A marquee policy initiative of Gov. Terry McAuliffe took center stage in the Virginia governor’s race Monday as Republican Ed Gillespie attacked McAuliffe’s approach to felon rights restoration as charitable to the point of being dangerous and Democrat Ralph Northam pushed back by saying Gillespie should be “ashamed” over his “fearmongering campaign.”
The Gillespie campaign rolled out an ad Monday highlighting the case of a sex offender whose rights were restored late last year, months after he was arrested for having a massive child pornography stash. Gillespie said the case of John Martin Bowen of Accomack County illustrates the flaws in McAuliffe’s expansive approach to rights restoration with minimal screening of individual cases. Northam, the current lieutenant governor, has praised the policy.
In the ad, Gillespie says he supports rights restoration for offenders who have “paid their debt to society and are living an honest life.”