Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, whose allies have repeatedly tried to cast his Republican opponent as a racist and white supremacist for putting illegal alien crime at the center of his campaign, himself called out a new law for not being harsh enough on “illegal immigrants” when he first ran for office.
In a 2007 campaign TV spot, brought to light Sunday in a report by National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis, then-Virginia State Senate hopeful Northam strikes back at his Republican opponent, Nick Rerras, who had criticized him for opposing increases in traffic ticket penalties.
“They’re attacking me because I’m against abusive driver fees, fees that target Virginians but don’t go after out-of-state drivers or illegal immigrants,” Northam says in the ad.
As DeSanctis points out, nothing in the way new driving penalties were written that necessitated the mention of illegal immigrants. Northam chose to do so on his own accord, seemingly playing on the unpopularity of policies that favor those in the country illegally.
In his governor’s race a decade ago, however, Northam repeatedly attacked his opponent for focusing on his refusal to ban sanctuary cities, another policy that favors those in the country illegally. In his final debate with Ed Gillespie, Northam claimed Gillespie’s shift in emphasis to the illegal alien-fueled crime of MS-13, and the damage sanctuary cities cause, would scare immigrant communities and divide Virginians.
Northam’s allies, chief among them incumbent Democrat governor and close confidant of the Clinton family Terry McAuliffe, have gone much further. McAuliffe called Gillespie’s gubernatorial bid the “most racist campaign we’ve ever seen in Virginia history,” a curious claim in a state represented in the U.S. Senate by arch-segregationist and “Massive Resistance” leader Harry F. Byrd during McAuliffe’s lifetime.
Meanwhile, an outside group supporting Northam called the Latino Victory Fund, used Gillespie’s focus on illegal immigration to justify an ad showing a Gillespie supporter attempting to run his pickup truck over terrified Latino and Muslim children for almost a full minute. The ad was pulled after being roundly condemned—even in left-leaning circles—and an Islamic State-supporting immigrant was shot and arrested on suspicion of killing eight people in New York City.
The fallout over the Latino Victory Fund ad, however, has not put a stop to the left’s attempts to smear Gillespie over his focus on illegal immigration. The Asian American and Pacific Islanders Victory Fund, another group supporting Northam, put out a newspaper ad Sunday exclaiming they “do not want [Gillespie’s] dangerous and racist agenda” and that Gillespie “supports racist white supremacists in Charlottesville.”
As the race, to be decided Tuesday, nears its end, Northam appears to have reverted to his 2007 nonchalance towards addressing illegal immigration. On Thursday, he adopted Gillespie’s position and said he would ban sanctuary cities, quickly earning him the condemnation of the identity politics obsessed far-left. This was the latest in a series of racially charged controversies that have plagued the Virginia Democratic Party’s 2017 campaign, most notably when the party’s black lieutenant governor nominee was left off a flyer, creating the impression of an all-white ticket.
Ahead of Tuesday’s election, Northam and Gillespie are tight in the polls, with some surveys finding a slim lead for Republican Gillespie.