W is coming to Richmond! Monday’s downtown event sold out immediately and has a waiting list of those wishing to attend.
Former President George W. Bush is the first of two former presidents who will be in Richmond next week campaigning for gubernatorial candidates. Three days after Bush’s appearance, former President Barack Obama will attend a rally on Thursday for Democrat Ralph Northam, and on Saturday current Vice President Mike Pence will be in southwestern Virginia with Gillespie while former Vice President Joe Biden will be in Northern Virginia with Northam.
Both sides are pushing hard with less than four weeks until election day.
Bush helping his friend, solidifies Bush team
It is no surprise that Bush will be the headliner guest at the fundraising lunch for Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie. The two have worked closely together over the years. When Bush reached out to Gillespie to serve as chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2003, Ed answered the call. When Bush asked him to become White House Counselor to the President in 2007, Ed answered the call.
When Ed ran against Mark Warner for U.S. Senate three years ago, George W was on the final volunteer phone conference call before election day and electrified the troops. Warner, who had been expected to easily walk away with the reelection, received a scare when Gillespie surprisingly came within 0.8 percent of winning.
In March the former President joined an A-list of attendees at a fundraiser in Dallas for Virginia’s gubernatorial hopeful. So in the final weeks before election day, it is not surprising that Bush #43, whose sense of loyalty is well known, will be in town to again help rally the troops and raise money for Gillespie. A reunion of sorts for the George W. Bush team, the event will be filled with familiar faces from 2000 and 2004, and the years in between.
The Host Committee is full of familiar names in Virginia political circles: Former Lieutenant Governor and Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Hager whose son Henry is married to President Bush’s daughter Jenna; Kay James who served in the Bush #41 and #43 administrations and as Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources during Governor George Allen’s administration; former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore; Bobby Ukrop who is President and Chief Executive Officer of Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods; Delegate Jimmie Massie; Tom Farrell, CEO of Dominion Resources; long-time business leaders Christine and David Cottrell; real estate businessman Bill Goodwin.
Rounding out the Host Committee are other prominent members of the business community including Frank Atkinson, Marty Barrington, Tom Cabaniss, Richard Cullen, Marguerite and Norwood Davis, Mike Frazier, Bruce Gottwald, Sr., Floyd Gottwald, Bryan Komblau, Judy and Chuck Lessin, John Luke, Tom McInerney, Joey Smith, Tracy Walker, John Whitlock, and Howard Willard.
Respected for his leadership during the dark months following the September 11, 2001, terrorism attacks on America, George W. Bush has spent his retirement in the years since leaving the White House working to better lives through his humanitarian work in Africa,  and his emphasis on education, global health, human freedom, and support of the military.
He has teamed with the four other living presidents — his dad Bush #41, Clinton, Carter, and Obama — to raise funds for natural disasters such as Haiti relief, and aid for those who suffered losses during Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. His philanthropy extends to other groups such as Operation Smile, Kids Wish Network, Airlift Research Foundation, National Park Foundation, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the United Nations Development Programme, as well as others.
For those fortunate enough to be with the President on Monday, it is going to be a memorable day with an honorable man.
Photo from UVa MillerCenter.org