Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin expects to win over voters in the heavily blue Northern Virginia region based on the “universal issues” of reopening schools and protecting the state’s Right to Work status, Youngkin told host Alex Marlow on Tuesday’s edition of Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Daily.
Northern Virginia is home to a high concentration of Democrat voters, particularly in Fairfax County — the most populous county in the state — which voted for President Joe Biden over former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, 70 percent to 28 percent.
Marlow observed that Northern Virginia’s proximity to Washington, DC, has made the region prone to “swamp expansion.” He asked Youngkin, who is vying for the Republican nomination for governor which will be decided on May 8, “How do you contend as a Republican in a state that is increasingly becoming a subsidiary of Washington?”
Youngkin replied, “There are universal issues right now that are not political, and opening schools is absolutely one of them. The other one is not losing our status as a Right to Work state.”
Right to Work is a protection several states, including Virginia, have for employees so they are not forced to join unions. Notably, Biden’s infrastructure plan currently making its way through Congress includes a provision that would erode this protection in the states that do have it.
Youngkin, former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, explained, “This, in the business community, is universally supported to stay Right to Work and not allow a Democrat governor to sign legislation that will come out of a Democrat House and signed in a Democrat Senate in order to give up our Right to Work, which, oh, by the way, is just a death knell for a business climate, and so there are absolutely big picture topics that are universally supported by Virginians, not just Republicans.”
He added that swinging a “reasonable chunk” of voters in Northern Virginia based on such universal issues would be enough for a Republican gubernatorial candidate to have a fighting chance at winning in November following the party failing to win at the state level for more than a decade.
“Mathematically, we can win a reasonable chunk of Northern Virginia back,” Youngkin contended. “We don’t have to win fully Northern Virginia, 51 percent. We just have to get her back from the 70–30 to close to 60–40, and then with the strength that we have across our red counties, and, oh, by the way, the strength we’re seeing in Hampton Roads and suburban Richmond, we’re going to win this November.”
Current Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is term limited and cannot seek reelection this year. His predecessor, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), has emerged as the frontrunner for the party, while in the crowded Republican field, prominent candidates alongside Youngkin include former Virginia Speaker Kirk Cox, entrepreneur Pete Snyder, and the embattled state Sen. Amanda Chase.
Youngkin, who stepped down from Carlyle after 25 years to run for governor, has faced scrutiny amid his bid for office over a letter he wrote as co-CEO of the private equity corporation in May in which he encouraged employees to donate to the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in the wake of nationwide Black Lives Matter protests and riots.
While Youngkin’s campaign was adamant in a response to Breitbart News in March that he personally never donated to the group and that “other people at Carlyle supported it but Glenn never did,” Youngkin added to his explanation about it to Marlow, saying he “missed” the SPLC in the list of the three organizations on the letter.
“I’ve never given any money to SPLC, and in the process of putting together a list for organizations that Carlyle would match, I reviewed the list,” Youngkin said. “I knocked organizations off the list like BLM, which I didn’t think fit, and as the list progressed, I just missed the SPLC, and so if I could read the letter a third or fourth time, I would have not missed it, but I missed it, and so I own that. I was the co-CEO at the time, and there’s no excuse. I just missed it, and if I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t miss it.”
He added that he and his wife, Suzanne, are longtime donors to Christian charities and Republican candidates and organizations and that the SPLC is antithetical to his values.
“It’s my mistake, and I’ll own it,” he said. “That’s the way I address things. This is not consistent with my values and Suzanne’s values. We are Christians, we’re conservatives, and we’re Republicans, and, oh, by the way, in that order.”
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Write to Ashley Oliver at [email protected].