LOUDOUN, Virginia — Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin ended his marathon statewide tour in Loudoun County, delivering his culminating campaign speech Monday night to thousands of supporters in the wealthy, blue Northern Virginia suburb.
Youngkin’s final stop on his “Win with Glenn” bus tour was symbolic as Loudoun has taken center stage in the national issue of parents versus school boards, an issue that has powered Youngkin over the last several weeks of the campaign trail and helped the once underdog close the gap in polls.
As he made his way up to the stage Monday night to Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky,” signs that read “Parents for Youngkin” could be seen in the sea of rallygoers, of whom there were more than 4,000, a Youngkin spokesperson estimated to Breitbart News.
Youngkin channeled the song at the start of his speech, telling the crowd, “That spirit in the sky is telling us that this a moment, a defining moment for the future of our commonwealth, a defining moment where we get to stand up and say no to this left, liberal, progressive agenda that’s trying to take us over. No!”
“This is our moment where we stand up for our children, for our grandchildren, for our nieces, for our nephews, for our neighbors, and we decide that we in fact are going to be in charge of our children’s education,” he boomed into the microphone with a voice hoarse from the dozens of tour stops leading up to his speech that night.
Youngkin, a businessman who has never run for office, is facing former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), a longtime political insider who once served as chair of the Democratic National Committee and is a close ally of the Clinton family.
Framing the need for an outsider as a driving incentive to vote for him, Youngkin said, “We have to break the power out of Richmond. We have to have a moment where power shifts away from the marble halls of Virginia and its moves to the kitchen tables around Virginia.”
The Virginia Republican has campaigned on “kitchen table” issues since before winning the Republican nomination in May, telling Breitbart News Daily in an interview in April that if a Republican candidate could swing a “reasonable chunk” of voters in Northern Virginia based on issues of education and workers’ rights, that candidate could have a fighting chance at winning in November after the party had failed to win at the state level for more than a decade.
“We don’t have to win fully Northern Virginia, 51 percent. We just have to get her back from the 70–30 to close to 60–40,” Youngkin said at the time.
Loudoun, where Youngkin spoke for about a half an hour Monday night, became what many have described as “ground zero” in the education wars after a gym teacher was put on leave for refusing to use students’ preferred pronouns. Transgender policies and Critical Race Theory have since taken off as the tensest issues dominating the education scene in Loudoun.
Youngkin zeroed in on this during his remarks, saying, “From the farms in Shenandoah Valley to the docks in Newport News to … the monuments in Arlington Cemetery to the banks on the James River — to the school board meetings in Loudoun County! — this is where parents are. This is where Virginians are, where we come together to redefine this future.”
As he painted a picture of Virginia, where “kids dream the biggest dreams they can think of and go get them,” “where in fact you have more of your money in your pocket versus in Terry McAuliffe’s pocket,” Youngkin said the promise of this idyllic Virginia “hangs in the balance.”
“It hangs in the balance because tomorrow, we must go get it. It will not be given to us. This democracy is not a spectator sport. It is an active involvement. We must go get it. We must go get it,” he declared.
Loudoun will play a pivotal role on Election Day as the populous county of nearly half a million voted a whopping 25 points in favor of President Joe Biden in 2020. Youngkin, who is now in a dead heat with McAuliffe in polls, is relying in part on turnout of Northern Virginia parents. Polling that has shown Youngkin gaining ground has also revealed education may be at least part of the reason for his surge, as the issue had overtaken others like the economy and coronavirus in terms of voter priorities in the lead-up to Election Day.
Youngkin during his remarks on Monday juxtaposed himself with McAuliffe on the ballot, saying that on one side is the Virginia Democrat, who “wants to put government between parents and our children. Terry McAuliffe wants to force everybody to join the union. Terry McAuliffe wants you to get fired by your employer for not taking the vaccine. Terry McAuliffe wants to raise your taxes in the middle of the night because he thinks it’s his money. I know it’s yours.”
He then said, “On the other side of the ballot is freedom and liberty, and I’m standing for freedom and liberty.”
Write to Ashley Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.