Ed Gillespie Leads GOP Candidates for Governor in New Poll

Sep 19, 2016

Campaign 2016 will end in a matter of weeks, which means that campaign 2017 is already starting to take shape behind the scenes. Michael Pope has new details on the race for governor. 

A new poll from the University of Mary Washington shows former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie leading the pack of potential GOP candidates for governor next year. But Stephen Farnsworth at the university’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies says it’s not a commanding lead.

“When you look at the Republican field, they’re all basically in the mid-30's. That means there’s a lot of uncertainty about how those candidates might do a year from now."

State Senator Frank Wagner came in second place and Congressman Rob Wittman was third. Trailing the pack was Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, who is leading the Trump campaign in Virginia. Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says Stewart has more name recognition than other candidates, but that’s not necessarily helping him.

Credit AP Photo / Cliff Owen

“One could have higher name recognition, such as Corey Stewart. But that higher name recognition actually informs a set of voters who say they won’t vote for him because they don’t like his positions"

Last month, Republicans decided to use a statewide primary - NOT a convention - to select their candidate for governor. That means voters get to choose the party’s candidate instead of party insiders.