Ed Gillespie isn’t shying away from public speaking engagements, even if Ralph Northam seems to be taking every opportunity to dodge the same.
Gillespie’s campaign accepted two additional forums (Loudoun Times-Mirror and Multicultural Chamber Alliance) and called on Lieutenant Governor Northam to accept two more additional debates (Governor Doug Wilder’s debate in the Richmond area and the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Debate) to increase the opportunities for voters in two of the most populous and economically significant regions in the Commonwealth to witness first-hand the clear differences in candidates.
“Virginians in the Richmond area and Hampton Roads deserve as many opportunities as possible to hear from their candidates for governor about their policy approaches to the many serious challenges facing their regions,” campaign manager Chris Leavitt said. “Though the Lieutenant Governor continues to shy away from pointed questions by voters and the media, Ed remains happy to do so.”
Since winning Republican nomination, Gillespie has accepted invitations to 11 gubernatorial debates, and including:
- Virginia Bar Association Debate
- WRIC-TV, WAVY-TV, WHAG-TV, and WFXR-TV Debate
- Governor Doug Wilder Debate
- The Center for Rural Virginia Debate
- UVA Batten School and Southwest Virginia Technology Council Debate at UVA-Wise
- Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Debate
- Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Debate
- Virginia Tech and WDBJ-TV Debate
- Radio One & Miss Community Clovia Debate
- Liberty University Debate
- Debate hosted by the Arlington Chamber, Dulles Regional Chamber, Greater-Reston Chamber, Loudoun County Chamber, Prince William Chamber and Northern Virginia Technology Council
Additionally, Gillespie accepted the following forum and joint speaking opportunities:
- Listening Forum Hosted By The McShin Foundation
- Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys Forum
- Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance Annual Meeting
- Virginia Association of Counties Meeting
- NoVIE and Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Nonprofit Executive Roundtable
- ChamberRVA Board Meeting
- Agriculture and Forestry Gubernatorial Candidate Forum
- The Business Council of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Region Breakfast Forum
- VIRGINIAforever Bridge Builder Dinner
- 2017 Conference on World Trade hosted by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce
- NAACP Forum
- Voices for Virginia’s Children
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation and James River Association Forum
- Virginia Economic Developers Association Fall Conference
- Medical Society of Virginia Annual Meeting
Northam continues to be rather slipshod in his reasons for dodging these debates. Combined with his dismal fundraising efforts, Northam is proving critics right with a lackluster at best effort.
Given that Northam’s current round of messaging flopped out of the gate, Northam’s avoidance of public events and debates mystifies most observers as obtuse and distant at best, giving the sense that perhaps Northam isn’t interested in the hard work that a serious and national-level gubernatorial contest requires.