, hammering home his message of economic opportunity and keeping Virginia a right-to-work state.
Mr. Youngkin, a political newcomer who is in a dead heat with Democrat Terry McAuliffe as the governor’s race heads for Tuesday’s election, rallied his supporters around kitchen-table issues. He promised to create jobs, ban critical race theory in public schools, open up schools for in-person instruction and stand up for the police.
“We got to get this economy moving. It has been stalled out for too long,” Mr. Youngkin told the crowd in the Richmond suburb of North Chesterfield. “For the last eight years, the states around us lapped us: Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia. They have grown 70% faster every year for eight years. North Carolina generated eight times the jobs that Virginia had over eight years — Tennessee, six times.
The rally in a hangar at a regional airport capped off a 10-day, 50-stop bus tour across the commonwealth. When he arrived, Mr. Youngkin was met by a cheering crowd that had been chanting “Let’s go Brandon” and “USA, USA, USA.”
On the stump, Mr. Youngkin hammered on the idea that Virginia is still a right-to-work state, meaning unions do not have the authority in the commonwealth to compel workers to become members as a requirement for a job.
“Terry McAuliffe stared at a camera and he said that he would sign the bill to get rid of right to work,” Mr. Youngkin warned. “And then millions of dollars came into his campaign. This isn’t a, this isn’t an anti-union comment. It’s a pro-worker comment.”
The battle between Mr. Youngkin and Mr. McAuliffe is a high-stakes showdown for the national political parties and is expected to serve as a bellwether for the 2022 midterm elections.
A new poll released last week by Christopher Newport University showed Democrats were losing ground in the Richmond area and will need to push up turnout in the city if Mr. McAuliffe, former governor of Virginia between 2014 and 2018, is to come out on top Tuesday.
The CNU poll showed the race as neck and neck statewide, but Mr. Youngkin is pulling away from Mr. McAuliffe in the Richmond media market, an area extending beyond the city and its populous suburbs into rural counties.
Republicans want to push voter turnout in Chesterfield County, a region that includes the conservative southwestern suburbs of the state. Several Youngkin supporters at Monday’s rally told The Washington Times that they had cast their ballot weeks ago in the state’s newly expanded early-voting period that ended Saturday.
“I voted absentee early a couple of weeks ago,” Richmond resident Larry Meyer said. “For the last week, I’ve been a Republican or GOP poll watcher. I wanted to test the system for one thing. I was gonna be an observer there, so I wanted to go through the process.”
“This democracy is not a spectator sport. This is an active participatory democracy. We need you in the arena with us. We need to get prepared for tomorrow. We need everybody to get out and vote,” he said, adding jokingly that they should leave those who don’t “vote the right way” at home.
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