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With Four Weeks to go till Election Day, Gillespie and Northam Face Off in Southwest Virginia

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New Wason Center poll shows Northam with a 7-point lead; Gillespie out of step with majority of Virginians who disagree with premise of divisive, racist ads

We’ve covered how important this race is for Virginia and how the national conversation on DACA, Muslim Bans v1-3, hate groups, all have driven the narrative in the commonwealth. With four weeks to go till Election Day in Virginia, Ed Gillespie’s strategy of appealing to his base without reaching out to immigrants and minorities may be taking a toll on his ability to win.

A new poll by the Wason Center — released on the day of the final debate of the season — has the Democrat up seven points over the Republican, while the race for lieutenant governor has Justin Fairfax leading by eight; the race for attorney general has Mark Herring up eleven; and the generic House of Delegate ballot has Democrats leading by eleven points.
Tonight’s debate at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, a small community in the southwest corner of the state, is also coming on the heels of President Trump’s disjointed tweet endorsing Ed Gillespie, asking Virginians to vote for Gillespie because Northam is “fighting for the violent MS-13 killer gangs & sanctuary cities.”

The Wason poll also made clear that Virginians reject Gillespie’s assertions about gang violence as 58% disagree that gang-related violence is a problem where they live. The poll also showed that a majority of Virginians (52%) do not believe that “illegal immigration” is a problem where they live either. These two narratives have been increasingly pushed by the Gillespie campaign and Republican Party of Virginia for the down ballot races.

The poll has shown that Gillespie’s strategy of racist and divisive ads designed to solidify the support of his base, particularly those voters who supported conservative hate monger and viciously anti-immigrant Corey Stewart in the June primary, has fallen flat with most Virginia voters.

What those Gillespie ads have done, however, is coalesced immigrant and faith organizations in repudiating the Trumpian tactics used by the Gillespie campaign to divide and demonize Virginians. Just last week, CASA in Action, led a press conference in Prince William County, calling out the racist attacks against immigrants.CASA in Action’s Luis Aguilar called out the attacks:

“We denounce the abhorrent, disgusting tactics employed by Ed Gillespie, Jill Vogel, and John Adams seeking to continue oppressing, seeking to divide, seeking to gain political gain through the marginalization, scapegoating, and criminalizing the immigrant community. It is a grave mistake to continue attacking our community, and we will see this on Election Day,” said Luis Aguilar of CASA in Action.
Tonight, however, both Northam and Gillespie will have their last chance to appeal to Virginia voters directly without the help of props or scary music. Does Gillespie quickly pivot when asked about Trump’s support? Does he admit — once again — that there aren’t any sanctuary cities in Virginia? Does Northam reassure Virginians that hate groups have no place in the commonwealth? Does Northam go ‘all in’ in support of the communities attacked by the Gillespie ads? We will find out tonight.Follow the last Virginia gubernatorial debate tonight at 7 p.m. online here.

Follow Julio Lainez (@JulioCLainez), America’s Voice Virginia State Director, and America’s Voice (@AmericasVoice) on Twitter as we livetweet the debate.