Former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie: 'I could not vote' for Roy Moore

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie says the party would be risking "long term pain for ... sh...

Posted: Dec 12, 2017 8:47 PM
Updated: Dec 12, 2017 8:47 PM

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie says the party would be risking "long term pain for ... short term gain" if Roy Moore defeats Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama's special election for the US Senate.

Gillespie, who was defeated earlier this year in his bid to become governor of Virginia, said that if he were an Alabama voter, he would not vote for Moore.

Gillespie tried to run for governor in Virginia without embracing Trump and also without turning off his voters

He said he wouldn't be able to vote for either Republican Roy Moore or Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama

Voters will choose Tuesday between Moore and Jones to fill the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, who resigned earlier this year to become attorney general.

The veteran GOP operative made his comments during a taping with David Axelrod for an episode of "The Axe Files," a podcast produced by University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.

"If I were in Alabama I would not be able to bring myself to vote for Roy Moore," Gillespie said. "I couldn't vote for Doug Jones, but I wouldn't be able to bring myself to vote for (Moore)," he said, when asked about allegations of molestation and other controversies surrounding Moore.

Yet Gillespie said that the intense opposition that Moore's candidacy has drawn from outside the state would likely inflame the Republican base there.

In June, Gillespie won an unexpectedly close Virginia primary in June against Corey Stewart, a candidate who had more openly embraced President Donald Trump. During the hour-long conversation with Axelrod, he warned that there were "crosscurrents" that could trap elected Republicans against the base of their own party. Alabama voters may feel they "don't want folks telling us what we know who we can and cannot vote for. 'We'll make that decision ourselves,'" he said.

RELATED: Senate Republicans on what to do if Roy Moore wins: 'We'll see'

Gillespie also drew a parallel between the debate around supporters of Moore's candidacy and the core of voters who helped to elect President Trump, citing his own experience working to gain the support of the "Trump electorate" during his failed run for governor in Virginia. Gillespie said Trump's voters "feel like they're not just being disagreed with, but they are being disdained."

That tension dogged Gillespie in Virginia, where he said he found himself whipsawed between passionate supporters of Trump and the rest of the electorate. "If you're not standing up for President Trump, for his supporters, they see you as not for him," he said. "It's not that I was not for him. It's just that I'm not against him."

He compared to the task to walking on a tightrope that "may not be walkable."

When pressed on whether Trump contributed to his recent loss in Virginia, Gillespie said "I think that was a big factor."

He said the environment created by the bombastic President and the media has made it difficult to have temperate debates about the issues of the day.

"Now we're selling clicks and it has a very debilitating and I think cynical and corrosive effect on the ability to have an actual conversation about serious issues. And a lot of times the effect is just to try to shut down the conversation," he said.

Seared by a campaign in which he was buffeted by Trump and harsh media coverage of ads Gillespie ran that seemed calculated to seize on some of the divisive issues that had propelled the President to office, he took a long pause when asked if he would counsel others to run for office.

"I don't think I would," he said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 96677

Reported Deaths: 2911
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7143160
DeSoto559460
Harrison388374
Jackson350570
Madison331089
Rankin330679
Lee273670
Forrest248973
Jones248779
Washington225977
Lafayette219139
Lauderdale2059125
Bolivar184566
Oktibbeha179952
Lamar171635
Lowndes158058
Neshoba1579104
Panola149930
Sunflower147146
Leflore141081
Warren140750
Pontotoc127816
Pike124051
Monroe123568
Copiah119133
Scott117627
Coahoma116329
Marshall110617
Lincoln110253
Holmes109859
Grenada109036
Yazoo106230
Simpson104646
Tate100437
Union99824
Leake96038
Adams94137
Wayne90421
Pearl River89253
Marion86535
Prentiss86217
Covington82722
Itawamba82621
Alcorn82011
George78013
Tallahatchie77321
Newton77224
Winston74219
Tishomingo69038
Chickasaw68424
Tippah67117
Attala66725
Walthall60126
Clarke60046
Clay59518
Hancock58722
Jasper57515
Noxubee55116
Smith53415
Calhoun52112
Tunica49715
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46420
Yalobusha43514
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38817
Humphreys37715
Quitman3775
Stone37412
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33210
Carroll31912
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2273
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19676351
Mobile13373292
Montgomery8834184
Tuscaloosa8621118
Madison788178
Shelby597849
Lee589760
Baldwin547750
Marshall394343
Calhoun351544
Etowah349045
Morgan329228
Houston290321
Elmore266748
DeKalb241621
St. Clair232235
Walker231684
Talladega216629
Limestone210120
Cullman189920
Dallas179026
Franklin177129
Autauga176425
Russell17603
Lauderdale171333
Colbert164626
Blount161115
Escambia160824
Chilton158530
Jackson157511
Covington140127
Dale138644
Coffee13486
Pike119810
Chambers116442
Tallapoosa116085
Clarke109116
Marion96429
Butler91239
Barbour8827
Winston74412
Marengo72020
Pickens66214
Bibb65410
Lowndes65327
Randolph64713
Hale63528
Geneva6254
Lawrence62023
Cherokee60813
Bullock60414
Monroe5898
Clay5858
Washington55713
Perry5416
Crenshaw53732
Conecuh53511
Wilcox53111
Henry5055
Macon48018
Fayette4578
Sumter43819
Cleburne3805
Lamar3672
Choctaw34712
Greene30315
Coosa1713
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