RGA Begins Paid Media Attacks on Northam

National names stumped for both candidates over the long weekend.

Zach C. Cohen
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Zach C. Cohen
Sept. 5, 2017, 11:25 a.m.

The RGA-backed State Solutions Inc. has been running digital ads ”since as early as August 18th” urging voters to tell Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) “to keep supporting our pipelines.” (Blue Virginia)

The group also released a short video accusing Northam of voting to prevent disclosure of sexual predators’ information, without providing citation. (Hotline reporting)

STATE OF PLAY. “The parties seemed to gravitate back toward middle ground with their presumed nominees for 2017 — Northam and Gillespie were both centrists with vanilla personalities. But after Trump’s surprising election, and the unexpectedly hard-fought primary races this spring, the landscape has changed.”

“Although Northam also says localities should decide the issue for themselves, his posture [in favor of removing them] is a tricky one in Virginia, which has more Civil War monuments than any other state and where polls show a slim majority of residents want the statues to remain in place. … Gillespie also found himself on dangerous terrain when Trump drew widespread anger by initially saying the violence in Charlottesville could be blamed on ‘many sides’ instead of condemning the white supremacists. Northam pushed his opponent to disavow Trump’s comments, but Gillespie — who last year was slow to embrace Trump’s candidacy — has generally avoided mentioning the president. He has denounced white supremacists but defended the statues and thinks they should stay put.

“In the weeks since, Gillespie went on the offensive and aired the first attack ad of the campaign, slamming Northam for allegedly supporting ‘sanctuary cities’ that allow undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes to take refuge from federal agents. There’s a complicated backstory there — Virginia has no sanctuary cities, but Republicans in the state Senate used a parliamentary maneuver to get Northam to cast a vote on the topic.”

“Democrats didn’t anticipate Confederate monuments as a lasting issue in this year’s governor’s race. Northam now says he thinks the topic will linger into the fall, and he’s trying to steer the conversation to other issues.” (Washington Post)

“Northam … is seen as pivoting left to assuage a Democratic Party firmly rooted there for more than decade and drawing strength from the bustling metropolitan areas concentrated in eastern Virginia.

“And while Gillespie … is a product of a center-right Republican Party, he is starting to affect a faintly Trumpian tone, mindful that it resonates powerfully within a GOP largely anchored in the countryside.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

BIG GUNS. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R) headlined a fundraiser for former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R) this weekend in McLean. (Politico)

Term-limited Gov. Terry McAuliffe, first lady Dorothy McAuliffe, DNC Chair Tom Perez, and DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker campaigned across the commonwealth for Northam and the rest of the ticket. (release) Sen. Tim Kaine (D) also stumped on Northam’s behalf. (Waynesboro News Virginian)

Two “prominent Muslim organizations, EmgagePAC and the American Muslim Women PAC,” also endorsed Northam on Friday. (release)

Northam also unveiled on Monday his platform for supporting veterans, which includes finding “more flexibility and faster access to healthcare for Virginia’s veterans through the VA Choice program.” (release)

But Northam skipped the annual Labor Day Parade in Buena Vista. (Roanoke Times)

Roanoke Times editorial board: “From the cold logic of political mathematics, this makes sense. Democrats will find a lot more votes in Hampton than in Buena Vista. … Rightly or wrongly, this sends yet another signal that Democrats don’t really care about anything outside the urban crescent.” (Roanoke Times)

AUGUST RECAP. Gillespie released his first TV ad of the general election in the D.C. media market, a biographical spot about this family. (release)

Northam “ holds a 7-percentage point lead (43%-36%) over … Gillespie,” according to a new Roanoke College poll (Aug. 12-19; 599 LVs; +/-4%). (release)

NextGen America announced it will spend $2 million to support Northam with “over 70 paid staff on the ground on 25 campuses statewide.” (release)

“The Virginia League of Conservation Voters is spending $1.8 million to help elect Democratic gubernatorial contender Ralph Northam.” (Washington Post)

“Let America Vote … said it had knocked on 130,000 doors in Virginia to support … Northam.” (HuffPost)

“Gillespie … has asked supporters to sign a petition opposing the removal of the state’s Confederate monuments.” (Washington Times)

Gillespie “has hired Jack Morgan, Trump’s Southwest Virginia field director, to play a similar role for his campaign. … Morgan worked for Gillespie’s opponent,” Prince William County Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart “in the GOP gubernatorial primary. He has warned that the country is on the brink of civil war and that communists are behind the effort to take down Confederate statues.” (Washington Post)

“McAuliffe struck a softer tone on Confederate monuments Thursday, two weeks after urging Virginia’s cities and state legislature to move them to museums or graveyards. … On Thursday, McAuliffe’s remarks on his radio program gave Republicans hope that Northam would be left out on a limb on the issue.” (Washington Post)

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