Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s campaign for Virginia governor, which has endured more than a month of scandal leading up to Tuesday’s election, remained true to form during the final weekend of the race.
McAuliffe spokesperson Christina Freundlich accidentally looped in a Fox News reporter on what was supposed to be an internal campaign email. Fox had reached out to McAuliffe’s campaign for comment about why it had retained Marc Elias, a known election litigator, for $60,000. Ostensibly, the hire was for the purpose of litigating the results of the election should McAuliffe lose.
“Can we try to kill this,” Freundlich said in her email.
She later claimed that the campaign hired Elias in the event that Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin challenged the results of the election.
McAuliffe has often blasted former President Donald J. Trump for challenging the results of the 2020 election, and has attempted to tie Youngkin to that effort. McAuliffe himself still claims that Republicans stole the 2000 election from then-presidential candidate Al Gore.
Freundlich’s bad day continued when a stunt in which McAuliffe staffers posed as “Nazis” and showed up to an event on Youngkin’s bus tour was exposed as a hoax. They were pretending to be supporters of Youngkin’s.
In a now-deleted tweet, Freundlich promoted the hoax, which was meant to mimic the infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017.
“The Unite the Right rally was one of the darkest days in the Commonwealth’s history,” she said. “[T]his is who Glenn Youngkin’s supporters are.”
She attached a photo of the alleged “Nazis” – all McAuliffe staffers – to the tweet.
The Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump Democrat boosters, later fell on the sword on behalf of McAuliffe’s campaign, saying that it organized the stunt to make a point.
“Today’s demonstration was our way of reminding Virginia voters of what happened in Charlottesville four years ago, the Republican party’s embrace of those values, and Glenn Youngkin’s failure to condemn it,” the Lincoln Project said in a statement.
In an email to The Virginia Star, Youngkin’s campaign said that it would not even dignify the stunt with a response. Instead, it directed The Star to a tweet by Matt Wolking, the campaign’s communications director.
“Terry McAuliffe’s campaign has been the dirtiest, nastiest, most dishonest campaign in Virginia history,” Wolking said.
Terry McAuliffe's campaign has been the dirtiest, nastiest, most dishonest campaign in Virginia history.
This morning they're closing out his career by going even lower. #VAgov
— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) October 29, 2021
Over the weekend, in a joint event with current Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) known for his 2019 blackface scandal, McAuliffe communications staffer Renzo Olivari blocked a local reporter from asking Northam questions about the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) alleged rape coverup.
That scandal has plagued McAuliffe’s campaign for a month, during which it has dodged all questions about the situation in Loudoun County. McAuliffe walked out of a recent interview when the reporter’s line of questioning appeared to be heading in the direction of the scandal.
A few days ago, Olivari himself was busted for a racist tweet he posted in 2012. That tweet has been deleted.
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) October 29, 2021
Olivari apologized in a comment to Breitbart. He said:
As a person of color, I have tried to live my whole life fighting for communities like mine. When I was in high school student, I tweeted things that were clearly unacceptable. I am ashamed and I profoundly regret what I tweeted.
I take full responsibility and I want to profoundly apologize and use this as a moment to grow and learn from my mistakes. I will continue working to fight for communities like mine in every way that I can.
As McAuliffe’s campaign hobbles to the Tuesday finish line, Youngkin has the momentum.
A compilation of polls shows Youngkin leading McAuliffe by an average of one point.
McAuliffe’s campaign did not respond to a Monday comment request. It has not responded to any of The Star’s inquiries throughout the campaign.
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