RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Monday, Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam will debate in southwest Virginia.
It’s the last time the Virginia gubernatorial candidates will go head-to-head before the General Election.
A new poll released just hours before the event puts Northam ahead of Gillespie by 7 percent.
The poll, from Christopher Newport University’s Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy, is the first of four that will be released leading up to Nov. 7.
It shows Northam with 49 percent of likely voters and Gillespie with 42 percent.
Libertarian Cliff Hyra came in at 3 percent. Six percent of likely voters polled were still undecided.
The margin of error is +/- 4.3 percent.
While Hyra will be on the ballot, he will not be part of Monday’s debate. He did not participate in the two previous debates either.
“We contacted the sponsors and requested that I be included, but they weren’t open to that,” said Hyra.
He’s resorted to tweeting his responses from the sidelines. He plans to do the same Monday.
“It’s hard to understand why they don’t want me in there. I think I could really offer a pretty unique perspective on a lot of things, but especially on my top issues,” he said.
Consistently polling in the single digits, Hyra said he’s focused on the undecided voters and voters who don’t yet know enough about him to form an opinion.
We asked Gillespie and Northam’s campaigns how the candidates are feeling ahead of Monday’s debate.
Gillespie’s campaign spokesperson, Dave Abrams, had this to say:
“We are at a critical juncture in Virginia, and Ed is looking forward to another opportunity to share his positive, detailed vision on how to create jobs, raise take-home pay, help people lift themselves out of poverty, improve our public schools, and solve our transportation problems.”
Northam’s press secretary, Ofirah Yheskel, told us:
“Ralph is confident that the vision he will communicate tonight — a vision to expand opportunity for all Virginians — will resonate with voters throughout the Commonwealth.
“He’s excited to discuss his G3 program — get skilled, get a job, and give back — to make sure that Virginians have the skills needed to fill the workforce of the future. To make this possible, Ralph will increase the educational offerings at UVA Wise. To ensure that no family is one medical emergency away from financial demise, Ralph will propose expanding Medicaid in the Commonwealth. Ralph is looking forward to speaking with voters about the need for the Commonwealth’s next governor to defend the economic security, health, and equal rights of all Virginians.”
The debate begins at 7 p.m. at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.
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