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by Brandon Jarvis

Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin faced some pushback Sunday night after an article published in Axios reported that he would not answer as to whether he would have voted to certify the election results on Jan. 6 if he were a member of Congress at the time. He condemned the violence that happened, but Axios reported he did not directly answer the question.

“Youngkin believes Biden beat Trump in the 2020 election legitimately. But while speaking with Axios, he wouldn’t say whether he would have voted to certify the election on Jan. 6 if he were a member of Congress,” Axios reported

The next day, Youngkin informed Brendan Ponton from WTKR that he would have “absolutely” voted to certify the election 2020 election results. “It’s a silly thing,” Youngkin said on video. 

The question from Axios was a bit out of the realm of reality seeing as Youngkin is running for governor, not Congress, — but after stating several times that he believes Biden is the legitimate president, the response from the candidate unexpectedly complicated the issue for him.

Election integrity has been a key issue for the Republican Party’s diehard Trump supporters, making it matter to Youngkin, even if it may be a losing issue for him. He has to continue to walk the line of not angering the base that still believes Trump won the 2020 election despite any evidence while also avoiding driving away the moderate voters that might have stayed home during the last four years when Democrats routed Republicans across Virginia. 

It is a very tight rope he is walking.

Youngkin attended an election integrity rally last month to speak about requiring photo ID to vote his campaign said at the time. Besides that event, Youngkin has rarely mentioned election integrity since the general election began. 

Terry McAuliffe, his Democratic opponent, has continued to hit Youngkin on the issue. “Even after the death and insurrection of January 6th, Glenn Youngkin still will NOT say the votes cast for President were legitimate and didn’t deserve objection,” McAuliffe tweeted Sunday night. “Police officers died. Shame on you, Glenn. Disqualifying.”

Polling in the race has shown a tight race for weeks. A new poll from Monmouth University Monday showed McAuliffe with a 5-point lead among registered voters in Virginia. Recent polling, however, has suggested that Republican enthusiasm for this election is higher than it is for Democrats.

While it is cautiously, Republicans remain optimistic that if the party can stay together and Youngkin can continue to successfully keep each faction satisfied, they can upset Democrats and win statewide for the first time since 2009. Keeping his party his entire party satisfied in the final weeks will be no easy task, however.

“McAuliffe seems to be leaning into the demographics of Virginia to help push him over the top,” said Shaun Kenney, a former executive director for the Republican Party of Virginia. “Youngkin has a much more difficult task of keeping the Republican coalition in line and on board.”

The national election analysts at Cook Political Report changed their rating for this to a toss-up last week, possibly waking up content Democrats that believed Virginia had become a safe blue commonwealth. “To borrow from Mark Twain, the reports of the end of Virginia’s status as a swing state are greatly exaggerated,” said Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington.

There are five weeks until election day. Early voting began on Sept. 17.

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. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber to our newsletter or making a donation through Paypal below so we can continue to work in Virginia. 

By vascope

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