Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin was recently pushed by an attendee at an event to answer if he would concede the race in November if the results show he lost.
“Can I get a promise that you will never concede because you are going to win the election? You are going to win it. But it may not be shown that way,” the questioner said at the event last week. Youngkin made no such promise in his response.
“I believe we’re going to get 50%-plus in order to win. And I believe we’re going to find ourselves with the ability to look forward and actually move Virginia to a great place. I can’t promise you I won’t concede, because I’m going to actually do what’s best for Virginia.” Youngkin said in response.
The question for Youngkin comes after Republicans continue to be undecided on whether to accept the results of the 2020 election. Youngkin has stated multiple times that Biden is the legitimate president, but he also recently spoke at an election integrity event where there was no press allowed. His campaign said the nominee would be discussing voter ID laws.
After it was recently reported that Youngkin’s campaign is recruiting poll watchers for the upcoming election, a spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) asked if the Republican nominee would accept the election results this November.
A spokesperson for Youngkin responded by pointing out that the Democratic Party is also recruiting poll observers, but did not address the question from the DPVA spokesperson.
Youngkin was asked the concession question two days later at the event according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
“Sir, if I end up finding myself in a circumstance where we’ve lost but what’s right for Virginia is for me to concede, I’ll concede,” Youngkin continued at the event last week. “But I’m looking forward, to win — and I do believe we will.”
Youngkin has been playing catch-up since the start as he has been polling slightly behind McAuliffe in a state that voted for the Democratic presidential nominee by 10 points last year. He has to drive turnout in his own party’s base while attracting Independent and moderate Republican voters that may have stayed home or switched parties during Trump’s presidency.
A Pew Research Center survey showed that Biden won Independent voters by nine points nationally.
Talking about election integrity remains popular within the core faction of the Republican Party. A poll in May reported that 53% of national Republicans believed Trump is the “true president”, compared to 25% of all Americans.
“Youngkin’s refusal to unequivocally commit to conceding in November is yet another reminder that when he said Donald Trump represents why he’s running, he meant it,” said Manuel Bonder, a DPVA spokesperson and the first person to raise the question towards Youngkin about conceding if he loses.
To defend themselves from election integrity participation attacks by the Democrats, the Youngkin campaign has repeatedly pointed to comments from the early 2000s when Terry McAuliffe, the current Democratic gubernatorial nominee, made statements about George Bush stealing the 2000 election.
According to his campaign spokesperson Renzo Olivari, McAuliffe would concede in November if the results show a Youngkin victory. “Terry is not a conspiracy theorist — of course he will respect the will of the voters.”
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