EXCLUSIVE — Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R-VA) Spirit of Virginia PAC is launching a bus tour of the commonwealth Monday as part of the governor’s early voting push ahead of General Assembly elections that will determine which party controls each chamber.
If Virginians elect a Republican-led state Senate and House — only the lower chamber is currently under GOP control — Youngkin will have a much easier time getting key legislation through the body to deliver on his 2021 campaign promises.
The bus tour, which launches on Labor Day, will travel the state encouraging people not only to vote Republican but to do so early or absentee, a strategy Republicans have only recently begun to embrace.
“We are going everywhere and competing for every single vote because we know that Governor Youngkin’s common sense agenda is resonating and delivering. Virginians want leaders in Richmond who will work with Governor Youngkin to lower the cost of living, restore excellence in education with parents at the head of the table, and improve public safety in our communities. That is the message we are taking across the Commonwealth as we kick off this bus tour to encourage folks to make sure their voice is heard in this critical election through Secure Your Vote Virginia,” said Dave Rexrode, chairman of the Spirit of Virginia PAC.
The tour will begin at a Labor Day event in Suffolk, Virginia, with Del. Emily Brewer, who is running for Virginia state Senate to represent District 17, and Mike Dillender, running to be a delegate in House District 84.
From there, the bus will make various stops throughout Virginia before Sept. 22, the first day of early voting. Youngkin will accompany the PAC’s bus tour, campaigning with Republican General Assembly candidates across the state, particularly in key districts.
This comes after Youngkin launched a web portal with the same goal in July called “Secure Your Vote Virginia.” The portal provides instructions for absentee and early voting as well as important dates and information.
The data-driven early voting campaign alone is a seven-figure investment that Youngkin’s PAC says is already starting to pay dividends, with Republicans who tend to vote only in presidential or gubernatorial contests signing up to vote absentee in November.
The Spirit of Virginia tour bus will feature a QR code routing people to the Secure Your Vote Virginia web portal so that they can easily sign up to vote absentee.
Youngkin’s work to promote state elections is starting to prompt concern from national Democrats as the once reliably blue state shows signs of a Republican resurgence.
The commonwealth’s senators, Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), recently sounded the alarm over what they described as relative inaction by national Democrats in response to Youngkin’s early voting campaign.
“So much is at stake in terms of controlling the legislature and I just don’t see that same national energy, candidly, from the White House, on how important Virginia could be not just this year, but next as well,” Warner told NBC News.
Kaine, a former governor, added, “I don’t think there’s the same national donor focus on Virginia as Gov. Youngkin is pushing on the Republican side.
“We may be battleground leaning blue, but we’re not a blue state,” he warned, “and that means electoral votes have to be fought for every year.”
Kaine will be up for reelection to the Senate in 2024.
State Democrats, however, are pulling out all the stops to try and counteract Youngkin’s efforts. In July, the party launched “The Majority Project,” a seven-figure early voting campaign with over 100 paid organizers working across Virginia. The project began preparation months prior, ensuring that organizers would be in place ahead of July. In comparable past cycles, efforts began later, with hiring not starting until mid-July.
Last month, Democrats in the commonwealth launched an ad warning Virginians against electing Republicans to the state’s General Assembly, claiming abortion laws will become as restrictive as those in Tennessee, West Virginia, Florida, and South Carolina.