A Virginia GOP candidate examines the 2022 school fight message


When Democrat Terry McAuliffe last week said he did not believe in the Virginia governor’s debate “parents should tell the school what to teach,” their opponent, Republican Glenn Youngkin, said.

Leesburg, Va. () – When Democrat Terry McAuliffe spoke at a Virginia governor’s debate last week, his opponent said he did not believe “parents should tell the school what to teach.”

Republican Glenn Youngkin quickly turned the piece into a digital ad, then announced that he would spend $ 1 million on statewide commercial broadcasting, “Terry went on the offensive against parents.” The Youngkin campaign set up a parent-led group to issue petitions and distribute flyers rejecting “McAuliffe’s disqualifying position” when scheduling Wednesday’s “Parent’s Matter” rally in Washington, Northern Virginia.

Youngkin is trying to raise parents of relatively small but vocal groups that organize against school curricula, who he considers “anti-American,” who are very generous of Kovid-19 safety measures and school administration, and are closely aligned with teachers’ unions.

“I’m glad that Mr. McAuliffe has said that more people can see the truth and the Democratic Party wants control,” said 52-year-old Republican activist and mother of six boys – Hidilgo Menders, who is now in high school – at a rally organized by the Fight for Schools near Dulles International Airport last weekend. They are.

Youngkin is looking to tempt GOP-leaning suburban voters who need to win the November 2 race. If Proch succeeds in the once-swing state of Virginia, and it turns more confidently blue, Republicans across the country are likely to repeat their efforts in the interim next year, when Congress is in control.

“Glenn Youngkin is harnessing the power of frustration and bored parenting,” said MacKaley Porter, a Youngkin spokeswoman.

Most active parental activist groups in Virginia are non-partisan and do not seek to influence the governor’s race, but instead focus on school board elections and efforts to recall board members in growing areas outside of Washington. But many such organizations have ties with Republican donors and party-aligned thinkers, and are headed by people who have worked for the GOP and its candidates, which may make it easier to replicate the message nationally.

“On the other hand, it wants to say it is geared toward helping candidates. I think it’s the opposite,” said Ian Prior, 44, a former Trump administration official who founded Fight for Schools, which recalls five school board members in Loudoun County, Virginia, where their two children attend school. Aim. ”It exists, and intelligent candidates are picking it up. Politically, I would say this is a by-product.

Youngkin participated in a fundraiser and rally for the schools fight last month, and his campaign has sometimes asked the Pryor group for help to boost the Republican Party’s campaign. The rally, which helped sponsor last weekend, drew about 100 people in front of the Loudoun County Supervisor’s Building in Leesburg, “continuing the divided educational programs in our own backyard.”

Loudoun County, across the Potomac River from Washington, has the highest concentration of people working in politics. As in other states, parental shouting broke out as parents discussed racial equality and gender rights policies at a recent school board meeting.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has directed federal officials to strategize with law enforcement to address growing threats targeting school board members, teachers and others, citing “threats of harassment, intimidation and violence” against them.

“They (Youngkin) were impressed when they reached their parents. They were so disappointed with the school boards,” said Susan Cox, a Youngkin campaign volunteer and 58-year-old dance instructor in Sterling, Virginia, who attended the Leesburg Rally and their two children graduated from Loudoun County Public Schools.

McAuliffe supporters rejected the Youngkin Blitz as they shot a conservative base without spraying suburban swing voters who dropped the GOP in last year’s presidential election.

“Youngkin is working to divide our children from COVID-19, rather than make them safe,” said McAuliffe spokeswoman Christina Freundlich.

Still, an attempt to make Loudoun County residents angry with school issues could squeeze McAuliffe in the usually low-vote, off-year election. Last year, Democrat Joe Biden carried Loudoun County with a population of 420,000, with 61% of the vote. He won the state by 10 percentage points.

Republicans say Youngkin can win if he gets 40% of the vote in the Greater Washington area. But complaining about teaching racial awareness can be a setback in a county that has grown more diverse over the years. Only 53% of Loudoun’s population is white, down from 69% in 2010.

“Running a race in Loudoun County on this issue, it poses a risk when it creates a backlash against non-white voters,” said Mo Ellatie, a former campaign adviser to McAuliffe and other prominent Virginia Democrats.

Many parent groups say their movement is multi-racial and has emerged from an epidemic-induced surge in virtual learning — which gives parents of all backgrounds a home view of what their children are being taught.

Sue Zoldock, founder of Du Better FCPS, a former Republican national committee adviser who focuses on neighboring Fairfax County schools. He said his group was “not connected” to statewide races, only to non-partisan school board members.

“It’s funny to me, ‘Oh, this is obviously a conservative-driven movement,'” Zoldock said. “The only reason we talk about it is that all school boards are full of liberals.”

The funding behind such an activism can be substantial. The Fair to Learn Coalition is focused on private schools in Fairfax County and Peoria, Arizona and New York City, with more than $ 1 million in television advertising in June.

The schools were chosen to represent rural, suburban and urban areas as well as east and west. Within weeks, Free to Learn has heard from parents in every state and is now encouraging 10,000 members, said its president Allie Mare, who served as a special assistant and chief of staff to the Air Force secretary during the Trump administration.

Her group followed a TV commercial that aired during the start of the season for the Washington football team. Loudoun County officials have been accused of lavishly spending on a “divisive curriculum promoted by political activists” and claiming that “powerful education unions” are using dirty political propaganda tactics to get behind parents.

More ads are planned elsewhere soon, said Marre, who has two children who live in Virginia and have not yet reached school age. He said his group wants to build “equal-minded unions of parents” and “raise their voices in a place where they cannot be ignored.”

Marr ಹೇಳಿದರು said parents who criticized school policies have faced restrictions from school districts and that sometimes neighbors complain to their employers or have seen their child’s soccer team run out of time – a move that has come as a surprise in the debate.

“It’s something that is absolutely on the forefront of everyone’s mind,” Marre said. “It’s definitely fired people.”

___

Beaumont reports from Des Moines, Iowa.

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