GOP’s Youngkin stays away from ‘Take Back Virginia’ rally

Oct 13, 2021, 5:21 AM | Updated: 9:29 pm
Political strategist Steve Bannon gestures during an election rally in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Oc...

Political strategist Steve Bannon gestures during an election rally in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. Conservative radio host John Fredericks, a former Trump campaign chairman in Virginia, organized the “Take Back Virginia Rally” that drew at least a few hundred people in the Richmond suburbs to fire up the GOP's right wing in the runup to the Nov. 2 elections. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump and other Republicans tried to fire up the party’s right-wing base ahead of Virginia’s critical November elections Wednesday, at a rally marked by falsehoods about the 2020 election and tirades against vaccine and mask mandates.

The party’s nominee for governor, Glenn Youngkin, did not attend the event but got a warm embrace from Trump, who called in by phone, to urge a crowd of a few hundred in suburban Richmond to get out to vote for the businessman and first-time candidate.

“Glenn Youngkin is a great gentleman,” said Trump, who had previously endorsed Youngkin, before he reiterated his lie that that Democrat Joe Biden won the White House because of mass voter fraud.

Other speakers at the “Take Back Virginia Rally” included former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon; Rep. Mark Finchem of Arizona, who has worked to overturn Trump’s 2020 loss in the state; and Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase, a prominent promoter of election fraud conspiracy theories. It was organized by conservative talk show host John Fredericks, a former Trump campaign chairman in Virginia.

The showcase of right-wing enthusiasm came as Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe are locked in a tight race in Democratic-leaning Virginia, one of just two states with governors races this year. The Republican has focused his pitch at moderate and independent voters critical to success, but he also needs strong turnout among Trump followers.

That’s left Youngkin treading carefully when addressing the lies about fraud promoted by Trump and others in his party. The Republican, who in his primary campaign declined to say whether Biden was fairly elected, has since said he believes he was — and that he does not believe there was significant fraud last November.

Youngkin’s campaign did not respond to questions from The Associated Press on Wednesday whether he expected Trump would campaign with him in the final stretch or why he chose not to attend Wednesday’s event, apart from pointing out the candidate’s busy travel schedule Wednesday.

Earlier in the week, Youngkin called into Fredericks’ show and thanked him for hosting the event.

“We’re going to win this,” Fredericks said. “We’re gonna hold the Trump coalition together while Youngkin goes out there and appeals to independents.”

Rally attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag the event’s emcee said was carried at the “peaceful” rally Trump attended before his supporters stormed the Capitol in a deadly attempted insurrection on Jan. 6.

Democrats condemned the event and blasted Youngkin after Trump’s remarks.

“Glenn Youngkin has made it clear: his top priority is bringing Donald Trump’s dangerous agenda to Virginia. As Youngkin focuses his campaign on peddling right-wing conspiracies and advancing an extreme policy agenda, he is making it clearer than ever that he is too extreme for Virginia,” said Manuel Bonder, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Democrats have also criticized Youngkin’s continued willingness to campaign with Chase. The state senator from suburban Richmond also sought the nomination for governor this year and routinely shares misinformation about the security of Virginia’s elections. Chase, who was censured by the Senate on a bipartisan basis earlier this year, has called for an “audit” of the 2020 election in Virginia and in December said Trump should invoke martial law to seize voting machines.

On Wednesday, she continued to focus on the false claims.

“We are going to do something about election integrity. And I know what’s going on, the Youngkin campaign knows what’s going on. We are watching like we have never watched before,” she told the crowd.

Trump lost Virginia overwhelmingly to Democrat Joe Biden last year – a routine state audit confirmed the results – and no election was stolen from Trump.

Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, found no evidence of widespread election corruption. Allegations of massive voting fraud also were dismissed by several judges and refuted by state election officials and an arm of the Homeland Security Department during the Trump administration.

The Youngkin campaign has tried to draw a comparison between the false claims of fraud today and the 2000 presidential election, when a Supreme Court ruling decided the winner and McAuliffe blasted the decision and said the election had been stolen.

Winsome Sears, the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, did not speak as scheduled. Her campaign did not respond to an inquiry Wednesday night.

An initial advisory said Jason Miyares, the GOP nominee for attorney general, would attend. But his spokeswoman, Victoria LaCivita, said by phone that was “a mistake, a miscommunication.”

She added the candidate’s schedule was full, with a debate against incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring earlier in the day and an evening event elsewhere.

Del. Terry Kilgore and Sen. Bill Stanley were at various points advertised as speakers but said they had work commitments and did not attend.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Rep. Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, debates during a session Tuesday March 10, 2020, in Tallahassee, Fl...
Associated Press

Florida’s top doctor refuses mask, is told to leave meeting

MIAMI (AP) — Florida’s top health official was asked to leave a meeting after refusing to wear a mask at the office of a state senator who told him she had a serious medical condition, officials have confirmed. Florida Senate leader Wilton Simpson, a Republican, sent a memo to senators Saturday regarding the incident at […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Husband of detained Iranian-British woman on hunger strike

LONDON (AP) — The husband of U.K. charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been detained more than five years in Iran, has gone on a hunger strike again after a court decided she has to spend another year in prison. Richard Ratcliffe started his fast on Sunday outside the British government’s Foreign Office in central […]
1 day ago
FILE - A large crowd of movie industry workers and New Mexico residents attend a candlelight vigil ...
Associated Press

Let computers do it: Film set tragedy spurs call to ban guns

NEW YORK (AP) — With computer-generated imagery, it seems the sky’s the limit in the magic Hollywood can produce: elaborate dystopian universes. Trips to outer space, for those neither astronauts nor billionaires. Immersive journeys to the future, or back to bygone eras. But as a shocked and saddened industry was reminded this week, many productions […]
1 day ago
In this photo provided by Louis Amestoy, a police officer stands watch over the scene of a fatal dr...
Associated Press

Texas drag race driver slams into spectators, killing 2 kids

KERRVILLE, Texas (AP) — A driver lost control during a Texas drag racing event on an airport runway and slammed into a crowd of spectators, killing two children and injuring eight other people, authorities said. A 6-year-old boy and an 8-year-old boy were killed in the crash Saturday afternoon at an event called “Airport Race […]
1 day ago
Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. E...
Associated Press

Finland’s leader: Turkey decision on envoys ‘regrettable’

HELSINKI (AP) — Finland’s leader said Sunday that the Turkish president’s decision to order that 10 foreign ambassadors, including the Nordic country’s envoy, be declared persona non grata after calling for the release of a jailed philanthropist and human rights activist was a “regrettable situation.” Prime Minister Sanna Marin told public broadcaster YLE that “this […]
1 day ago
FILE — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in this July 16, ...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Will lawmakers dig into Kristi Noem, appraisers?

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota lawmakers will be taking a look at a state agency that has been at the center of questions about whether Gov. Kristi Noem used her influence to aid her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license. At first glance, the first item of business for the Legislature’s […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
GOP’s Youngkin stays away from ‘Take Back Virginia’ rally