Youngkin releases new ad seeking to tie McAuliffe to Trump in Virginia governor's race

Youngkin releases new ad seeking to tie McAuliffe to Trump in Virginia governor's race
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Virginia gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin's (R) campaign is set to release an ad on Monday seeking to tie Democratic nominee and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe to former President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE, citing past campaign contributions. 

The digital ad, which was first seen by The Hill, accuses McAuliffe of having an "obsession" with Trump, pointing to his attacks against the former president.

The 30-second spot also highlights a $25,000 campaign donation from Trump in 2009, as well as a photograph of the two hugging each other and footage of the two toasting each other at a 2017 dinner. 

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News of the ad comes after Trump released a statement on Friday praising Youngkin and highlighting his past dealing with McAuliffe. 

"Glenn has been an incredible success and will truly Make Virginia Great Again. Rarely have I seen such enthusiasm," Trump said in the statement. "I knew McAuliffe well. He accepted large campaign contributions from me, said only great things and would do whatever I wanted, until I ran for office. He was a political HACK!" 

Virginia Democrats praised the statement, arguing that it would turn off voters in the state that Trump lost in 2016 and 2020.

"I would pay for the fuel to get Donald Trump here," McAuliffe said last month, referring to Trump's involvement in the race. "I will gas up the plane."

McAuliffe's campaign responded to Youngkin's latest ad, tying the Republican nominee to the former president. 

"No amount of bogus advertising will hide Virginians from Glenn Youngkin's own words: that he is 'honored' to have Donald Trump's endorsement and 'Donald Trump represents so much' of why he's running," McAuliffe's campaign said in a statement. 

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It's unclear what role the former president will play in the commonwealth's election in November. Four years ago, Trump endorsed then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie in the race but did not hit the campaign trail with him. 

Polls show a tight race between McAuliffe and Youngkin. A JMS Analytics survey released last month showed McAuliffe leading Youngkin 46 percent to 42 percent, within the poll's 4.2-point margin of error. Meanwhile, a poll from the right-leaning firm WPA Intelligence showed McAuliffe leading Youngkin 48 percent to 46 percent. That poll had a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points. 

The Cook Political Report rates the race as "lean Democratic."