Heh. Is it “Civil War monuments,” as the ad refers to them, that some are agitating to tear down? Or is it Confederate monuments? I haven’t seen much demand for knocking down memorials to Union heroes. Although there are, of course, exceptions.
Gillespie’s taking a beating from the left, although not just from the left, for his last few ads. This Trump tweet yesterday set it off:
Ed Gillespie will turn the really bad Virginia economy #’s around, and fast. Strong on crime, he might even save our great statues/heritage!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 26, 2017
References to “crime” and “heritage” by the guy who got elected running on white identity politics sent antennas up among Democrats and libertarians that Gillespie was playing thinly veiled racial politics to mobilize white voters. Brian Fallon, Hillary’s former campaign spokesman, naturally started shrieking that Gillespie is a white nationalist now or something:
Live look at Ed Gillespie campaign strategy meeting: pic.twitter.com/izcs57hZUv
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) October 27, 2017
But Doug Stafford, Rand Paul’s right-hand man, also dinged Gillespie for the drift in his ads:
So the last 3 ads by @EdWGillespie are: gangs, people getting their voting rights back, and monuments. The dog whistle is a little loud, Ed
— Doug Stafford (@dougstafford) October 26, 2017
His last three ads have in fact focused on Confederate statues, sanctuary cities for illegals, and restoring rights to convicted felons, although the last showcases a white sex offender, not Willie Horton 2017. Northern Virginia does have a sizable MS-13 presence too, according to police stats. And Confederate monuments? The numbers are what they are:
A hot-button culture-war issue in which independents are 28 points more likely to favor one side than the other is an issue that that side is going to tout. More than a third of Democrats, in fact, side with Gillespie’s position on Confederate memorials. It’d be bizarre if a gubernatorial election boiled down to who’s going to tear down or protect which statutes but that’s democracy. People care about cultural matters and Gillespie has the numbers. Of course he’s going to do an ad about it.
Might not put him over the top, though. Yesterday’s Hampton poll showing him eight points ahead of Ralph Northam after trailing for most of the race was a blockbuster, but there was a huge undecided contingent. Most other polls have had Northam ahead, albeit with a diminishing lead — although the most recent has him up seven. Democrats will be on suicide watch if Gillespie pulls the upset, starved as they are for a major win in the Trump era and convinced that Northam had this one in the bag until recently. Eleven days to go.