McAuliffe spox admits effort to 'kill' Fox News story exposing 'astonishing move' on controversial hire

Ronna McDaniel: McAuliffe’s remark on education was ‘so offensive’ to Virginia parents

The RNC chairwoman discusses the Virginia gubernatorial race and how its outcome is likely to affect the 2022 midterms

A spokesperson for Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia gubernatorial campaign acknowledged her effort to try and “kill” a story about his campaign reportedly spending $60,000 to hire a high-profile attorney known for masterminding election-related legal challenges.

“I think it’s clear based on this story that we did in fact…kill the story,” McAuliffe spokesperson Christina Freundlich tweeted Thursday night in response to a Fox News article revealing an email she mistakenly sent to a Fox News reporter asking her colleagues to attempt to “kill” a story he was working on.

Freundlich was widely criticized for the tweet which seemed to ignore that the story of her mistakenly-sent email had amplified the reporter’s initial question on Twitter and across the media.

“I killed the story that I am talking about and everyone is currently reading about,” Spectator Editor Stephen L. Miller tweeted. “Just top notch stuff there.”

“Objective failed,” Washington Examiner editor Timothy Nerozzi tweeted. 

National Director of Research of School Choice Now Corey A. DeAngelis responded with simply, “what.”

Less than a month before Election Day, McAuliffe’s campaign spent $53,680 on the services of the Elias Law Group, a firm that Marc Elias started earlier this year, Fox News previously reported. 

Elias had formerly worked as a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie, which the Hillary Clinton campaign hired in 2016 in order to conduct opposition research on Donald Trump – research that included the infamous and discredited Christopher Steele dossier. Republicans have accused Elias of lying to hide the Clinton campaign’s role in funding the dossier.

Elias has represented Democrats in efforts to contest elections. Going into the 2020 election, he represented Democrats challenging a Texas law barring “straight-ticket voting.” 

House Republicans accused Elias of having a “serious conflict of interest” when he represented Iowa Democratic candidate Rita Hart in her effort to overturn the results of her extremely narrow loss to Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. GOP members House Administration Committee said that Elias had a conflict because he and Perkins Coie – where he still worked at the time – also represented half of the Democratic committee members who would be deciding the case. 

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley wrote that McAuliffe hiring Elias is an “astonishing move.” 

“McAuliffe’s continued claims that multiple elections were stolen raise serious doubts about whether he will accept his own impending defeat and concede when he loses to Glenn Youngkin,” the spokesperson told Fox News at the time.

Virginia voters will decide the governor’s race between McAuliffe and Youngkin on Tuesday November 2 and Fox News polling released on Thursday suggests that Youngkin has erased McAuliffe’s comfortable lead that he once had weeks ago.

McAuliffe receives 45 percent to Youngkin’s 53 percent in a new Fox News survey of Virginia likely voters. Youngkin’s eight-point advantage is outside the poll’s margin of sampling error.

That’s a big shift from two weeks ago, when McAuliffe was ahead by five, 51-46 percent.

Likely voters are a subgroup of registered voters, identified mainly based on self-reported vote intention and interest in the election.

Among the larger pool of registered voters, it’s a one-point race:  McAuliffe 47 percent vs. Youngkin 48 percent.  Two weeks ago, McAuliffe led among registered voters by 11 points, 52-41 percent.

Fox News’ Tyler O’Neill and Dana Blanton contributed to this report

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