Report finds a Virginia GOP candidate funds ‘Jan. 6 apologists’ — while posing as a 'reasonable Republican'

Report finds a Virginia GOP candidate funds ‘Jan. 6 apologists’ — while posing as a 'reasonable Republican'
Glenn Youngkin in January 2021, Wikimedia Commons

Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin has tried to pull off a balancing act in Virginia's 2021 gubernatorial election, portraying himself as a moderate conservative while not doing anything to offend MAGA extremists. But journalist David Corn, this week in Mother Jones, emphasizes that Youngkin is much more Trumpian than he is letting on, noting that the gubernatorial candidate has funded a political action committee that defends the January 6 rioters.

Virginia, once a red state, has evolved into a swing state that has a Democratic governor (Ralph Northam) and two Democratic U.S. senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner. It has gone Democratic in the last four presidential elections. The days when Republicans could safely assume that they would win statewide races by double digits in Virginia are over, which is why Youngkin has tried to paint himself as a Mitt Romney-like, "pro-business" conservative despite his connection to MAGA World. And his balancing act appears to be working.

A recent Monmouth poll found Youngkin and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe to be in a dead heat. It's entirely possible that if Democrats don't enjoy a strong turnout on Tuesday, November 2, Youngkin will be Virginia's next governor.

"Throughout the tight race that pits him against former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe," Corn observes, "Youngkin has been striving to have it both ways: come across as a reasonable Republican in a state Biden won by ten points, while still embracing the endorsement he received from Donald Trump and playing footsie with Trump's baseless claim the election was stolen by repeatedly calling for 'election integrity.' Yet in one important aspect, Youngkin has signaled his full support for the Trump conspiracy crowd: he has funneled his own personal cash into the campaigns of Big Lie advocates and 1/6 apologists."

Corn notes that in August, Youngkin "announced he would pump $1 million into Virginia Wins, a political action committee that supports down-ballot Republican candidates in the state" — adding that "a good chunk of this money has gone to Trump Republicans who echo Trump's claim of fraud and who downplay the violent Trump-incited raid on Congress."

The Mother Jones reporter goes on to note who some of these MAGA Republicans are. One is Ronnie Campbell, who serves in the Virginia House of Delegates and asked former Vice President Mike Pence not to honor the 2020 presidential election certification in Virginia. Others who promoted former President Donald Trump's thoroughly debunked election fraud lies and enjoyed support from Virginia Wins, according to Corn, include House of Delegates candidates Scott Pio, Tim Anderson and Mike Cherry.

The Virginia House of Delegates, established in 1776, is the lower house in the Virginia General Assembly, while the upper house is the Virginia State Senate. Democrats have majorities in both houses.

Anderson, Corn notes, praised the rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6 as "normal, good and patriotic Americans."

Corn reports, "Throughout this campaign, Youngkin has walked a tight wire, looking to rev up the GOP's pro-Trump base without alienating more moderate voters. In return, McAuliffe has tried to depict Youngkin as a handmaid of Trump and the race a referendum on Trump…. Youngkin is financing Republicans who are promoting the former president's election lies and supporting Trump's attack on American democracy — which, in today's political climate, makes Youngkin just another Republican."

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