2016 Presidential Election

As Trump looms over the race, Virginia tests whether an establishment Republican can succeed

As Trump looms over the race, Virginia tests whether an establishment Republican can succeed

A decade before Donald Trump upended national politics, Ed Gillespie was among the establishment Republicans counseling his party’s candidates to tread gently on the issue of immigration or risk ruination by alienating Latinos.

Now he is Virginia’s Republican nominee for governor, sounding remarkably like Trump as he speaks from a hay bale-laden stage at the Washington County fairgrounds in southwest Virginia. The president won 75% of the vote in this part of the state, and Gillespie is trying to prove that an establishment Republican still can succeed under the shadow of Trump.

“Do we need to have sanctuary cities here in Virginia?” Gillespie asked the crowd, raising an issue...

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