What They Are Saying: Ralph Northam Faces Criticism Over Misleading Attack Mailer In Virginia

After suffering one of the worst weeks of his campaign, Virginia Democrat Ralph Northam is taking new heat for authorizing misleading mailers that attempt to tie Republican Ed Gillespie to neo-Nazi’s. The controversy marks the latest embarrassing episode for Northam’s campaign as he struggles with growing panic from his own staff, tightening poll numbers, and a scandal involving his own running mate in the race’s final weeks. Here are some highlights of recent coverage:

In response, the Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial Board slammed Northam’s campaign, calling their attack on Gillespie “practically libel:”

“They have distributed a mailer of their own, seeking to tie Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie to the white nationalists who rampaged through Charlottesville in August.

That isn’t merely a reach. It’s practically libel.

Gillespie has repeatedly and passionately condemned white supremacists and other creatures that have crawled out from under the alt-right rock. Linking him to them requires the following absurd logic: (1) Donald Trump said some stupid things about Charlottesville. (2) Trump is a Republican. (3) Gillespie is a Republican. (4) Therefore, Gillespie supports racial hate.”

The Washington Post reported on Northam’s misleading mailers, setting the record straight that “Gillespie has repeatedly condemned the white nationalists behind the Charlottesville protest:”

“The back of the literature features a prominent image of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam, along with Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring, with the message ‘This is our chance to stand up to Trump, Gillespie, and hate.’ All three Democrats approved the ad, and the Democratic Party of Virginia paid for the mailer.

But Gillespie has repeatedly condemned the white nationalists behind the Charlottesville protest.

…Gillespie has said there was no ‘moral equivalency’ between the white supremacists and counterprotesters and that he saw no “fine people” marching in Charlottesville…”

Even Northam’s top surrogate, Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe, had a tough time defending his campaign’s actions. The Washington Free Beacon reported that McAuliffe went on WTOP radio to defend Northam but claimed he hadn’t even seen the mailer when asked if it showed signs of “desperation:”

One of the questions came from NBC4 Washington’s Julie Carey, who asked about the controversial mailer ad. All three campaigns on Virginia’s Democratic ticket approved a new mailer ad that shows Gillespie and Trump superimposed above a photo of white nationalists holding tiki torches…

Carey said that Gillespie has disavowed the white nationalists from the beginning and asked McAuliffe whether Virginia Democrats are showing signs of “desperation” by painting Gillespie alongside extremist figures.

‘I haven’t seen this particular mailer. Do you have it there?’ McAuliffe asked.

‘Pictures of it,’ Carey said.”

And in its report, Townhall.com noted that this is merely the latest episode in a series of race-based controversies involving Northam and his Democrat allies in recent weeks, following his decision to exclude Justin Fairfax from campaign fliers at the request of a union, which some labelled “subtle racism:”

“Democrats in Virginia have had a bad couple weeks in these late stages of the gubernatorial race. First, the Ralph Northam campaign was accused of ‘subtle racism’ for removing African-American lieutenant governor candidate Justin Fairfax from some campaign literature. Northam explained the reason for the omission was because a labor union had refused to endorse him.

Then, in a Fairfax County delegate election, Democrats sent out insensitive attack mailers against Republican candidate Lolita Mancheno-Smoak, an Ecuadorian-American. Based on the image, it appeared that the mailer was comparing her to a dog and a fictional serial killer.

In the midst of these PR nightmares, Democrats are now accusing Republican Ed Gillespie of racism. Check out the new flier Virginians are getting in the mail, linking Gillespie and Trump to the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.”