Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin didn't hold an event with former President Donald Trump, despite Democrat Terry McAuliffe's claims Monday night, but the size of his pre-Election Day rally featured many of the characteristics of a MAGA event, including numbers that dwarfed those of McAuliffe's.
McAuliffe told a modest-sized crowd gathered outside a brewery in Fairfax Monday that while they were gathered there, Youngkin was "doing an event with Donald Trump here in Virginia" Politico reports.
However, while Trump backs Youngkin and did a short "tele-rally" for him Monday evening, during which he called him a "fantastic guy," Youngkin did not participate in the Trump event, according to CNN.
Further, the former president was not at Youngkin's large, MAGA-style election eve rally, which drew a crowd several times the size of McAuliffe's at the Loudoun County Fairgrounds.
Trump's presence was felt at the rally, though, even if he wasn't there, as it attracted the former president's supporters who showed up wearing Trump hats and shirts and waving Trump flags, reports Politico.
McAuliffe acknowledged to reporters Monday that from a "political perspective" it would have been "great" for him if Trump had become more involved in the election, but also said, "for the sake of the country, it's time to move on."
The Democrat's final pre-election message Monday focused on tying Youngkin to Trump, while Youngkin spoke about pushing for job training, getting rid of Virginia's grocery tax, and making other reforms.
Youngkin has largely steered away from connections with Trump, instead choosing to focus more on local issues, reports CNN.
Even with the size of Youngkin's crowd, and polls that show the two candidates are in a dead heat, Virginia remains a blue state where President Joe Biden won by 10 points. Youngkin is showing momentum and could pull off an upset over McAuliffe, a former Virginia governor with deep party ties, including co-chairing Bill Clinton's 1996 presidential campaign and chairing Hillary Clinton's failed 2008 bid.
The Virginia race has gained national attention, but history may not be behind McAuliffe, because since the 1970s, the party in opposition to the White House has taken the state's gubernatorial elections, reports CNN.
However, McAuliffe was the exception to that trend in 2013, when he won the race for his first term as governor a year after then-President Barack Obama was reelected.
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