"Trump will visit Virginia. Yes. Yes. Youngkin's campaign said Friday that it has no plans to allow surrogates to join him on the final stretch of the race.
This dynamic reflects Trump's complex balancing act with Youngkin. It could be a model for Republicans facing competitive campaigns in 2022. Trump is still the most beloved figure in GOP politics, and he wants to stay engaged. Youngkin must get Trump's support to vote. He cannot risk giving Trump a reason not to in the final weeks of the race. Youngkin must be careful not to be tied too closely with someone who is unpopular across crucial areas of the state, especially the densely populated suburbs around Washington and Richmond.
Youngkin is in a tight race against Terry McAuliffe, Democrat. steered clearof Wednesday's event. It's a difficult balance act. The rally was led by Steve Bannon, a long-time Trump strategist, who could be charged with contempt for refusing cooperation with a House Committee investigating the Jan. 6 storming at the Capitol. It was also criticized by Youngkin, who later condemned the move of attendees to the pledge of allegiance to the flag the emcee claimed had been flown on Jan. 6.
The former president is still the party's most powerful force nine months after he resigned. However, he lost Virginia 10 points in 2020. According to , only 44% of the likely voters in Virginia view him favorably, according to a Fox News poll.
Bob Holsworth, a long-time political analyst in the state, said that Trump would hold a rally in Youngkin if he did. "This is a man who lost by 10 points or more in Virginia. He lost in a landslide. He is extremely unpopular in Virginia. ... Youngkin is more likely to be absent and more involved if he does not show up.
This risk was heightened by Trump's reaction to Wednesday’s event. He praised Youngkin for being "a great gentleman" while spreading lies about 2020.
Democrats quickly reacted and condemned what they called "Donald Trump’s insurrectionist rally." McAuliffe ran an ad featuring Trump's praises for Youngkin while McAuliffe held press conferences to attack his opponent. McAuliffe was criticized for his initial silence about the event as well as his focus on "dangerous conspiracies".
Trump's part has nothing to gain from spending more political capital on this race. Trump will try to claim credit for Youngkin's participation in Wednesday’s rally, his May endorsement and any future get out your vote efforts if Youngkin wins. Trump cannot blame Youngkin for not being more aligned with the former president if Youngkin wins.
Trump had indeed warned Fredericks about Trump's recent rants during an interview.
He said, "The only men who win are those that embrace the MAGA movement." They try to go down a railroad track. They never win because they love Trump, love Trump. They will never win. They must embrace it.
Youngkin's campaign doesn't have many well-known surrogates, but McAuliffe has been summoning Democratic starpower. McAuliffe has already been campaigning with President Joe Biden. His campaign also told The Associated Press that McAuliffe will be back before the Nov. 2, vote. Jill Biden, the first lady, was present at McAuliffe's rally on Friday. Former President Barack Obama will be campaigning with McAuliffe next week.
Trump spokespeople didn't respond to questions regarding the race. Youngkin's campaign also did not respond on questions about Trump.
Since winning the primary, Youngkin has targeted his pitch more towards moderate and independent voters. Youngkin refused to comment on whether Biden was fair elected during this campaign. Since then, he has stated that he believed he was and that he doesn't believe there was any fraud in November.
Youngkin is not following the lead of other blue-state Republican governors such as Maryland's Larry Hogan or Massachusetts' Charlie Baker. Instead, Youngkin ran on a solidly conservative platform, accepting some GOP culture war issues, and promising to reject the "left progressive agenda" that Youngkin claims is shaping Virginia.
He's now focusing his campaign appearances on crime, taxes, and school choice, after largely shifting away from his primary focus on integrity in the nomination contest.
However, Democrats have criticised him for recent comments regarding auditing the state’s voting machines, and for campaigning alongside state Senator Amanda Chase . Chase is a prominent proponent of electoral falsehoods and has earned the nickname "Trumpin heels."
Youngkin also stated that Trump "represents so many of the reasons why I'm running."
Youngkin's goal is to retain the MAGA base and absorb suburban defectors from Democrats. Holsworth said that it was difficult.
Fredericks stated that it was a winning strategy.
He stated, "Here's why Glenn Youngkin will win: We're keeping the Trump base together with a thread." "Glenn Youngkin's campaign has not abandoned the core principles that are important for Trump voters. Not one day."
Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia and U.S. ambassador, said that Youngkin did a great job keeping the race focused on his candidacy.
He stated, "I believe that nationalizing the campaign is not beneficial to either of these candidates."
Former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis, who served as the 11th Congressional District representative in northern Virginia for 14 years, said that Glenn "has to be his own man" so that he could "run his own race."
Davis stated that he believes Virginia voters care more about Biden's approval rating than Trump. He said that people voted for Biden to "get Donald Trump out of the living room." "But they didn’t vote for all of this stuff that Biden’s bringing with them. They're going to stomp the brakes, I believe."
Numerous polls have shown a close race between McAuliffe & Youngkin since mid-September. Some polls, including one by Fox News, indicate McAuliffe may hold a slight edge, but Youngkin is still within striking distance. Voters for both candidates indicated that they might still change their mind.