Since announcing his bid for the Republican nomination for the 2014 U.S. Senate race, a multitude of activists and elected officials have quickly thrown their support behind former RPV and RNC chairman Ed Gillespie. Curiously, although Gillespie’s campaign faithfully adds every new endorsement to their campaign website, there is practically no mention of where Gillespie stands on the issues. Several weeks ago I called his campaign to highlight this omission.
On Friday, February 7th, Mr. Gillespie came to speak at First Friday, the monthly gathering of Republicans and conservatives at the Wood Grill Buffet in Harrisonburg. He spoke for about 30 minutes. Although he provided interesting details about his family and his previous experiences, again there was little mention of actual policy positions with the exception of his opposition to Obamacare and his pro-life stance.
During the question and answer period, Karen Kwiatkowski asked him about civil liberties but didn’t get a particularly detailed response. I raised my hand to voice my thoughts as well, but was not recognized.
Once the event had concluded, I got the chance to ask Mr. Gillespie one-on-one about his website deficiency. He explained that his campaign was still new and that his staff has not had sufficient time to outline his positions. However, he did state that his website would include this information by the early part of next (this) week.
Well, the week is just about half over and still the Gillespie website is devoid of any substantive policy positions. I don’t know about you, but I have trouble getting excited about a candidate whom I know nothing about. Due to what I would assume (in part) is a lack of direct information coupled with his work alongside folks like Karl Rove, many of my conservative and liberty-minded friends have declared Gillespie to be another big government Republican; so far I cannot find anything to refute these allegations. Will Mr. Gillespie continue along his present course, remaining silent on the issues until the convention, relying on his massive number of endorsements and campaign war chest to carry him to victory at the Republican convention? Either for good or ill, will Republican delegates know whom they could potentially be nominating to challenge Senator Mark Warner?
Inquiring minds and informed voters need to know. Ideologically he might be an excellent candidate or he might be poor. Where does Ed Gillespie stand?
Originally a contest between just Shak Hill and Howie Lind, former RPV chair Ed Gillespie made waves when he tossed his hat into the ring. Citing fundraising difficulties, Mr. Lind withdrew his candidacy shortly thereafter. Rumors swirled about other possible candidates, such as Delegate Ben Cline, but as the deadline to file approached, no new challengers emerged.
However, now it seems that there are two additional choices, Tony DeTora and Chuck Moses. DeTora has a website up; information on Moses is exceedingly limited at this point.
Given that the Republican Party of Virginia will be holding a convention to determine its nominee, it is really anyone’s game right now. Lest we forget, E.W. Jackson pulled off an improbable upset last year.
Which of the campaigns will catch fire in the coming months? And do any of the candidates have a chance to knock off Senator Warner?
Today has been a busy day for Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat in the 2014 elections. Citing fundraising problems coupled with the fact that a good chunk of his campaign staff has gone elsewhere, Howie Lind has withdrawn from the race. A few moments ago, Delegate Ben Cline declared that he has decided against tossing his hat into the ring. State Senator (and 2013 Republican AG nominee) Mark Obenshain announced his endorsement of Ed Gillepsie. Former Republican U.S. Senator John Warner proclaimed his support for Democratic incumbent Mark Warner.
The GOP convention is still several months away and the general election even farther in the future. It is important to remember that the field, especially the Republican field, has not necessarily settled. At this time, I do not know enough about either Shak Hill or Ed Gillespie to make an informed opinion of either.
Given his connections as the former head of the RPV and RNC, it is easy to declare Gillespie the strong favorite over Hill. However, it is exceedingly curious that Gillespie’s website thus far makes no mention on where he stands on any single issue. Is he a conservative? A libertarian? Another establishment candidate? It is a question that is difficult to answer.
Shak Hill still has a lot of catching up to do in terms of name ID. Will he, like an E.W. Jackson candidate, claim an improbable victory in Roanoke? In a convention it is much easier for an underfunded underdog to win.
And will the Libertarian Party nominate a candidate of their own to add an additional factor to the race?
Given all these thoughts, at this point I remain uncommitted.