Dems Attack Gillespie On McDonnell Ties

Democrats are attacking Virginia Senate candidate Ed Gillespie (R) for his ties to former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who was indicted Tuesday on 14 charges.

Gillespie, a former head of both the Republican National Committee and the Virginia GOP, served as McDonnell's campaign chairman during his 2009 run and was a senior adviser during his transition into office. 

Now that he's challenging Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Democrats see his connections to the embattled former governor as yet another hit on Gillespie's lobbying record and ties to political influence. 

"Ed Gillespie raised millions of dollars in soft money for Bob McDonnell's campaigns for attorney general and governor, and he's the poster child for the sometimes questionable intersection of politics and influence," Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Matt Canter tells The Hill. "Gillespie needs to answer for his considerable political and fundraising support for Bob McDonnell."

Democrats are looking to paint Gillespie as a corrupt political insider, and they've already gone on the attack against the former lobbyist for advising Enron, the defunct energy company.

"It plays exactly into the 'fixer' narrative Democrats are pushing — 'Republicans aren't as honest as they sell themselves to be.' They're going to try to say Gillespie is cut from the same cloth as Bob McDonnell," said GOP strategist Ford O'Connell, who has worked on a number of Virginia races.

Read more from Cameron Joseph at The Hill

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