Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin promised never to return the commonwealth to COVID-19 lockdowns and vowed to ban critical race theory (CRT) in Virginia schools as part of the “day one game plan” he unveiled on Monday.
Speaking at a rally in Fairfax County, Youngkin noted the extensive damage lockdowns caused small businesses in the state, while also pledging to be “the jobs governor of Virginia.”
“The ruling class in Richmond is totally insulated from the everyday struggles of small-business owners, entrepreneurs, and working Virginians,” he said. “I will not allow COVID lockdowns to ever occur in Virginia again.”
The former businessman also turned his attention to education, promising to keep Virginia classrooms open five days a week and to push for school choice if he were to take office.
“The learning loss over the past 18 months has so disadvantaged our kids,” he said. “The governor [Ralph Northam] ceded control of our classroom to the teachers unions. We will not do that again. … We’re gonna create 20 innovation charter schools on day one to give parents choice.”
While Youngkin received regular applause throughout the event, it was the GOP candidate’s pledge to prohibit the teaching of critical race theory in Virginia schools that received the biggest reaction, with supporters chanting “Thank you, Glenn!” in response.
“We will absolutely remove, rid the political agenda that’s made its way into our classroom by banning critical race theory on day one,” he said. Youngkin’s position on the divisive ideology falls contrary to that of his Democrat opponent, Terry McAuliffe, who has dismissed critical race theory as a “right-wing conspiracy theory.”
Recent polling has indicated that the race between Youngkin and McAuliffe remains a dead heat, with a new Trafalgar Group survey showing the race as a virtual tie. Conducted among 1,074 likely voters from Aug. 26-29, the poll found McAuliffe leading Youngkin by a fraction of a percentage point (46.6 to 46.3 percent), falling well within the survey’s 2.99 percent margin of error.
#VAGov race in virtual tie according to @trafalgar_group #poll of likely ‘21 VA Statewide Fall Election voters (conducted 8/26-29).@TerryMcAuliffe 46.6%,@GlennYoungkin 46.3%,
See Report: https://t.co/P3figiujyg pic.twitter.com/PKELsMfYYS
— Robert C. Cahaly (@RobertCahaly) August 31, 2021
A recent Monmouth University poll also revealed a tight race, with the survey showing McAuliffe leading Youngkin by five points (47 to 42 percent). The poll also showed close margins in the races for lieutenant governor and attorney general, with the Democrat candidates leading their GOP opponents by 1 and 2 percentage points, respectively. The poll was conducted among 802 registered voters from Aug. 24-29 and has a 3.5 percent margin of error.