Democratic primaries here in Virginia usually remain at least somewhat civil and that had been the case so far in the race between Tom Perriello and Ralph Northam. Yes, they tend to be gaining separate backers, but there still wasn’t any bad blood between the two camps. At an event over the weekend in Alexandria, however, a surrogate for Ralph Northam decided to take the gloves off after his candidate declared “game on.” State Senator Dick Saslaw went after Tom Perriello and compared his voting record to that of Ted Cruz.
“This is a guy. This is a guy, ok, who talks like Bernie Sanders, but votes like Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan,” Saslaw said. “You can quote me.”
This is in direct contrast to what I’ve experienced from the Northam campaign. When I went to an event for Ralph Northam’s campaign on Saturday afternoon, for instance, he largely avoided any mention of his primary opponent. Even when directly asked about what separated him from Perriello, he called Tom a “good guy” and simply highlighted the different grades they received from the NRA (Tom had received an A- while Ralph received a D).
One of the critiques people often give to Ralph is that he’s too nice of a guy to run for governor, especially considering how aggressive this campaign’s expected to be. It simply doesn’t make sense that someone who has that type of reputation would actually want an attack dog like Saslaw out making comments like the one he did this weekend.
Not only do the comments draw negative attention for the attitude with which they were delivered, but it draws attention to how Northam doesn’t have the most progressive record either. Northam has declared himself “fiscally conservative” and even admitted that he voted for George W. Bush, both things that would cause someone to question his progressive credentials.
Also, just to be clear, there is a drastic difference between the voting record of Tom Perriello and that of Ted Cruz. As my friend Lowell points out over at Blue Virginia, “as of June 2010, at which point his first term was winding down, Tom Perriello’s Progressive Punch rating was 78.58%.” Ted Cruz was at a 6.28% rating at the same point.
Saslaw’s comments are therefore not only out of touch with the way Northam appears to be running his campaign, but they’re also completely untrue.