Trump praised Gillespie on Twitter, saying that he’ll be tough on crime and try to protect Confederate monuments. But while Trump’s praise helps Gillespie shore up a conservative voters who were lukewarm on him in the June primary, it also threatens the former Republican National Committee chairman’s standing with more moderate voters.
The president also took aim at Northam, the state’s lieutenant governor, accusing him of being weak on crime and skipping work. The Virginia Democrat has been careful not to make attacks on Trump a centerpiece of his campaign, particularly in the more rural parts of the state, but Trump’s involvement in the race also promises to energize Democratic voters eager to score a win against the president.
Trump’s latest tweets come as Northam maintains a slight edge in the race, with less than two weeks before Election Day. While recent polls have shown the candidates in several drastically different positions, political observers say the race has been remained stable and will likely come to within a few points.