Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s campaign may have been well ahead of the latest polling showing their candidate trailing Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin.
In a race McAuliffe was leading early on, signs of trouble are everywhere as his campaign recently brought in the heavy guns to stump for the former Virginia governor, including President Joe Biden and the Democratic messiah himself, Barack Obama. But a Fox News report that the campaign spent nearly $60,000 to hire high-profile attorney Marc Elias, who masterminds election-related legal challenges, has raised a lot of eyebrows.
Even more eye-opening is that when the McAuliffe campaign was contacted for comment here, they scrambled to “kill” the story, according to emails mistakenly sent to Fox News.
The network reported that less than a month before Election Day, McAuliffe’s campaign spent $53,680 on the services of the Elias Law Group, a firm that Elias started earlier this year. The article said Elias “had formerly worked as a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie, which the Hillary Clinton campaign hired in 2016 in order to conduct opposition research on Donald Trump – research that included the infamous Christopher Steele dossier.” Republicans alleged that Elias lied to hide the Clinton campaign’s role in funding the dossier.
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley responded to the initial story on his website, writing that hiring Elias is an “astonishing decision.”
“McAuliffe may be preparing to challenge any win by Republican Glenn Youngkin,” Turley tweeted, linking to his article. “He has given $53,680 to the Elias Law Group. McAuliffe does not appear disturbed by Elias’ highly controversial career or his possible exposure in the Durham investigation.
“There are a host of election lawyers,” he continued, “but McAuliffe selected an attorney accused of lying to the media, advancing rejected conspiracy theories, and currently involved in a major federal investigation that has already led to the indictment of his former partner.”
…There are a host of election lawyers but McAuliffe selected an attorney accused of lying to the media, advancing rejected conspiracy theories, and currently involved in a major federal investigation that has already led to the indictment of his former partner.
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) October 28, 2021
Turley also called attention to McAuliffe echoing Stacey Abrams’ claims that she won the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race as he introduced Abrams at a campaign event earlier this month.
“She would be the governor of Georgia today had the governor of Georgia not disenfranchised 1.4 million Georgia voters before the election,” McAuliffe said. “That’s what happened to Stacey Abrams. They took the votes away.”
When Fox News reached out via email to the McAuliffe campaign for comment on Turley’s remarks about a possible challenge of next week’s election results, campaign spokesperson Christina Freundlich responded with a message “apparently meant for colleagues, not for Fox News,” the network reported.
“Can we try to kill this,” Freundlich wrote in the email.
Fox News reporter: “I am writing a story about the report that McAuliffe hired Marc Elias, potentially to challenge the election results […]”
McAuliffe spoksperson: “Can we try to kill this” pic.twitter.com/buSINd4wRn
— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) October 29, 2021
In a followed email that Fox News was reportedly not copied on, Freundlich clarified, “To dispute the challenges of the election.”
The election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 2, and a new Fox News poll has Youngkin holding a surprising 8 point lead. How surprising? Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume responded to the results with a single word: “Whoa.”
— Brit Hume (@brithume) October 29, 2021
Speaking of astonishing, Freundlich responded to all the hoopla in a tweet, claiming: “I think it’s clear based on this story that we did in fact…kill the story.” The response to the claim by Stephen L. Miller, a contributing editor at The Spectator, summed things up well.
“I killed the story that I am talking about and everyone is currently reading about. Just top notch stuff there,” he tweeted.
I killed the story that I am talking about and everyone is currently reading about.
Just top notch stuff there.
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) October 29, 2021
Although, the following tweet may be a close second:
— G (@stevensongs) October 29, 2021
The issue of education hangs like an albatross around McAuliffe’s neck in the lead-up to next week’s election. McAuliffe, who previously served as governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018, made a controversial statement during a debate last month with Youngkin that parents should not be telling schools what they should teach. A recent poll by Cygnal, which is ranked as the most accurate national polling group, showed Youngkin with a significant lead among parents of K-12 children, receiving 56 percent of the votes among parents of school-age children, while McAuliffe lags 17 points behind at 39 percent.
Adding to his woes, video footage surfaced earlier this week of McAuliffe declaring in 2019 that “diversity” and “inclusion” is just “as important” as math and English
“We don’t do a good job in our education system talking about diversity, inclusion, openness and so forth,” McAuliffe said. “We don’t. We got our textbooks, but, you know, that has to be a big part of how do you fit into the social work of our nation and our fabric. How we deal with one another is to me as important as, you know, your math class or your English class and so forth.”
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