Glenn Youngkin supporters told the press that education was the No. 1 reason they voted for the Republican in Tuesday’s Virginia gubernatorial election.
Parents across the state have become more vocal in their opposition to school boards’ progressive lesson plans, and the fight has received national attention. When asked to respond to the battle over education at his debate against Youngkin earlier this month, Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” The Youngkin campaign quickly turned around and used the controversial line in campaign ads and, according to some voters that MSNBC caught up with, it was an effective strategy.
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“I believe McAuliffe hurt himself a lot with saying parents had no place to talk about education,” one voter told MSNBC Tuesday. “That hurt him a lot, and that took away my support.”
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Others agreed that the fight over schooling is what drove them to the polls this year.
“The important issue this year was education,” one voter said.
“Schools, the issues that are going on in schools right now,” another Virginian in the video argued.
On CNN, voter Diane Meetre told correspondent Boris Sanchez the “school mess” and “critical race theory” are what motivated her vote.
“The critical race theory,” she said. “I don’t think it’s right.”
Another female voter told CNN much of the same, saying she voted for Youngkin, with education and “school safety” being her main concerns, in reference to reports the Loudoun County School Board covered up an alleged assault. Youngkin demanded the resignations of Loudoun County Superintendent Scott Ziegler and the school board in the wake of a bombshell email related to the scandal.
McAuliffe claimed in a recent interview, however, that “everybody clapped” for his controversial line about parents trying to have an influence on what their kids are learning. He has also dug in on the debunked claim that Youngkin and some Virginia parents want to ban Black-authored books in schools, such as Toni Morrison’s award-winning novel, “Beloved,” which includes graphic depictions of the evils of slavery. In reality, the bill the Republican and the parents were advocating for would only notify parents to the material, not ban it.
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