June 25, 2021 News & Press Releases

ICYMI: While Terry McAuliffe is Prepared to Debate, Glenn Youngkin Cowers in Fear

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Richmond, VA — This week, Glenn Youngkin's fear of debating Terry McAuliffe has reached embarrassing new heights. While Terry has accepted five debate invitations from across the Commonwealth to discuss the most important issues Virginia faces, Youngkin has refused to accept a single new invitation. Now, new reporting from The Washington Post details just how cowardly Youngkin’s refusal has become.

See key excerpts below and read the full report here.

The Washington Post: McAuliffe commits to five debates in Virginia governor’s race, Youngkin to one

By Laura Vozzella

Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin has so far agreed to just one debate with his Democratic opponent, former governor Terry McAuliffe — not the five McAuliffe wants as he seeks a comeback to the Virginia governor's mansion.

Youngkin, a political newcomer and former Carlyle Group executive, says he will debate McAuliffe at the Appalachian School of Law, in the state’s bright-red southwestern corner — honoring a promise he made in March, before winning his party’s gubernatorial nomination. That debate is expected to take place in August or September.

Youngkin said he’s willing to participate in two additional debates if his campaign can come to an agreement with McAuliffe’s on certain details, including the dates, locations, broadcasters and moderators.

McAuliffe has accepted an invitation to the law school debate, as well as debates proposed by the Virginia Bar Association in Hot Springs and at Norfolk State University, the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia branch of AARP in Richmond.

“I think it’s really important that we have debates all over the commonwealth of Virginia so that everybody understands what we stand for,” McAuliffe said in an interview Thursday, after his campaign released an online video accusing Youngkin of trying to duck out of most debates.

“I’m going to do these debates. I’m going to be on that stage whether he’s there or not, because I think Virginians have a right to know where their governor stands on these big issues.”

Youngkin’s campaign issued a written statement saying he’s eager to go toe-to-toe with McAuliffe.

McAuliffe is not the incumbent governor, as the Youngkin campaign’s statement said. He left office in January 2018 and, like all governors in Virginia, is prohibited from serving back-to-back terms. [...]

“Terry McAuliffe shows all signs of being an aggressive, scrappy challenger even though he’s a former governor,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington political scientist and the director of the school’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies.

McAuliffe issued a statement on June 15 saying he would agree to five debates. Youngkin’s campaign waited a week before announcing that he had committed to one and was willing, in principle, to do two more — a delay that McAuliffe highlighted by tweeting about Youngkin.

“Why is Glenn Youngkin afraid to debate?” McAuliffe tweeted. “I’ve accepted 5 debate invitations. He got the same ones. What’s the hold up, Glenn?”

Youngkin strategist Jeff Roe said the campaign was in no rush to respond to McAuliffe. [...]
But some political observers saw the delay as a misstep.

“I think that Youngkin’s team made a rookie mistake in failing to say, ‘We’ll commit to three debates’ last week,” Farnsworth said.