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Verify: Fact-checking the Virginia Governor's Debate

We fact-checked some of the claims that the candidates made Thursday night.

GRUNDY, Va. — EDITOR'S NOTE: 

With VERIFY we use vetted experts and data to get you the facts about claims you might be questioning.

We want to be transparent in this process, and that includes when we need to offer clarity or a correction to our reporting.  

We'd like to offer that clarity on this fact-check. 

"When I was governor, we had the lowest crime rate of any major state in America," McAuliffe said during the first Virginia Governor's debate. 

Our fact-check looked at whether or not Virginia had the lowest crime rate of any state during McAuliffe’s 2014 - 2018 term using the FBI database and information from the Census Bureau. Virginia was among the bottom 5 states per capita for crime, but never the lowest on the list, so we stated that claims as FALSE. 

But, that fact-check missed a key word of McAuliffe’s statement.  He said “Major state.” which we didn’t address. McAuliffe’s campaign says the candidate considers a major state to have a population of 1.5 million or more.  Using those parameters, McAuliffe’s statement would be true. 

Thursday night Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe faced off in their first debate in the race for Virginia's Governor.

Like all debates, there were plenty of claims thrown around. We went through some of the claims and verified what is true and what is false.

CLAIM: 

“When I was governor, we had the lowest crime rate in America,” said Terry McAuliffe.

ANSWER:

False, while Virginia had very low crime rates during Governor McAuliffe’s term, it’s false to say it was the lowest.

OUR SOURCES:

WHAT WE FOUND:

We looked at the violent crime data from Governor McAuliffe’s term from the years 2014 through 2018. We compared those numbers per capita state to state. During that time, Virginia was always at the bottom five of the states, ranking the lowest in crime. However, it was never the lowest. That honor went to Vermont and Maine.

CLAIM:

“I don’t believe that Biden has the authority to mandate vaccines,” said Glenn Youngkin.

ANSWER:

Constitutional law experts disagree with Youngkin. They said President Joe Biden does have that authority for federal workers. However, they are divided on whether or not that authority extends to private businesses.

OUR SOURCES:

 A host of Constitutional law professors and lawyers: 

WHAT WE FOUND:

When it comes to a vaccine mandate for Federal workers all our experts agreed: Yes, it appears President Biden does have that authority. However, when it comes to mandating vaccines for private companies, that’s where they disagree. Two of our experts said President Biden does have that authority, a third one disagreed.

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