Virginia Republican Senate nominee Ed Gillespie cast Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) surprise primary loss as a boost for his campaign, saying the result showed anti-incumbent sentiment.
“I do believe there is a very strong anti-incumbent sentiment all across Virginia,” Gillespie said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Friday. “And it’s not limited to Republican primary voters ... there’s a lot of independents, a lot of Democrats, very frustrated with what’s going on in Washington, D.C., today.
“I think that’s to my advantage in November,” he added.
Cantor, the House Majority leader, was shocked earlier this month when he lost a primary challenge from Tea Party opponent Dave Brat.
Gillespie, though, sidestepped questions about the primary season’s intra-GOP fights. Asked if he was pleased with Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-Miss.) runoff win this week against a Tea Party rival, Gillespie, a former RNC chairman, said he wasn’t worried about those challenges.
“I’m not as concerned about these intraparty fights as a lot of my fellow Republicans are,” he said.
Gillespie also defended his opposition to Medicaid expansion, a contentious issue in Virginia, where Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s push to expand the program has been blocked by Republicans in the Legislature.
Gillespie said there were other ways to help poor, uninsured people and said that under ObamaCare, the federal government expansion for just three years, before the share declines to 90 percent.
“I think we can help them without expanding ObamaCare in Virginia, which is what this comes down to,” Gillespie said.
“I think long-term I do not believe the federal government is going to be there at the end of the day, and they’re going to put the taxpayers of Virginia on the hook for something that they’re not going to follow through with,” he said.