VIRGINIA | VA-gov

Gillespie Starts to Embrace Trump

The nominees will debate again on Sept. 19.

July 21, 2017, 10:57 a.m.

Former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R) on Thursday said he would “absolutely” accept an invitation from President Trump to campaign for him, citing the need to have “a president who understands the needs of Virginia.”

Gillespie: “I’d like to take the president, the vice president, cabinet secretaries, other governors to our ports … to coal country. … I’ll take all the help I can get from anybody I can get it. This is going to be a very tough race, a very close race.” (John Fredericks Show)

Though Gillespie appears to be courting the voters who almost lost him the GOP primary, he “has not begun embracing Trump with complete abandon.” (Washington Post)

DEBATE TO COME. Gillespie and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) will have their first debate “Saturday at the Virginia Bar Association Conference” with a focus on Gillespie’s relationship with Trump — “a conversation Gillespie wants to have as much as Northam. … The Gillespie campaign, meanwhile, has continued their attacks on ‘No-Show Northam.’ … Also expect: Northam will push Gillespie to take a firmer position on GOP proposals to repeal Obamacare.” (Politico)

“The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday that” Gillespie and Northam “will participate in a debate Tuesday, Sept. 19, at Capital One headquarters in Tysons. NBC journalist Chuck Todd, who hosts ‘Meet the Press,’ will serve as moderator.” (AP)

DOG BITES MAN. Former state Democratic Party spokeswoman Christina Freundlich has joined Northam’s campaign as a deputy communications director. Kevin Donohoe, who previously worked at the pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC Correct the Record, recently replaced her at the state party. (Hotline reporting) Northam’s campaign also released an online ad called “Nonpartisan,” which goes after “Gillespie’s latest refusal to commit to nonpartisan redistricting reform.” The video shows Gillespie, a former chair of the Republican State Leadership Committee, saying, “Our goal is to make sure there are as many Republicans drawing the lines wherever possible.” (release)

Gillespie announced a “Veterans for Ed” coalition this week, which includes 750 members so far. (release)

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