Gillespie’s Swim Lane
So the countdown to the primary on June 13th has really begun. Shad Planking and all that. Now candidate for Virginia Governor Frank Wagner accuses Ed Gillespie of “hiding in the shadows” because he isn’t interested in taking part in further debates.
Wagner said, “I find it unconscionable that with 54 days to go before the Primary election Ed Gillespie now refuses to discuss the issues facing Virginia’s families. Hampton Roads is an important region in Virginia and Ed Gillespie’s refusal to debate here or anywhere else in Virginia should tell Virginia Republican voters exactly what Ed Gillespie thinks of them. Voters are only now beginning to pay attention to this election at the same time Ed Gillespie decides to hide in the shadows.”
When I was done chuckling, I thought about how much Gillespie has NOT been in the shadows for three years. While his opponents Wagner and Stewart desperately need the hype surrounding debates, which are mostly attended and watched online by the choir, Gillespie is still steady at it, working toward a win in the General Election in November.
While I know it’s hard not to be envious of all the miles Ed has traveled in the last three years getting to know Virginians all over the Commonwealth, there was nothing stopping his opponents from doing the same, so I can’t feel too sorry for Frank Wagner.
In Caroline, we understood Ed’s willingness to pound the pavement the old fashioned way when he showed up for a non-partisan event in 2015 which featured local candidates for the Board of Supervisors, the year AFTER he lost his Senate race. Grabbing a burger, Ed wasn’t in a hurry and hung around just to shoot the breeze. We like that. We like that a lot.
When Ed was campaigning for Senate, instead of showing up at the State Fair, he called conservatives in Caroline and said, “Hey, coming your way.” We said, “We’ll pick you up in a golf cart when you get here and make sure you meet 200 people.”
When Ed arrived, “his people” tried to steer him to the state GOP booth, where he would meet only those who stopped there to talk. Ed Gillespie jumped in that golf cart and met a myriad of folks who weren’t activists and politicos. He’s great with real people, one on one, and no subject was off limits. Ed understands local government and how the puzzle fits together all the way up the chain. Campaigning in Caroline 101.
So my best guess is … this has taken place all over Virginia and continues to take place. My advice to the other candidates, who imagine they are in Ed’s swim lane, is to stop with the debates for the choir who have already made up their minds, and get on some doors. You might just catch Ed’s wake.