The AARP announced Monday that they have canceled their planned gubernatorial debate due to the Republican nominee not accepting the invitation.
“Virginia voters are the real losers here,” said AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau. “AARP Virginia will continue to be active during this election season, providing voters with information they need to cast their ballots, as well as informing them how they can vote safely during the pandemic.”
Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee, has accepted three debate invitations between now and November. The Democratic nominee, Terry McAuliffe, accepted five — but the candidates only agreed to attend two of the same events.
In addition to the AARP debate, Youngkin has also declined the debate invite from the Virginia Bar Association that was supposed to take place last month.
Youngkin’s third accepted debate is an event set to be hosted this month by Liberty and Hampton University. McAuliffe said last week that he will not be participating in that debate due to Youngkin’s pledged attendance at an election integrity event at Liberty.
The AARP debate was scheduled for October 12 at the WTVR-TV CBS 6 studio in Richmond. According to the AARP’s announcement, the cancelation is happening now because the one-hour statewide television broadcast requires significant lead time to develop.
“This is a missed opportunity for voters to hear about issues important to them and their families, as well as a missed opportunity for the candidates to talk directly to voters,” Dau said in the announcement.
The AARP gubernatorial and U.S. Senate debates are typically broadcast across the entire Commonwealth.
“Another day, and Glenn Youngkin is running and hiding from another debate. Given his out-of-touch, right-wing economic agenda, it’s no surprise he has refused to debate Terry at the Virginia AARP’s People’s Debate,” said Jake Rubenstein, a spokesperson for McAuliffe.
Youngkin responded Monday afternoon. “Terry McAuliffe was invited to a debate that could have been held at Hampton University this month, but he declined,” Youngkin tweeted. “It’s time for McAuliffe to stop talking out of both sides of his mouth.”
The two events that McAuliffe and Youngkin are scheduled to debate at in person are the Appalachian State School of Law debate on Sept. 16 and the NOVA Chamber of Commerce/NBC4 debate on Sept. 28.
Virginia Scope is an independent news publication that is funded largely by donations and subscribers. As local newsrooms are losing writers each day, we are trying to fill the void to ensure that the public is informed and that leaders are held accountable for their actions. If you can chip in a monthly subscription of whatever you can afford, even $1, it will go a long way to helping us. Subscribe here. You can also make a one-time donation below: