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Clearly annoyed that WJLA-TV 7News reporter Nick Minock had the temerity to question him about real issues, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe abruptly ended the interview.
Rising from his chair, he said, “Alright, we’re over! That’s it. That’s it. Hey, I gave you extra time. C’mon man.”
“You should have asked better questions early on. You should have asked questions your viewers care about,” the former governor said.
— Brent Scher (@BrentScher) October 19, 2021
On Tuesday evening, WJLA anchor Jonathan Elias made clear to viewers why they had spent only 11 minutes speaking with McAuliffe.
“So if you watch those entire interviews on our website, we do want to point out that the Terry McAuliffe interview is shorter than our interview with [Republican candidate] Glenn Youngkin. That was not by our doing,” he explained.
Elias continued, “Nick offered both candidates 20 minutes exactly to be fair for the interviews. McAuliffe abruptly ended 7News’ interview after just 10 minutes and told Nick that he should have asked better questions and that Nick should have asked questions 7News viewers care about. That’s what he said.”
— Team Youngkin (@TeamYoungkin) October 19, 2021
This race was once McAuliffe’s to lose. Until recently, he had maintained a comfortable lead over his Republican challenger. The dynamics of the race changed, however, following a serious gaffe during a September debate. McAuliffe said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Terry McAuliffe: "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach." pic.twitter.com/7S15pTv1gY
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 28, 2021
He has also denied that critical race theory is being taught in Virginia public schools, which is clearly false. This hot-button issue has the potential to change the outcome of the election.
Democrats never dreamed they’d have a fight on their hands in this race. But President Joe Biden’s plummeting approval numbers and the emergence of critical race theory as a flashpoint have altered the playing field. Additionally, McAuliffe is not a great candidate.
Politicos are watching this off-year race closely, and Youngkin now stands a decent chance of winning. Throughout the summer, McAuliffe led his rival by 5-6.7 points. The gap has narrowed significantly in the home stretch. As of Oct. 19, the RealClearPolitics average of polls stands at 2.2%.
Leave it to Fox News to be the outlier. The network’s most recent poll of 1,004 registered voters released on Oct. 14 shows McAuliffe ahead by 5 points. (Most of the polls included in the RCP average survey likely voters.)
The Trafalgar Group released survey results on Oct. 15 that showed Youngkin with a 1-point lead. Although Trafalgar is a right-leaning pollster, it was among the most accurate in forecasting the November 2020 election. (As of Wednesday morning, this poll is not yet reflected in the RCP average, which still displays Trafalgar’s Oct. 14 results — showing the candidates tied.)
Shortly before the November election, Robert Trafalgar, the group’s founder, was discussing Trump’s chances of winning Pennsylvania in an interview with conservative commentator Dan Bongino. He said that Trump would have to prevail by at least 2 to 3 points to win the state. This cushion was necessary, he explained, to make up for the cheating he knew Democrats were planning.
Unfortunately, Republicans would be wise to scrutinize the vote-counting and the integrity of the ballots themselves in this contest.
Finally, Republican strategist Karl Rove appeared on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Tuesday to discuss the state of this race. He pointed out that Democrats have an “enthusiasm gap.”
According to Rove:
As of Sunday night, 408,770 people had voted. That is only 30 percent of how many people had voted at this point in the November 2020 election. The Democrats need to have the turnout be in the early voting roughly 52, 53, 54 percent of what it was in November 2020 and instead, it’s running at about 30 percent.
Think about this. They brought in the big guns. They sent Stacey Abrams to Norfolk. This was the first Sunday in Norfolk in which you were allowed to vote early on Sundays, so you’re gonna have the souls to the polls effort led by Stacey Abrams, rock star at the top of the Democratic ticket. And in the four early vote locations in Norfolk, 396 showed up that day. So, the Democratic enthusiasm here is really, really problematic.
Although one wouldn’t expect turnout in an off year to mirror turnout for a presidential election, that’s a pretty wide gap for such a closely watched race. Let’s hope Rove is right.
With less than two weeks to go, we’ll find out soon.
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