Bannon offered to hold rally for Gillespie but campaign declined: report

Bannon offered to hold rally for Gillespie but campaign declined: report
© Greg Nash

Republican Ed Gillespie's campaign reportedly declined an offer by former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon to hold a campaign rally ahead of the Virginia governor's election.

Bannon's camp was "fuming" about the decision, according to a report in the Washington Examiner.

Bannon had previously said Gillespie could be an example of "Trump-ism without Trump."

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The former Trump aide has also promised to recruit challengers for Republicans who don't support the president's agenda.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) won the Virginia governor's race in a blowout over Gillespie on Tuesday, giving the Democrats a badly needed jolt of momentum ahead of the 2018 midterms.

Northam won by nearly 9 points in the race to succeed Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).

Gillespie sought to strike a unifying tone in his concession speech, offering his services in "making our Commonwealth better" and congratulating the victorious Democratic statewide ticket.

President Trump, who loomed large over the race, had voiced his support for Gillespie ahead of the election but did not campaign in Virginia. After Gillespie's loss, Trump claimed Gillespie didn't "embrace" the president or what he stands for.

Trump had attacked Northam on Twitter, saying the Democrat would be soft on crime and hurt the state's economy.

Northam was highly critical of Trump during the campaign, but said he would be able to work with Trump on issues that help Virginia if he won the race.