Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe criticized U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris on Monday for a taped video in which the California Democrat implores voters to support her Virginia gubernatorial hopeful, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, ahead of the November ballot.
Harris talks about a privilege she earned by growing up in Richmond, Virginia, and advises voters to support Northam if they want to “keep our diversity strong.”
“I know what it’s like to have your background and your identity matter as you grow up, and you want your kids to grow up,” Harris says in the video, released Sunday. “I want your kids to grow up knowing that the journey they take is an important one. And if they want their legacies to go further, then they should fight for a governor that’s interested in standing up for them.”
In response, McAuliffe tweeted Monday: “There is no `we’ in Virginia, where we’re tired of having your business & selling you their soul.”
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McAuliffe is an outspoken advocate for diversity and immigration, and if elected in November, will be Virginia’s first Democratic governor in more than 14 years.
McAuliffe noted that Harris graduated from Howard University, a historically black university, and returned to her home state, where her extended family still lives. She and husband Timothy are also parents of a 2-year-old daughter.
Harris grew up in Oakland, California, where her mother was a prominent activist in the civil rights movement and attended the university, which she attended from 1974 to 1975. Harris also briefly attended Howard, leading her to describe herself as “tied in two loyalties.”
The California senator’s video began airing Monday on social media. A spokesman for Harris responded that she and her campaign team “want people to vote for Governor Northam, a progressive Democrat, but this means listening to the community in all 50 states.”
The Northam campaign immediately pushed back on Harris’ mention of St. Vincent High School, an all-female high school. The school’s opening date is unclear, but there was an initial controversy over the school’s name when it was announced in 2003. The school eventually became the St. Vincent Massey High School.
Harris, meanwhile, is supported by former President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is led by U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico. Northam will face off in the general election against Republican Ed Gillespie, who served as White House adviser to President George W. Bush before joining the U.S. Senate.
The Republican chairman of the Virginia Republican Party dismissed Harris’ video as a desperate appeal to Democratic voters.
“Obviously, Senator Harris and the Democrats have nothing else to run on with their own flawed candidate,” said Dave Brat, who leads the Virginia GOP. “Here’s an idea. Why don’t they run their disastrous presidential candidate Hillary Clinton against Ed Gillespie?”