Home 2021 Elections “An insult to the people of the Commonwealth”: Glenn Youngkin Breaks Decades...

“An insult to the people of the Commonwealth”: Glenn Youngkin Breaks Decades of Precedent, Refuses to Participate in “one of Virginia’s most time-honored traditions, the Virginia Bar Association debate”


Wow, this is really stunning – and appalling, to boot – by Glenn Youngkin, as EVERY Virginia gubernatorial candidate does the Virginia Bar Association debate. The first one I ever attended was between Tim Kaine and Jerry Kilgore in 2005, after which I also was at the 2006 showdown between Jim Webb and George Allen.  Anyway, clearly Youngkin is terrified to put his actual views out there for the public to hear.

My theory is that Youngkin knows that getting on a debate stage with McAuliffe is a massive “no-win situation” for him, as his options are all bad: a) continue the hard-right, Trumpist stances he espoused during the Republican nomination contest this past spring, and basically guarantee a (big) loss for himself this November; b) reverse himself on issue after issue (guns, abortion, climate science, voting rights, economic recovery, Trump, you name it) and massively piss off his “base,” while probably not convincing any Democratic voters that he’s sincere. Still, no matter what the reasons, it’s just shocking that Youngkin is blowing off the Virginia Bar Association, which – as Terry McAuliffe’s campaign correctly notes – has “hosted a debate for every Virginia gubernatorial election since 1985, and both the Democratic and Republican nominees have always participated.” Pathetic.

Terry McAuliffe Statement on Glenn Youngkin’s Refusal to Agree to Virginia Bar Association Debate

MCLEAN, VA – Terry McAuliffe today released the following statement on Glenn Youngkin’s refusal to agree to the Virginia Bar Association debate on Saturday, July 24:

“Glenn Youngkin’s refusal to agree to join me in one of Virginia’s most time-honored traditions, the Virginia Bar Association debate, is an insult to the people of the Commonwealth. Youngkin doesn’t want to face me and speak directly to Virginians at a debate because he doesn’t want to answer questions about his record of sending jobs overseas, his threats to funding for public education, his extreme anti-abortion agenda or the fact that he is Donald Trump’s handpicked candidate.

“I am running for governor to create good paying jobs, address rising health care costs, and ensure every Virginia child receives a world-class education. If Glenn Youngkin wants to represent Virginians, he needs to be willing to take tough questions about his extreme agenda and lack of plans and face his opponent in a debate.”

Terry McAuliffe has agreed to participate in a series of five general election debates, including the Virginia Bar Association Debate on July 24 moderated by Judy Woodruff, to speak directly with Virginians about his vision to create good jobs, build a stronger economy, and move the Commonwealth forward. The Virginia Bar Association has hosted a debate for every Virginia gubernatorial election since 1985, and both the Democratic and Republican nominees have always participated. Invitations for the General Election Debate, moderated by Judy Woodruff, were sent to all candidates by the Virginia Bar Association on February 12, 2021.

Terry has agreed to participate in the following five general election debates:

  • Hot Springs, Virginia: Virginia Bar Association – July 24
  • Hampton Roads: Norfolk State University
  • Southwest Virginia: Appalachian School of Law
  • Northern Virginia: Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, NBC4/Telemundo 44 and the Schar School of Public Policy and Government at George Mason University – September 28
  • Richmond: AARP Virginia and WTVR – October 12

Since launching his campaign in December 2020, Terry has released 16 plans to strengthen Virginia’s education system and dramatically increase teacher pay, help secure Virginia’s economic recovery from COVID-19reform our criminal justice systemensure Virginians have access to regular nutritious meals, address the broken, predatory system of prescription drug pricingconfront the gun violence epidemicmake Virginia the best state in the nation for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Health Care (STEM-H) and computer science education, tackle the housing crisis in the Commonwealth and invest in Virginia’s workforce in the post-COVID economy, ensure Virginians have access to high-quality, affordable health caretackle climate change and secure Virginia’s clean energy future by 2035, lift up Black Virginians as the Commonwealth rebuilds from the COVID-19 pandemic, further advance LGBTQ+ rights, create a flourishing rural economysupport entrepreneurial ecosystems and tackle rising costs and meet the health care needs of all Virginians.


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