Virginia Newspapers Endorse Ed Gillespie For Virginia Governor

Ed Momentum!

The Richmond-Times Dispatch endorsed Republican Ed Gillespie for governor today, continuing Gillespie’s positive momentum. The Times-Dispatch cited Gillespie’s focus “on helping boost economic growth and job creation” and that he would “deliver” on Virginia’s potential. As Gillespie’s campaign continues to gain clear momentum less than two weeks from Election Day, the Times-Dispatch’s endorsement further shows that he is the best candidate to serve as Virginia’s next governor.

Despite the occasional nasty campaign flier or 30-second TV spot, this year’s race for governor of Virginia is a cause for at least modest celebration. The two major-party candidates are both admirable men — able, honest, and well-qualified to execute the high office they seek. Not so long ago, this might have seemed unremarkable. But in the 2013 gubernatorial election, The Times-Dispatch decided that no candidate was worthy of endorsement. And last year, after careful consideration, we endorsed the Libertarian candidate for president, much to the chagrin of many readers.

This year poses no such dilemma. Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic nominee for governor, is an honorable man, with a long record of service to country and commonwealth. He is fit for the job of governor. But he is the second-best choice to lead Virginia, not so much because of any defects on his part, but because of the abundant strengths of his opponent. Republican Ed Gillespie has run an energetic, inclusive, moderate-conservative, solutions-oriented campaign. His detailed, in-depth proposals reflect a refreshing respect for the intelligence of the voters.

Gillespie revives the pragmatic, open-minded Republican Party that for so long served Virginia well by emphasizing effective government that focuses on core responsibilities while limiting regulation and keeping taxes as low as possible. In an era of screamers, Gillespie speaks in calm tones about shared goals and specific policies to address both recent declines and longstanding problems. He offers multitudes of incremental progress rather than misleading promises of pure utopias. He is a realistic conservative who understands the gradual changes in Virginia — and is able to appreciate and protect the improvements while recognizing the problems, which are frequently spurred by creeping blue-state calls for bigger and more intrusive government.

His campaign has focused on helping boost economic growth and job creation. Its centerpiece is a highly responsible and straightforward plan to cut every Virginian’s state income tax by 10 percent. Despite hysterical claims to the contrary, Gillespie’s tax reforms will let workers keep more in their wallets, while protecting the commonwealth’s ability to meet its fundamental responsibilities, with a comfortable margin of error. He knows, unlike most Democrats, that more government spending is not the cure for all that ails society.

He has also displayed a desire to reform state laws and institutions that are failing our citizens, especially the most vulnerable among us. He has spoken frequently about the racial disparities in our criminal justice system. Gillespie proposes to raise the dollar amount of the felony larceny threshold, relax some medical marijuana and marijuana possession laws, and improve the process to restore voting rights for felons who have paid their debt to society. He favors treatment and intervention over incarceration as the best response to addiction. These measures demonstrate the candidate’s ability to assess complex challenges and respond with practical solutions rather than poll-tested slogans.

Gillespie backs charter schools as an alternative public-school opportunity for students who need a better education. He has outlined specific plans for expanding cooperation among governments, businesses, and faith communities to address issues such as foster care, adoption, and prisoner re-entry, where Virginia’s performance can certainly improve. He understands the need to act prudently on health care, so that its demands on the budget do not squeeze out funding for education and public safety. He recognizes that reforms to the state’s burdensome certificate of need program will ultimately benefit patient care and costs.

Perhaps most important, Gillespie knows that while Virginia remains a prosperous, dynamic dominion, it also faces strong competition — for jobs, businesses, students — from nearby states, especially those to the south. Virginia’s natural assets, enviable workforce, and outstanding universities have long provided competitive superiority. But those advantages can be forfeited if the commonwealth’s regulatory regime, budget discipline, and entrepreneurial appeal are allowed to decay. Gillespie talks often and persuasively about the unbreakable link between economic growth and social progress. As governor, he will deliver on Virginia’s potential. He has earned our confident endorsement.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch comes on the heels of another Gillespie endorsement from the Roanoke Times:

As the Virginia gubernatorial race comes to a close, Republican Ed Gillespie’s superior grasp of policies to improve life in the Commonwealth for all Virginians has created a stark contrast with Democrat Ralph Northam. In a new editorial, the Roanoke Times highlighted this difference, claiming “Ed Gillespie has a lot more ideas than Ralph Northam does,” that he is clearly “more detail-oriented than Northam is,” and he would be “a competent chief executive.” While Northam continues to exhibit an alarming lack of depth on key issues such as taxes, still unwilling to release his full plan to voters, Gillespie has shown throughout his campaign that he has the necessary grasp of the issues and thoughtful conservative solutions to serve as Virginia’s next governor.

The Roanoke Times: Gillespie Offers More Details Than Northam Does

OK, somebody ought to say this so we’ll say it: Ed Gillespie has a lot more ideas than Ralph Northam does…

…Gillespie has already released a detailed plan of tax cuts. He says his tax cuts would make it easier for entrepreneurs to start new companies and existing companies to expand to Virginia; Democrats say they’d starve the state of revenue needed to pay for the services that make Virginia a good place to do business in the first place.

The point here, though, is that Gillespie has a plan — and says Northam doesn’t. On the other hand, Gillespie would be a Republican governor working with a Republican General Assembly, so he’d be in a better position to get his plan through. Northam would be a Democrat working with a Republican General Assembly — and, politics being what they are, any proposal he made would probably be dead on arrival. That means it’s in his best interest to avoid specific proposals and instead put together a tax reform commission that might build a consensus.

However, other points are, quite frankly, darned interesting. One is to support “right-to-repair.” What is right-to-repair? This is an issue that has come up with a lot of software — and there’s now a lot of software in farm equipment, software that remains the legal property of the tractor manufacturer. If your tractor breaks down, who can fix it? Some companies insist that only authorized dealers can; a farmer might want to rely on his local mechanic. Hence, the “right-to-repair” movement. That’s not an issue that’s going to light up the airwaves, but it does matter to a certain group of voters. Somebody on Gillespie’s staff has done some homework to even know this issue exists…

For instance: Back in the summer, Gillespie rolled out an eight-point plan on how to grow “the outdoor economy.” There’s nothing in there that’s particularly partisan. Show it to a Democrat and they’d probably think it came from one of their own. A lot of it is feel-good stuff — “convene Virginia’s first ‘Summit on the Summit’ as an annual day for Virginians to get outside to reach the summit of their chosen mountain. Ed and Cathy will summit Bluff Mountain near Buena Vista!” On the other hand, Gillespie’s proposal “to add 50 new river, stream and water access points on government owned lands” is pretty specific. So is ordering “a comprehensive report” on the maintenance needs of state parks…

Still, if you’re making a list of other differences between the two candidates, one big one is that Gillespie is a lot more detail-oriented than Northam is. If you’re a Democrat, that’s hardly a reason to vote for the Republican, but it does suggest that Gillespie would a competent chief executive. Whether you’d like the things he’d do, well, that’s another matter. All we can say for certain is that if you intend to read the two candidates’ policy positions to compare and contrast, you’re going to be reading more on Gillespie’s website than you are on Northam’s.