Perriello, Northam Asked About Their Regrets During Last Debate

May 30, 2017

Credit AP / Steve Helber

Asking candidates for office about their regrets can be a dicey game. And the answers can sometimes provide a window into the candidates and their campaigns. Take, for example, how the two Democrats running for governor answered that question at a recent debate.  Michael Pope explains.

Regrets? They’ve probably got a few.

But Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam may have a few too few to mention. When Julie Carey of NBC4 in Washington asked the lieutenant governor what kind of mistakes he’s made that he regrets, he didn’t talk about voting for George W. Bush or taking money from Dominion.

“Well I tell you I don’t really have any regrets, Julie. But what I did learn was when I started in Richmond in 2008 as a senator.”

And then he told a story about getting the smoking ban passed in Richmond after initial opposition from Republicans. Carey responded this way before moving the televised debate along. 

“Not sure that qualified as a mistake, but let’s try you Mr. Perriello on that.”

Perriello talked about an issue that his critics have been focussed on since the day he announced his candidacy: a vote he made during his time in Congress to deny federal funding for abortions in taxpayer-subsidized health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. 

“That amendment and the eventual compromise was highly restrictive, and in working with reproductive justice advocates since then understanding just how much of a step backwards it was in that space.”

Democrats will have the final say which approach they like best when they head to the polls June 13th.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.