The shooting in Alexandria on Wednesday put some politicking on hold, a day after Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam won their parties’ primaries for Virginia governor.
The newly minted GOP ticket — Gillespie; state Sen. Jill Vogel (Fauquier), the nominee for lieutenant governor; and Richmond attorney John Adams, the nominee for attorney general — went ahead with a Wednesday morning rally in Richmond, which opened with a moment of silence for the shooting victims.
Gillespie often notes that he met his wife, Cathy, more than 30 years ago on a congressional softball team, although there was no mention of that at their appearance at Virginia Union University.
From Richmond, the three were supposed to have flown to Fairfax County, Virginia Beach, Roanoke and finally Bristol, on the Tennessee state line. But 20 minutes after the Fairfax event was supposed to have begun, Gillespie’s campaign announced that the plans had changed.
“Due to the today’s events, 2017 Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie will join Lieutenant Governor nominee Jill Vogel and Attorney General nominee John Adams in prayer at the planned Fairfax stop,” spokesman David Abrams said in a written release. “All other events today have been canceled.”
Shortly before 9:30 a.m., Democrats called off a “unity” event that was to feature Northam and other members of the Democratic ticket: Attorney General Mark Herring, who is seeking reelection, and former federal prosecutor Justin Fairfax, who is running for lieutenant governor. They had been scheduled to appear in Fairfax with outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and Northam’s primary rival whom he defeated Tuesday, former representative Tom Perriello.
The Democratic Party of Virginia issued only the briefest statement about the cancellation: “In light of this morning’s events, today’s event will be canceled.”
Soon afterward, Northam put out a longer statement through the lieutenant governor’s office.
“I am horrified and saddened by this tragic news,” he said. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this senseless violence, including Congressman Steve Scalise and [multiple] others in Alexandria. The action taken by Capitol Police to protect those present is courageous and should be recognized as such. I also want to commend the brave action of Alexandria police. I have every confidence that Virginia law enforcement will get to the bottom of this unspeakable crime swiftly.”