Northam Insists Democratic Enthusiasm, Unity Are Strong in Virginia Governor’s Race

Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial nominee Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam appeared on MSNBC Thursday afternoon to talk about the campaign, and was grilled on problems of disunity within the Democratic Party.

MSNBC host Katy Tur pulled no punches, opening the interview by raising the "Hillary Clinton's secret takeover of the DNC" controversy that former Democratic National Committee interim chairwoman Chair Donna Brazile introduced in Politico this week.

"As somebody who's more of the establishment Democrat in Virginia, the one in the race, does this story hurt you and your party ahead of Tuesday's election?" Tur asked.

Northam ignored the allegation, insisting Democrats in Virginia are unified and enthusiastic.

"I want to tell you, there's a lot of enthusiasm and excitement here in Virginia. We're coming down the home stretch, and our party is unified," Northam said.

After listing members of the Democratic ticket, the candidate said Virginians want leadership and civility, and slammed policies of President Donald Trump.

Tur wasn't satisfied by Northam's dismissal of disunity talk, and pressed her question again.

"I know that's the message you want to get out there, but there's not quite the question I asked," Tur said before rephrasing her question.

"The Democratic Party is not very popular and there is concern that the progressive wing is going to rip apart from the establishment wing–they don't feel like they're talking to each other. Are you concerned that you could be the first potential victim of that rift?" Tur asked.

"No, Katy," Northam replied. "Like I said, we're unified in Virginia. We're focused on this election."

"You say you're unified, but Doug Wilder isn't endorsing you," Tur said.

Doug Wilder, a Democratic former governor of Virginia, endorsed Justin Fairfax (D.) for lieutenant governor on Thursday, but has not endorsed Northam for governor.

The Democratic candiate touted his positive relationship with Wilder, but didn't explain the snub.

"Doug Wilder's a good friend of mine. He was a great governor," Northam said.

"That's up to Gov. Wilder and he'll make that decision at the appropriate time," he added.

Brazile's allegations reignited talk of disfunction and lack of leadership within the Democratic Party, with many members of the media and some Democratic leaders acknowledging the disfunction.

Later in the interview, Northam referred to Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie as "Donald Trump's chief lobbyist," and repeated the message that "there's so much enthusiasm."

Tur shot back again, asking if some voters won't want anything to do with "establishment Democrats" who want "radical change."

Northam mentioned his progressive primary opponent, Tom Perriello, endorsed him and has campaigned across the state for him. He then remarked on his own enthusiasm, repeating a phrase he used earlier in the interview.

"I have fire in the belly," Northam said.