The Republican and Democratic nominees for governor of Virginia squared off in their second and final debate.
NBC's Chuck Todd moderated the debate between Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, and Glenn Youngkin, a Republican. NBC4 Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie and Telemundo44 reporter Alberto Pimienta were panelists. Hosted by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the debate was held at a community college campus in Alexandria.
How to Watch the McAuliffe/Youngkin Debate:
The debate was broadcast live on NBC4, on NBCWashington.com and in the NBC Washington app.
It also was livestreamed on Roku and Apple TV. (On your Roku or AppleTV device, search for the "NBC4 Washington" app.)
What to Know About the 2021 Virginia Governor's Race
Republicans haven’t won a statewide race in Virginia since 2009, but they are hopeful that Youngkin, a political newcomer, can break the Democrats' recent string of successes.
McAuliffe is seeking to become the first governor since 1973 to be elected to a second non-consecutive term. (By law, Virginia governors can only serve one consecutive term.)
Polls have shown the race is very close. Former President Donald Trump’s unpopularity helped Democrats win control of all three of Virginia's statewide offices and the General Assembly. But Republicans are hungry for a win and in this election cycle, the enthusiasm seems to be building on their side.
Who is Glenn Youngkin?
Youngkin is a former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm. He left the company in 2020 to run for office, his net worth estimated at more than $300 million. He’s already pumped more than $16 million of his own money into the contest.
Youngkin cites education funding and job creation as keystones of his campaign. He says the commonwealth’s economy is not as strong as Democrats depict, arguing too many Virginians are leaving the state. Youngkin is promising a series of tax cuts.
On the education front, he’s repeatedly told supporters he will ban the teaching of critical race theory (CRT), an academic theory that demonstrates racism is systemic in this country. But school superintendents say CRT is not taught in any K-12 schools.
Youngkin is also focused on the rising homicide rate, blaming Democratic policies for the increase.
Who is Terry McAuliffe?
McAuliffe first served as the governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018. He points to a record of success in job creation, laying the groundwork for Amazon’s decision to build a second headquarters in Virginia. He also set in motion plans to vastly expand Northern Virginia’s Express Lanes. Through executive action, McAuliffe restored voting and other rights to more than 173,000 felons who had completed their prison terms, a measure hailed by civil rights activists.
McAuliffe has made education funding a centerpiece of his 2021 campaign, promising to raise Virginia teacher salaries above the national average.
He promises to continue to focus on job creation while working toward paid sick leave and an expedited $15 minimum wage.
What Are McAuliffe's and Youngkin's Stances on Masks and Vaccine Mandates?
The candidates take divergent views on mask and vaccine mandates.
Youngkin encourages Virginians to get vaccinated but is opposed to vaccine and mask requirements. McAuliffe supports school mask mandates and has called for vaccine requirements in the health care industry, at colleges and public schools. He also believes private business should require shots.
What to Know About the 2021 Election in Virginia:
Voters will choose several new leaders this fall in Virginia, including the next governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, as well as members of the House of Delegates and leaders in some local offices.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Early voting is already under way, and the deadline to register to vote or to update an existing registration is Oct. 12.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.