I ran for office as a Republican in Virginia, but now I'm voting for the Democratic candidate for governor because the GOP has lost its way.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. AP
In 2015, I ran for the House of Delegates in Virginia as a Republican.

The entire GOP has lost its direction since then.

I vote for Terry McAuliffe, Democrat in Virginia's gubernatorial election.

Matt Walton is an educator from Virginia.

This column is an opinion piece. These thoughts are solely the author's.

My name was on the 2015 ballot to be a member of Virginia's House of Delegates. My name was marked with an "R". On November 2, I will vote for Terry McAuliffe, a former governor of Virginia. McAuliffe is my choice because the GOP has lost its way and Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate, has not earned my vote or support.

I was one of over 70 Republicans who in 2016 urged the RNC not to support Trump. This group would be called #NeverTrump Republicans. This group witnessed how Trump's party failed to resist the immoral and, according many legal experts, illegal actions while he was president. After it became clear that Trump's defeat was imminent, the GOP would not stand by him, I decided to leave the Republican Party to become an independent.

After Virginia Republicans decided to nominate Glenn Youngkin, a businessman, as their nominee, I realized that Youngkin was unfit for office. Therefore, I had to vote McAuliffe and support him actively.

McAulliffe was influenced by the events of January 6, insurrection. Youngkin made "election integrity” a key component to his campaign. He even created a task force using membership cards.

Youngkin's former supporter and surrogate John McGuire, admitted that he was at the Jan 6th rally. However, he denied going to the Capitol. Youngkin even campaigned alongside State Senator Amanda Chase, a Trump wannabe, and was also present at the January 6th rally.

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It is sad that Youngkin embraces those who sought to reverse the vote of the American people. But it is even more tragic that Youngkin wants to be Governor.

Next governor will appoint members of the State Board of Elections as well as the Commissioner of Elections. Based on his past, McAuliffe, the next governor, will be a champion of democracy and appoint respected individuals who will uphold Virginia's will.

McAuliffe has shown that he is capable of working with the opposing party, which is another reason I support him. McAuliffe will be working in a bipartisan manner with reasonable Republicans, just as he did previously: securing record investments in education, improving transport, job creation, workforce development, and transportation.

McAuliffe, as governor, secured a record $1Billion investment in education. He worked with the Republican-controlled General Assembly and opened preschool to thousands of kids in need. He has a plan for the future to invest $2 billion per year in education and increase teacher salaries above the national average.

McAuliffe is a teacher and I know this. His track record shows that he is able to work with both sides to improve the education system. With a bipartisan group, he signed The New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Fund and Program into Effect in March 2016.

McAuliffe was open to listening to teachers and parents when he signed bipartisan legislation that would eliminate five SOL exams in Virginia. McAuliffe also worked with the GOP in reforming graduation standards while he was governor. Steven Landes, a former Republican delegate and chairman of the House Education Committee said that these reforms are a result of bipartisan cooperation between McAuliffe and the Republican-led legislature.

As pragmatic Republicans leave the state, like Kirk Cox, the former Speaker, more radical and partisan figures are replacing them. It is hard to imagine Youngkin being any different from the far-right GOP politicians we see in Washington DC.

McAuliffe is not right on every issue. In fact, I did not vote for him in 2017. But, since then, the GOP has become a conspiracy-driven, election-denying party. McAuliffe cares about protecting votes and will ensure that no attempt to overturn an electoral process is made. It is clear that the choice is obvious.

Business Insider has the original article.