VIRGINIA | VA-gov

Gillespie, Northam Debate Trump, Health Care, Immigration

The RGA gave the Republican another $2 million.

Zach C. Cohen
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Zach C. Cohen
July 24, 2017, 10:54 a.m.

Former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R) and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) “staked out sharply different positions on immigration, health care, Virginia’s economy and President Trump on Saturday in their first debate since winning their respective party primaries for governor on June 13.”

“Their differences started with Trump. Northam … said he had no regrets about a TV ad in which he called the president a ‘narcissistic maniac.’ … Gillespie … has touted his ability to work with the president and on Saturday questioned whether Northam could do the same.”

“There were no obvious missteps during the debate, though it opened with unscripted drama. A man protesting the construction of two proposed natural gas pipelines rushed to the front of the room and yelled ‘No pipelines!’ and interrupted Northam’s opening statement until he was escorted out of the room. Gillespie supports construction. Northam said he will support it only if regulators say the pipelines can be built safely without harming the environment and that the decision ultimately is a federal one.”

“Gillespie noted that Virginia had slipped in business rankings and said the low unemployment rate — 3.7 percent — masked that fact that many Virginians were working part time or at low-paying jobs. Northam touted robust job creation under McAuliffe and noted that Gillespie, when he was a senior adviser to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid, celebrated that state’s 4.7 percent unemployment rate.” (Washington Post)

“Each candidate was given the opportunity to question his opponent directly. Gillespie used his question to probe Northam’s pipeline stance, asking how Northam could favor the natural gas pipelines while opposing fracking. … Northam noted that the gas that would flow through the Atlantic Coast Pipeline comes from outside Virginia.”

“When it came time for Northam to ask his question, the former state senator asked Gillespie if he would support $6 million in state funding to make IUDs, or intrauterine devices, more accessible to women seeking long-term forms of contraception. Gillespie said he would look at it and noted that he supports making oral contraceptives available without a prescription, but Northam used the moment to make a broader call for women’s rights and abortion access.”

“On gun rights, Northam touted his ‘F’ rating from the National Rifle Association, and Gillespie talked up his ‘A.’

“On immigration, Gillespie said he would oppose sanctuary cities and in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. Northam said sanctuary cities do not exist and that he supports lower tuition rates for the so-called ‘Dreamers.’

“On health care, Gillespie said he supports repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act in some form. Northam said he will continue to push for Medicaid expansion in Virginia while acknowledging he does not support the ACA ‘100 percent’ and saying the law needs tweaks.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR YOUR TROUBLES. The RGA gave another $2 million to Gillespie, bringing its direct contributions to him to $3 million. (release) The RGA has also given $8 million to a state PAC.

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