Driving Force Action announced in a Monday press release the launch of new political ads in Virginia with the aim to drum up support for Senate candidates in the state that would help Governor Glenn Youngkin repeal Virginia's ban on the new sales of gas-powered vehicles starting in 2035, mirroring laws passed in California and other states.
The ad campaign is led by John Hotchkis, the founder and president of Hotchkis Sport Suspension which supplies parts to several Virginia specialty automotive companies, who moved to North Carolina from California in 2019 in response to increased regulations placed on citizens and businesses in the Golden State.
The ads will run for four Senate candidates endorsed by Driving Force Action: Emily Brewer, Danny Diggs, Tara Durant, and Juan Pablo Segura.
These ads will "shine a spotlight on the Commonwealth’s ban on gas-powered cars and trucks," the press release states.
According to WTOP, former Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation in 2021 that linked Virginia’s emissions policies for vehicles to those passed in California, which approved a plan last year to ban the sales of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035.
Youngkin has pledged to repeal Virginia’s ban on the sales of these vehicles, but needs the support of the State Senate to implement such action.
In September, Youngkin reaffirmed his vow to repeal the state’s ban on ICE vehicles if his party does well in the upcoming November election.
A spokeswoman for Youngkin told the Washington Examiner that he claimed the mandate has had poor results in California.
"It defies common sense that Democrats in Virginia have continued to outsource decision-making on energy policy," spokeswoman Macaulay Porter told the outlet. "California's requirements for their citizens should not be a one-size-fits-all solution for Virginia."
Virginia Democrats blocked an attempt to untie Virginia from California’s emissions standards earlier this year, with Porter saying, "In a partisan fashion, Virginia's Democrats blocked Gov. Youngkin's legislative proposal this year to remove Virginia from the California model."
"Their actions have allowed Virginia to be hostage to the extreme policies of unelected bureaucrats in California. We have seen the results of the poor energy planning in California, and we will work to ensure that is not the energy future for Virginia."
Driving Force Action is a project of the Specialty Equipment Market Association, and is dedicated to "upholding the joy of driving and safeguarding the future for auto enthusiasts everywhere. If you’re a devoted car lover, a gearhead, a car mechanic, or even an auto business owner, you’ve found your community. Our purpose is simple: to defend your right to drive or modify your car and relish the thrill of being behind the wheel."
The ad campaign comes as the Virginia League of Conservation Voters has announced $2 million in funding for state legislature races, which marks the group’s biggest investment ever, according to E&E News.
"Governor Youngkin and his extreme allies up and down the ticket have one thing in common: they want to dismantle the progress we’ve made in Virginia and put big polluters’ interests above what’s best for our Commonwealth," Virginia LCV Executive Director Michael Town said in a statement.
The outlet stated that Youngkin had blocked the state from being considered for a Ford electric vehicle battery plant, citing concerns over Ford partnering with a Chinese company for the facility.
This comes as 2024 GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has said that the electric vehicle industry would kill the American automotive industry, with much of the manufacturing being outsourced to China.
"Within 3 years, all of these cars will be made in China," Trump wrote in a September Truth Social post.
Speaking to Michigan autoworkers, Trump said, that the "auto industry is being assassinated" by Biden’s electric vehicle mandate.
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