How Taylor Swift could impact Virginia’s gubernatorial election

On Balance with Leland Vittert

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) —  Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is playing a big role in Virginia’s upcoming gubernatorial race. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, launched a series of social media ads on Tuesday criticizing his opponent, Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, for purchasing Swift’s master recordings. 

According to The Verge, the ads have appeared on social media platforms including Facebook, Google and Instagram. However, only users who are engaged with Swift and who live in Virginia are seeing the ads.

Variety senior correspondent Elizabeth Wagmeister says she believes these political ads could push Swift fans to the polls because of the singer’s long and ongoing fight to buy back the master recordings of her first six studio albums. 

“She has spoken out a lot about her masters, she was very upset about it,” Wagmeister told “On Balance With Leland Vittert” on Tuesday. “If there is going to be any topic that will get her fans riled up and might get them to the polls, it would be this.”

Youngkin is the former co-CEO of a company called The Carlyle Group. The group helped fund talent manager Scooter Braun’s purchase of Swift’s masters back in 2019.

Since the sale of her masters, Swift has been busy re-recording and releasing her own versions of her music. In April, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” was released, complete with six tracks that didn’t make it onto the original album in 2008. She is also expected to drop another rerelease, this time of her album “Red,” in November.

Wagmeister said this social media campaign is also interesting because Swift is not widely seen as political. 

“It’s just, really, in the last year or two that she started using her platform to speak out against politics.”

In 2018, Swift made a very public Instagram post about Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. She denounced Blackburn, saying her voting record “appalls and terrifies me” and endorsed Democratic candidates Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper. She also told her fans to vote for their rights. In the end, Blackburn won the race against Bredesen.

Wagmeister also said she would be interested to know if Swift has any knowledge of the campaign.

With less than a month to go before the election, the latest polls show McAuliffe has a very narrow lead on Youngkin. Swift has not publicly addressed the campaign.

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