October 18, 2017

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Latest News, Virginia

Base Problems: Virginia Trump Leader Quits on Gillespie

Ed Gillespie’s Trump problem in Virginia just got a lot worse. Today, the Washington Post reported that Gillespie’s “ambassador to Trump country,” Jack Morgan, has quit the campaign after being snubbed from a speaking role at the campaign’s poorly attended rally with Mike Pence. Morgan was also reportedly “exasperated” by the campaign’s lukewarm response to Trump’s recent endorsement in the race. And the Trump activists are NOT happy. It’s the latest and most troubling sign that Gillespie is going to have major problems energizing the Trump-loving base he desperately needs to show up.

Read the entire story HERE or excerpts below:

Washington Post: Trump strategist quits Gillespie campaign for Va. governor, sources say

“The man who rallied Southwest Virginia to vote for Donald Trump last year quit Republican Ed Gillespie’s gubernatorial campaign this week, offended by a personal snub and exasperated by the campaign’s highly cautious stance toward the president, according to three Republicans familiar with his decision.

Jack Morgan’s departure follows a half-empty Gillespie rally headlined by Vice President Pence Saturday in Southwest Virginia, a coal country region that voted overwhelmingly for Trump in November…

…But Gillespie’s campaign did not let Morgan help plan or speak at the rally — over the objections of another GOP candidate who employs Morgan, state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, who is running for lieutenant governor and wanted him to introduce her.

Morgan’s wife was so offended that she refused to drive John Whitbeck, chair of the Republican Party of Virginia, to the airport for his return trip, according to the three Republicans familiar with the matter. And in an area of the state that Gillespie needs to turn out in force to overcome Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Nov. 7, activists took to social media to vent their outrage.

Blunter still was activist Patricia Bast Lyman. “Ed showing his elitist butt to the 9th was a MONUMENTAL error from which he will not recover, ” she posted on Facebook…

…Coming three weeks before Election Day, the episode is just one sign that Gillespie’s risk-averse, thread-the-needle approach to Trump and hot-button cultural issues is backfiring with some members of his party’s conservative base

…Most of Gillespie’s conservative critics say they will still vote for him over Northam, but question how hard the grassroots will work for him. Most polls show the race — the nation’s only competitive governor’s contest — about tied. A lot is riding on the results, which will be widely read as an early referendum on Trump and a harbinger of the 2018 congressional mid-term elections.

A former Republican National Committee Chairman, Washington lobbyist and adviser to Bush, Gillespie has struggled to find his footing regarding Trump. He has tried to avoid weighing in on Trump’s policies and tweets. When Trump surprised Gillespie with a tweeted endorsement Oct. 6, Gillespie did not even retweet it

…Prominent Republicans, from the White House on down, urged Gillespie hire Trump strategists after he nearly lost the June primary to Corey Stewart, a Prince William supervisor and Trump’s one-time Virginia campaign chairman who dubbed him “Establishment Ed.” In August, Gillespie hired Morgan, who had worked for Stewart during the primary, to lead his efforts in Southwest Virginia.”