Republican Ed Gillespie has gone full-on Donald Trump in his campaign to be Virginia’s next governor, releasing yet another anti-immigrant ad—his fourth so far, according to the Washington Post—trying to attack his Democratic opponent Ralph Northam with so-called sanctuary cities even though Gillespie admitted himself during last month’s gubernatorial debate that sanctuary cities actually don’t exist there in the first place. Good lord, don’t let the facts get in the way of your racist fearmongering, Ed:
The latest ad, which started airing this week in the Roanoke market this week, begins with a dark hooded figure in a home holding up a baseball bat as the MS-13 motto “Kill, Rape, Control” flashes on the screen. Then, a narrator warns of violent crime linked to the street gang in Virginia — and accuses Northam of putting Virginia families at risk.
“Ralph Northam cast the deciding vote in favor of sanctuary cities that let illegal immigrants who commit crimes back on the street, increasing the threat of MS-13,” the narrator says — a claim that the nonpartisan FactCheck.org calls “misleading.”
“Virginia has no sanctuary cities,” notes the Post, “a fact that Gillespie has acknowledged but that is omitted from his ads.” FactCheck.org adds that “Northam and other Democrats voted against the bill because, they said, it was unnecessary.” What’s also true is that Gillespie has been slightly trailing or been in a dead heat with Northam in recent polling, and in an area that is home to “one of the most diverse, fast-growing, suburban swing districts outside of Washington,” Gillespie is resorting to both racism and lying to win over some voters.
As a matter of fact, Gillespie has yet to walk back last week’s racist, “positively Willie Horton-esque” ad that tried to stoke fears by flashing a scary image of MS-13 gang members, when it turns out they weren’t even MS-13 and weren’t actually any danger to Virginia voters because they were photographed behind bars in El Salvador. Gillespie avoided using that same image in this latest ad, but it doesn’t make it any less racist, or less a piece of fiction.