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Youngkin campaigns for Maine Republican LePage, who has history of making racist comments

ov. Glenn Youngkin campaigns in Chesterfield County
Crixell Matthews
Gov. Glenn Youngkin campaigns in Chesterfield County during his successful gubernatorial bid in 2021. This year, Youngkin has campaigned for candidates in several states, and he has more stops planned for the fall. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Gov. Glenn Youngkin traveled Wednesday to Maine to headline a fundraiser for Paul LePage, a Republican gubernatorial candidate who has called people of color “the enemy” and claimed that “Black people come up the highway and they kill Mainers.”

The visit drew attacks from the top Democrat in the House of Delegates, Del. Don Scott (D-Portsmouth), who said in a speech on the house floor that Youngkin was “playing footsies with an unabashed racist and MAGA Republican.”

LePage drew a steady stream of controversy as Maine’s governor from 2011 to 2019 and is again running for the office. In 2014, he blamed “illegals” for a spike in HIV and other diseases and in 2016 said, “guys by the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty” come to Maine to sell heroin and “half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave." In 2017, he said the “NAACP should apologize to the white people, to the people from the North for fighting their battle.”

In an interview last week with The Washington Post, Youngkin claimed he was unaware of LePage’s comments.

On Wednesday, Youngkin’s spokesperson, Macaulay Porter, did not directly respond to Democrats’ accusations. She repeated a statement she gave last week after Democrats announced their intention to file public-records requests related to Youngkin’s travel.

“The Governor donates his salary and pays for his political travel,” Porter said. “This is a baseless partisan attack against a Governor rising in popularity for following through on his promises.”

Youngkin also made recent stops in Michigan, Wyoming and Nebraska to support Republicans and fundraise amid speculation that he might run for president in 2024. The former private equity CEO has trips planned to a number of battleground states this fall, including Georgia, Nevada and New Mexico, according to POLITICO.

He’s largely downplayed the presidential chatter without ruling out a bid, telling reporters last month, “You all are far more interested in talking about that than I am.”

Democrats used a one-day legislative session on Wednesday to lay into Youngkin’s travel itinerary, as well as his abortion policies. While the issue wasn’t on the agenda, abortion-rights supporters held a rally outside the Capitol against any changes to Virginia’s current laws. Youngkin has said he supports banning the procedure past 15 weeks of pregnancy with exceptions for rape, incest and when the pregnant person’s life is in danger. 

In a speech on the House floor, Del. Cia Price (D-Newport News) said the Youngkin administration had “an agenda of cruelty,” while Del. Emily Brewer (R-Isle of Wight) accused Democrats of dodging the question of when life begins.

“Where do you stand?” she asked. “The commonwealth is going to wait for your answer.”


Ben Paviour covers courts and criminal justice for VPM News with a focus on accountability.