In response to the Dominion question, Mr. Youngkin replied, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the most important topic we are going to talk about now.” He set out “five steps to restore our confidence” in elections.
As a former co-managing director of the Carlyle Group, Mr. Youngkin has issued at least $ 5.5 million of his own money on the race. Part of his appeal to Republicans is that in the general election he could theoretically get the spending of leading Democrat, former Governor Terry McAuliffe.
Polls show that Mr McAuliffe, with the benefit of name recognition from an earlier term, has a strong lead over three Democratic rivals who are entering their party primaries on June 8th.
For many observers, it was the 2013 race won by Mr. McAuliffe that began the Republicans’ escape from Virginia. Before this election, the social conservatives gained control of the G.O.P. The Central Committee canceled one elementary school and chose its own, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, at a tea-party-flavored session.
Mr. Cuccinelli lost to Mr. McAuliffe, a Democratic fundraiser and friend of Hillary and Bill Clinton, beginning the Republican years in the wild.
“This is a direct result of the Cuccinelli raid, if you will,” said Chris Peace, a former Republican lawmaker. “Much of the old guard, the center-right of the party, has been driven out.”
Four years later, the party’s 2017 governor candidate Ed Gillespie lost decisive ground after trying Trumpian to stir up fear of crimes among undocumented immigrants. The next year, the party’s Senate candidate, Corey Stewart, received the Confederate statues – and lost in a landslide.