Donald Trump may not be on Virginia’s ballot this year, but he is certainly making his presence felt in the commonwealth’s gubernatorial race.
During a recent debate between Republican candidate Ed Gillespie and Democratic candidate Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, the president and other national issues played a large role in the discussion. In fact, moderator Judy Woodruff led off the questioning by asking about President Trump.
Lt. Governor Northam did not hold back, saying:
“I believe that our president is a dangerous man. I believe that he lacks empathy. You need to look no further than his mocking of the journalist. That’s all that I needed to see. And he also has difficulty telling the truth. And it happens again and again. As we say on the Eastern Shore, he lies like a rug.”
Gillespie countered by saying that it would do Virginia no good to have a governor who insults the president: “When you hear the lieutenant governor, he calls his campaign the resistance. Resistance 2017. What are you going to do as our governor? Call the White House and say, ‘please put me through to the narcissistic maniac?’”
While promoting good ties with the Trump White House, Gillespie did make it clear that he has differences with the president. For instance, Gillespie supports funding for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup, which Trump’s budget proposal slated for elimination.
During the debate, Northam stressed his opposition to hydraulic fracturing, his support of gun control, his desire to see Medicaid expanded to cover Virginians with higher incomes, and his opposition to restrictions on birth control. Gillespie discussed his plans to cut taxes, his support for gun rights, and said that he would work to end “sanctuary cities.”
This was the first in a series of three gubernatorial debates.
Do you think that gubernatorial races should focus on what President Trump is doing? Or do you think that governors and gubernatorial candidates should focus on state-level issues?