As Virginia’s gubernatorial campaign heads into its final weekend, both major party candidates will be touring the state, meeting with voters, and speaking with reporters. For Democratic candidate Ralph Northam this travel comes at a very opportune time. For months he has not answered some basic questions about his candidacy and his positions on specific policy issues, and he turned down numerous opportunities to provide more clarity in the form of additional debates, including rejecting a debate proposal from Democratic former Governor Doug Wilder. Now, with stops planned in nearly every major media market in the Commonwealth, perhaps this weekend will give the Lieutenant Governor a chance to make himself clear on any number of matters. They could include:
Mr. Lieutenant Governor:
- For weeks you ran a television ad about your “tax plan”, telling voters to go to your website to see it for themselves. It turns out you never put together a tax plan, and ultimately admitted that your only proposal was to “bring people together” after the election to try to find some ideas. Do you think it was fair to voters to advertise a “tax plan” that you have now admitted didn’t really exist?
- In the Democratic primary you bragged about voting against a bill to ban sanctuary cities in the Commonwealth. You praised Governor McAuliffe for vetoing that very bill. Now you say you would actually sign such a piece of legislation, and that you’ve “always” been for that? Can you help explain how your position on this issue changed so dramatically, and what you mean by “always” having supported such a ban?
- Why did you wait until Wednesday to say you would sign a bill banning sanctuary cities if any locality declared itself to be such? Ed Gillespie asked you that exact question, nearly verbatim, at the UVa-Wise debate on October 9th. But you refused to take a position. What changed in the last three weeks?
- Your “new” position on sanctuary cities is apparently IF a locality declares itself to be such an entity, you would THEN sign a bill banning that designation. But what if a city makes that declaration when the General Assembly is not in session? Say in May or June? Would you call a special session and bring the members back to pass such legislation into law? Will you commit to taking that action now?
- And if you’d commit to calling a special session to undo a locality’s sanctuary city designation, once announced, why not just support legislation, like Ed Gillespie supports, that would proactively ban such a designation? Why wait for it to happen and then cost taxpayers thousands of dollars to call a special session and handle then?
- Do you now regret the character attacks you and your allies have launched on Ed Gillespie for advocating a position that you now say you agree with?
- The liberal national group Democracy for America has pulled its support for you due to your apparent shift on sanctuary cities, and they have attacked your character because of it? Do you believe your new policy position somehow makes you a “bad” person?
- You stood by the Latino Victory Fund ad that has sparked such outrage across the Commonwealth. You didn’t even ask for it come down even after the terrible tragedy in New York City when a terrorist used a truck to actually kill tourists and New Yorkers. Do you now regret standing by that ad?
- Your campaign has told the press numerous times that there was no coordination regarding the Latino Victory Fund ad. However, a new campaign finance filing shows a $60k in-kind contribution from the group to your campaign for “media.” If that’s not for the ad in question, what other media that cost $60k was running from this group in Virginia at the exact same time as that ad? There was nothing else on the air at the time but that ad. What else could that expenditure be?
- The Latino Victory Fund essentially said anyone who doesn’t agree with you on policy is an evil person. Then, on Wednesday night, Democratic State Senator Barbara Favola, at an event for your campaign at which you were present, said flat out all Republicans are “evil.” How do you propose, should you win on Tuesday, to bring people together when your campaign and its surrogates have declared anyone who doesn’t agree with you on anything to be “evil?” How do you govern with that mindset and why would any Republicans, independents, or even Democrats who disagree with you on policy, want to work with you knowing what you think of them?
- Do you think all Republicans are “evil?”
- Why didn’t you quickly and strongly disagree with Senator Favola on Wednesday night when asked by a Washington Post reporter if you agreed with her that all Republicans are “evil’?
- There is much in the news today about a rift in the Democratic party. It centers around the evidence that the 2016 Democratic nomination was essentially “rigged” in favor of Hillary Clinton. As a Democratic leader do you think the nomination was “rigged” for Clinton?
- Are you a Bernie Sanders Democrat or a Hillary Clinton Democrat?
- After hesitating during the Democratic Primary, you’ve come out in favor of the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. As you know many members of your Party adamantly oppose these projects. Why should they still vote for you given your support for these fossil fuel projects?
- You’ve said, at the Virginia Bar Association debate, that you oppose fracking in Virginia, but you have no problem with it in Pennsylvania, the source of the natural gas for these pipelines. Pennsylvania is in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. So why are you ok with fracking in one part of the watershed but not another? Don’t the major rivers in Pennsylvania flow into the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia from North to South? Are you concerned about fracking near the Susquehanna River in Central Pennsylvania, or just within Virginia’s state lines? What about one mile outside of Virginia?
- Some supporters of your campaign have made the case that people should vote for you because you’re a “real” Virginian and Ed Gillespie is not? What did they mean by that? Who do you think a “real” Virginian is?
- If a Virginian wasn’t born here do you think they’re a “real” Virginian? If not, does that mean that Senator Tim Kaine, Senator Mark Warner and Governor Terry McAuliffe are not “real Virginians?”