Democrats in Virginia are frustrated with Ralph Northam’s struggling campaign. After Virginia GOP Gubernatorial Nominee Ed Gillespie won numerous key endorsements from Sheriffs and law enforcement officials across the Commonwealth this week, Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe showed his frustration by canceling a budget meeting with the Virginia Sheriffs Association, in an apparent act of political retribution against its members. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, McAuliffe canceled the meeting because “a majority of sheriffs” backed Gillespie over Northam. As Gillespie continues to gain momentum in the race, including recent endorsements from Virginia law enforcement officials and the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce PAC, this brazen act of political payback by McAuliffe will further hamper Northam’s bid and raises serious questions about the sitting governor’s involvement.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:
“The director of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association has accused Gov. Terry McAuliffe of canceling a budget meeting in retaliation against sheriffs who have endorsed Republican Ed Gillespie for governor.
John W. Jones, the VSA’s executive director, sent an email to his members Friday warning of a ‘significant development’ in the organization’s efforts to advocate on pay issues for deputy sheriffs. Jones said the annual meeting with McAuliffe, a Democrat, was supposed to take place Thursday.
‘The governor canceled the meeting because a majority of sheriffs have endorsed Ed Gillispie[sic] for governor,’ Jones wrote. ‘The VSA does not endorse any candidates for elected office.’
With polls showing a close race between Gillespie and Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, who is running largely on McAuliffe’s legacy, the dustup with the VSA is a sign McAuliffe may be growing frustrated by perceived allies throwing their support to Gillespie. On Thursday morning, the Gillespie campaign announced that Middlesex County Sheriff David Bushey had switched his endorsement from Northam to Gillespie.
McAuliffe’s office did not dispute Jones’ claim that the meeting was canceled due to political feuding, but said the governor has worked to give pay raises to sheriffs and state police and has invited the VSA to submit budget proposals without a face-to-face meeting…
In his email, Jones said the scrapped meeting will put sheriffs at ‘a tremendous disadvantage’ in the 2018 General Assembly session.
‘As a result of this unfortunate development, it is now more important than ever that sheriffs and deputy sheriffs contact their legislators for support to increase salaries of our deputy sheriffs,’ Jones wrote.”