A Hot Mic Could Have Lasting Impacts on the Gubernatorial Race

Jul 8, 2021

The politics of abortion are taking center stage in the race for governor.

Caught on tape: Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin telling an activist he plans to limit his comments about abortion so he doesn't alienate independent voters. The hot mic moment that aired on cable television Wednesday night reveals the kind of campaign strategy usually voiced by consultants, not candidates.

Former Republican Delegate David Ramadan at George Mason University's Schar School says Youngkin got caught saying the quiet part out loud.

"The scoop here is him getting caught saying this is what I believe but I'm going to dodge it, and he told somebody I can't win if I talk about it, therefore I'm going to not talk about it for now to basically fool the independent voter and then we'll get to this after I get elected," Ramadan explains.

Democratic strategist Ben Tribbett says Youngkin has run a really smart campaign up until this point, but this abortion comment was a huge blunder.

"The same way that you saw Mitt Romney's 47 percent comment in the presidential race just dog him all the way through Election Day because President Obama never let him forget it," says Tribbett. "This is going to be one Terry McAuliffe’s not going to let him forget."

It's an issue that's likely to come up in the debates, although so far the Youngkin campaign has agreed to only one.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.