Earlier this morning President Trump tweeted in support of the Republican candidate for Governor, Ed Gillespie. In the first tweet Trump claims that Gillespie will “save our great statues/heritage.” This was preceded by a declaration that Gillespie will fix the economy and is “strong on crime,” a nod to Gillespie’s campaign message that his Democratic opponent, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, is weak on crime by supporting sanctuary cities and the gang MS-13. There is no evidence to support this claim, and Northam has consistently refuted it.
In the second tweet, Trump says, “Ed Gillespie will be a great Governor of Virginia,” which was followed by “His opponent doesn’t even show up to meetings/work,” which is another talking point from the Gillespie campaign and was featured prominently in an early campaign video.
Gillespie has had an uneasy relationship with Trump, and has not been particularly active in seeking the president’s support. Nonetheless, his campaign content has taken on a decisively negative tone and is reflective of Trump’s overall messaging strategy. Given the closeness in the polls, the last of which had both opponents within the margin of error, along with all of the big names being pulled out on both sides, from Obama to Biden to Pence, a tweet from the president might have the ability to swing the vote one way or the other.