Day 269: Willie Horton Once Again In Virginia?

Our first set of scheduled, non-special elections is coming up as we approach the one year anniversary of Trump’s election.

In New Jersey, a deeply unpopular Chris Christie has his Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno facing a massive deficit against a former U.S. ambassador to Germany, Phil Murphy. One of the latest polls shows her trailing by 18 points. The race has been like this for the entire time and should Murphy cruise to victory it will allow for some really positive progress in New Jersey as Christie has been vetoing some really great bills that have come out of the Garden State Legislature.

More interesting is the race for Governor in Virginia, which is shaping up to be similar to the 2016 U.S. national election. The Democrats have put forward Ralph Northam, the current Lieutenant Governor of Virginia who voted for W. twice and, like Hillary before him has lukewarm stances on issues that appeal to the Democratic base. Ed Gillespie, the 2014 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate who nearly beat Mark Warner in that election and nearly lost to Confederate flag thumper Corey Stewart in a primary for this year’s gubernatorial race, is running an explicitly racist campaign. He has a widespread ad in circulation that conflates MS-13 gangbangers with all undocumented immigrants. It’s deplorable.

Polls have shown Northam with a consistent lead, but I’m quite nervous about the outcome of this one. I’ve been on the ground in VA and knocked doors for some of the House of Delegates candidates in this race. When I was there, there was little to no presence and coordination from the Northam campaign, even as late as a month after the primary. House of Delegates candidates couldn’t even get literature to hand out from the statewide candidates. This does not bode well for a campaign that will likely need a strong field operation to deliver a statewide victory.

So what will the Trump effect be in Virginia? Will angry voters turn out in droves and forcefully reject the Donald and Gillespie, the latter of which seems perturbed that he received an endorsement from the former? Or will the voters acquiesce to the paranoia being propagated by Ed and Trump and give in to the grifters yet again?

We shall see.

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