by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe quietly removed race-focused language from his campaign website’s education page as voters pushed back on “equity initiatives” in public schools.
McAuliffe has made “equity” a chief theme in his campaign for a second term in the governor’s mansion, tying racism to issues such as education, the economy, and criminal justice. In mid-August, however, McAuliffe removed his pledge to “eliminate racial disparities” from the top of his campaign’s K-12 education page, screenshots reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon show. The Democrat also nixed the term “equitable” from the top of four issue pages on his campaign site.
The move came just weeks after a Trafalgar Group poll showed McAuliffe with a narrow lead over Republican Glenn Youngkin. It also came as Democrats in Virginia and across the country expressed concern over “equity initiatives” in public schools. In Loudoun County, for example, parent groups have collected thousands of signatures to recall school board members who have endorsed critical race theory.
The changes to McAuliffe’s campaign site suggest the Democrat is attempting to play both sides of the issue. McAuliffe in June called critical race theory “another right-wing conspiracy” that is “totally made up by Donald Trump and Glenn Youngkin.” At the same time, the Democrat collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from teachers’ unions that have defended teaching critical race theory in public schools.
McAuliffe did not return a request for comment.
The Democrat has not changed his full K-12 education plan, which is aimed at “ensuring that every child has access to an equitable, world-class education.” But removing race-focused language such as “equitable” from prominent positions on his campaign site could reflect an attempt to distance himself from critical race theory while remaining in his union allies’ good graces.