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'Things change by the minute' | Trump scheduled for Virginia tele-rally ahead of Election Day

On Sunday, the organizer behind a tele-rally featuring President Donald Trump said an exact time for the telephone speech on Monday remained unknown.

VIRGINIA, USA — President Donald Trump is expected to headline a tele-rally on Monday as polls remain tight in the Virginia gubernatorial race and voters get set to head to the polls on Tuesday. 

John Fredericks, a talk radio host and Trump's Virginia campaign chairman in 2016 and 2020, helped organize the event and spoke briefly over the phone with WUSA 9 on Sunday.

Fredericks said event details "change by the minute" and no exact time has been set yet for the telephone speech.

Trump's involvement in the gubernatorial race comes as Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin remain in a dead heat in the polls.

During a rally in Alexandria on Saturday, Youngkin told reporters that he would not take part in the event with Trump.

"I haven’t been involved in that. The teams are talking," he said. "I’m not going to be engaged in the tele-town hall but we have more people helping us than you can possibly believe. This is about unity.”

In a statement sent later in the day, Fredericks said Youngkin's success could hinge on embracing Trump and the tele-rally could be a "cornerstone" for a win in the gubernatorial race. 

"The pathway to victory for Youngkin and the Republicans rests on a huge turnout of Trump voters," he wrote.  "Youngkin's involvement is irrelevant. It's about rallying Trump voters to get out on gameday in big numbers. It's about taking back Virginia to take back America. Only President Trump can motivate his America First voters. That's why this tele-rally is so significant and the key to victory."

McAuliffe has frequently tried to tie Youngkin to Trump on the campaign trail. At a campaign stop in Virginia Beach on Saturday, he addressed Trump's involvement in the race and took a shot at the former president after he lost the state by ten percentage points in the 2020 presidential election.

"It’s just killing Trump that he’s not here obviously," McAuliffe said. "He’s in the race, he’s endorsed Youngkin seven different times. Trump is always going to claim credit for himself no matter what happens. Trump is very unpopular here in the state. Everybody knows it and it’s probably why Youngkin doesn’t want him.”

Mary Trump, the niece of Donald Trump who has voiced support for McAuliffe, also weighed in on Sunday.

In a phone call with WUSA 9, she said she believed her uncle was trying to tie himself to possible success in Virginia to carry on to the midterm elections next year and the 2024 presidential race. 

"It’s just yet another example of Donald’s need to insert himself," Mary Trump said. "He’s positioning himself to take credit for Youngkin if the worst-case scenario happens and Youngkin wins so that he can then maintain his grip on the party."

She went on to call Youngkin a "Donald clone" who was helping to peddle her uncle's false claims of voter fraud.

Trump's event comes after strong early voting numbers were reported around Northern Virginia. Alexandria Registrar Angela Turner said that over 15,000 people had cast early ballots as of Saturday morning.

That number was almost four times higher than the amount of early voters during the last Virginia gubernatorial race in 2017, although early voters were required to provide an excuse for doing so back then. Last year, the rule was changed to allow for no-excuse absentee and early voting.

In Fairfax County, election officials reported that over 150,000 people had voted early this year, which equated to around 20% turnout in the area.

A similar turnout percentage was reported in Loudoun County after over 34,000 residents had voted early.

RELATED: Last day of early voting brings lines of voters in parts of Northern Virginia

RELATED: Trump plans last minute tele-rally for Virginia's Youngkin

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