Virginia Republican awkwardly ignores questions of why he put infamous racist on his campaign


Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie claims to reject racism "at every turn." But he named one of his state's most notorious racists to chair his campaign — and refuses to answer for it.

The gubernatorial election in Virginia between Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former GOP party chair Ed Gillespie is a neck and neck race, getting uglier all the time and marred with vicious, racially tinged controversy in the wake of the chaos in Charlottesville.

But one thing Gillespie wants to make clear is that he, unlike some other elements of his party, has no tolerance for racism, as he did at a RadioOne event in Richmond:

If you have a twisted mindset that one race is superior to another or that someone else’s religion and its believers are inferior to you and yours ... That is worse than immoral. It is dehumanizing. And that makes it the presence of evil in our world. We must confront it and reject it at every turn. As governor, I would.

But Gillespie’s sincerity is questionable, given that he has made George Allen an honorary chair of his campaign and eagerly highlights Allen’s endorsement on his campaign website.

Allen, a former Virginia governor and senator, is an unapologetic supporter of Confederate and white supremacist iconography. He prolifically used the N-word in college, kept a noose in his law office, and lost his Senate seat in 2006 after he was caught calling one of his opponents’ campaign workers by a racial slur.

Asked by Shareblue Media reporter Mike Stark to comment on his ties to Allen, Gillespie pointedly ignored the questioning and hurried away.

The reality is that this is nothing new. Gillespie, and the Virginia Republican Party in general, have openly courted the neo-Confederate vote all year. Gillespie and GOP officials branded Northam a race traitor over his lack of support for Confederate monuments, with Gillespie fundraising on the promise to keep them standing.

Meanwhile, last month, Gillespie aired a spectacularly racist ad depicting muscular, heavily tattooed Latino gang members and implying that Northam is OK with immigrants raping and murdering white people. His campaign just released another ad saying the same thing last week.

The Virginia GOP doubled down on this attack in a new mailer:

Given the direction of the race over the past several months, from George Allen’s involvement in the GOP campaign to the incessant race-baiting over statues and immigrants, it is clear that Gillespie is only against racism in soundbites, but fervently in support of it when he thinks it will help him win.

Mike Stark contributed to the reporting of this article.