Debates, Special Elections, and Hot Dog Reviews: A Virginia Gubernatorial Update


With a special election coming on Tuesday for Senate District 38, gubernatorial candidates on both side of the aisle made appearances this week campaigning for Laurie Buchwald (D) and Travis Hackworth (R). But the governor’s race this week also featured hot dog reviews, a Democratic debate, and attacks between candidates.

Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield)

Democratic super-PAC American Bridge 21st Century uploaded a very brief video clip featuring Chase saying, “I support equal rights not special rights. You know, Senator [Jennifer] McClellan, she is the vice chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus and I’m all for diversit, but we cannot continue.  And I said she will not be a governor that supports everyone. Listen, we need to stop looking and discriminating against people because of the color of their skin. That’s just wrong. We need to celebrate diversity, but we need to be inclusive.”

Chase’s comments drew criticism from other gubernatorial candidates from both sides of the aisle. On Twitter, Chase responded, “I’m sick and tired of being called a racist when it’s Sen McClellan leading divisive organizations that exist for the sole purpose of promoting Virginians of one color. We’re Virginians. I will be a Governor for ALL of Virginia.”

The Virginia Scope reported that Facebook will not restore access to Chase’s campaign page; in response, she has threatened a lawsuit against the company. Chase’s personal page is still up, and she frequently posts public updates there and on Twitter.

Chase has been consistently campaigning at gun shows across Virginia; on Saturday, she attended a gun show in Virginia. Last Sunday, she stopped at Gourmeltz, a restaurant whose owner is facing legal challenges after refusing to enforce mask mandates.

Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights)

Cox made a campaign stop in Tazewell and supported Hackworth on social media. Cox has continued his criticism of the Virginia Parole Board.

Cox said Chase’s comments about McClellan were wrong. “I’ve worked with the Legislative Black Caucus and understand what they believe in and why they want a voice. Virginia Republicans need to nominate a candidate that will add members to our ranks, not encourage division. We can elect a conservative as our next governor, but we will need to reach every Virginian in order to do so,” he said according to The Virginia Scope.

Cox got into a friendly Twitter spat with opponent Glenn Youngkin over hot dogs. As part of his campaign across Virginia, Cox has been reviewing hot dogs, so when Youngkin tweeted about hot dogs at Mama Possum’s in Danville, Cox fired back.

Cox attacked Youngkin for not wearing proper hot-dog-reviewing attire, including a softball jacket. In a video at Mama Possum’s, he said, “Can you believe this? Glenn had no hotdog socks on. So Glenn, I am the official hotdog reviewer.”

Cox has also been regularly posting Bible verses to his social media.

Pete Snyder

Congressman Bob Good (R-Virginia-05) endorsed Snyder.

“Pete is the trusted, proven conservative that is going to lead us to victory in November and ignite our party and our country’s much needed comeback,” Good said in the endorsement.

Snyder has continued to push for reopening schools on social media, and has been campaigning around the state; he also headed out to Senate District 38 to support Hackworth.

Glenn Youngkin

A canvasser working for a firm hired by Youngkin’s campaign falsely claimed to be representing the Republican Party of Virginia this week.

After Cox challenged Youngkin’s hot-dog-review cred, Youngkin pivoted to breakfast. He tweeted, “I’ll let you be the King of Hot Dogs; I’m going to stick to breakfast. Kicking off the day early & getting things done is my motto every day, & it’ll be my motto as the next Virginia governor.”

Youngkin made other campaign stops, including one in Tazewell to support Hackworth, and a stop in Sterling where he got an axe-throwing bulls-eye.

Jennifer Carrol Foy

Carrol Foy and three of the other Democratic candidates participated in the first Democratic gubernatorial debate this week. Carrol Foy set herself apart by repeated attacks on Terry McAuliffe, who was absent.

Carrol Foy also hosted a Reddit Ask Me Anything where she answered a lot of serious policy questions and a few fun questions. When given the choice to fight a hundred duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck, she said, “I guess I’d choose the horse sized duck… I’m not afraid of punching above my weight!”

She criticized Chase for her comments about McClellan. On Saturday, she headed out to Tazewell to campaign for Buchwald.

Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas)

In the debate, Carter supported an end to right-to-work, and criticized Virginia government agency the Virginia Israel Advisory Board, questioning why Virginia was using public funds to support foreign businesses. He also said not only would he not accept money from Dominion Energy, he wouldn’t accept money from any for-profit corporations.

Carter’s comments played well, at least for his Twitter audience. Two separate Twitter polls of over 1,000 users, one by Blue Virginia, and one by The Virginia Dogwood, found that Carter was the clear winner of the debate.

Carter criticized Chase on Twitter.

He argued for randomizing candidate order on the ballot in the Democratic primary, noting that candidates who are placed higher on the ballot are more likely to win.

Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax

In the debate, Fairfax called for equal pay for equal work, and cited his own mother’s experience as a single mother whose job made it possible for her children to get degrees.

He said, “When we talk about taking care of women’s opportunities, we’re talking about supporting entire families and communities in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. So, this is something that’s critical to the success that we are going to have moving forward.”

Terry McAuliffe

McAuliffe did not attend the debate. He also attacked Chase for her comments about McClellan.

When Governor Ralph Northam announced he would restore civil rights to felons who had completed their prison sentence, McAuliffe commended him.

He tweeted, “Incredible leadership by @GovernorVA for taking this critical step today and giving nearly 70K Virginians a second chance to fully participate in society again. So proud of our Governor and our Commonwealth!!!”

Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond)

McClellan responded to the video of Chase criticizing McClellan’s leadership role in the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.

McClellan said she was proud to be a leader in the caucus. She tweeted, “It’s typical of those who seek to use hatred & fear to gain power rooted in white supremacy. It’s the same old playbook, and Virginians are tired of it. At this crucial moment, we need new leadership to take Virginia boldly forward. I am that leader.”

McClellan was named one of the Virginia Education Association’s Legislators of the Year.

On Saturday, she also stopped in Blacksburg to campaign for herself and Buchwald.

In the Tuesday debate, McClellan drew attention by not supporting an end to right-to-work.

“I do not believe employment should be conditioned on whether you are or not a member of a union,” she said. “Other than that, anything that is standing in the way of organizing and collective bargaining, I will push to get rid of and work with our localities to actually have collective bargaining for local public employees and state public employees as quickly as possible.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Laurie Buchwald” by Laurie Buchwald. Photo “Travis Hackworth” by Travis Hackworth. Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Martin Kraft. CC BY-SA 3.0.







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