“Because my opposition is a Trump wannabe,” Mr. McAuliffe stated. “He has been endorsed three times by Donald Trump He said ‘I’m honored to have his endorsement.’ He‘s quoted saying ‘so much of the reason why I’m running is because of Donald Trump.’ That’s his quote, so he‘s the one who’s inserted Donald Trump here.”
Mr. McAuliffe, who served as governor between 2014 and 2018, has issued several ads that compare Mr. Youngkin to Mr. Trump. He tried to focus on the comparison during a July rally he , where President Biden stated that Mr. McAuliffe was against Mr. Trump .
The attacks coincide with Mr. Trump‘s poor performance in Democratic-trending Virginia in 2016 and 2020.
In 2016, he lost to Democrat Hillary Clinton by roughly 6 percentage points and lost by 10 points to Mr. Biden in 2020.
The race for Virginia is close with polls showing that Mr. McAuliffe slightly leads Mr. Youngkin. An 8News/Emerson College poll that came out Thursday ahead of the debate showed Mr. McAuliffe had 49% support compared to Mr. Youngkin’s 45%.
The poll surveyed 778 likely voters between Sept. 13-14 and had an error margin of 3.4 percentage points.
Virginia law prohibits governors serving consecutive terms but not non-consecutive.
Election Day is Nov. 2. Early voting starts Friday.