In the absence of any other races of national significance in the year after a presidential election – always the least active in the four-year political cycle – an inordinate amount of attention has been paid to an increasingly ugly – and tightening – gubernatorial race in Virginia.
And one day before voters go to the polls to elect a governor to succeed Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe, Democrat Ralph Northam holds a slim but shrinking lead over Republican Ed Gillespie.
Leads and Losses
Northam, who had built a commanding lead over the summer and early fall, is still slightly ahead or tied in nine of the last ten public polls, but has now become a victim of most unfortunate timing. Over the last several days, former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Donna Brazile released excerpts of an explosive book due out tomorrow, Election Day. In it, Brazile lays bare the gory details about Hillary Clinton’s virtual takeover of the DNC during the 2016 election and describes Brazile’s serious thought of replacing Hillary and her running mate, Northam’s close ally, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, on the presidential ticket after Hillary’s collapse on September 11.
Kaine appeared at a get-out-the-vote rally Saturday evening in northern Virginia marred by rain and a small turnout, and both he and Northam sidestepped questions about Brazile’s revelations.
Gillespie’s fortunes had already improved in recent days when Republicans were outraged – and energized – by one of the most vile commercials in recent years, depicting a racist in a pick-up truck with a confederate flag and Gillespie bumper sticker stalking minority kids.
And while the spot was produced by an independent political action committee, the Latino Victory Fund, Northam refused to condemn it. Instead, he attacked Gillespie for the GOP candidate’s assertions in previous ads that Northam was soft on MS-13 gangs and had helped to send a pedophile back on the streets.
While national attention focuses on this race in the Old Dominion, it is noteworthy that neither candidate represents the core ideological base of their respective parties. In fact, both are establishment stereotypes.
Northam is the current Lieutenant Governor who worked his way up the party ladder. He is clearly from the so-called Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, and defeated a Bernie Sanders-style progressive, Tom Perriello, in the primary.
Gillespie, a former head of the Republican National Committee, advisor to George W. Bush and high-paid lobbyist, scored a narrow victory over pro-Trump conservative Corey Stewart in the GOP primary.
Given that Hillary Clinton won Virginia by five points over Donald Trump, the race is still Northam’s to lose. But barring an unexpected landslide, no matter who wins, it will be difficult to draw any larger lesson from this race than which establishment candidate the voters of Virginia prefer at a time when voters across the land have…renounced the establishment.
Stay with Liberty Nation as we report and analyze the results.