I ran for office as a Republican in Virginia, but now I’m voting for the Democratic candidate for governor because the GOP has lost its way.

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Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. AP

  • In 2015, I ran as a Republican for Virginia’s House of Delegates.

  • Since then, the entire GOP has lost its way.

  • I’m voting for Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s gubernatorial race.

  • Matt Walton is an educator in Virginia.

  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

In 2015, my name was on the ballot to become a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. I had an “R” next to my name. On November 2nd, I will be voting for Democrat and former Governor Terry McAuliffe to be Virginia’s next governor. I’ve chosen to support McAuliffe because the GOP has lost its way, and the Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, hasn’t earned my support or vote.

In 2016, I joined over 70 Republicans who urged the RNC to cut support for Trump, a group that would be labeled #NeverTrump Republicans. Throughout the Trump presidency this group saw how the party failed to stand up to the immoral, and, according to many legal experts, illegal activities of Trump while he was in office. On January 5, 2021, after it was clear that the GOP was going to stand by Trump in defeat, I made the decision to leave the Republican Party and become an independent.

After Virginia Republicans decided, through a closed convention, to have businessman Glenn Youngkin as their nominee, it became clear to me that Youngkin was not fit for office and that I would need to not only just vote McAuliffe, but actively support him.

The events of the January 6 insurrection played a key role in supporting McAulliffe. Youngkin has made “election integrity” a key component of his campaign, even creating a task force with membership cards.

In fact, one of Youngkin’s key earlier supporters and prominent surrogate Delegate John McGuire admitted to being at the January 6th rally (though he denies going into the Capitol). Additionally, Youngkin has even embraced and campaigned with State Senator and Trump wanna-be Amanda Chase, who not only was present at the January 6th rally, but also attended the election “cyber symposium” put on by Mike “My Pillow” Lindell.

It is pathetic that Youngkin openly embraces people that sought to overturn the vote of not just the American people, but more importantly the very people that he wants to represent as Governor.

The next governor will appoint members to the State Board of Elections and also the Commissioner of the Department of Elections. As governor I know, McAuliffe will be a defender of democracy and appoint respected people who will uphold the will of Virginia voters, something I’m sure Youngkin will not do, based on who he has embraced.

Another reason why I’ve decided to support McAuliffe is that he has proven that he has the ability to work with the opposite party. McAuliffe will work in a bipartisan way with reasonable Republicans, just like he did before: securing a record investment in education, improving transportation, job creation, and workforce development.

When he was governor, McAuliffe secured a record $1 billion investment in education, working with the Republican controlled General Assembly, and expanded preschool to thousands of children in need. Looking ahead, he has a plan to invest a record $2 billion annually in education, and raise teacher pay above the national average.

As a teacher myself, I know that McAuliffe will not cave to partisan attacks when it comes to education. His record shows that he can work with both parties to get things done to improve our education system. He signed The New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Fund And Program Into Effect In March 2016, working with a bipartisan group of legislators.

On education, McAuliffe listened to both parents and teachers when he signed bipartisan legislation to eliminate five SOL tests in Virginia. Additionally, as governor, McAuliffe worked with the GOP to reform graduation standards. Former Republican Delegate Steven Landes, and former chairman of the House Education Committee, said those reforms reflect bipartisan cooperation between the Republican-led legislature and McAuliffe.

As more and more pragmatic Republicans in the state retire, such as former Speaker Kirk Cox this cycle, and leave the General Assembly, they are being replaced with more extreme and partisan figures. It’s hard to see how Youngkin would be any different than the far right GOP political leaders we see in Washington DC.

I don’t agree with McAuliffe on everything – in fact, I didn’t vote for him in 2017 – but since that time, the GOP has metastasized into a conspiracy-driven and election-denying party. McAuliffe is interested in protecting votes, and will make sure that there are no attempts to overturn an election. The choice is so clear.

Read the original article on Business Insider



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