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.         

  • Lee Pillsbury

    I decided to support Ed anytime he ran when I saw him talking to 4 or 5 people at a bus stop in Roanoke at 5:30 in the morning during his Senate run. That is putting in the work.

    • kelley

      i am glad that he decided to speak to a few. Because he sure has given rural Virginia the cold shoulder this election

      • Susan Sili

        Awww someone did not read my article. Shame on you. Caroline is as rural as you get and Ed has been a frequent visitor.

        • kelley

          Caroline is not as rural as Lunenburg. & yes, I did read your article.

      • Lee Pillsbury

        Kelley, you must not have been paying attention to this race yet. Ed has been everywhere talking to everybody. I have run into him in committee meetings,diners,and backyards. And that’s without trying.

        • kelley

          good for you. In Lunenburg?

      • Jim Portugul

        Evidently, the establishment’s Ed feels right at home in Caroline County, or, perhaps any other county that has been so poorly run and racked up unbelievable amounts of debt. (See link below) It is the establishment that profits from debt, so Ed just loves it! You can’t make this stuff up.

        http://www.carolineprogress.com/caroline-countys-debt-at-210-million/

        • Susan Sili

          A bit behind the times are we? Caroline finished the year two years ago with a 3 million surplus.Yes Indeed, Ed loves us! His attendance at that kick off in 2015, gave us two more Republicans on our bos that November to get that 3 million surplus and sent our 30 year dems packing who spent all that money. so true, Can’t make this stuff up!

          • Jim Portugul

            What’d you do with the surplus?

          • Susan Sili

            Thanks for the opportunity to talk about Caroline which as everyone knows I love, love, love to do. We set it aside in a special account to pay for road improvements in 2019 for two brand new businesses coming to Caroline. Our Dems, the two left on the bos tried to spend it but those that Ed helped elect held fast. It’s still set aside so that we can handle other businesses at the same interchange in our growth area. While your focus on Caroline is flattering and provides great opportunities to write about my favorite county, it does not change the fact that Ed did the upfront work and does not really need to share his name recognition Virginia wide with the other candidates. I know it’s a tough pill to swallow but there it is. Folks in rural Virginia, Caroline or otherwise vote for who they meet and could care less about online debating by candidates from various cities. .

          • Susan Sili

            and since Jim is so accommodating with his alternate subject matter, if you are a blue county like Caroline struggling with 30 years of Dem representation on your bos, and are running Republican candidates, give Ed a call. It works!

          • Jim Portugul

            But you skipped the part about having a surplus and yet still raising taxes? Why didn’t you give the surplus back to it rightful owners, the taxpayer?

            I’m not going to let the media divide me into one party against another. I don’t like either one of them, they’re both wrong, equally wrong. Both are equally corrupt. Both parties ran up nearly $20,000,000,000,000 in debt.

          • Susan Sili

            no I didn’t, lol. You read the article, the dems wanted to spend the surplus.The Dem quoted in the article is the Dem chairman here. Not really a surprise, since for 30 years they spent every extra dollar we had til by 2007 we were making payroll on a credit card. I guess you have to know the history of Caroline to understand. Since you are interested you can find most of the history of our blue board of supervisors and what they did with the money right here on BD in the various articles I have written. But for today, since you are such a fan, I have pictures of Ed on our specially built old fashioned stumping platform helping to elect our new board in 2015.I’ll dig some up.and post. Oh did I mention last year we had a million surplus with our new board?

          • Jim Portugul

            With Trump in the White House, I doubt Ed could win election to county dog catcher.

  • Lawrence Wood

    I get it you like Ed, Ed’s the man. One small issue that keeps nagging at my sense of reality though and that is in a race with polling estimates of 38 – 50 percent of state voters still sitting on the “undecided” bench what you end up with is these anecdotal articles like this one of Ed the conqueror backed up by zero factual evidence from either his campaign team or ardent supporters that he is anything other then a guy that has shown little polling upside off of his original name recognition poll base at the campaign’s start.

    If you have some data, not antidotes or pool lane analogies, but facts, that currently demonstrate Gillespie’s command of the race I would (as would many others I suspect) love to see them). Party straw polls don’t count other then for the few hundred votes they actually represent. Any candidate that requires this much jawboning from supporters regarding his command of a race in lieu of any actual data to support the contention doesn’t seem to me to be sitting in anything other then a fictional driver’s seat. I’m open to being shown I’m wrong just provide some factual evidence that supports your contentions. I won’t be waiting on it though as I fairly sure it doesn’t currently exist .

    • Susan Sili

      You must have me confused with some other writer. I have written nothing about Ed to date and am not really interested in the Ra Ra stuff. Since my county, a blue county, was represented for decades by dems who spent us into oblivion and since it took us a decade to figure out how to turn it around and elect conservatives which we did in 2015, I am always interested in candidates who campaign the way we do, one on one, willing to do the work. Bolling was the same way. Came to every salt fish and Sunday school breakfast in the State, never asking how many would be there. That;s how you win that percentage necessary and that’s what Ed has done for three years. In rural Virginia, the phone banking pisses people off as do the barrage of mail pieces.My hats off to anyone willing to stay this course for so long and do the work necessary to win.
      .

      • Susan Sili

        Here’s a statistic, look up Steve Baril’s primary numbers in my home town in 2003 when he ran against Bob McDonnell and get back to me. Steve visited twice in this very rural Virginia town for an hour total and took it by 60 percent, one of the few places in Virginia he won. .

        • Lawrence Wood

          What does this response have to do either with your Gillespie conjectures or political reality? But good for Mr. Baril anyway, I guess, if I or anyone else understood how that related to your article in the first place. If I can net this out somehow it’s your position that visiting every small Virginia rural locality puts you in the win lane to statewide success in some manner. Sorry to break your bubble but that is NOT how statewide Virginia voting demographics actually work in an open primary and haven’t in fact for close to two decades. But I’m more then willing to leave you with that conjecture if it makes you happy.

          • Susan Sili

            Raw numbers are reality. Republicans talk all the time about upping those percentage points to offset NOVA and how to do it. Visiting small events all across Virginia for three years is not an accident. Locally in rural Virginia where everyone has to shop at the same grocery store and worship together in the same church makes for not so partisan bedfellows. In blue Caroline my supervisor wins with 60 per cent of the vote from Dems, Independents and Republicans each time, running as a Republican.LOCAL politics. Ed has been very good at identifying community leaders with their own following having nothing to do with committee membership. I got him in front of 150 of those in 2015 who had no party affiliation who well remember his name. The primary is all but done and he is in the best place possible to win the election in November..Why should he waste his time making Frank Wagner happy who two months from the election is just now asking me when the committee meets in Caroline. Seriously lame. .

      • Lawrence Wood

        You made unfounded assumptions and I’m confused. LOL Nice try.

    • Stephen Spiker

      What does it matter if you believe Ed is the front-runner or not?

  • Susan Sili

    Note to self, Spend months and countless hours covering the antics and some real legislation in the General Assembly and nobody comments but the gang gets all fired up when I point out that Ed’s three years ahead of the pack in name recognition and ya can’t go to a backyard barbecue without tripping over him. Live and learn.

    • MD Russ

      As they say, Susan, no good deed shall go unpunished. But, I must agree with those who are skeptical of Gillespie’s momentum. If he is polling in the 30’s and half of the voters are undecided, then that does not bode well for any Republican in November. (Having said that, I can’t see Wagner, and certainly not Stewart, being the nominee in the general–much less actually winning. The best thing that Stewart has going for him is that Trump fired him last year.) Given the tradition of Virginia electing the opposition candidate to the President’s party coupled with the historic disapproval rates of Trump, the best chance Gillespie has is if the Democrats nominate Perriello, a one-and-done novice who squeaked into a Congressional seat by organizing UVA students to register to vote in the 5th CD instead of where they actually live. That won’t work statewide.

      • Jeremy Johnson

        Disagree, elections are about passion and relatability to the voters. Wagner is the only (R) candidate that can win against Northam. VIrginia is now moderate state. The candidate that actually has a plan for jobs, education able to connect with minorities will win. Talking about voodoo tax cuts will not impress the average Virginia voter. Sorry NoVA republican have relatability issue with citizens in the rest of the state.

        • MD Russ

          Both Cuccinelli and McAuliffe were NoVa candidates in 2013. Which one had the passion and relatability to the voters and won?

          Wagner might be a great guy, but when a candidate is polling in single-digit Corey Stewart territory, I wouldn’t bet the farm on him.

          Like it or not, Northam will be the next Virginia Governor. Gillespie will keep it close but, as we used to say in the Army, close only counts in artillery and hand grenades.

    • Jim Portugul

      I’ll make a deal with you since you and Ed are on each other’s barbecue list, ok? You get Speaker Howell, Cox, and majority leader Tommy Norment, all up on the stage with Ed, and get all 3 of them to say that they will back Ed’s 10% tax decrease proposal in the Virginia House and Senate and I will vote Ed. I’ll even shut up and make a donation to his campaign. The balls in your and Ed’s court.

  • Richard Roberts II

    So question is should we call him #EstablishmentEd, #AbsenteeEd, or #EnronEd? It’s getting more confusing everyday. Guess Ed doesn’t believe in this tradition, just like he hid from VCDL rally on Lobby Day while claiming to be all about gun rights now? He accuses Tom Perriello of trying to buy the race, while he is the one trying to buy a primary. Heck he just sent me an email asking for money TODAY!

    • You could just call him Ed, and leave the preschool insults out.

      • Jim Portugul

        When a party wins election as Trump has done, the number one priority should be to hold the position for that party. Obama did not do so, Trump so far has not done so. It appears that the Republicans are going to do everything possible to give it all back to the Dems.

  • Greg Aldridge

    Getting to know Virginians?
    The last time he came to roanoke one of my political supporters called me complaining that they had gotten a call to attend a “business round table” with gillespie and was then told they wouldn’t be actually having a discussion with ed, they just needed people for a photo op.

  • Jeremy Johnson

    Articles like this further go to show how Hampton Roads, the second largest region in the state are continuously overlooked. HR is the backbone of industry in VA. We host the largest naval installation, Mid Atlantic’s largest port and have the largest concentration of college students in the Commonwealth. Mr Wagner’s point is that over 5000 business leaders were eager to hear from someone who may be elected as the next Governor of VA. This point is relevant as ever. If Mr. Gillespie claims that he will fix the economy of Va, shouldn’t he want to listen to the concerns of the leaders of HR? Just like at Shad Plank, Mr. Gillespie was nowhere to be found. If this is how he is treating us now, there is no surprise on how he would act as Governor. Future more all of the polls indicate that 40 – 51% of voters are undecided. The choice is clear in my opinion, Wagner for Governor!

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