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Toni Morrison’s classic novel Beloved has been the center of a highly-contentious gubernatorial race in Virginia, CNN reports.

Glenn Youngkin, the GOP candidate, released an ad on Monday that features Laura Murphy, a Fairfax County mother and conservative activist, who launched a campaign against Morrison’s Pulitzer-prize winning book. She claimed the book gave her son nightmares.

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Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe accused Youngkin of using a “racist dog whistle” while campaigning with President Joe Biden.

“This is his closing message. Glenn Youngkin is promoting banning books by one of America’s most prominent Black authors,” McAuliffe said. “Just the fact he is even discussing this brings shame here to the commonwealth of Virginia.”

McAuliffe charged his opponent with attempting to “double down on the same divisive culture wars that have fueled his campaign from the very beginning,” charging the strategy with being “a racist dog whistle” that looked to “to gin up support from the most extreme elements of his party.”

Youngkin has not been dissuaded and has continued to use parents’ involvement in public education as a major tenet of his platform as the candidates prepare for the final weeks of the campaign ahead of Tuesday’s election.

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“My fellow Virginians, this is our moment. Right now,” Youngkin said at a rally in Henrico, Virginia on Saturday, adding that “McAuliffe wants the government to stand between parents and their children” and that parents across the country are calling and texting him to “stand up for our children too.”

Beloved is regarded as one of the greatest works in the history of American fiction. Released in 1987, it tells the story of a family of former slaves whose Cincinnati home is haunted by a malevolent spirit after the Civil War.

Among its many honors, the novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 and was a finalist for the 1987 National Book Award.

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