The Republican nominee for Virginia governor is borrowing from Donald Trump's racist campaign book.
As Virginia’s race for governor enters its final stretch, Republican nominee Ed Gillespie finds himself consistently polling behind his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam.
In a desperate bid to increase turnout, Gillespie has abandoned his pledges of civility and inclusiveness. In addition to launching a shockingly racist ad campaign, Gillespie has sought help from several well-known white nationalists and dropped the campaign slogan that adorns his lawn signs and was once a central component of his stump speech: “A governor for ALL Virginians.”
According to the Richmond Times, the Virginia GOP is sending out a new mailer, approved by Gillespie, that “features a photo of the Robert E. Lee statue” and accuses Northam of wanting to “tear down history while making life easier for illegal immigrants.” The flier “swaps out Gillespie’s usual ‘For ALL Virginians’ slogan for the lesser-used ‘For a safer, stronger Virginia.'”
Gillespie’s abandonment of the inclusive campaign rhetoric foreshadowed his next moves: enlisting help from Breitbart chief and former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, Corey Stewart, Jack Morgan, and George Allen. (Allen, a stalwart fixture of Virginia Republican politics, has been a campaign chair from its earliest days.)
Bannon is helping Gillespie earn an endorsement from Stewart, Gillespie’s primary opponent who, despite being from Minnesota, ran an aggressive and surprisingly effective insurgent campaign largely focused on Confederate monument preservation and adulation of the Confederate flag. He infamously tweeted during the campaign, “Nothing is worse than a Yankee telling a Southerner that his monuments don’t matter.”
Jack Morgan, another Confederate romanticist and revisionist historian who believes the country is on the brink of civil war, is also appealing to Stewart on Gillespie’s behalf.
Finally, Allen, a Gillespie campaign chair who has kept a fairly low profile, earned notoriety in 2006 when he called a young Democratic aide a racial slur, and several witnesses alleged he made frequent use of the n-word.
At an Oct. 11 University of Richmond event, this reporter asked Gillespie if he would be adding additional white nationalists to his campaign. Gillespie did not answer, and his campaign staff declined comment.