Last week in Virginia, voters dealt a huge blow to the Trump agenda by defeating Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie in his campaign to exploit xenophobia and anti-Latino bigotry to become the state’s next governor. Unsurprisingly, Latino voters helped lead the charge to defeat him, breaking 2-1 in favor of his Democratic opponent.
That result was in no small part due to the work of People For the American Way’s Latinos Vote! campaign, which helps make sure Latino voters have access to the full record of far-right GOP candidates asking for their support.
In addition to an aggressive campaign of television ads in key Virginia markets—Northern Virginia, Richmond, Newport News, and Virginia Beach—calling out Gillespie’s anti-immigrant and racist attacks and making the case for his opponent Ralph Northam, People For the American Way worked closely with the Northam campaign as a key partner focused on Latino outreach.
Working with local organizations, we helped lead an protest of Gillespie’s hateful rhetoric that was covered by local television and newspapers in addition to national Spanish language outlets. PFAW repeatedly responded in the press, directly and in press events with local allies, to Gillespie’s extremism throughout the race. Our board member, Dolores Huerta led a canvass kickoff for Northern Virginia volunteers and recorded a robocall for Virginia House of Delegates candidate Kathy Tran.
The impact of that work wasn’t just winning a key election in a critical state: it was effectively showing the national Republican party that candidates who try to replicate Donald Trump’s appeal to extremism in swing states will alienate potential supporters and energize their opponents. We’re proud of the work that Latinos Vote did in Virginia—and confident that we can continue to defeat bigotry in races ahead.