ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A jarring political advertisement has left Ed Gillespie’s family “infuriated” and brought a rapid infusion of cash to his campaign.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller Tuesday, Gillespie said his wife and children were “disgusted” by the ad, which showed a white man driving a Ford F-250 — complete with a Gillespie bumper sticker and “Don’t Tread On Me” license plates — directly at a group of fleeing minority children.
“They are infuriated,” the Virginia gubernatorial candidate said of his family’s reaction to the ad, which was produced by Latino Victory Fund. “And they’re disgusted. And I understand that. I think it’s always harder on the family than on the candidate himself or herself, but it’s not pleasant, and it’s the kind of thing that makes good people not want to run for public office.”
“But it’s not going to dissuade me, because this race is not about me. This race is about the future of the commonwealth I love and my fellow Virginians.”
Gillespie also said the shocking nature of the ad — which brazenly connected the Republican to white supremacist marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia — has led to a sudden cash infusion for the final week of the campaign.
“Yeah, in fact, actually online, our fundraising has tripled from people who are just disgusted by this and feel that they’re under attack, which they are,” Gillespie told TheDC. “But, again, it’s not just my supporters who are under attack here. It’s all those good, decent Virginians who may not agree with me, but understand that this is not good for the commonwealth of Virginia and that this kind of political attack and these smear campaigns are not good for the country and they’re not good for the commonwealth.”
During the interview, Gillespie also addressed billionaire Mike Bloomberg and his gun control organization, Everytown For Gun Safety.
The former New York City mayor’s group has already dumped at least $1.7 million into the commonwealth on behalf of Democratic candidates, pushing for tougher gun laws in the gun-friendly state.
“I wasn’t surprised he got involved,” Gillespie said. “He jumped into the state’s Senate races, you know, two years ago. So he’s been active here in Virginia trying to affect the outcome of elections for some time. He was not successful in 2015. He’s not going to be successful in 2017.”
As a candidate, Gillespie has attempted something of a balancing act when it comes to how much he associates with President Donald Trump.
While Vice President Mike Pence has campaigned in the state for Gillespie, Trump — who endorsed Gillespie in a surprise tweet — has yet to make a campaign trail appearance.
Would Gillespie welcome such a stop before next Tuesday?
“Well, I appreciate the president’s support very much,” Gillespie replied. “It’s very important for the governor of Virginia to have a good, working relationship with the president of the United States, regardless of party.”