Richmond Times-Dispatch Issues Strong Endorsement of Ed Gillespie For Virginia Governor

The Richmond-Times Dispatch endorsed Republican Ed Gillespie for governor today, continuing Gillespie’s positive momentum. The Times-Dispatch cited Gillespie’s focus “on helping boost economic growth and job creation” and that he would “deliver” on Virginia’s potential. As Gillespie’s campaign continues to gain clear momentum less than two weeks from Election Day, the Times-Dispatch’s endorsement further shows that he is the best candidate to serve as Virginia’s next governor.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch writes:

“Despite the occasional nasty campaign flier or 30-second TV spot, this year’s race for governor of Virginia is a cause for at least modest celebration. The two major-party candidates are both admirable men — able, honest, and well-qualified to execute the high office they seek. Not so long ago, this might have seemed unremarkable. But in the 2013 gubernatorial election, The Times-Dispatch decided that no candidate was worthy of endorsement. And last year, after careful consideration, we endorsed the Libertarian candidate for president, much to the chagrin of many readers.

This year poses no such dilemma. Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic nominee for governor, is an honorable man, with a long record of service to country and commonwealth. He is fit for the job of governor. But he is the second-best choice to lead Virginia, not so much because of any defects on his part, but because of the abundant strengths of his opponent. Republican Ed Gillespie has run an energetic, inclusive, moderate-conservative, solutions-oriented campaign. His detailed, in-depth proposals reflect a refreshing respect for the intelligence of the voters.

Gillespie revives the pragmatic, open-minded Republican Party that for so long served Virginia well by emphasizing effective government that focuses on core responsibilities while limiting regulation and keeping taxes as low as possible. In an era of screamers, Gillespie speaks in calm tones about shared goals and specific policies to address both recent declines and longstanding problems. He offers multitudes of incremental progress rather than misleading promises of pure utopias. He is a realistic conservative who understands the gradual changes in Virginia — and is able to appreciate and protect the improvements while recognizing the problems, which are frequently spurred by creeping blue-state calls for bigger and more intrusive government.

His campaign has focused on helping boost economic growth and job creation. Its centerpiece is a highly responsible and straightforward plan to cut every Virginian’s state income tax by 10 percent. Despite hysterical claims to the contrary, Gillespie’s tax reforms will let workers keep more in their wallets, while protecting the commonwealth’s ability to meet its fundamental responsibilities, with a comfortable margin of error. He knows, unlike most Democrats, that more government spending is not the cure for all that ails society.

He has also displayed a desire to reform state laws and institutions that are failing our citizens, especially the most vulnerable among us. He has spoken frequently about the racial disparities in our criminal justice system. Gillespie proposes to raise the dollar amount of the felony larceny threshold, relax some medical marijuana and marijuana possession laws, and improve the process to restore voting rights for felons who have paid their debt to society. He favors treatment and intervention over incarceration as the best response to addiction. These measures demonstrate the candidate’s ability to assess complex challenges and respond with practical solutions rather than poll-tested slogans.

Gillespie backs charter schools as an alternative public-school opportunity for students who need a better education. He has outlined specific plans for expanding cooperation among governments, businesses, and faith communities to address issues such as foster care, adoption, and prisoner re-entry, where Virginia’s performance can certainly improve. He understands the need to act prudently on health care, so that its demands on the budget do not squeeze out funding for education and public safety. He recognizes that reforms to the state’s burdensome certificate of need program will ultimately benefit patient care and costs.

Perhaps most important, Gillespie knows that while Virginia remains a prosperous, dynamic dominion, it also faces strong competition — for jobs, businesses, students — from nearby states, especially those to the south. Virginia’s natural assets, enviable workforce, and outstanding universities have long provided competitive superiority. But those advantages can be forfeited if the commonwealth’s regulatory regime, budget discipline, and entrepreneurial appeal are allowed to decay. Gillespie talks often and persuasively about the unbreakable link between economic growth and social progress. As governor, he will deliver on Virginia’s potential. He has earned our confident endorsement.”