Ed Gillespie brought a team of GOP all-stars to an Arcola plumbing warehouse Monday night for a get-out-the-vote rally eight days ahead of Virginia’s Nov. 7 election.
The Republican gubernatorial candidate and other speakers during the hour-long rally expressed optimism in next week’s results, saying the state’s Democrats had waged a lackluster campaign and have offered voters more negative attack ads than substantial ideas for Virginia’s future.
Gillespie and other speakers touted the 20 policies he has published on issues ranging from public safety to energy to economic growth. “These policies, these 20 detailed plans, are in sharp contrast to my opponent. He’s put forward very little policy and the ones he has will not be good for us, ” Gillespie said.
“I truly believe we are at a critical juncture here in the commonwealth. This next election, a week from tomorrow, is not just about the next four [years]—it is about the next 30 years, because the decisions our next governor makes will affect the future of Virginia for generations to come and what kind of economy we are going to have,” Gillespie said.
“The fact is, Virginia is going to look a lot more like states to our north—New Jersey, Connecticut, New York—with higher taxes and more regulation and mandates and compulsory unionism. They are all in the bottom half of economic growth,” Gillespie said, noting that he preferred to follow the southern model of the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida, which he claimed have more dynamic and fast-growing economies.
“Virginia’s either going to become the northernmost southeastern state or we’ll be the southernmost northern state. That’s the decision we face and I prefer to be more like the sunny dynamic economies to our south,” he said.
“If our next governor does not respond to the challenges we face as a commonwealth, with the right policies and a sense of urgency with which to get them implemented we will fail for all Virginia. I have those policies. I have that sense of urgency. And I will not fail.”
The night’s headliner was Marco Rubio, the Florida senator who Loudoun Republicans backed—over local runner-up Donald Trump—in last year’s Republican presidential primary.
Rubio urged voters not to get caught up in the narrative that Virginia’s election would be some sort of referendum on the state of politics in Washington.
“They want to make this election about all this other stuff,” Rubio said. “This election isn’t about the press corps in New York. This isn’t about the press corps in Washington. It isn’t about any of these things. This election is about you and it is about your future and your children’s future.”
Rubio said Gillespie’s platform was important.
“That’s the first thing they tell you in campaigns—don’t put anything in writing. Don’t write anything specific or they’ll attack you,” he said. “I think you deserve to know what those things are. The fact that he has done that and put it in writing shows not just the seriousness and respect he shows to the voters of the commonwealth, it shows that he is ready to get to work on day one.”
Other elected representatives taking the stage Monday were Attorney General candidate John Adams, U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10), former governor George Allen, Del. Tim Hugo (R-40), Del. Tag Greason (R-32), Del. Randy Minchew (R-10) and 87th House District candidate Subba Kolla.
Outside the GOP rally at the Inspirational Plumbers office, dozens of Democratic protesters marched in a circle, displaying signs and chanting slogans. Two protestors entered the rally, with one climbing on the stage just after Rubio was introduced. Both were removed by Sherriff Mike Chapman and two deputies.