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Tipsheet

Democrats Attack Gov. Glenn Youngkin for Campaigning Outside of State, but They're Grasping at Straws

AP Photo/Steve Helber

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) has found himself in the news quite a bit lately as he campaigns for fellow Republicans who are also seeking to be governor. Youngkin won his election last November against former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA), despite how polls initially favored his opponent, and with many regarding Virginia as a state that was trending blue. Now, Youngkin is looking to give back by showing other candidates how they too can win. Although he's going above and beyond what is required by law when it comes to reimbursing taxpayers, Virginias Democrats have called out the governor and even issued Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests about such travel. 

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Townhall has now learned, though, that when the governor has traveled for political purposes, he has paid for that travel, which includes the expenses incurred by the governor's security detail. This is going above and beyond what is required by law.

A September 2 press release detailed how Virginia Democrats announced that they had filed two FOIA requests to do with Youngkin's travel logs, citing coverage from VPM, NBC 12, and the Richmond-Times Dispatch. 

From VPM:

The first FOIA request is to the Office of the Governor seeking documents related to Governor Youngkin’s past travel/advance logs itineraries, all contracts, invoices related to any private security services and/or Virginia State Police services provided to Governor Glenn Youngkin outside of the public office.

The second FOIA request is to the Virginia State Police seeking documents related to all contracts, and invoices related to any private security services and/or Virginia State Police services provided to Governor Glenn Youngkin outside of the public office.

...

At a press conference Thursday, Del. Marcus Simon (D-Fairfax) accused Youngkin of hiding information and said Virginians deserve to know about his whereabouts amid speculation he’ll run for president in 2024.

“I think Virginians really want to know, did we elect the governor or did we just put somebody on the next step … on his own political ladder,” Simon said.

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Tellingly, the press release cut out a good bit from the Richmond-Times Dispatch, including how questions have been raised about other governor's travel, including Gov. McAuliffe and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA):

Youngkin is not the first Virginia governor whose private, out-of-state travel has raised questions about transparency.

During his term from 2014 to 2018, Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat Youngkin defeated in November, took a number of private, out-of-state trips that did not appear on his public calendar. The Associated Press reported in 2015 that McAuliffe paid for a state plane to take him to New York for a U2 concert that Bill and Hillary Clinton also attended.

The Washington Post reported in September 2015 that McAuliffe had paid Virginia nearly $40,000 to cover the cost of personal trips on state-owned planes since he took office in January 2014.

Tim Kaine, who served as governor from 2006 to 2010, also was President Barack Obama’s chairman of the Democratic National Committee from January 2009 to April 2011.

In 2009, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that from the beginning of March till the end of June, Kaine spent parts of 31 days outside Virginia in his capacity as chairman of the DNC. Kaine’s travel on behalf of the DNC was catalogued in a Virginia State Police response to a FOIA request by The Times-Dispatch.

The request sought records of expenses incurred by the State Police Executive Protection Unit — which guarded Kaine — when its officers traveled with the governor on DNC work.

Kaine took 14 separate out-of-state trips on DNC business from March 5 to June 30, 2009, according to a review of the expense summary. Some of the trips involved stops in multiple states. The security expenses for the trips totaled $7,515.59. The DNC reimbursed the state for those expenses.

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Although Youngkin's visits to campaign for other Republicans has raised speculation that he may be running for president in 2024, his office, and Youngkin himself, have been clear on numerous occasions that "my focus is on 2022" and that right now his "top priority is to make Virginia the best state to live work and raise a family. 2024 is a long way off. Right now, I am focused on delivering on promises made last year that have been kept. We've got a giant agenda for the rest of this year and into next year. And 2024 will happen when 2024 gets here." 

"Partisan Democrats in Virginia have spent the better part of the last decade overtaxing Virginians, telling them what cars to drive and shoving parents out of their kids’ classrooms. This is a baseless partisan attack against a Governor rising in popularity for following through on his promises," Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter told Townhall in a statement. 

Gov. Youngkin also provided a statement to Townhall calling out Virginia Democrats for what he says is a distraction from him delivering on his promises. 

"A growing number of Virginians are supportive of the historic agenda we’ve enacted in the first eight months and this partisan attack from the Virginia Democratic Party is nothing but a desperate attempt to distract from the promises we’ve made and delivered on for all Virginians," he said. "Consistent with my campaign pledge and commitment to donate my salary, I will continue to put taxpayers first.  I paid for and will continue to pay for my political travel as well as the expenses on those trips related to the Executive Protection Unit's travel, not because I have to but because it’s the right thing to do."

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Among the states that Youngkin has visited is Maine to campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePaige. Both Virginia and Maine's Democratic Parties held a press conference to address the visit.

In addition to Del. Marcus Simon filing the FOIA requests and holding press conferences about it, Del. Don Scott has called out Youngkin's travel from the floor. 

As Townhall previously reported, Del. Scott had questioned Youngkin's faith shortly after he took office because he didn't like the executive orders he issued on masks and Critical Race Theory.  

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