Progressive Super PAC Smears Gillespie in Local Korean Paper: ‘Supports Racist White Supremacists in Charlottesville’

Ed Gillespie / Getty Images

A progressive super PAC ran an ad in the local northern Virginia Korean newspaper Korea Times on Friday, labeling Virginia's Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie as a supporter of "racist white supremacists in Charlottesville."

The Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Victory Fund ran an entire page against Gillespie in Friday's edition of the newspaper, which serves northern Virginia’s Korean-speaking residents. Under the icon of a torch, the paper says in Korean that Gillespie "supports racist white supremacists in Charlottesville." At the top of the page, the ad says that "we do not want your dangerous and racist agenda."

At the bottom of the newspaper, the ad lists the names of the statewide Democratic candidates that the group wants Korean voters to support on Tuesday, Nov. 7. The ad then says it was paid for by AAPI Victory Fund and was "not authorized by any federal, state, or local candidate or candidate's committee."

The AAPI Victory Fund received $10,000 for the ad in late August from Win Virginia, a political action committee aimed at helping Democratic efforts in minimizing Republican control in Virginia’s House of Delegates at the ballot box on Tuesday. Tom Periello, who lost to Gillespie's opponent Ralph Northam in the Democratic primary back in June, is the president of the PAC. The top donor to Win Virginia is LinkedIn co-founder and billionaire Reid Hoffman, who has donated $300,000 between June and September.

Northam, along with the other two statewide Democratic candidates, lieutenant governor nominee Justin Fairfax and incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring, used a similar tactic less than two weeks earlier by releasing a mailer ad endorsed by all three candidates, showing images of Trump and Gillespie superimposed above a photo of white nationalists from the Charlottesville, Va., rally in August holding tiki torches.

Gillespie was quick to denounce the violence and white nationalist display in Charlottesville after one person was killed and multiple people were injured when a protest turned violent in August. He called the displays "evil" and said they "have no place" in Virginia. Democrats, however, didn't think he went far enough in his condemnation because he didn't speak out against Trump's statement condemning violence on "many sides."

AAPI is not the first outside group that has tried to depict Gillespie or his supporters as racists, allies of the white supremacists that marched in Charlottesville. The Latino Victory Fund, a progressive political action committee funded by people like liberal billionaire George Soros, released an ad last Monday showing a man driving a pick-up truck with a Gillespie campaign sticker, a Tea Party license plate, and a Confederate flag on the back as he chases down a pair of Latino boys, an African-American boy, and a Muslim girl wearing a hijab.

The four children run into an alley and try to climb a fence as the truck is speeding towards them, but the children then wake up, revealing the experience was a nightmare that would exist if Gillespie was elected.

While the ad was pulled in the wake of the New York City terrorist attack involving a rental truck last week, the ad received backlash from both political parties, including a Washington Post editorial board article calling it "vile" and criticizing Northam, whom they endorsed, for not condemning the ad sooner.

Brian Fallon, a CNN contributor and senior adviser to the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA Action, also smeared Gillespie last month by tweeting out an image of white supremacists marching with tiki torches in Charlottesville, Va., with the caption "Live look at Ed Gillespie campaign strategy meeting."