Parents advocacy group launches $1M ad campaign against McAuliffe, invoking safety in schools


A parents advocacy group kick-started a $1 million digital ad campaign targeting Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe by highlighting school safety in Virginia.

Free to Learn Action released a TV advertisement set to run statewide, focusing on Mr. McAuliffe’s comments on parents’ input in schools and invoking recent reports of two sexual assaults in Loudoun County high schools.

“Terry McAuliffe spent years minimizing the role of parents,” the ad states.

The ad also shows Mr. McAuliffe making comments in the final debate against Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin in which he said “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

The ad blames the candidate, who served as governor from 2014 to 2018, for failing test scores, a “divisive” curricula, and the recent rape allegations made by a father who claimed his 15-year-old daughter was assaulted by a “genderfluid” boy in a girls’ bathroom.

The recent incident has become a flashpoint for Mr. Youngkin, who attacked Mr. McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring, running for a third term, of being silent on the issue.

The Republican vowed this week to investigate Loudoun County School District over how it handled the case if he is elected as governor.

“The fact that many parents no longer feel like their child is entrusted to a safe school environment erodes the most basic expectation between a parent and the education system,” said Alleigh Marré, president of FTL Action. “We cannot allow this to continue. The safety and future of our children is at stake.”

Parental school choice has also been an active element of Mr. Youngkin’s campaign, which initiated a grassroots coalition called Parents Matter to motivate families with school-aged children to turn out for the Republican.A poll from Monmouth University shows the candidates both at 46%. The poll surveyed 1,005 registered voters in the state with a margin of error of 3.1% percentage points.

Early voting is underway in Virginia and Election Day is Nov. 2.

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