You have permission to edit this article.
Edit

Virginia Bar Association cancels debate after Youngkin chooses to skip it

  • Updated
  • 0
Homestead

The Omni Homestead resort is the largest employer in Bath County. 

The Virginia Bar Association has canceled its planned gubernatorial debate after Republican Glenn Youngkin broke with recent tradition by skipping what is usually the first face-to-face matchup of the general election.

In a statement Monday, the Bar Association said the debate has been removed from the itinerary for its annual summer meeting later this month at the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs.

“While we had productive conversations with the campaigns, we were not able to get commitments for a debate that included all of the major candidates,” the Bar Association’s statement said. “The debate has always been one of the highlights of the summer meeting, and the VBA has been grateful to be part of the political conversation in Virginia for more than 30 years. We are disappointed that a statewide debate will not be a part of this year’s program.”

Youngkin

Republican nominee for governor Glenn Youngkin speaks during a GOP rally at Eagles Nest Rockin' Country Bar in Chesapeake, Va., June 5, 2021. 

Though Youngkin’s campaign said he will commit to three debates this fall, Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s campaign blasted the GOP nominee for avoiding an event all major-party gubernatorial hopefuls have participated in since 1985.

“His refusal to participate in this debate is an insult to Virginians and shows that Glenn knows just how out of step he is with the people of the commonwealth,” McAuliffe said in a news release.

The Youngkin campaign said the Bar Association “refused to correct several problems” with the debate format, including the selection of PBS Newshour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff as moderator. Woodruff has moderated VBA debates in the past, but the Youngkin campaign has highlighted a $250 donation she made to the Clinton Foundation’s Haiti earthquake relief efforts 11 years ago as a possible conflict of interest.

McAuliffe

Terry McAuliffe campaigns for governor in Richmond. 

“Unfortunately, the VBA refused to dedicate a portion of the debate to a discussion on Virginia’s economy and jobs, which proved to be an insurmountable barrier in our negotiations,” said Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter. “It would also be a conflict of interest to have former Clinton Foundation board member Terry McAuliffe being ‘questioned’ by a Clinton Foundation donor.”

A PBS ombudsman once called Woodruff’s donation to the Clinton Foundation a “mistake.”  But recent Republican nominees Ken Cuccinelli and Ed Gillespie agreed to VBA debates she moderated, and this year she received a Peabody Award for journalistic integrity and an accompanying commendation that described her as “one of the most trusted broadcast journalists in America.”

The Bar Association’s debate policy says “questions will be prepared and presented to candidates by a nonpartisan, knowledgable person or panel of such persons who are independent of the VBA,” a setup that gives the VBA little ability to commit to including or ruling out certain topics.

Both Youngkin and McAuliffe have agreed to a debate at the Appalachian School of Law in Southwest Virginia in mid-September. Last month, the McAuliffe campaign released a list of five debates it has committed to, but the Appalachian School of Law event is the only one that also appears on the Youngkin campaign’s list of three.

It wasn’t immediately clear Monday if the campaigns would be able to agree on the terms of additional debates.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.
0
0
0
0
0

2020 was a year marked by hardships and challenges, but the Prince William community has proven resilient. The Prince William Times is honored to serve as your community companion. To say thank you for your continued support, we’d like to offer all our subscribers -- new or returning --

4 WEEKS FREE DIGITAL AND PRINT ACCESS.

We understand the importance of working to keep our community strong and connected. As we move forward together into 2021, it will take commitment, communication, creativity, and a strong connection with those who are most affected by the stories we cover.

We are dedicated to providing the reliable, local journalism you have come to expect. We are committed to serving you with renewed energy and growing resources. Let the Prince William Times be your community companion throughout 2021, and for many years to come.

Subscribe

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Page Title

The future of Prince William Times now depends on community support. Your donation will help us continue to improve our journalism through in-depth local news coverage and expanded reader engagement.

Keeping you connected to the Community. Find or Submit your local event here..

Sign Up For Newsletters