Ed Gillespie didn’t just clobber Ralph Northam tonight — he might have ended Northam’s slim hopes to rejuvenate his campaign.

Line of the night?

That line right there probably sealed the deal, as Northam looked uncomfortable, defensive and mostly put-off during the entire debate.

If you need more evidence, check out Gillespie’s opening statement:

Northam literally looked down at the camera the entire night, sounding put-off and as if there was someplace else he would rather be.  Gillespie, OTOH, shined tonight — appearing every bit the frontrunner in a race well within the margin of error.

UPDATE: The Republican Governors Association is taking a victory lap tonight:

“In the final Virginia gubernatorial debate, Ed Gillespie once again made it clear that he is the only candidate in this race with a substantive vision to expand opportunity and drive job creation for all Virginians,” said RGA Chairman Governor Scott Walker. “While Ralph Northam continued to tout his radical, out-of-touch policies that would only set Virginians back, Ed demonstrated his unwavering commitment to strengthening Virginia’s economy and improving the lives of all its people. With less than one month to go until Election Day and polls showing clear signs of momentum for Ed’s campaign, Virginia remains a key pick-up opportunity for the Republicans this November.”

Well deserved.

UPDATE x2:  There was a rather heated exchange at one point during the debate, where embattled Democratic nominee Ralph Northam had to raise his voice over the moderator in order to deliver the nastiest line of the night:

“The only time you have shown up is when you get paid,” Northam said to Gillespie before being asked to stay on point by the moderator, one of several times the moderator admonished the candidates over the course of the debate. Gillespie retorted that he owns a small business in Virginia and had left the lobby firm to which Northam referred over a decade ago.


UPDATE x3:  This one I missed:

Of course, to Ralph Northam this debate probably felt like a week…