VIRGINIA BEACH – The closely watched governor’s race here in Virginia is underway, and Republican Glenn Youngkin now has a tiny lead in the polls going into today’s voting.
Democrat and former Governor Terry McAuliffe had led the race for months, but if Youngkin does win, many political analysts will likely point to education as the chief reason.
The turning point in the Virginia race may well come down to 12 words from the second and final debate on Sept. 28th between McAuliffe and Youngkin. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” McAuliffe said.
The explosive comment combined with national events changed the trajectory of the Virginia race. The next day the National School Board Association (NSBA) in effect compared parents at school board meetings to domestic terrorists, asking for federal intervention. Days later, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the FBI to get involved and work on strategies to address threats against educators.
The Youngkin campaign took full advantage of the public uproar over not only McAuliffe’s comment but over the NSBA letter and Garland’s action. The campaign pivoted to a focus on schools and began running a series of “Parents Matter” ads, while McAuliffe doubled down. When WJLA-TV reporter Nick Minock asked if he misspoke, McAuliffe replied emphatically, “No!”
Radio host Erick Erickson of the “Erick Erickson Show” told CBN News, “It’s really an organic movement of parents across the political spectrum.”
He says the demographics behind the new movement are telling – blending conservative and liberal parents, worried about their kids’ education.
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Many believe it could push suburban voters, who left the GOP in the 2020 presidential election, to vote for Youngkin.
Pastor Sam Rodriguez, a former Trump faith advisor and leader of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, predicts the battles over controversial public school curricula will drive Latino voters.
“Any ideology that runs counter to grace, to the image of God, must be confronted. And we’re seeing Latino parents in Virginia saying ‘hold on a second. We didn’t sign up for this’,” Rodriguez explained.
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With the 2022 Congressional mid-term elections just around the corner, this Virginia race is seen as a bellwether. It will point to the viability of President Biden, who campaigned with McAuliffe, as well as the reach of former President Trump, who Youngkin has kept at a distance.
The bigger impact could be the importance voters put on education.
“I do think the McAuliffe campaign in Virginia is going to be a test here. If he loses it’s going to be on this issue,” Erickson said.
Such a loss could force the Biden administration to begin to walk back the FBI action and create a significant opportunity in 2022 for parents concerned about schools.
CBN News LIVE Election Coverage
On Election Night, CBN News will have LIVE coverage starting at 8 P.M. on the results in Virginia and New Jersey as well. Both states are picking a new governor, and our CBN News team of political analysts will be keeping you up to date on November 2nd.
CBN’s Jenna Browder, Dan Andros, David Brody, Heather Sells, Tara Mergener, Billy Hallowell, and Tré Goins-Phillips will join the coverage. Other guests will include Julie Manchester from The Hill and Stu Burguiere from Blaze Media.
Watch our LIVE coverage in the video embedded above.