Candidate list| Using Limbaugh's passing, Virginia governor contender establishes a supporter base

The Glenn Youngkin campaign asked readers to sign a "sympathy card" for Limbaugh in an email on Wednesday.

This week, Glenn Youngkin, a candidate for governor of Virginia, came up with a novel strategy for gaining support: he cashed in on conservative grief over Rush Limbaugh's passing.


Just hours after Limbaugh's death on Wednesday, Youngkin, a wealthy investment executive, and political newbie sent out a campaign email asking readers to sign a "sympathy card" for Limbaugh. By clicking on a link in the email, recipients were taken to a website where they had to enter their name, email address, and phone number. Youngkin's campaign will likely utilize this information to contact supporters in the future with requests for money, volunteer work, and other campaign requests.


"Like I'm sure you were, I was deeply saddened to learn of Rush Limbaugh's demise today. We are offering prayers for his family and the people he mattered so much to. His decades of sticking out for conservative beliefs offered a voice to so many who felt silenced,” Youngkin wrote in the email.


You can co-sign our sympathy card here, Youngkin wrote, adding, "I hope you will join my wife and myself in extending our sincerest sorrow and thoughtful prayers to Rush Limbaugh's family and friends."


Political campaigns are increasingly reliant on online donations, and "sign the card" solicitations are frequent in the political sphere as campaigns and organizations make every effort to expand their email lists and then make further requests for funds. "Birthday cards" for people like previous presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama have historically been effective list-builders in both parties. It is also typical to distribute "petitions" on contentious issues.


Republicans in Virginia, meanwhile, expressed surprise at Youngkin's choice to premise his database on Limbaugh's demise and blasted it for being callous. The legendary radio personality, who died at the age of 70 following a yearlong battle with lung cancer, was remembered by the conservative community on Wednesday.


Youngkin's campaign representative referred to a tweet the candidate sent out on Wednesday in Limbaugh's honor but declined to speak further.


Youngkin is vying for Virginia's governor this year in a crowded Republican field. Other contenders include state Sen. Amanda Chase, former state House speaker Kirk Cox, and venture entrepreneur Pete Snyder. The GOP nominating convention is to take place in May, ahead of the November general election.


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