ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The Republican candidate for Virginia governor is blasting a new attack ad aimed at both him and his supporters. FOX 5 sat down with Ed Gillespie about the nasty turn the campaign has taken and the impact of President Donald Trump on this race.
The attack ad was put out by a Democratic-backed group called Latino Victory Fund, which shows a speeding pickup truck flying a Confederate flag with a Gillespie bumper sticker on it chasing down a group of minority children.
Gillespie denounced the ad and he called it despicable.
"This is an insult to the people of Virginia," he said.
Gillespie said he believes the ad is trying to portray his supporters as racist and hateful, which is outrageous to him.
However, there is an attack ad that is running against his opponent Ralph Northam saying that the current Democratic administration's policies support the restored rights of a child pornographer. But Gillespie said there is a big difference with this ad - it is about issues and not insults.
"My ads focus on policy differences between us," said Gillespie. "We have a policy difference over what is the right process for restoration of rights. Do you draw a line or don't you? I would draw a line at having a review of the most violent criminals before we put them on a path to having their gun rights restored. My opponent would not."
Northam has spent a lot of time trying to tie Gillespie to President Donald Trump, even though the former chairman of the Republican National Committee comes from a more mainstream wing of the GOP. Gillespie told FOX 5 that he does not believe a "Trump effect" will factor into this race.
However, he said whoever is elected as Virginia's governor will have to work with Trump administration.
"Any governor of Virginia has to have a working relationship with a president," said Gillespie. "That has been the case with Democratic governors and Republican presidents and Republican governors and Democratic presidents. Because 20 cents of every dollar in our economy is a direct federal dollar and I would be able to work with this administration, with President Trump, Vice President Pence, his cabinet."
Gillespie has been a national political fixture for years, running campaigns for other candidates. In his first run for office, he came close to defeating Virginia Sen. Mark Warner. But he said running his own race for governor is unlike any campaign he has been a part of before.
"These are my ideas that I am putting forward now and I am not selling other people's ideas," said Gillespie. "That is not to say I didn't agree with ideas, but when you put your name on the ballot, you are the one who takes responsibility for the decisions you make, and I have made a lot of decisions on these 20 specific detailed policy proposals I have put forward and I think they are good for Virginia."
Latino Victory Fund president Cristobal Alex said in a statement:
"We knew our ad would ruffle feather. We held a mirror up to the Republican Party, and they don't like what they see. We have decided to pull our ad at this time. Given recent events, we will be placing other powerful ads into rotation that highlight the reasons we need to elect progressive leaders in Virginia."