Gillespie: 'I'm a Better Person' for Having Run for Governor

Dec 14, 2017


Republican candidate for Virginia governor Ed Gillespie pauses while speaking with reporters after voting at his polling place on Election Day.
Credit Alex Brandon / AP

In his first interview since losing the race for Governor, Republican Ed Gillespie says he’s rooting for Governor-elect Ralph Northam.


“I hope he’s a good Governor for us, I think he’s a good man and I said that throughout the campaign,” Gillespie said.

Ed Gillespie spoke with David Axelrod, former advisor to President Obama. The hour and a half interview was released this week on Axelrod’s “The Axe Files.”

The two talked about President Trump and Gillespie acknowledged the President had complicated his run for office.


“It’s not that I was not for him, it’s just that -- and I’m not against him -- I wanted to be for Virginia and I wanted to keep the focus on Virginia,” Gillespie said. “It’s a tough tightrope to walk and it may not be walkable to be honest with you.”

Gillespie, who never campaigned with Trump, did think he successfully unified Virginia Republicans. Except for Governor-Elect Ralph Northam, Gillespie got the most votes of any gubernatorial candidate ever.

The conversation covered everything from Gillespie’s political upbringing, to rehashing details of the gubernatorial race.

Gillespie was criticized on the campaign trail for several inflammatory ads. When asked if he regretted running the ads, Gillespie defended their substance.

And while Gillespie says he won’t run for office again, he doesn't regret running for Governor.

“I’m a better person for having gone into the coal mines and spent time with the miners. I’m a better person for having campaigned in public housing communities. I’m a better person for having gone to the Eastern Shore and spent the time with the watermen,” Gillespie said. “But I can tell you that there are a lot of people who feel like they are not just being disagreed with, but they are being disdained.”

Gillespie says President Trump taps into that discontent, the media business fuels it, and it's contributed to a poisonous political atmosphere.

 This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.