“The Democratic candidates for governor seemed to be running against different opponents in their fourth debate Tuesday night, as” former Rep. Tom Perriello (D) “repeatedly attacked President Trump and” former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R) “instead of his primary opponent, Lt.Gov. Ralph Northam (D). Northam, by contrast, kept his focus on state issues and invoked his Democratic allies in Virginia politics.” (Washington Post)
“Throughout the debate, the two candidates rarely addressed the other’s platform and background directly. One exception, though, was Northam’s repeated reference to Perriello receiving an ‘A’ rating from the National Rifle Association when he was in Congress. … One of the other differences highlighted by Northam is that Perriello supported the Stupak-Pitts Amendment while he was in Congress.”
Northam: ”I have unequivocally been pro-choice. We don’t need someone who’s going to be multiple choice.” (Virginian-Pilot)
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS. Perriello’s “ad featuring President Barack Obama has an added bonus for viewers in the D.C. area: tiny lettering indicating Perriello is speaking direct to camera from Alexandria, Va. The location isn’t noted in versions of the ad that have been running outside of the northern Virginia suburbs.” (Politico)
OLD DOMINION. “Northam … has taken heat from environmentalists for refusing to condemn a pair of natural gas pipelines being built in the state, but a recent letter from Virginia’s biggest utility suggests the potential political payoff from his neutral stance.
“Dominion Energy chief executive Thomas Farrell sent a letter May 12 to the company’s 76,000 employees, retirees and shareholders throughout Virginia that urged them to consider Dominion’s pipeline project when voting in the June 13 gubernatorial primary.” (Washington Post)
CAP & TRADE. McAuliffe on Tuesday “directed the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to begin assembling regulations to reduce carbon emissions from Virginia power plants.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Northam: “Very proud that our administration is doing the work to combat climate change in Virginia—you can bet I’ll continue it as governor.” (Twitter)
Perriello: “Gov. McAuliffe’s bold move finally shifts Virginia into a 21st Century energy economy and gives us a better shot at good-paying jobs and at protecting our coastline and climate. … In Congress, I supported cap-and-trade, which would have led to job creation in rural communities around alternate energy and put tradesmen and construction workers on the job.” (release)
Gillespie: “We all want cleaner air; we all want cleaner water. We can get those things without these excessive regulations that are job-killing and cost-increasing.” (release)
GILLESPIE’S CONUNDRUM. “After the June 13 primaries to decide the gubernatorial nominations of both parties, Gillespie may no longer have the luxury of strategic silence. Gillespie can yammer all he wants about Virginia slipping in the ratings of business-friendly states, about Democrats’ hostility to the ban on compulsory union membership as a condition for a job, about his proposed income tax cut that Republican legislators privately concede the state can’t afford, and Obama-like overreach by departing” Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).
“But in a state comfortably carried by Hillary Clinton and where a fresh poll by The Washington Post shows that hostility for Trump is greater than in the nation as a whole, the political environment will fully test the verbal acuity of a guy who, as an aide to the second George Bush, artfully used sound bites and stagecraft to help an unpopular president out of a jam or two.”
“Gillespie gets away now with diaphanous platitudes about health care and the Comey dismissal” for now because “Stewart and Wagner badly lag Gillespie” and “Gillespie has the good fortune of a powerful distraction: the Democratic primary fight between Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello, both of whom have said they fully intend to link the presumed Republican nominee to Trump.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)