Taylor Swift fans could help decide the outcome of Virginia’s gubernatorial race. Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is running for the seat again on Nov. 2. He has a new five-figure ad buy that connects his opponent, Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, to Swift’s bitter battle to gain control over the master recordings of her first six albums, including Fearless, Red and 1989.
Youngkin is the former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, which financially backed the 2019 sale of Swift’s masters to Ithaca Holdings, an umbrella company owned at the time by music manager Scooter Braun. Swift’s masters have since been sold again.
Swift has been very public about her dissatisfaction with the situation, to the point where she has been re-recording her first six studio albums so fans can listen to versions that belong to her. She released “Taylor’s Version” of the 2008 album Fearless this past April, and is putting out her version of the 2012 album Red next month. McAuliffe’s campaign has been trying to tap into Swift’s fanbase through a digital campaign, as well as tweeting out references to Swift songs and coopting the hashtag #WeStandWithTaylor.
Recent polls show a tight race. McAuliffe has a narrow lead over Youngkin less than a month out from elections seen as a national bellwether.
McAuliffe has attacked Youngkin’s career at Carlyle but is himself an investor in the company. In July, The Associated Press reported that McAuliffe invested at least $690,000 in Carlyle funds between December 2007 and the end of 2016.