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As early voting nears its end, McAuliffe and Youngkin campaign in decidedly different ways



 CNN- In the increasingly nationalized race to be Virginia’s next governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are closing their campaigns in decidedly different ways.

McAuliffe, helped by Vice President Kamala Harris and Virginia-native performer Pharrell Williams, spent Friday highlighting the national implications of the race, headlining a Norfolk rally that represented the crescendo of a campaign that has leaned on big name supporters to boost excitement and turn people out.
“Virginia, I am here because the President and I care deeply about Terry McAuliffe, about the commonwealth of Virginia and about the future of our nation. Now you all know that every four years when this election happens for governor of Virginia, it is a tight election, it is a close election, and it is a bellwether for what happens in the rest of the country,” Harris told the audience there, ratcheting up the national pressure on the race.
Youngkin, at five events across the commonwealth, tried to focus the close of his campaign on the same hyper-local issues that propelled him from the outset: Education, the economy and taxes. As the polls have tightened in recent weeks, Youngkin is now trying to inspire Republicans by convincing them that a Republican can win in Virginia after eight years of Democratic control.
And unlike McAuliffe, he campaigned without the help of top Republican officeholders.
“Terry McAuliffe is driving 45 miles an hour down Interstate 66, and I’m coming up 70 on the outside passing him,” Youngkin said. “And I’m telling you what’s about to happen: What’s about to happen is we are going to sweep our statewide offices.”
There was extra weight to each candidate’s events on Friday: Early voting in the state ends on Saturday, putting pressure on each campaign’s attempt to get voters to cast their ballots before Election Day. By the end of Friday, nearly 1 million Virginians had cast their ballots in the race.
McAuliffe will close his campaign with a frenetic weekend of candidate and surrogate events, including events for the former governor in the Virginia Beach, Hampton and Chesapeake areas on Saturday and events around Richmond and in the Washington, DC, suburbs on Sunday.
Youngkin will close the race with a series of events in the Washington suburbs of northern Virginia on Saturday, the state’s far western region on Sunday, and then in final stops across its biggest cities on Monday.
Although polls have been relatively steady throughout the race, recent polling shows Youngkin closing the gap in the final weeks of the campaign, giving Republicans hope for the first time in years that they could win a statewide race.
“I think we’ve been on the downslide,” said Linda Tylka, a former Charlottesville-based secretary. “I don’t think we’re respected in the world anymore. We need new people in the government who will work for the taxpayer and that starts in Virginia.”
The question is whether Youngkin’s efforts will be enough in a place that was tilted toward Democrats in a significant way ever since former President Barack Obama won Virginia in 2012. As the commonwealth has diversified and the northern Virginia counties just outside of Washington have ballooned in size, Republicans have found it difficult to compete statewide.
This was especially true during Donald Trump’s four years in office, when once reliable Republican voters fled the party in opposition to the then-President.
Youngkin’s goal from the outset of the campaign has been to cobble together a coalition that includes the diehard Trump supporters and those who left the party in response to the caustic leader. To do that, the Republican candidate has looked to stoke anger at the left and, by extension, Democratic control in both Richmond and Washington, DC.
“This is the moment for us to stand up and say, ‘No, not here anymore.’ We’re not going to have this left, liberal, progressive agenda,” Youngkin said Friday at an event in Charlottesville.
McAuliffe has responded with the opposite, hoping to lean heavily on the blue tilt of the state by bringing out Democratic leaders from Richmond, like Gov. Ralph Northam, and from Washington, like Harris. And he is attempting to keep those suburban voters who left the Republican Party over Trump with Democrats by regularly trying to tie Youngkin to the former President.
“We only have a few days to go. I cannot tell you how critical this election is. The stakes could not be any more clear: On one side, you think what you have over there, conspiracy theorists, we’ve got anti vaxxers and we’ve got Donald Trump. They are all on one side,” McAuliffe said in Norfolk. “From the day he got into this race Glenn Youngkin has run a campaign of hatred, division and fear.”
Although McAuliffe did highlight local issues he would tackle as governor — like addressing climate change and flooding in the Norflok area — he reminded the crowd of what it would mean to Republicans to get a win in Virginia — something that Harris echoed, too.
“What happens in Virginia will in large part determine what happens in 2022, 2024 and beyond,” Harris said. “The power is in your hands and elections matter.”
Across the state in Warrenton, an exurb about an hour west of Washington, Youngkin focused narrowly on how the coronavirus pandemic has been handled by schools and the state government, as well as parents’ roles in schools.
Youngkin pledged to deliver Virginia’s largest education budget in history, with raises for teachers and more funding for special education, if he is elected. He said he would launch the largest charter-school push Virginia has ever seen — including 20 new charter schools on his first day in office. And he lambasted critical race theory.
“We will teach accelerated math in our schools. We will award advance diplomas in our schools. We will teach all history, the good and the bad, in our schools,” Youngkin said.
Unlike McAuliffe, who made the Norfolk event his focus on the day, Youngkin headlined five rallies that were energetic and drew hundreds of supporters — including parents who brought their children. Staffers used T-shirt guns to fire shirts into the crowd while Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” and AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” played before Youngkin took the stage in Warrenton.
Education dominated Youngkin’s events, with speakers routinely hitting McAuliffe for saying “parents should be telling schools what they should teach” during the second and final debate in the contest. “Don’t mess with my kids,” one supporter’s sign in Warrenton said.
Mary Alipio, a Northern Virginia parent and volunteer who spoke in Warrenton, said that “being involved in their lives and education is non-negotiable.”
“That made me mad,” she said of McAuliffe’s debate comment. “But I’ve been mad since 2020.”
Another popular target for Youngkin and his supporters was critical race theory.
“Governor Glenn Youngkin will ban it, and if I have to take it to court to stop it, I will,” said Jason Miyares, the Republican nominee for attorney general, while campaigning with Youngkin in Warrenton.
Youngkin has walked a tightrope during the campaign with Trump, seeking to align himself closely enough to the former President to keep from alienating his Republican base, but not too close to drive moderates in northern Virginia away from his campaign.
Trump has repeatedly inserted himself into the race, though: He’ll headline a tele-rally Monday for Youngkin and the GOP ticket, said John Fredericks, the Virginia based conservative radio host who served as the co-chair of the Trump campaign in the commonwealth.
Youngkin and those who spoke at his rallies didn’t make reference to the former President. But his supporters were animated by opposition to the same Democratic rivals that Trump faced.
The crowd in Warrenton — as Youngkin crowds have elsewhere — chanted “Let’s go Brandon,” a coded phrase that conservative crowds have used to express their displeasure with President Joe Biden.

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Strategic Twinning of Rabat And Madrid: A Defense Against Mediterranean Tension



Rabat – The writer-journalist, Abdelhamid Jmahri believes that the wish today of Morocco and Spain, after the clarification of the foundations of their cooperation, is to establish a geostrategic twinning that goes beyond the limits of close cooperation and privileged partnership, thus blocking the way to maneuvers aimed at exacerbating tensions in the Mediterranean region.

Al Itihad Al Ichtiraki”

In an editorial to appear in the Saturday edition of the Arabic-language daily “Al Itihad Al Ichtiraki”, he notes that this ambition is clearly displayed through the will of HM King Mohammed VI in His call to inaugurate “a new unprecedented stage ” and also that of King Felipe VI of Spain calling for weaving partnership relations for the 21st century.

He maintains that the High Level Meeting (RHN) held last Thursday in Rabat is the bearer of strategic partnerships specific to countries concerned with a perfect understanding of their common interests and also sharing the same conception of the interactions of international action, at the present time. as in the future.

While emphasizing that the two Kingdoms have set a living example on the priority nature of the conciliatory diplomatic approach and its supremacy in the settlement of disputes, he observes that the agreements signed during this High Level Meeting relate to key sectors targeted , in support of a common understanding of priorities.

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Spain-Morocco Reconnection: Post-Crisis Efforts



After a deep diplomatic crisis, Spain and Morocco cemented their reconciliation on Thursday in Rabat, despite criticism in Madrid over too many concessions from Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Mr. Sanchez, accompanied by a dozen ministers, co-chaired a “high-level meeting” (RHN) with his counterpart Aziz Akhannouch, the first since 2015.

“Today we are consolidating the new stage in relations between Morocco and Spain that we have opened,” he said, praising “the enormous unexplored potential of this relationship”.

Before his arrival in Rabat on Wednesday, the Socialist Prime Minister spoke by telephone with King Mohammad VI who invited him to return “very soon” to Morocco for an official visit “in order to reinforce this positive dynamic”, according to the royal cabinet.

Mr. Sanchez ended last March a year of diplomatic estrangement with Morocco by agreeing to support Moroccan positions on Western Sahara.

The crisis erupted in April 2021 after the hospitalization in Spain – under a false identity according to Rabat – of the leader of the Sahrawi separatists of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, sworn enemy of Morocco.

The Rabat-Madrid honeymoon comes as France – another historical partner of Rabat – is pilloried by Moroccan politicians and media who accuse it of having “orchestrated” a European Parliament resolution worrying about freedom of the press in Morocco and allegations of corruption of MEPs in Brussels.

But this idyll is not to everyone’s taste in Spain. The radical left formation Podemos, member of the government coalition, did not wish to be on the trip to Rabat, citing its opposition to Mr. Sanchez’s “unilateral” turn on Western Sahara. A turnaround applauded in Rabat.

The fact that Mr. Sanchez was not received by Mohammad VI is seen as a snub in Spain by the right-wing opposition and the press. The Popular Party, the main opposition force, deplored Thursday, through the voice of its general coordinator Elias Bendodo, that “Spain has given an image of weakness”.

“The absence of Mohammad VI spoils the summit”, wrote the daily El Païs (center left) while the newspaper El Mundo (conservative) headlined: “Mohammad VI shows his position of strength with regard to Spain by posing a rabbit to Sanchez”.

New Economic Partnership

Pedro Sanchez said he hoped for the development of “new investment projects accompanying the extraordinary process of development and modernization of Morocco”. “Morocco and Spain wish to establish a new economic partnership at the service of development”, underlined for his part Mr. Akhannouch.

Twenty agreements were signed on Thursday to facilitate Spanish investment in Morocco – Spain is the third largest foreign investor there – in the fields of renewable energies, water desalination, rail transport, tourism , education and culture. To this end, a new financial protocol has been approved which will double – to 800 million euros – aid from the Spanish government for investment projects in Morocco.

Also in the pipeline is an agreement to “completely normalize the passage of people and goods” through sea and land borders. The opening of land crossings concern the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta, in northern Morocco.

Without forgetting the files of illegal immigration and the fight against terrorism. Madrid highlighted the drop of more than 25% in illegal immigration in 2022 thanks to its police cooperation with Rabat, with 31,219 migrants entering Spain illegally in 2022.

This cooperation, welcomed by Rabat, was however tarnished by the death of at least 23 Sudanese migrants who had tried last June to enter the enclave of Melilla via the Moroccan border town of Nador.

The Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, was also to plead with his Moroccan counterpart, Abdelouafi Laftit, to reactivate the channels for the expulsion of irregular migrants and return to levels prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. , according to a source from the Spanish ministry.

Finally, Rabat is considered a key partner in the fight against terrorism. An important subject for Madrid after an attack at the end of January attributed to a young Moroccan in an irregular situation against two churches in Algeciras (South) in which a sexton was killed.

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Morocco-Spain Partnership for 21st Century Challenges



Madrid – Aware of the strategic importance of preserving and developing a privileged relationship looking to the future, Morocco and Spain show a firm determination to build a renewed global partnership, up to the challenges but also opportunities offered by the 21st century, said Morocco’s ambassador to Spain, Karima Benyaich.

Both Countries Are Neighboring And Friendly

“Morocco and Spain are two friendly and neighboring countries, which share common values and interests and which continue to work together to make their relationship an example to follow in all areas,” said Ms. Benyaich in an interview with MAP, on the occasion of the holding in Rabat of the 12th Morocco/Spain High Level Meeting.

It is within the framework of this spirit that fits the speech delivered by HM King Mohammed VI on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of the Revolution of the King and the People, on August 20, 2021, in which the Sovereign called for the inauguration of an unprecedented stage in relations between the two countries, based on mutual trust, permanent consultation and frank and sincere cooperation, recalled Ms. Benyaich.

Responding to the generous appeal of HM the King, the Spanish government has repeatedly reaffirmed its unshakeable will to engage with Morocco in a renewed dynamic to establish a lasting relationship on more solid foundations, observed the Diplomat.

”Today, in accordance with this new dynamic initiated between the two countries since last April, following the visit of the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sanchez, to Morocco, at the invitation of HM the King and the adoption of an ambitious roadmap, Morocco and Spain are determined to move forward in the implementation of this virtuous process, by identifying all the appropriate means to give this partnership a serene, lasting basis and an operational character. which will strengthen bilateral relations and create mutually beneficial synergies,” noted Ms. Benyaich in this regard.

In this wake, the Ambassador of Morocco to Spain highlighted the “excellent relations of brotherhood” uniting the two Royal Families, assuring that the “distinguished and privileged ties of solid friendship and mutual esteem between HM the King and King Felipe VI strongly contribute to the consolidation of a unique and exemplary relationship.

Thus, argued Ms. Benyaich, the High Level Meeting between the two countries, which has not taken place since 2015, will undoubtedly constitute an exceptional meeting which will imbue a new dynamic in bilateral relations and will reflect the determination to build a mutually beneficial strategic partnership, under the enlightened leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI and King Felipe VI of Spain.

This meeting, she added, is only the concretization of the firm will of the two countries to take an unprecedented step in bilateral relations, on the basis of a clear and ambitious roadmap responding to the aspirations of both friendly peoples.

In this context, the leaders of the two countries are looking into the implementation of concrete actions within the framework of this roadmap encompassing all areas of the partnership and integrating all issues of common interest, in a climate of trust and transparency, said Ms. Benyaich, recalling that, since last April, all the working groups have held regular meetings to put in place the provisions of the new bilateral roadmap.

As a result, the High-Level Meeting in Rabat will reflect this positive state of mind and oriented towards respect for the commitments that drive the Moroccan-Spanish relationship today, Ms. Benyaich concluded.

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