Virginia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam’s campaign became ensconced in controversy this week as the Northam campaign printed fliers that excluded a picture of African American running mate Justin Fairfax. The Virginia Democrat party previously excluded Fairfax from speaking at its state convention in 2016.
The Northam campaign created a Fairfax-free flier for the Democrat-leaning Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) that removes any reference to the lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Justin Fairfax because the union endorsed Ralph Northam but not Justin Fairfax.
The general counsel of the LIUNA Mid-Atlantic Region Organizing Coalition Brian Petruska argued that Fairfax did not complete its questionnaire and “wasn’t supporting us on the issues.”
Northam campaign spokesman David Turner wanted to reassure Virginians that they will still spread the word about Justin Fairfax.
“You can be rest assured, voters will know who Justin Fairfax is, what he stands for, and why he is the best choice for Lt. Governor in November,” said Turner.
The Collective PAC, a political action committee dedicated to electing progressive African American candidates, said that they are “frustrated” by the news of Fairfax’s exclusion from the campaign flier and suggested that discrimination and racism played a role in the campaign’s decision to exclude Fairfax from the flier:
— Saraya Wintersmith (@SWINTERSMITH) October 18, 2017
Collective PAC tweeted on Wednesday, “It is sad, disturbing and disheartening that efforts to elect Democrats led by progressive partners would intentionally exclude the only black candidate on the statewide ticket, esp. when black voters were so critical to Democrats winning statewide four years ago”:
It is sad, disturbing and disheartening that efforts to elect democrats led by progressive partners would intentionally exclude…
— Collective PAC (@CollectivePAC) October 18, 2017
The Virginia Democrat Party previously excluded Fairfax at the party’s 2016 state convention; they later issued an apology to Justin Fairfax after previously attacking him over whether he could speak at the party’s state convention in 2016.
The apology read, “With a big weekend coming upon us, poor wording was used. His request should not have been called divisive and we apologize for that. We have reached out to invite him to meet with the Chair (Susan Swecker) for a one-on-one meeting to determine how we can move forward together.”
Last year, Fairfax’s campaign manager said it was “deeply unfortunate, puzzling, and alarming” and asked for equal opportunity to speak alongside other candidates.
Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie took the lead over Democrat candidate Ralph Northam, according to a poll from Monmouth University released on Tuesday.
The poll also revealed that Virginians have a more favorable opinion of Gillespie over Northam, which coincides with polling that suggests that Virginia citizens believe that Gillespie understands the day-to-day concerns of the average Virginian more than Ralph Northam:
A better picture to go with the tweet might be of the cards. pic.twitter.com/5eVDYKxIdy
— Renna (@RennaW) October 18, 2017