A Democratic PAC publicized its decision to revoke support for Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s gubernatorial campaign, due to the Democratic candidate’s admission that he would support legislation banning sanctuary cities from the state.
Democracy for America (DFA) announced that it halted “any work to directly aid” Northam’s campaign Thursday afternoon. The progressive advocacy group never explicitly endorsed Northam but is “spearheading a grassroots calling program to mobilize Virginia voters up and down the ballot,” according to its website.
The PAC stopped asking voters about Northam and collecting data on their responses after his campaign removed African American Lt. Gov. Candidate Justin Fairfax from campaign literature. DFA decided to publicize its decision after Northam said Wednesday that he would sign a bill outlawing sanctuary cities if such legislation came to his desk while governor.
“Ralph Northam’s gutless, politically senseless, and morally debased decision yesterday to openly backtrack on his commitment to standing up for immigrant families is a picture-perfect example of why Democracy for America never endorsed him in the primary and focused the entirety of our efforts in Virginia on down-ticket races, like Justin Fairfax’s campaign for Lieutenant Governor,” DFA Executive Director Charles Chamberlain said in a statement.
Chamberlain explained that DFA initially planned to keep the decision to pull support for Northam private for the sake of party unity, but later reversed course due entirely to Northam’s admission that he would sign a bill outlawing sanctuary cities.
… A few weeks ago, the VA Democratic Coordinated campaign (dominated by Northam operatives) bought literature for canvassers that purposely left off Fairfax, who, if elected, would be just the second Black man to ever serve statewide office in the Commonwealth. Following that racist action, we decided to remove Northam’s name from the tens of thousands of volunteer Get-Out-the-Vote calls our members are making in Virginia, but, for the sake of Democratic comity, we refrained from publicly discussing that decision.
Northam has been dodgy on the issue of sanctuary cities throughout the campaign, refusing to explicitly endorse the idea and accusing his opponent, Republican Ed Gillespie, of artificially inflating the topic for political purpose, citing the fact that there are no sanctuary cities currently in the commonwealth.
Northam said for the first time Wednesday night that he would sign a bill, similar to one he voted against in 2016, that would prevent Virginia municipalities from refusing to comply with federal immigration law.
“If that bill comes to by desk … I sure will. I’ve always been opposed to sanctuary cities. He knows that,” Northam said during an interview with the Norfolk TV station WAVY.
Gillespie’s campaign brought the issue of illegal immigration to the forefront with a number of attack ads connecting the presence of the criminal MS-13 gang in northern Virginia to Northam’s legislative record on immigration.
In another notable rejection by a fellow Democrat, former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder endorsed Fairfax but did not lend his support to Northam following “The People’s Debate,” a political forum hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University. Wilder also criticized Northam’s campaign for removing Fairfax from campaign literature after the event.
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