Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine blames ‘purist’ demands by congressional Democrats for Terry McAuliffe’s loss to Glenn Youngkin

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia campaigns for gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe at a rally in Richmond, VA on October 23, 2021. (Photo by
Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia campaigns for gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe at a rally in Richmond, VA on October 23, 2021. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/AFP/Getty Images
  • Sen. Tim Kaine blamed congressional Democrats for former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s defeat in Virginia.
  • “Democrats wanted to be purist about whatever their own particular goals were,” Kaine said.
  • But Kaine said it was ‘not productive’ to discuss how McAuliffe himself might’ve contributed to his loss.

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia blamed congressional Democrats’ “purist demands” on Wednesday for contributing to former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s loss to GOP nominee Glenn Youngkin in Virginia.

“Democrats in Congress hurt Terry McAuliffe,” Kaine told a group of reporters at the Capitol. Kaine previously served as Governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010 and was the party’s vice presidential nominee in 2016.

He added that both he and Sen. Mark Warner – along with congressional Democrats from Virginia – had been warning their caucus about the need to pass either the $US1 ($AU1) billion infrastructure bill or some version of the currently $US1 ($AU1).75 trillion “Build Back Better” social spending bill ahead of the election.

“Instead, Democrats wanted to be purist about whatever their own particular goals were – left, right and center – and hold out, and dither, and delay,” he said. “So that hurt Terry in a close race.”

On Tuesday, Youngkin defeated McAuliffe by over 2 points, despite President Joe Biden carrying the state by 10 points in last year’s presidential election. Youngkin ran a campaign focused on education issues and the economy, allowing him to set the narrative of the race as McAuliffe was dragged down by Biden’s low approval ratings. Some Republicans are now celebrating the results as an “anti-woke rebellion.”

Speaking with reporters, Kaine also noted the irony that Democrats would now likely pass both bills before Thanksgiving, according to his own predictions.

“Dems blew the timing,” he said. “Imagine Terry McAuliffe talking to suburban voters about how we’re going to have affordable childcare and universal pre-K.”

Kaine also noted the historically high turnout in yesterday’s election, arguing that the problem was not Democrats failing to turn out but McAuliffe being unable to win over independent voters. “A lot of people are just kind of independent” in Virginia, he said.

“Terry could have won a lot of them over if we had given him some things to sell instead of the message primarily that, you know, Dems are in disarray,” he said. “I hope the Dems view this as the Ghost of Christmas Future.”

Asked whether he thought the election results might cause vulnerable House Democrats to waver in their support for key social spending provisions, Kaine defended the Build Back Better bill.

“I’m not far to the left. I think this is a very good solid work product,” he said. “What’s far to the left about universal pre-K?”

Kaine also sought to push back on the notion that McAuliffe had focused his campaign too much on former President Donald Trump.

“Look at his webpage on issues compared to his opponents. He ran on very detailed plans,” Kaine said. “That undersells a lot of Terry’s campaign.”

Asked by Insider about the extent to which he faults McAuliffe himself for the election loss, Kaine balked.

“You know, there’s a million reasons behind any victory or loss, but that’s not productive right now,” he said.