Home 2017 Races Which Ad Is More Disgusting, Dishonest, etc.: Ed Gillespie’s “Sanctuary Cities” or...

Which Ad Is More Disgusting, Dishonest, etc.: Ed Gillespie’s “Sanctuary Cities” or Jerry Kilgore’s “Hitler Ads?”


The following ads, both by Republican candidates for governor of Virginia (Jerry Kilgore in 2005; Ed Gillespie in 2017) share a number characteristics: 1) dishonest (Tim Kaine actually said that his personal religious views were anti-death penalty, but that as governor, he would carry out the laws of Virginia, including the death penalty; the charge against Ralph Northam about “sanctuary cities” is extremely shaky/tenuous, at best); 2) disgusting/vicious in various ways (the Gillespie ad plays upon fears and prejudices by the GOP “base” of “dangerous illegal immigrants” – translation, Latinos, people of color more broadly; the “loathsome” “Hitler ads” employed demagoguery about crime and the death penalty – a classic Lee Atwater/Karl Rove move, and also used “Mr. Kaine’s courtroom work as an appointee of the state Supreme Court” to smear him); 3) signs of a candidate who fears he’s going to lose (after leading Tim Kaine for weeks, the race was basically a dead heat by mid-October, when Kilgore released the “Hitler ads”; Ed Gillespie hasn’t led in a poll since June 6-8). I’d also note that, following the debut of the “Hitler ads” in 2005, despite many supposed experts claiming Kaine was doooooomed, instead the ads appeared to backfire, with Kaine pulling ahead and proceeding to defeat Kilgore by 5.7 points on election day. Let’s hope the same thing happens this year, in response to Gillespie going to the gutter with his disgusting, race-baiting new ad.

  • Tom Perriello responds:

    On the same day he refused to say whether he supports Graham-Cassidy, a bill that will take away health care from over 800,000 Virginians, Ed Gillespie released a disgusting ad that doesn’t even attempt to hide its blatant race-baiting. It’s a desperate move by a campaign that increasingly is slipping in the polls.

    But the Gillespie campaign captures a deeper problem for Republicans who increasingly deploy one of two playbooks – when they don’t race-bait, all they have left is a corporate lobbyist’s agenda. While Gillespie’s full embrace of a “Southern Strategy” would make Atwater blush, it is hardly surprising. Gillespie’s problem is not just that he is the nominee of a party that gave him less than 50 percent of the primary vote against an avowed neo-Confederate. The problem is that he has nothing better to offer his base or independents than the racial politics of fear.

    His tax plan is a redux of the disastrous Bush tax policies that bankrupted the middle class, our pensions, and the federal budget to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few.

    His education plan is the DeVos playbook that guts the core promise of public education for all in favor of privatization and segregation.

    His clean energy plan is to acknowledge flooding and sea level rise already hurting Hampton Roads but without the guts to say “climate change” while embracing backwards policies of drilling and fracking. Hampton Roads is a major engine of the Virginia economy and a crucial component of our national security infrastructure. It is also the second most vulnerable American coast line to climate change after New Orleans.

    Gillespie has had a series of embarrassing flip flops where he tries to sound moderate but then has to go in front of the cameras and admit he is fully on board with extreme positions – supporting the travel ban, slashing Planned Parenthood funding, hurting reproductive rights, and embracing Graham-Cassidy.

    Gillespie, a lifelong political operative and corporate lobbyist, knows the elite Republican agenda just isn’t appealing to enough voters to win elections, so he only has one card left in the modern GOP. Unfortunately, Gillespie’s full embrace of the infamous Southern Strategy has only strengthened his support on the right. In fact, the first thing that gave any boost to the Gillespie campaign within his party was his hiring of Trump acolytes after the tragedy in Charlottesville and full embrace of Confederate statues. Conservative writer Jennifer Rubin called this embrace of hate politics “as repulsive as it was predictable” in the Washington Post. Gillespie – who once championed moderate immigration reform – is now going to blanket TV and radio with ads raising the specter of immigrant gangs invading a town near you.

    With this ad, Gillespie has proved that his desire to win trumps any other values he might have once had.

    Ralph Northam has run on a progressive platform and fought back against Gillespie’s race-based fear mongering. Electing Ralph this fall is our chance to prove once and for all that the Republican Party’s embrace of these tactics has no place in the modern Commonwealth.

  • From the Democratic Party of Virginia:

    Gillespie Race-Baits in a Blatant Attempt to Distract From His Graham-Cassidy Flip Flop

    Taking A Page Out of the Trump Administration’s Playbook, Gillespie Airs Controversial Ad To Avoid Taking A Position On Latest Version of Trumpcare

    Richmond, Va. — Just how desperate is Ed Gillespie to avoid taking any position on the Cassidy-Graham bill in the Senate?

    In the past two days, we’ve found out.

    In a blatant effort to avoid talking about his stunning flip-flop on the Senate health care bill at Tuesday’s debate, Gillespie released a fact-free, disgusting ad that’s based on the lie that sanctuary cities exist in Virginia. The ad mimics Trump’s strategy of using divisive, inflammatory rhetoric to distract from substantive issues.

    Gillespie doubled down on his bait-and-switch strategy this morning, when he launched another attack on the Washington Post that mimicked the President’s tactic of distracting from important policy issues with inflammatory rhetoric. This strategy isn’t new — the Trump administration employed it over the summer when Republicans were losing on the health care debate.

    Coming out against Graham-Cassidy should be a no-brainer. Republican governors — including Ed Gillespie’s old boss John Kasich and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan — are against the bill, citing research that it will raise costs and scale back coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, disabilities, and those in nursing homes or in need of mental health services. In Virginia alone, 800,000 people could lose their health care.

    “From running divisive ads to attacking the Washington Post, Ed Gillespie is doing everything he can to distract from his stunning flip-flop on Graham-Cassidy on Tuesday,” said DPVA spokesperson Kevin Donohoe. “Republican governors from Nevada to Ohio have had no problem speaking out against the Senate health care bill — yet Ed Gillespie continues to obfuscate. How much pressure is Donald Trump putting on Ed Gillespie to keep him quiet?”

  • From CASA in Action, America’s Voice, People For the American Way, NextGen America, etc.

    Virginia’s GOP Candidate for Governor Ed Gillespie Doubles Down and Continues Race Baiting with Abhorrent and Misleading Ad

    The racist 30-second spot uses images of MS-13 gang members in an El Salvador prison in last ditch effort to motivate voters by appealing to their fears

    Washington, DC – Republican Ed Gillespie released his latest ad attacking Democratic candidate Ralph Northam last night. In it, Gillespie uses imagery of MS-13 gang members in a prison — in El Salvador — while “Kill, Rape, Control” flashes across the screen. The spot criticizes Northam through a manufactured attack line from the Virginia GOP — that he supports sanctuary cities. Virginia does not have sanctuary cities.

    Luis Aguilar, CASA in Action: “Ed Gillespie clearly believes that his route to victory rests in demonizing young Latino men and the immigrant community as a whole. He may believe it is an effective campaign tactic, but the people I speak with are furious with the abject racism of Ed Gillespie’s campaign and plan to deliver that message on election day.”

    Grecia Lima, Center for Community Change Action: “Ed Gillespie has a clear strategy: distract voters from his long career as corporate lobbyist siding with rich CEOs shipping jobs out of the state by demonizing immigrants and playing up threats to public safety. It won’t work because Virginia is better than Ed Gillespie.”

    Frank Sharry, America’s Voice Executive Director: “With his latest attack ad, Republican Ed Gillespie has doubled down on his divisive, racist, fear-mongering strategy to win votes. As a Virginian, I am appalled by the demonizing of immigrants that comes directly out of the ugly Trump-Corey Stewart playbook. After Charlottesville, our state needs healing, not more hate.​ ​Residents of Virginia are looking for leaders who offer concrete reforms to the toughest issues we face, not politicians pitting Virginians against Virginians for political gain.”

    Tom Steyer, Founder & President, NextGen America: “This ad is the latest example of the hate-filled, fear-mongering campaign that Ed Gillespie has run. Equating sanctuary cities and the immigrant community with the MS13 gang is coded racism and plays into the hands of the white supremacists that marched through Charlottesville last month. This ad proves that Ed Gillespie lacks the moral leadership to serve Virginia. As Governor, Ralph Northam will move the state forward and defend our values against those, like Ed, who want to take us back.”

    Lizet Ocampo, Political Director, People For the American Way: “Ed Gillespie’s decision to smear all undocumented people as murderers and rapists is the clearest example yet that he’s copying Donald Trump’s hateful, bigoted playbook. Just like Donald Trump, he’s fanning the flames of hatred in order to distract from his long career as corporate lobbyist, his plans to cut funding for schools and his extreme anti-middle class agenda. This ad is disgusting and it only reminds Virginia voters who rejected Trump that Ed Gillespie is more of the same.”

    Maria Urbina, Political Director, Indivisible: “In the same way that Donald Trump has demonized and scapegoated immigrants for quick political points, Ed Gillespie is attempting to use the same fear and xenophobia to help propel him into the Governor’s mansion. His offensive, racist, and anti-immigrant ad serves only to embolden white supremacists and further divide Virginians. What Virginia needs is leadership, honesty, and integrity. With this ad, Gillespie proved once again he lacks these qualities.”

  • Perseus1986

    What empowers MS-13? Trump’s immigration policies that discourage communication between communities and law enforcement, thus allowing gangs to operate with impunity. However, facts are trivial things in political attack ads.

  • A_Siegel

    Adding further dirt to Gillespie’s dirty ad:

    * The menacing photo isn’t of MS13 but of the Barrio 18/18th Street gang.
    * The photo isn’t in or of Virginia.
    * The use of the photo is open to question: used w/o permission of nor payment o the professional photographer who owns it.

    See reporting here: https://thinkprogress.org/ed-gillispes-controversial-ms-13-ad-features-stolen-photo-of-completely-different-gang-4bd37da9fc7c/

    As to the ‘substance’ of this ugly ad, that piece also has a serious discussion which shows that Gillespie’s fear-mongering is off-target as to the actual problems and solutions.