October 15, 2021 News & Press Releases

ICYMI: First Read: Trump Takes Center Stage in Virginia Governor’s Race

by Democratic Party of Virginia

NBC News First Read: Trump takes center stage in Virginia governor's race

By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Ben Kamisar

WASHINGTON — In the last 24 hours, Virginia’s contest for governor has suddenly turned into a story about Donald Trump.

And that’s become great news for Democrat Terry McAuliffe and bad news for Republican Glenn Youngkin.

It all began when Trump called into a Steve Bannon-headlined event Wednesday in Virginia for Youngkin, in which attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag supposedly used at the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

On Thursday, Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe demanded Youngkin to disavow that Jan. 6 flag, and McAuliffe’s campaign even produced a TV ad on Trump’s words praising Youngkin at the event.

And then later Thursday afternoon, Youngkin released a statement saying it’s “weird and wrong” to pledge allegiance to a flag connected to Jan. 6. “As I have said many times before, the violence that occurred on January 6 was sickening and wrong,” he said.

Why is this Trump storyline good news for McAuliffe and bad news for Younkgin?

Fox News poll of Virginia released Thursday, which has McAuliffe ahead of Youngkin by just 5 points among likely voters, finds Donald Trump to be the most unpopular figure of all the politicians it tested in the state.

  • Terry McAuliffe: 52 percent favorable, 44 percent unfavorable among likely voters
  • Joe Biden: 50 percent favorable, 48 percent unfavorable
  • Glenn Youngkin: 48 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable
  • Ralph Northam: 47 percent favorable, 45 percent favorable
  • Donald Trump: 44 percent favorable, 53 percent unfavorable

And just in case Trump’s favorable/unfavorable numbers in Virginia look familiar, Biden beat Trump in the state by almost that same exact margin in 2020 — 54 percent to 44 percent.

Terry McAuliffe desperately wants this race to be about Trump. And the former president gave him a hand with that phone call and event. [...]