On Wednesday, McAuliffe shot back with a 60-second spot trying to tie Youngkin, a retired private equity executive, directly to former president Donald Trump.
“I worked with reasonable Republicans to get things done,” McAuliffe says in his video, which touts his efforts as governor on job creation, health care and infrastructure. “But let me be clear. Glenn Youngkin is not a reasonable Republican. He is a loyalist to Donald Trump."
As the ad shows off the Republican nominee at a rally alongside Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), an audio clip features Youngkin declaring that “President Trump represents so much of why I’m running.”
“Well, you know what, folks?" McAuliffe interjects. "I’m running because of you.”
Youngkin’s two 30-second spots appear to hammer on several key differences that separate the two candidates: A multimillionaire and longtime GOP donor, has tried to fashion himself as more of a political outsider compared to McAuliffe, who led the Old Dominion from 2014 to 2018.
In one of the two ads, a crowd of graying White men in suits is shown blabbering unintelligible nonsense as they amble down a country road.
“For too long, we’ve been told there’s only one way to do things in Richmond: The same politicians taking us in the wrong direction,” a voice-over says in the video, which begins airing on TV on Thursday.
Then, suddenly, the Republican candidate — wearing a red zip-up vest — struts through the horde in the opposite direction, parting the sea of suits.
“I’m not a politician. I spent 30 years building business and getting big things done,” he says. “It’s a new day here in Virginia, and the future belongs to us — not them.”
While both contenders are White men from Fairfax County — if not for his red vest, Youngkin might blend in with the crowd of suits in the ad — the GOP’s three statewide candidates boast more geographic and ethnic diversity than the Democratic ticket chosen on Tuesday night.
In the lieutenant governor’s race, former delegate Winsome E. Sears — a Black woman and former Marine who was born in Jamaica and now lives in Winchester — will face off against Del. Hala S. Ayala (D-Prince William), who identifies as African American, Latina, Irish and Lebanese.
Another ad released by the Youngkin camp on Tuesday relies largely on former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (Prince William), the second-place finisher in the Democratic primary, to make a case for him — through spliced clips of her own pre-primary attacks on McAuliffe.
“He failed the people of Virginia,” Carroll Foy says at one point, “so why does he deserve a second chance?”
During the Democratic primary campaign, she and the other three gubernatorial candidates in a historically diverse field — state Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan (Richmond), Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Del. Lee J. Carter (Manassas) — argued that the pandemic and racial justice protests of the past year demanded a fresh perspective in Richmond.
As McAuliffe focused on attacking Youngkin at primary debates, Carroll Foy and the other candidates often insisted that they could turn out more Democratic voters in the fall. But following her primary loss, she said she would fight tooth and nail to “make sure Glenn Youngkin goes nowhere near the Governor’s mansion.”
“Watching him take my words out of context is a reminder that he’s just as deceitful as Donald Trump,” Carroll Foy said in a statement Wednesday. She added that Virginia residents “desperately need the support of a leader far stronger than he — and that leader is Terry McAuliffe.”