Glenn Youngkin: Who is the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia?
Former co-CEO of private equity firm Carlyle Group, a global investment firm, Youngkin beat six other candidates for the state’s Republican primary earlier this year.
Now he is seeking the status of the first Republican governor of Virginia since Bob McDonnell stepped down in 2014.
After growing up in Richmond and Virginia Beach, Youngkin attended Rice University, where he studied engineering and played basketball, as well as Harvard Business School. He worked in finance and spent 25 years with the Carlyle Group. Youngkin has also served on the boards of several nonprofits and co-founded the Virginia Ready Initiative – which was created in response to Covid-19 and helps Virginians find new jobs.
Youngkin has from the start focused on cultural issues important to the Republican base.
The GOP candidate says he wants to cut taxes, prioritize small businesses and boost economic growth after the Covid-19 pandemic. He’s focused on fighting crime, says he wants to “defend – not fund” law enforcement and get rid of critical race theory in schools.
Youngkin also embraced “electoral integrity” as a key issue – threading the needle of acknowledging Republicans’ concerns about the integrity of the vote without fully embracing Trump’s false claims about a stolen election in 2020. Yet Youngkin only recognized Biden’s presidential victory after winning the nomination in May.
Since winning the Republican nomination, Youngkin has tried to look to other issues, reflecting the fine line he has to walk to appeal to both the Trump base and moderate voters in Virginia. and focused its attention and advertising dollars on pitching to voters. , highlighting his upbringing in a series of softer, biography-focused ads that don’t mention Trump.
Lately, including during the second and final Virginia governor race debate, Youngkin has once again sought to keep his party’s most prominent member, Trump, at bay.
He said that “there was no material fraud” in the 2020 election and that it was “fairly certifiable”.
In the past, however, Youngkin has tried to lean on figures from the wider Trump political world.
Several of his staff are veterans of Trump’s presidential campaigns, and ahead of the Republican primary, Youngkin aired a television commercial with images of Trump specifically congratulating him at a White House trade event.
In recent weeks, Youngkin has been making headlines for his stance on vaccination mandates.
While Youngkin says he encourages all Virginians to get vaccinated against Covid-19, and even posted a public service announcement persuading Virginians to get vaccinated, he opposes mandatory vaccinations.
âI got the shot; my family got the shot. It’s the best way people can protect themselves. And in fact, I asked everyone in Virginia to get the shot. But I didn’t. don’t think we should mandate this, âYoungkin said Tuesday.
When it comes to parental rights and schools, Youngkin wasted no time in turning a comment from his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, into a publicity attack aimed at invigorating grassroots GOP voters and parents.
The time has come for the second and final debate between the two at the end of last month. âI’m not going to let parents go into schools and actually take out books and make their own decision,â McAuliffe said about what should be taught in schools. The former governor later added: “I don’t think parents should tell schools what to teach.”
The comments, after being extensively picked up by the conservative media, quickly became publicity for Youngkin and have already become a staple of Youngkin’s speech in the final weeks of the Commonwealth leadership race.
“If you had any doubts – any doubts – about Terry McAuliffe’s principles, he laid them bare last week when he said, he said parents had no right to get involved in it. their child’s education, âYoungkin said earlier this month. .
His campaign hopes it serves as a rallying cry that could harness the Republicans’ recent emphasis on education issues, ranging from what should be taught in public schools to issues regarding transgender students. But the ultimate goal is to reduce McAuliffe’s support with swing voters in key areas like the vote-rich suburbs of Northern Virginia near Washington, DC.