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DGA Statement on Virginia Republican Primary

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Tonight, DGA Executive Director Elisabeth Pearson released the following statement on Ed Gillespie’s unexpectedly narrow primary victory in Virginia:

“Ed Gillespie enters the general election a weak candidate with a deeply divided Republican party,” said Pearson. “Meanwhile Democrats are enthusiastic to vote – with Democratic turnout far outpacing Republicans. Regardless, the fact remains: a vote for Ed Gillespie is a vote for President TrumpEd Gillespie has spent his career fighting for special interests against the interests of everyday Virginians. And now, he’s become a cheerleader for the Trump agenda of health care cuts, handouts for billionaires, and restricted access to women’s health care.”

“Virginians need a governor who will stand up for them, but Ed Gillespie will stand on the side of Donald Trump and Washington special interests. Virginia voters rejected the Trump agenda once already. This November, Virginians will reject Donald Trump’s chosen candidate for governor: Ed Gillespie.”



Standing with Trump 

Gillespie Said He’d Accept President Trump’s Help Campaigning, “Help From President Trump, Vice President Pence, I’m Happy To Have All The Help I Can Get.” In May 2017, while on NBC4, Gillespie was asked about Trump’s campaigning in Virginia. “Reporter: The frontrunner Ed Gillespie has kept his distance, rarely mentioning Trump. Though he did tell me last week that he’d accept the President’s help, if he becomes the GOP nominee as expected. Gillespie: I want to have everybody who’s willing to help me come in and help. You know, this is going to be a tough race and so obviously help from President Trump, Vice President Pence, I’m happy to have all the help I can get.” [NBC4, 5/18/17] (Video)

Gillespie’s Campaign Website: ‘Gillespie Endorsed Donald Trump as Soon as He Clinched the Republican Nomination.’ According to Gillespie’s campaign website, “Myth: Ed Gillespie Didn’t Support The Trump-Pence Ticket Facts: PolitiFact debunked this false attack back in December. Ed Gillespie endorsed Donald Trump as soon as he clinched the Republican nomination and campaigned for the entire GOP ticket, including Virginia U.S. House candidates. He introduced then-Governor Mike Pence at two campaign rallies last year, including at a rally in Fairfax on the Saturday before the election.” [, Get the Facts, accessed 4/17/17]

Gillespie Said He Would Explore Pre-Existing Conditions Waiver Under Trump-Backed AHCA. According to Newsweek, “Ed Gillespie, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in Virginia’s 2017 governor’s race, pointed to Aetna’s May 3 decision to pull out of the state’s individual insurance market as evidence Obamacare needs to be replaced. But, in a written statement provided to Newsweek, Gillespie also said, ‘I don’t think insurers should be allowed to drop people who have a developing condition, or prevent people from getting insurance because of a pre-existing condition.’ If some form of a waiver makes it into the final law, he continued, ‘I’ll take a look at it, look at the cost, what the funding for a risk pool would be and the impact on Virginians before making an informed decision.’” [Newsweek, 5/11/17]

Washington Post Editorial: Gillespie’s Tax Plan Would Be “Much More Sizable for the Rich than for the Middle Class.” According to a Washington Post editorial, “Mr. Free Lunch is Ed Gillespie, a Washington insider and veteran political strategist who would hand everyone a sizable tax cut — much more sizable for the rich than for the middle class — that would sap annual state revenues from the outset by hundreds of millions of dollars, from a general fund budget of about $20 billion.” [Washington Post, Editorial, 4/18/17] 

HEADLINE: How Trump’s tax plan would help the wealthy (and Trump). [CNN, 4/27/17]

HEADLINE: Gillespie: ‘I would like to see abortion be banned.’ [Washington Post, 4/4/17]

HEADLINE: Trump expands anti-abortion ban to all U.S. global health aid. [CBS News, 1/24/17]

Trump: Women Seeking Abortions Should Be Subject to “Some Form of Punishment.”According to the New York Times, “Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that women who seek abortions should be subject to ‘some form of punishment’ if the procedure is banned in the United States, further elevating Republican concerns that his explosive remarks about women could doom the party in the fall.” [New York Times, 3/30/16]

A DC Insider, Working for Special Interests

Gillespie a “Well-Fed Alligator” in Trump’s Swamp. According to a Jeff Schapiro column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Gillespie, who could charitably be described as aloof from Trump, is quite literally the practiced professional talker. He amassed millions of dollars hawking special interests in D.C., the Trump-labeled ‘swamp’ in which Gillespie qualifies as a well-fed alligator.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12/4/16]

Gillespie a “Consummate Republican Insider” and a “Karl Rove Ally.” According to the Washington Post, “Ed Gillespie, the consummate Republican insider as a former White House counselor, strategist and Karl Rove ally, managed to woo enough of his party’s balky right flank last year to win the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. Now, as he plans to run for governor in 2017, he will have to pull that off again. It could be a tall order.” [Washington Post, 10/3/15]

Gillespie a “Creature of D.C.” According to Jeff Schapiro’s column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “In barely losing to Warner, Gillespie – a creature of D.C., having led the Republican National Committee, worked for Republican presidents and Republican presidential candidates, and amassed a fortune as a political fixer – had dibs on another try for Senate in 2018. Democrat Tim Kaine would be running for a second term, as Warner just did, in an off-year. Turnout would plummet, magnifying the voting strength of the conservative Republican base.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/4/15]

Gillespie Served As Enron’s “Key Conduit To The White House And House Leaders,” Lobbied On Energy Task Force, Economic Stimulus. According to theWashington Post, “Former Enron executives disclosed yesterday that a top Bush campaign adviser, Edward Gillespie, served as the company’s key conduit to the White House and House leaders. Gillespie’s firm received $525,000 over nine months last year from Enron for lobbying that included the energy task force and economic stimulus legislation with tax provisions that would have helped Enron.” [Washington Post, 1/26/02]

April 2001: Enron Hired Quinn & Gillespie To “Return To The GOP’s Good Graces.” According to the Washington Post, “Hoping to return to the GOP’s good graces, the company in April 2001 hired the Washington lobbying firm of Quinn & Gillespie. Its senior partner, Ed Gillespie, had been a top campaign adviser to the new president, Bush.” [Washington Post, 1/13/02]

Tyson Paid Gillespie’s Firm More than $1.1 Million Dollars to Lobby. According to the Washington Post, “Tyson paid Gillespie’s firm more than $1.1 million from 2001 to 2007 to lobby Bush’s White House, the Senate and the House on a range of issues, according to federal lobbying disclosures. Gillespie was listed as a Tyson lobbyist for several of those years. He was registered to handle issues that included ‘amnesty proposals,’ ‘immigration reform,’ ‘country of origin labeling,’ and ‘labor and workforce issues,’ according to those forms.” [Washington Post, 5/29/17]

April 2017: At the Request of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Gillespie’s Campaign Disclosed He Worked for Institute for Energy Research, American Energy Alliance, DCI Group, and Brunswick Group. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “On Friday, at the request of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Gillespie’s campaign identified four clients for whom he consulted in 2016 who did business outside Virginia: The Institute for Energy Research and its affiliate American Energy Alliance, communication company Brunswick Group, and public affairs and communication company DCI Group.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/7/17]

Gillespie Spokesperson Would Not Say What Clients Gillespie Worked for at Brunswick Group and DCI Group. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “When asked if Gillespie provided advice directly to the Brunswick Group and DCI Group — or to clients who retained those companies — Gillespie spokeswoman Abbi Sigler replied by email, ‘I have nothing else to add. As I told you, Brunswick Group and DCI Group were Ed’s clients. The strategic advice he provided them is their proprietary information.’” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/7/17]