Former President Donald Trump mockingly credited Democrat Terry McAuliffe with turning out “MAGA voters” in Virginia for Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, who held a solid lead Tuesday with 85 percent of precincts reporting.
McAuliffe and top backers, including President Biden, sought to make the vote about the Trump, who lost the state by 10 points last year. But the race was widely seen as a referendum on Biden’s performance.
“It is looking like Terry McAuliffe’s campaign against a certain person named ‘Trump’ has very much helped Glenn Youngkin,” Trump said in an email blast.
“All McAuliffe did was talk Trump, Trump, Trump and he lost! What does that tell you, Fake News? I guess people running for office as Democrats won’t be doing that too much longer.”
Trump added: “I didn’t even have to go rally for Youngkin, because McAuliffe did it for me. Thank you to the MAGA voters for turning out big!”
In another statement, Trump claimed credit for Youngkin’s apparent victory.
“I would like to thank my BASE for coming out in force and voting for Glenn Youngkin. Without you, he would not have been close to winning,” Trump said.
McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton family lieutenant who previously served one term as Virginia’s governor, did not concede the race as of about 10 pm Tuesday, with a dwindling share of votes outstanding.
Throughout the campaign, McAuliffe sought to tie Youngkin, a businessman who has never held elected office, to Trump — as did other top Democrats who visited Virginia to stump for him, including former President Barack Obama and Biden.
Biden mentioned Trump 24 times last week during a 17-minute speech for McAuliffe in northern Virginia.
“I ran against Donald Trump. Terry is running against an acolyte of Donald Trump,” Biden said, slamming the ex-president for disparaging former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) after they died and accusing him of inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Youngkin didn’t host Trump for a rally in the state but accepted his endorsement and Trump hosted a telephone rally with supporters. The Republican candidate focused on issues such as lowering grocery taxes and giving parents a greater role in education.
Biden on Tuesday distanced himself from McAuliffe’s potential loss.
“I don’t believe and I’ve not seen any evidence that whether or not I am doing well or poorly, whether or not I’ve got my agenda passed or not, is going to have any real impact on winning or losing,” Biden said.