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Virginia Is For Lovers-But Not For Ralph Northam

- October 9, 2017

Ahead Of Tonight's Debate, A Look At Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam's Indecisiveness And Lack Of Leadership


TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • Tonight, the third and final debate between Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and Ed Gillespie will take place, because Northam refused to do any more than three debates. 
  • No direction Northam lacks a political compass and remains non-committal to policies he once believed in.
  • Northam once believed that historical statues in Virginia needed to be removed; however, he has now become "wishy-washy" on the issue.
  • Northam continues to remain vague about his position on Dominion's pipeline projects in Virginia-an issue that has put him in the crosshairs between liberals and a prominent campaign donor.
  • Northam used to use far-left rhetoric in strongly criticizing President Trump, but now is trying to claim he can work with the president.
  • Northam attended an event with DNC Vice-Chair Keith Ellison instead of a forum that would discuss options for "economic growth" in rural Virginia, showing he cares more about the race itself than governing.
  • Northam currently supports health care as a "right for every American," a complete flip-flop from his views in 2011 when he called health care a "privilege" that people "need to work for."

TONIGHT, THE FINAL TELEVISED VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL DEBATE WILL TAKE PLACE

The University Of Virginia-Wise Will Televise The Final Televised Debate

The University Of Virginia-Wise Will Host The Last Of Three Televised Gubernatorial Debates Between Ralph Northam And Ed Gillespie. "The University of Virginia's College at Wise, the Southwestern Virginia Technology Council and the University of Virginia's Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy are co-hosting the last of three televised gubernatorial debates between Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie on Oct. 9 in the David J. Prior Convocation Center in Wise, Virginia." ("Batten, UVA Wise, And Southwestern Virginia Technology Council To Host Final Governor's Debate," University Of Virginia , 9/22/17)

Only Three Gubernatorial Debates Were Held Because Northam Refused To Agree With Gillespie's Request To Hold More. "The debate over debates in Virginia's gubernatorial race flared anew Friday evening, as Democrat Ralph Northam responded to Republican Ed Gillespie's push for 10 debates by proposing three, plus seven joint appearances. Gillespie termed that offer 'insulting' to Virginia's voters. Gillespie, whose competitors in the GOP primary accused him of avoiding them in an effort to run out the clock, on Monday proposed 10 general election debates…After 5 p.m. Friday, Northam's campaign announced a 'commitment to three debates and seven joint appearances' without specifying sponsors whose invitations he would accept." (Andrew Cain, "Northam Offers Three Debates; Gillespie Calls It 'Insulting' To Virginia's Voters," Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/23/17)

IN VIRGINIA, GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE RALPH NORTHAM CONTINUES TO FLIP-FLOP ON HIS OWN BELIEFS

Northam Claimed To Be A "Vocal Advocate" For The Removal Of Confederate Statues, But Is Now "Wishy-Washy" On The Issue

In Mid-August, Ralph Northam Pledged To Be A "Vocal Advocate" For The Removal Of Statues At The State Level. "'I support City of Charlottesville's decision to remove the Robert E. Lee statue. I believe these statues should be taken down and moved into museums. As governor, I am going to be a vocal advocate for that approach and work with localities on this issue.'" (Press Release, "Statement From Dr. Ralph Northam On Confederate Statues," Ralph Northam , 8/16/17)

At The Second Virginia Gubernatorial Debate, The Northam Was "Wishy-Washy" On The Removal Of The Confederate Statues. "Mr. Northam was more wishy-washy on the subject. 'If these statues give individuals, white supremacists like that, an excuse to do what they did, then we need to have a discussion about the statues,' he said. 'Personally, I would think the statues would be better placed in museums with certainly historical context, but I am leaving it up to the localities.'" (Seth McLaughlin, "Gillespie, Northam Divided On Confederate Statue Issue," The Washington Times , 9/19/17)

Ralph Northam Once Used Far-Left Rhetoric To Criticize President Trump, But Now Claims He Can Work With The President

The Primary With Tom Perriello Changed The Political Landscape Of Democratic Candidates By "Dragging Northam To The Left." "'No question Perriello is dragging Northam to the left,' Sabato said. 'Actually, Northam has moved left during the McAuliffe administration, even before Perriello announced. But now Northam has to stress all of his liberal positions - some of which, on gun control and abortion, may be more to the left than Perriello's record.'" (Mark Murray, "Virginia Democrats Run To The Left In Key 2017 Race," NBC News , 3/19/17)

By April, Northam Had Begun Calling President Trump A "Narcissistic Maniac" After Perriello's Extreme Anti-Trump Rhetoric. "In the first days after Perriello's entrance into the race, Northam was caught flat-footed by the anti-Trump energy that Perriello so quickly commanded. It took a few days before Northam began calling the president a 'narcissistic maniac.' Now he can't stop. He repeats it almost as a mantra, pledging to keep Trump's politics 'on the other side of the Potomac.'" (Kevin Robillard, "How Donald Trump Blew Up The Virginia Governor's Race," Politico , 4/13/17)

But Now, Northam Has Taken A "Softer Tone" On The President. "Virginia Democratic gubernatorial contender Ralph Northam, who called President Trump a 'narcissistic maniac' during his primary race, released a new commercial Tuesday that strikes a softer tone." (Fenit Nirappil, "Why Ralph Northam Doesn't Call Trump A 'Narcissistic Maniac' Anymore," The Washington Post , 10/3/17)

  • In A New Commercial, Northam Claimed He Will "Work With" The President. "'As a doctor, nobody ever asks if I'm a Democrat or a Republican. They just want my help,' Northam, the sitting lieutenant governor and a pediatrician, says to the camera. 'So if Donald Trump is helping Virginia, I'll work with him.'" (Fenit Nirappil, "Why Ralph Northam Doesn't Call Trump A 'Narcissistic Maniac' Anymore," The Washington Post , 10/3/17)

Ralph Northam Has Flip-Flopped His Position On Health Care

In 2011, Then A State Senator, Ralph Northam Declared That He Believed That Health Care Was A "Privilege" Not A Right, And That People "Need To Work For Their Health Insurance." STATE SENATOR RALPH NORTHAM (D-VA): "I believe it's a privilege. And let me clarify that. If people can get up in the morning and go to work like I can, then it needs to be a privilege. They need to work for their health insurance, for their benefits." (State Senator Ralph Northam, Remarks At The 6th District State Forum Debate , Norfolk Virginia, 10/26/11)

Click To Watch

In 2017, A Spokesperson For Northam's Campaign Stated Northam Believes "Every American And Virginian Has A Right To Affordable Health Care, And He Believes It Is The Responsibility Of Government To Make Sure They Do." "'Ralph Northam spent his life seeing patients as an Army doctor and a pediatrician, and he knows firsthand how important [it is] for people to be able to get the health care they need, when they need it,' said Northam spokesman David Turner. 'He firmly believes that every American and Virginian has a right to affordable health care, and he believes it is the responsibility of government to make sure they do.'" (Fenit Nirappil, "Obamacare Cost Him A Seat In Congress. Can it Make Him Governor Of Virginia?," The Washington Post , 5/8/17)

NORTHAM CONTINUES TO OFFER VIRGINIANS EMPTY POLITICAL RHETORIC AND INDECISIVENESS

Northam Has Shied Away From Making Tough Policy Decisions, Especially When It Comes To The Virginia Pipeline

The Virginia Pipeline Consists Of Two Projects, One Project Is A Dominion Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline That Would Run 550 Miles From West Virginia Through Central And Southern Virginia And Into North Carolina. "The issue involves two projects inspired by the boom in fracked natural gas. The $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, proposed by Dominion Energy and several partners, would run some 550 miles from West Virginia through central and southern Virginia and into North Carolina, with a spur flung out to Hampton Roads." (Gregory S. Schneider, "'They Would Work Their Hearts Out For Him' If Only Northam Opposed Pipelines, Protesters Say," The Washington Post , 7/30/17)

The Second Project Would Be A 300 Mile Mountain Valley Pipeline That Would Be Built In A Partnership By EQT Midstream. "The 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline would also start in West Virginia, but would enter Virginia in the southwest - near Blacksburg - and connect with an existing pipeline in Pittsylvania County. It's being built by a partnership led by EQT Midstream." (Gregory S. Schneider, "'They Would Work Their Hearts Out For Him' If Only Northam Opposed Pipelines, Protesters Say," The Washington Post , 7/30/17)

The Sponsor Of One Of Those Major Pipeline Projects, Dominion Energy, Is A "Major Political Donor" Of Northam Who " Has Received Campaign Cash From Dominion And Owns Stock In The Company." "The sponsor of one pipeline, Dominion Energy, is a major political donor whose largesse has come under fire this election season. Northam, who has received campaign cash from Dominion and owns stock in the company." (Gregory S. Schneider, "Virginia Pipeline Project Sparks A Flare-Up At Democratic Debate For Va Gov," The Washington Post , 5/4/17)

Northam Has Received Major Backlash From His Own Constituents Opposed To The Pipeline

Democrats Have Opposed Northam On Energy Issues. "For a guy whose party is supposed to be united behind him, Ralph Northam has faced moments of surprising disharmony from fellow Democrats in his campaign for Virginia governor." (Gregory S. Schneider, "'They Would Work Their Hearts Out For him' If Only Northam Opposed Pipelines, Protesters Say," The Washington Post , 7/30/17)

  • The Gubernatorial Candidate Has Been "Shouted Down" By Protesters And "Drawn Sniping On Party Blogs" About His Stance On The Pipeline. "The lieutenant governor has been shouted down by protesters at public events and drawn sniping on party blogs, all over a single issue: energy companies building two natural gas pipelines in rural parts of the state. Northam won't oppose the projects. Some Democrats despise them." (Gregory S. Schneider, "'They Would Work Their Hearts Out For him' If Only Northam Opposed Pipelines, Protesters Say," The Washington Post , 7/30/17)

During The First Gubernatorial Debate, A Protester Even Interrupted The Lt. Governor Yelling "Your Support For The Pipeline Is Grotesque." PROTESTER: "They stand for Dominion's profits, over clean water…" PBS NEWSMODERATOR JUDY WOODRUFF: "We're going to give the candidates…" PROTESTER: "…clean air and stable climate. Ralph Northam your support for the pipeline is grotesque." (Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, Remarks At The First Virginia Gubernatorial Debate , Hot Springs, Virginia, 7/22/17)

Click To Watch

Northam Has Remained Coy As To Whether He Supports The Dominion Pipelines And Has Instead Advocated For The Approval Decision To Come From Other Agencies

Ralph Northam Has "Repeatedly Declined" To Take A Position On The Multibillion Dollar Atlantic Coast And Mountain Valley Pipeline Projects That Would Bring Fracked Gas Through Virginia. "The sponsor of one pipeline, Dominion Energy, is a major political donor whose largesse has come under fire this election season. Northam, who has received campaign cash from Dominion and owns stock in the company, repeatedly declined to stake out a position Thursday on the multibillion dollar Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines, which would bring fracked gas from West Virginia through Virginia." (Gregory S. Schneider, "Virginia Pipeline Project Sparks A Flare-Up At Democratic Debate For Va Gov," The Washington Post , 5/4/17)

  • Northam Remains "Unusually Hazy On The Pipelines." "Northam casts himself as an environmentalist - raised on the Eastern Shore, opposed to offshore drilling, an advocate for alternative energy. But he has been unusually hazy on the pipelines." (Fennit Nirappil, "Ralph Northam Picks Up Additional $700K From Environmental Group," The Washington Post , 8/31/17)

During The Second Virginia Gubernatorial Debate, Ralph Northam Continued To Dodge Answering The Question As Whether He Would Support The Pipeline. NBC's CHUCK TODD: "Do you support this pipeline?" LT. GOVERNOR RALPH NORTHAM: "I have been clear as I can Chuck and that is the pipelines if they move forward, if they're done environmentally responsibly, if they're done with transparency, if they're done with people's properties rights in mind then I do support them yes." TODD: "So what the FERC did, the federal energy regulatory commission, is that enough or not enough for you?" NORTHAM: "Well again as I explained earlier we are working with the DEQ on the permitting, working with the core of engineers, and at the end of the day, yes, FERC will have the final decision because it is a federal decision." TODD: "Alright I'm going to leave it there. I promise you Mr. Gillespie we're going to talk more about the economy." GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE ED GILLESPIE: "That was a yes or no answer." (Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, Remarks At The Second Virginia Gubernatorial Debate , George Mason University, 10/19/17)

Click To Watch

During A July Gubernatorial Debate, On The Topic Of The Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Northam Said That The Federal Government Will "Ultimately Make That Decision" To Build Or Not Build That Pipeline Through Virginia. "Referring to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) during a gubernatorial debate on July 22, Northam said, 'At the end of the day, this is a federal project. It comes from West Virginia, goes through Virginia, into North Carolina so we can do everything that we can in Virginia to make it safe and transparent, but at the end of the day, FERC will make that final decision-the energy review commission-and so I support all of that process.'" (Staff, "Verbatim Fact Check: Ralph Northam On Virginia," Ballotpedia , 8/29/17)

NORTHAM HAS PUT HIS CAMPAIGN AHEAD OF HIS DUTIES AS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Northam Skipped An Event Held In Virginia Meant To Talk About The Policies That Could Help Bring "Economic Growth" To The Rural Communities Across Virginia

On September 25, 2017, The Commonwealth Held The 2017 Governor's Summit On Rural Prosperity, An Event That Brought Government Officials And Private Sector Representatives To Talk About "Regional Strategies For Economic Growth In Rural Communities Across The Commonwealth." "MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 | 11:45 AM -TO- TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 | 2 PM Please join Governor McAuliffe, administration officials and members of the Virginia General Assembly for the Governor's Summit on Rural Prosperity, at the Berryhill Resort & Conference Center in South Boston, Virginia hosted by the Virginia Rural Center. The summit will bring together local, state and private sector representatives from across Virginia to discuss regional strategies for economic growth in rural communities across the Commonwealth." (Press Release, "The Governor's Summit On Rural Prosperity 2017," Virginia Association Of Counties , 8/19/17)

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Gillespie Attended The Event And Made Remarks During The Luncheon. "#VARuralSummit is well underway. Thank you, again, to Ed Gillespie, for your featured remarks during our opening luncheon." (Virginia Rural Center, Facebook, 9/25/17)

However On That Same Day, Ralph Northam Held A Fundraising Event With DNC Vice-Chair Keith Ellison. ("Northam For Governor," Ralph Northam , Accessed 10/8/17)

 

Rural Virginians Already Feel Left Out By The Democratic Party Of Virginia

Democrats Are Expected To Lose Many Legislative And Local Elections Until "They Forge Deeper Relationships With Rural Voters." "His grievance underscores the feeling among some voters that Democrats will continue to lose many legislative and local elections until they forge deeper relationships with rural voters." (Jessie Knadler, "Some Rural Democrats Feel They're Being Forgotten Ahead Of Election Day," WVTF , 10/3/17)

In An Act Of Protest A County Democratic Chairman Resigned Due To "Misinformation, Lack Of Communication And Shabby Treatment Of Rural Voters From The Democratic Party Of Virginia." "A county Democratic chairman resigned in protest Thursday afternoon over what he described as misinformation, lack of communication and shabby treatment of rural voters from the Democratic Party of Virginia." (Patrick Wilson, "Worried The Dems Are Ignoring Rural Virginia, Local Party Chairman Briefly Resigns In Protest," Richmond Times-Dispatch , 9/29/17)

  • The Rockbridge County Democratic Chairman Claimed There Were "Months Of Neglect" From The Democratic Party Of Virginia. "With Election Day looming, the Rockbridge County Democratic chairman resigned last week after what he says were months of neglect of rural voters by the Democratic Party of Virginia." (Jessie Knadler, "Some Rural Democrats Feel They're Being Forgotten Ahead Of Election Day," WVTF , 10/3/17)

Jay Clarke, The Chairman Who Resigned, Later Agreed To Remain Chairman, But Still Remains Critical Of The "Inaction By The [Democratic] Party In Rural Virginia." "By Friday, the Democratic Party of Virginia had agreed to do better and he agreed to remain as chairman. Inaction by the party in rural Virginia is hurting Democratic candidates in this year's election, said Jay Clarke, the chairman of the Rockbridge County Democratic Committee." (Patrick Wilson, "Worried The Dems Are Ignoring Rural Virginia, Local Party Chairman Briefly Resigns In Protest," Richmond Times-Dispatch , 9/29/17)


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