GOP Virginia Primary Showdown Expected At First Televised Debate

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Phillip Stucky Political Reporter
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The Virginia Republican primary for governor promises to get interesting with the first televised debate Thursday evening at Liberty University.

All three Republican candidates, Ed Gillespie, Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors Corey Stewart, and State Sen. Frank Wagner will appear in front of the crowd in the first televised debate in the race Thursday, according to the Washington Post.

Gillespie’s rankings in the polls remained stagnant in the latest Quinnipiac poll, and political firebrand Stewart shored up his support among the Republican base. Gillespie still holds a solid lead in the polls, but the race is far from settled. Fifty-one percent of Republican respondents remained undecided in the latest poll, leaving plenty of room for either Stewart or Wagner to increase their lead. A televised debate could grant either candidate a way to publicly take down the party leader.

Stewart is already known for a brash campaign style. He’s gone out of his way to call Gillespie a “cuckservative,” and made the confederate flag a central campaign issue.

Wagner also attacked the front-runner. Gillespie “has never been involved with Virginia state government at all,” Wagner said in a release published March 16. “Gillespie’s tax plan is typical of a DC-insider and proves definitely that he doesn’t know anything about state government.”

“This so-called tax plan is really a lazy political stunt,” Wagner concluded in the statement.

Wagner continues to campaign in southwest Virginia, a haven of the Republican base that will be a key deciding factor in the primary June 13.

Gillespie asserted in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation in March that he was the Republican capable of winning a state-wide race, and argued that his economic plan was a plan that all Virginians could get behind.

Both Gillespie and Stewart appeared at Liberty University, but at different times. Wagner has yet to make a speech at the conservative proving ground but did speak at the Thomas Road Baptist Church as a way to reach out to evangelical conservatives.

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