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Blowback Continues Over Nasty Negative Gillespie Campaign

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The blowback over Ed Gillespie’s nasty, negative, campaign continues. Lagging in the polls and saddled with Donald Trump, his campaign has desperately started throwing vile smears at the wall, hoping something will stick. But his desperate plan seems to have backfired as observers across the political spectrum have called out his ugly campaign over the past few days. 

See below for a roundup of just some of the recent coverage lambasting Ed Gillespie’s nasty campaign:

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Richmond-area Latinos say Gillespie’s ‘sanctuary cities’ ads give hurtful message

Richmond-area Latinos with ties to the immigrant community like Martinez, who is from Mexico, said TV and radio ads from GOP gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie are inaccurate and depict their communities in negative ways. They said they welcome candidates who want to work with the Latino community to combat the violent gangs, but said the advertisements don’t give that message. 

Virginian-Pilot: TV ads in Virginia’s governor race getting more aggressive

The tenor of the contest has grown uglier in recent weeks, perhaps most noticeably when Republican opponent Ed Gillespie began paying for commercials attempting to link a General Assembly vote by Northam, a Democrat, to support for a murderous Central American gang. 

Vox: Establishment Republicans mystified by their base should look at Ed Gillespie’s campaign

But now Gillespie is running against Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam with a campaign based entirely on unhinged conspiracy theories and race baiting.

… Gillespie and his campaign feel that a hysterical racialized scare campaign about gang rape with zero grounding in policy reality will sell better than some kind of tedious seminar about immigration’s impact on wages.

Washington Post: Editorial: Ed Gillespie wants Virginians to be very, very afraid

Mr. Gillespie’s aides high-mindedly insist that he is running on issues vital to Virginia — jobs, taxes, wages, schools — and bristle at suggestions that he is using divisive, Trump-style tactics. Yet when it comes to putting his money where his mouth is, Mr. Gillespie is going full Trump.

Slate: Ed Gillespie Is Attempting a Trump Maneuver in Virginia

While the substance of Gillespie’s campaign is bog-standard Republicanism—tax cuts and deregulation—he has landed on a message that could bring Republican voters to the polls. And in the age of Trump, it’s a familiar one: white racial fear and resentment. 

Washington Post: E.J. Dionne Jr.: The mainstreaming of right-wing extremism

Tossing out the outrageous absurdity that the moderate, mild-mannered Northam is “fighting for” a gang whose motto is “Kill, Rape, Control” should be disqualifying for any politician who makes it. The claim originated in Trump-like Gillespie advertising rooted in Olympian leaps of illogic and distortion. 

New York Times: Paul Krugman: Virginia Is for Haters

Ed Gillespie, the G.O.P. candidate, is trying to pull off an upset by going full-on Trumpist, doing all he can — with assistance from the tweeter in chief — to mobilize the white nationalist vote. He’s accusing Ralph Northam, his Democratic opponent, of dishonoring the state’s Confederate heroes… He’s not only accused Northam of being soft on illegal immigration, but he’s insinuated that this somehow makes him an ally of a violent Central American gang.

Washington Post: Jennifer Rubin: Gillespie’s cultural-warrior act isn’t working

As we have suggested, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie’s attempt to morph into a right-wing cultural warrior without losing support in voter-rich Northern Virginia is a losing strategy.

Gillespie’s descent — from a can-do problem-solver in his close Senate race loss to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) in 2014 to faux-Trumpian candidate in 2017 — epitomizes today’s GOP. Lacking ideas to improve voters’ lives  — or the courage to run on such ideas — they fall back on base-pleasing themes that turn off the rest of the electorate. That might work for Roy Moore in Alabama, but Virginia isn’t Alabama. Someone should tell that to Gillespie’s team.

Washington Post: Greg Sargent: Trump just pumped his ugly sleaze into the Virginia gubernatorial race

Gillespie is increasingly leaning on culturally charged “Trumpist” issues, because he appears to have a “base problem.” Gillespie has been relentlessly attacking Northam as soft on illegal immigration and has said in the wake of Charlottesville white supremacist violence that Confederate statues should remain in place (echoing Trump), though with added historical context. Experts on Virginia politics have argued that all this is directed at the Trump wing of the GOP base in Virginia.