Vice President Pence will join Virginia GOP gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie for a fundraiser later this month, a spokesman for Gillespie confirmed.
It is among the first public demonstrations of support by Gillespie from the Trump administration in a race that is seen as a bellwether for the 2018 midterm cycle.
The White House and other conservatives have been urging Gillespie to tap President Trump’s strategists, after the former Republican National Committee chairman’s surprisingly narrow primary victory over Trump loyalist Corey A. Stewart in June.
Gillespie, who was White House counsel under George W. Bush, has also more openly embraced Trump after largely keeping his distance during the primary. In January, Gillespie met with Pence during the antiabortion March for Life in Washington.
“A friend and successful former governor, Vice President Pence has long been a champion of pro-growth economic policies, and I look forward to welcoming him back to the commonwealth,” Gillespie said in a statement to the Virginia News Advance, which first reported the news of the fundraiser.
The private event will be held in Richmond on August 19, the same day Gillespie is set to speak at the Americans for Prosperity’s “Defending the American Dream” summit.
Americans for Prosperity is the main political arm of a network of conservative advocacy groups financed by billionaire Charles Koch’s donor network. Gillespie’s spokesman declined to say whether the fundraiser was connected to the summit.
Gillespie faces Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in November. Former president Barack Obama plans to campaign for Northam.
A Northam spokeswoman criticized Gillespie for appearing with Pence, a social conservative and critic of LGBT and abortion rights.
“Just a day after he called for defunding Planned Parenthood, Gillespie is doubling down on his backwards, anti-women views by campaigning with Pence and refusing to stand up to the divisive agenda of the Trump administration,” said Northam spokeswoman Christina Freundlich. “These anti-choice, anti-women views belong on the other side of the Potomac — not in the Virginia governor’s mansion.”