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Political action committee pulls controversial Virginia governor ad

A pro-Northam ad released on Twitter on Monday by an outside group has been removed after receiving backlash.

The ad from the Latino Victory Fund, a political action committee, shows a pickup truck with a Confederate Flag and an Ed Gillespie campaign sticker chasing children. It ends with a disembodied voice saying, “Is this what Donald Trump and Ed Gillespie mean by the American dream?”

“We knew our ad would ruffle feathers. We held a mirror up to the Republican Party, and they don’t like what they see. We have decided to pull our ad at this time,” said Cristobal J. Alex, President of Latino Victory Fund. “Given recent events, we will be placing other powerful ads into rotation that highlight the reasons we need to elect progressive leaders in Virginia.”

David Abrams, a Gillespie campaign spokesman, called the ad “sickening” and “vile” from a “desperate campaign” in a tweet. In a statement, campaign manager Chris Leavitt said, “This is not an attack on Ed Gillespie anymore. This is an all out attack on the people of Virginia. This latest ad gives a clear indication of just what Ralph Northam and his national Democratic allies think of all of us, and it’s sickening.”

In response to the ad, Northam campaign spokesperson Ofirah Yheskel said, “Independent groups are denouncing Ed Gillespie because he has run the most divisive, fear mongering campaign in modern history. It is not shocking that communities of color are scared of what his Trump-like policy positions mean for them.”

The average from Real Clear Politics gives Northam just about a three-point lead.

“The polling has been all over the place, mostly suggesting a lead for Northam, but there have been some polls suggesting a tied race or something of a tiny lead for Gillespie,” said Dr. Jesse Richman, a political science professor at Old Dominion University. “Keep your seat belts fastened. It’s not going to get any smoother.”