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Bad Omen For GOP in 2018: Gillespie Admits Trump Was a “Big Factor” in VA-GOV

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Gillespie Blames Trump for Loss, While GOP Prepares to Defend 26 Gov Seats in 2018

In his first major post-election interview, Republican Ed Gillespie set off alarm bells for 2018 GOP gubernatorial candidates and the Republican Governors Association. 

Gillespie appeared on David Axelrod’s podcast and admitted that President Trump was a huge factor in his loss in the Virginia governor’s race:

David Axelrod: How much of a factor was Trump himself and people galvanized to send a message to him?

Ed Gillespie: Well I’ve seen data in that regard and I think that was a big factor.

Gillespie doesn’t think the GOP’s Trump problem is going away anytime soon. Republicans are defending 26 of the 36 gubernatorial elections up in 2018. Gillespie advised fellow Republicans considering running next year to avoid the “poisonous atmosphere” altogether:

It’s a much more poisonous atmosphere. I don’t know if there’s causality or correlation, I leave that for others to determine. But I could not honestly say to someone I like and think is a halfway decent human being, ‘Yeah, you ought to run for office’.

He’s not the only Republican who doesn’t have an answer for the Trump factor.  At their conference in Austin last month, the Republican governors were very concerned about the implications of the president’s unpopularity:

A sense of foreboding hung over the group’s gathering in Austin this past week, as President Trump’s unpopularity and Republicans’ unexpectedly drastic losses in elections earlier this month in Virginia, New Jersey and suburbs from Philadelphia to Seattle raised the specter of a political reckoning in 2018.

Gillespie’s campaign manager also had a message for Republicans running next year: “Good Luck.”

Ed Gillespie finally admitted what everyone knows: Donald Trump is a massive drag for Republican candidates across the country,” said DGA Communications Director Jared Leopold. “Ed Gillespie proved that you can’t run with Donald Trump and you can’t run from Donald Trump. Democrats are going on offense in 2018, and as Trump’s approval sinks lower and lower, our target map gets bigger and bigger.