VIRGINIA (WRIC/AP) — Just as the polls were about to open, Pres. Trump tweeted about the race for Virginia’s next governor.
In a series of tweets, Trump said, “Ralph Northam will allow crime to be rampant in Virginia. He’s weak on crime, weak on our GREAT VETS, Anti-Second Amendment…and has been horrible on Virginia economy. Vote Ed Gillespie today!”
He then goes on to tweeting, “Ed Gillespie will totally turn around the high crime and poor economic performance of VA. MS-13 and crime will be gone. Vote today, ASAP!”
Virginia has the nation’s only competitive governor’s race this year and it could be an early referendum on Pres.Trump’s popularity ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
Republican Ed Gillespie, a White House adviser to President George W. Bush and multimillionaire lobbyist, has run on lower taxes, tougher policies toward immigrants in the state illegally, and on preserving the state’s Confederate statues. Democrat Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist and lieutenant governor, has promised to continue many of the policies of current Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is barred from seeking a second term. Northam has championed increased spending on public education, tighter gun rules, and strong support for abortion rights. Libertarian Cliff Hyra is also running on a campaign platform of protecting personal freedoms and limiting government power.
Most polls have shown a close contest, and both candidates have been helped by big names. Former President Barack Obama held a rally with Northam and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton helped him raise money.
Bush appeared at three fundraisers for Gillespie, who also campaigned with Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Trump has before tweeted out support for Gillespie, but didn’t campaign with him. Gillespie largely kept his distance from the president, who most polls show is unpopular overall in Virginia.
The polls in Virginia close at 7 p.m.