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My Thoughts on the Virginia Trump Team Infighting and the 2017 Gubernatorial Race

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I have been rather quiet of late, since Thanksgiving anyway. I had eye surgery the Monday after Thanksgiving which went quite well and have been taking a bit of a sanity break from politics the past couple weeks. Sometimes you just have to take a break to prevent burnout. It has been quite an eventful and stressful period for political insiders during the presidential election cycle.

As most of you know, I jumped on the “Trump Train” very early on and it was a bruising, bone crushing ride. And still is given the left’s insanity at their loss. It was especially rough because the primary on the GOP side was the most contentious event I have ever witnessed among people who are all supposed to be on the same side. Most of us have lost friends and allies and will most likely remain estranged from one another for some time to come. Perhaps for good, and in spite of a Republican victory that will give the Republicans control of the White House and both Houses of Congress for at least the next two years.

And even before the 2016 General Election took place, here in Virginia the 2017 race for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General was already underway. There were a lot of folks in the Republican Party that did not care to support Trump and found the 2017 race a brilliant diversion to help them remain involved in politics and, at the same time, avoid campaigning for Donald Trump.

And of course, we all know that Virginia voted for Hillary. And the finger pointing began early as to who was to blame. And at the center of the controversy we find some of the hardest workers Trump had in Virginia locked in heated battle over one of the declared candidates for Governor, Corey Stewart.

Some of the Trump state team are backing Stewart for governor, others apparently take issue with Stewart’s leadership during the campaign and are not backing him. And it has reached a level that comes close to the Trump – Cruz primary skirmish. The one that drove a wedge between GOP allies.

Trump won the primary with all of these guys working together. I was proud to be a part of the team that took such a flamboyant and controversial candidate across the finish line in Virginia and set him on a trajectory to win the GOP nomination. I don’t think any of us escaped that battle unscathed. And we gave our all. Watching the results with a hall full of Trump supporters at the Trump Winery in Charlottesville was one of those memorable nights that offsets the losses.

November 8th was another one of those memorable nights that makes the whole sordid business of politics worth the price we all pay. But still, it would have been far sweeter had Virginia picked Trump. And many of us are loathe to admit it, but Virginia is a blue state, no longer red or even purple. And although blue states Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania went Trump, Virginia was a tall ask. The blue bedroom communities in NoVa have long been a major hurdle in statewide elections for the Republican Party and grew even more blue as Obama expanded the size of the Federal Government.

And the Virginia governor’s race is now front and center in the Commonwealth and we find ourselves once again picking sides. It is the circle of politics. And Virginia has elections every year. There is no off year like some states have. And we have long time Bush friend Ed Gillespie running against Corey Stewart for the right to be the nominee. And we also may have another candidate, maybe, named Denver Riggleman who owns a distillery in Nelson County. It certainly is a field that might make one consider turning to the bottle.

By most accounts, Ed Gillespie is a card carrying member of the swamp we are planning to drain. He is an establishment insider with deep connections to the creatures that live in the swamp. But two years ago he surprised everyone and came within an alligator’s scale of defeating Mark Warner for US Senate, losing by less than 1%. And despite early polls that favor Democrats, all the polls in 2014 showed Warner had no worries. So Gillespie has a chance to win next November.

Corey Stewart has always had a knack for drawing lightning for his strong Conservative beliefs and has a reputation for being headstrong in his core beliefs. And that sometimes gets him into trouble. What some see as sticking to his principles, others see as unyielding.

Denver Riggleman is supposed to be a Conservative, but at this point it is hard to know if he is planning to run or still being “drafted”. So far his campaign seems to be playing coy about his candidacy which isn’t doing him any favors. He needs to fish or cut bait…

So at this point, the race seems to be between Ed Gillespie and Corey Stewart. And my assessment is that Gillespie has to be the favorite at this point and has shown that he can be competitive in a statewide race, and perhaps even win, if given proper support. However, Ed Gillespie has no voting record and a host of friends from the black lagoon. But he can raise money and has a machine in place already.

Corey Stewart has a pretty good Conservative voting record and is a strong proponent of the 2nd Amendment and has cut taxes to the point that he made the Liberals squeal. And some Republicans. Stewart is also strong on illegal immigration and has been a leader in enforcing America’s immigration laws in Prince William.

So while I think Ed Gillespie has a better chance at this point of winning the general election, he has no voting record and would be a roll of the dice.

Corey Stewart, on the other hand, has a proven record that most Conservatives demand. But may not have the numbers at this point to win a statewide election. And while Gillespie tries to be all things to all people, Stewart is a “take it or leave it,” no nonsense type of guy.

We know what we are getting with Stewart, but the big question is, can he win statewide? Gillespie has a legitimate shot at winning, but with no voting record is an unknown quality.

So the former Trump Virginia Team members who are currently beating one another up over the governor’s race need to chill. Stewart is a viable and attractive candidate for Conservatives. And Gillespie is also a viable choice who, at this point, has a good chance of winning Virginia for the GOP.

And I will not mention any names, but neither will I point fingers at the team that worked so hard to elect Donald J. Trump. He may not have won Virginia, but he won America. And without the primary victory here in Virginia, the nomination may have been a different story.

Personally, I am undecided in this race. I can see pros and cons for either candidate and do not have enough of a feel for which one tips the scales and earns my support.

But I would ask that those who are locking horns consider supporting the candidate that you want, respect the choice one another makes and know that you all did a fine job and deserve a spot in history for the Trump victory.

A damn fine job, one and all.

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About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog.Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

6 Responses to “My Thoughts on the Virginia Trump Team Infighting and the 2017 Gubernatorial Race”

  1. robert shannon says:

    Tom,

    Merry Christmas and very pleased to hear this eye surgery went better than the last one. Glad to have you ” back in the saddle” as they say.

    On the Governors race I am loathe to question your judgment, it has been spot on for years .That said I recall mention some years back when Stewart was becoming known outside of his local arena the question arose of his close ties to local developers. Candidates have to raise money somewhere and I am careful to not use too broad a brush but please allow me to raise a few valid points.

    Locally I have been very critical of the unholy alliance between local elected officials and developers, going so far as to suggest that developers actually run local government. No better example exists than Hanover County itself, although even a modest amount of digging shows the connections are rampant and obvious in almost all localities. The BOS in Hanover made this all so perfectly clear when their first official action in 2011 was to eliminate proffers, and the ensuing whirlwind of outrage that ensued thereafter when it became public knowledge that a number of the Supervisors themselves stood to financially gain from their action. A few folks locally did a fantastic job in connecting all of the dots tying the number of Hanover gov’t officials who also had a stake in the proffers outcome, simply by their own personal stakes in numerous development projects they had investments in themselves. It was a shame this didn’t receive a much higher level of scrutiny than it did, and yet just one more example of the feckless opposition in Hanover.

    Couple that with the County Economic Development chief, collecting a handsome compensation package all the while running a private development firm himself, and the blurred lines this clear conflict entails.

    Perhaps a examination on the specifics of just where Stewarts campaign funds come from ( we already know Gillespie is an insider) might lend some clarity for primary voters allowing them to make a more informed choice. Perhaps Stewart could be enticed to address this upfront in a column on your blog, or maybe accept a invitation to the MTP where he could get an audience of some size to answer where he stands on developers and their influence on local/state government. I for one would like to hear his position on Land Use Tax exemptions, particularly the newest trend in further enhancements by Hanover and a number of other localities that have amended their local Land Use Tax Exemption programs by pushing out the repayment of 5 years of back taxes, due under most circumstances at the time of sale, to now being delayed even further into the future when the property actually begins the development. While it is clear the advantage this provides the developers, it once again is merely shifting the costs of funding local governments to others, primarily homeowners.

    It would also be interesting to hear what Stewart has to say on ” economic development” being funded by local regional and state tax dollars. The RTD recently exposed what a number of others have been pointing out for years , this practice has gotten out of control. No one has yet satisfied my question, and that is the lack of quantifiable measures that show if this gov’t funding of private sector investment really pays off, or has it been just another way of crony capitalist using their political influence to shift costs/risks onto the backs of citizens under the not so clever guise of ” private/public partnerships”, the term we hear often used to describe these joint ventures that often end up draining local tax coffers with little evidence of the public benefitting at all.

    A rigorous and thorough examination of these questions beg that Stewart or anyone seeking the office step up to the plate and defend how they raise their money, from whom and whether or not Virginians are harmed or benefit by these too often unseemly relationships.

    Finally I would ask any of the candidates what they propose doing to strengthen Virginias Conflict of Interest Statute. I will finish compiling my own article on this topic shortly given my own experience, having filed a formal complaint in September 2015, the Virginia State police sending it off to the Virginia Attorney generals office………..and not a single word in 15 months. Bland generic campaign slogans, are not enough to satisfy many of us who have honed our vetting skills to a fine point, we have specific questions, and we demand specific answers, from Stewart or anyone seeking the office.

    Bob Shannon King William

  2. John Q. Publique says:

    Hanover County Supervisor Wayne Hazzard and the “Chamber” who got him elected are backing Ed Gillespie for Governor.

    Hazzard, who can’t operate a computer and lacks any understanding of how the internet works or its role in commerce, sent an email to his campaign treasurer Doug Schuhle to promote an Ed Gillespie Event. Mr. Schuhle apparently operates Mr. Hazzard’s constant contact list better known as his email contacts.

    LMAO

    • Gamecock Fans says:

      Do you mean this email from the Hanover County ChamberRat Wayne Hazzardous.

      From: hazzardwt@gmail.com
      To: daschuhle@gmail.com
      Sent: 12/17/2016 7:49:42 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
      Subj: Ed Gillespie

      Doug,

      Lets spread this around and get as many Hanover citizens there as possible.

      We need to work together to “Make Virginia Great Again”

      Merry Christmas,
      Wayne

  3. James V. Rollinger says:

    Mr. Shannon’s comments are brilliant as usual. The GOPe running a Washington lobbyist candidate for Governor, Ed Gillespie, who has never been elected to public office in his life and who has no voting record for voters to “vet” in order to see how he would govern, is indeed the reason not to vote for Gillespie.

    Gillespie supporters in Nova critical of Corey Stewart point to “tax increases” in Prince William County as a reason not to support Stewart. Development and tax increases to fund services and build new schools go hand in hand. The big lie perpetrated by Republicans that economic development pays for itself is NOT Mr. Stewart’s fault.

    The RINOs running the General Assembly who racked up billions in debt and an unfunded VRS pension system in Virginia are all backing Ed Gillespie.

    Remember that when you vote in the Republican Primary in June.

  4. VA Tech Dad says:

    Mr. White:

    The 2014 US Senate race you refer to where Ed Gillespie came within 1% of defeating Senator Mark Warner was due to the massive GOP turnout for Dave Brat in the 7th District. Repubilcans voted straight Republican on the ticket artificially boosting Gillespie.

    That won’t happen for Ed in 2017. Ed can’t win Virginia with a Republican dominated General Assembly. No Checks and Balances to stop the Corruption seen with the McDonnell administration.

    Get used to saying Governor Ralph Northam.

  5. Trump Watcher says:

    Tom, you are still crying about your support of Bob McDonnell. Didn’t you learn anything? Virginia’s largest tax increase in history, HB2313, ring a bell? In case you don’t know, the same crooked, corrupt, power company cronies, still run Virginia politics. The Republicans who created and wrote HB2313 are still there.

    Letting the Republicans control all 3 executive branches is like the plague. By next November, America will more than likely be calling for Trumps resignation. Virginia is blue, talk about which Dem would be the best fit for a Republican run House and Senate.

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    Tom White Says:

    Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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