Pence, Biden stump for Virginia governor candidates Gillespie, Northam

With less than a month to go before Virginians elect their next governor, the two major-party nominees brought in some big-name campaigning help Saturday.

Republican Ed Gillespie was joined by Vice President Mike Pence at a rally in Abingdon, in the rural southwestern corner of the state.

Democrat Ralph Northam brought in former Vice President Joe Biden for an event in Reston, an upscale community just outside Washington’s Capital Beltway.

Pence minced no words in drawing a clear distinction between Gillespie and Northam.

“Like Donald Trump, Ed Gillespie will put the safety and prosperity of the American people first,” Pence told a crowd of about 400 people, Politico reported.

"Ralph Northam,” the vice president noted, “cast the tiebreaking vote against a bill in the state Senate against a bill to crack down on sanctuary cities.”

The event was held in Washington County, an area that gave President Donald Trump 75 percent of its votes in November, the Washington Post reported.

Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted support for Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

“The Democrats in the Southwest part of Virginia have been abandoned by their Party. Republican Ed Gillespie will never let you down!” the president wrote.

In Reston, Biden backed Northam – Virginia’s lieutenant governor -- before an audience of about 100 people. The roundtable-style event was not open to the public, the Washington Post reported.

“The thing that I admire about Ralph — you can feel it, you can taste it — is the authenticity,” Biden said, according to the Post.

Gillespie and Northam are vying to succeed Democrat Terry McAuliffe as Virginia’s governor. McAuliffe cannot seek reelection because Virginia law does not allow a governor to serve two consecutive terms.

Northam was leading Gillespie by 13 points in a recent poll, the Hill reported.

The election will be Nov. 7. Only Virginia and New Jersey will be electing a governor this year.