Ed Gillespie and Ralph Northam Spar in Final Debate for Virginia Governor

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Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam sparred in their third and final debate on Monday at the University of Virginia-Wise.

The two candidates debated topics including tax reform, revitalizing rural Virginia, sanctuary cities, and Gov. McAuliffe’s canceled meeting with the Virginia Sheriff’s Association.

A new poll from Emerson College put Gillespie and Northam in a statistical tie.

Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie slammed the Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam administration during a debate on Monday for canceling their meeting with the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association (VSA).

John Jones, the executive director of the VSA, accused the McAuliffe-Northam administration of canceling their meeting with the VSA because the majority of Sheriffs endorsed Ed Gillespie over Ralph Northam.

Gillespie slammed the McAuliffe-Northam administration for canceling the VSA meeting during the debate.

Northam retorted that he had “absolutely nothing to do with that meeting.”

Gillespie then contended that the McAuliffe administration “should reschedule that meeting.”

“I wish the governor would not engage in politics,” Gillespie added.

Gillespie charged that as governor, he will push for a tax cut package “for all Virginians.” The Republican candidate argued that his Democrat opponent will push for a state-level Clean Power Plan which would wreck rural Virginians’ economy, raising electricity prices and eliminating coal jobs. Gillespie said that a Virginia climate change program will “lay off miners” and “hit the poorest Virginians the hardest.”

Ed Gillespie argued that he will bring back the coal production tax credit. Northam wants to pursue an all-of-the-above strategy to promote coal as well as green energy technologies such as wind and solar power.

The Republican candidate argued that he will push for a ban on sanctuary cities in Virginia, while Northam argued that Virginia has no sanctuary cities at the moment.

Northam said that Virginia should remain inclusive to immigrant communities as well as the Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, and Queer (LGBTQ) community. He argued that Gillespie’s rhetoric concerning sanctuary cities will scare immigrant communities and divide Virginians.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel cheered Gillespie’s victory during the third and final debate.

“Ed Gillespie once again demonstrated why he is the best choice to lead Virginia,” said Chairwoman McDaniel. “While Ralph Northam refused more than half of Ed’s proposed debates and won’t leave the urban crescent, Ed has crisscrossed the Commonwealth making clear he’s running to serve all Virginians. After failing to show leadership, or even show up, as Virginia’s lieutenant governor for the last three years, Ralph Northam is now asking for a promotion. Tonight, Ed showed that he is the proven leader Virginia needs, and I am confident voters will remember that as they cast their ballots next month.”

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