by Brandon Jarvis

While an official debate has not taken place yet, Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates continue to spar on social media over debate participation. On Saturday, the day that the debate hosted by the Virginia Bar Association (VBA) was scheduled to take place before it was canceled, Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin and his Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe went back-and-forth over their debate participation.

McAuliffe began the interaction by posting a video on Twitter calling out Youngkin after he declined to participate in the VBA debate — an event that has hosted both major-party gubernatorial candidates in each cycle since 1985. “Glenn Youngkin is a chicken who refused to debate me at the Virginia Bar Association – a 36 year Virginia tradition! – because he’s hiding his far-right views,” McAuliffe tweeted. “Weak and an insult to Virginia voters. Get it together, Glenn!

Youngkin then responded later in the day by calling out McAuliffe for not accepting a specific debate invitation scheduled for the end of August. “Terry McAuliffe still hasn’t agreed to debate me next month. I’ve said I’ll be there,” Youngkin tweeted Saturday afternoon. “What’s taking him so long?”

McAuliffe, who announced last month that he accepted five debate invitations, replied to Youngkin. “Oh give me a break, Glenn. If you really wanted to debate you’d have been up on stage with me at the VBA Debate TODAY,” McAuliffe tweeted. “I agreed to 5 debates. You’ve already chickened out of one. Let’s go.”

The August event is one of three debates in total that Youngkin recently announced he would attend. It is not listed among the five debates that McAuliffe previously announced he accepted an invitation to attend.

Besides the VBA debate, McAuliffe agreed to debates in the Hampton Roads hosted by Norfolk State University, in Southwest Virginia at the Appalachian School of Law during fall, in Northern Virginia with the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, NBC4/Telemundo 44 and the Schar School of Public Policy and Government at George Mason University on September 29, and in Richmond hosted by the AARP Virginia and WTVR on October 12.

Youngkin’s campaign says he will be participating in a debate hosted by Hampton University, Liberty University, and the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce in late August; a debate hosted by the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy on Sept. 16, and the NOVA Chamber debate at the end of September.

It is unclear what events the Independent candidate Princess Blanding will be participating in.

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:

By vascope