Gillespie dismisses 'ugly character smear' comparing him to neo-Nazis
© Greg Nash

Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie is denouncing as an "ugly character smear" comparisons between his campaign and the white nationalists who rallied in Charlottesville, Va., in August.

On Friday, a tweet from CNN contributor and former Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats say it's up to GOP to stop Trump 2024 Hillary Clinton to speak at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders summit More than half of eligible Latinos voted in 2020, setting record MORE spokesman Brian Fallon captioned a picture of those neo-Nazis as a "live look at Ed Gillespie campaign strategy meeting.”

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic nominee for governor, had defended a similar comparison two days earlier.

“Northam, the entire Democratic ticket and CNN should condemn this ugly character smear that has no place in our Commonwealth’s political discourse," Gillespie campaign spokesman David Abrams said in a statement to Fox News.  

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Earlier this week, the Virginia Democratic Party funded a mailer featuring an edited image of Gillespie alongside President TrumpDonald TrumpVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected Biden meets with DACA recipients on immigration reform Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers MORE above a photo of the neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville with tiki torches in hand. 

The "Unite the Right" demonstration, which was held around the site of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, has divided the campaigns on the issue of Confederate memorials, with Gillespie supporting leaving the statues up and Northam calling for their removal.

Both Fallon and the Democratic campaign have doubled down on the issue, calling for Gillespie to take a firm stance against the alt-right and disavow Trump's unpopular handling of the violence at the rally that resulted in the death of a 32-year-old woman.  

The former Clinton communications director said Gillespie "should be ashamed" of his own campaign ads on gangs and felons' rights, calling them "vile and pathetic attempt to appeal to the [Stephen] Bannon wing of Donald Trump's Republican Party." 

Northam spokesman David Turner said that Gillespie "failed" to aid the grieving Charlottesville community after the incident, and that he "should be willing to call out Donald Trump when he's wrong."

Gillespie and Northam are currently in a tight race ahead of the Nov. 7 election, with the Democrat holding a small lead in the polls.