LYNCHBURG, Va. – With less than 200 days until Virginians elect their next governor, some GOP candidates debated in Lynchburg Monday.
Five of the seven candidates — Sergio de la Peña, Peter Doran, Kirk Cox, Amanda Chase and Glenn Youngkin — discussed issues including criticism of the Virginia parole board, the 2nd amendment, and reopening schools.
Dr. David Richards, political science chairman at the University of Lynchburg, said the group presented themselves well.
“In general, they did a good job of trying to position themselves as both being on the conservative end of things, but also trying to appeal to the middle, as I’m sure they all realize they’re going to have to do in the general election.”
His biggest surprise was the lack of targeting Trump supporters.
“There is an attempt to sort of paint the Republicans of Virginia as trying to appeal to that Trump base, and I didn’t see a whole lot, there was some of that. I really think that people are not rejecting it, but they’re also not highlighting it at this point,” said Richards.
Before voters head to the polls for November’s general election, delegates will cast votes for the Republican nominee on May 8th. Richards says based on Monday’s performance, Youngkin appears to be a frontrunner.
“Youngkin has spent a lot of his own money on the campaign, so not surprised to see him doing perhaps better, having better name recognition.”