Written by Brandon Jarvis
Ed Gillespie was running a respectable and electric campaign to become the next Governor of the state of Virginia. Ed showed charisma and composure during debates. He focused on issues that truly mattered to the citizens, while avoiding Trump at all costs.
That is, until his MS-13 comparisons in attack ads on Ralph Northam.
This type of comparison is a form of political maneuvering taking advantage of a political technicality in the state legislature. The ad tries to make it look like Northam essentially supports the violent street gang MS-13, because of his vote on sanctuary cities. This is besides the point that the state of Virginia doesn’t even have any sanctuary cities.
Not only is this type of political maneuvering petty and misleading, it is awfully Trump-like. Then to confirm this statement, POTUS himself chimed in…
Ralph Northam,who is running for Governor of Virginia,is fighting for the violent MS-13 killer gangs & sanctuary cities. Vote Ed Gillespie!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2017
It appeared that Gillespie could have really pulled in some of the independent voters across the Commonwealth. But, those same independent voters are afraid of the Trump rhetoric. Gillespie worked hard to stay out of that spotlight, but all of a sudden he appears to have embraced the Trump support with open arms.
Northam was ready with a response to the Presidents endorsement within minutes.
— Ralph Northam (@RalphNortham) October 6, 2017
Northam is holding a 7 point lead in the race according to this recent CNU poll.
For Governor, Democrat Ralph Northam leads Republican Ed Gillespie, 49%- 42%. The Democrats are holding comfortable leads in the down-ballot contests. For Lieutenant Governor, Democrat Justin Fairfax leads Republican Jill Vogel, 48%-40%. For Attorney General, Democrat Mark Herring leads Republican John Adams, 51%-40% Changes since the previous CNU survey favor all three Democrats, but only Herring, the incumbent Attorney General, has crossed the 50% mark. Crime and gang-related crime don’t appear to move most Gillespie or Northam voters, but far more Gillespie voters are concerned about illegal immigration.
Gillespie will likely continue to compare Northam to a MS-13 sympathizer. Northam will likely continue to compare Gillespie to Trump. Northam’s most apparent campaign strategy has been to link Ed Gillespie and Donald Trump.
Trump’s agenda cuts the Appalachian Regional Commission, healthcare and school funding. By association, Ed could do the same.
— Ralph Northam (@RalphNortham) October 12, 2017
Seeing as Hillary beat Donald in Virginia by 5 points, on top of Trump’s approval rating plummeting in the following months, it only makes sense that Gillespie should want to distance himself from Trump.
But I guess that’s not what the Gillespie campaign believes.
On Thursday night Gillespie talked about the benefits that the State of Virginia can receive from a good relationship with Trump.
“If you’re the governor of a state where 20 percent of your GDP is direct federal dollars, you better have a good relationship with the president of the United States,” Gillespie told a breakfast audience in the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, referring to gross domestic product, the sum of all goods and services produced in an economy.
He then directly brought Northam’s sour relationship with the Trump administration into the interview.
“My job as governor of the commonwealth of Virginia will not be to be always for President Trump or be always against him – ‘lead the resistance’ as another candidate in this race says he is doing,” Gillespie said.
Northam responded later in day on Thursday.
“In this business, I wouldn’t look at it as a good or bad relationship but a working relationship. There are policies that I would be more than willing to work with him on,” he said in a telephone interview.
The next month will be very interesting in the Commonwealth. Expect more low-blows and dramatizations from the media and political operatives. Obama and Biden will both be campaigning for Northam in the coming week. Rumors are circulating that Trump is pondering a visit to try and help Gillespie.
Either way, Trump and Gillespie, are starting to sound synonymous in Virginia.