Romney endorses Gillespie and Brat; calls for GOP unity - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Romney endorses Gillespie and Brat; calls for GOP unity

Mitt Romney appears at former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's event in Glen Allen, VA (Source: NBC12) Mitt Romney appears at former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's event in Glen Allen, VA (Source: NBC12)

Depending on who you talk to the Republican Party is in shambles or on the brink of a huge wave. There is no greater indication of that disconnect than in Richmond.

On the heels of Eric Cantor's stunning loss, party leaders are trying to bring together their various factions to prepare for a push to November. In order to come together they took a step back into their past.

"Please give a warm Richmond welcome to Governor Mitt Romney," said former Lt. Governor Bill Bolling on a hot night in Glen Allen.
Mitt Romney is still a big draw and, while he has no plans to run for president, he had a message Tuesday night for a fractured Republican party.

"Republicans will come together," he said, "because it matters right now. The country matters."

Romney comes to a Virginia still reeling from the loss of the GOP's most powerful politician. Bolling's "Burgers with Bill" event is a who's who of GOP establishment. It represents a wing of the party Cantor was a member of and a section not necessarily supportive of new nominee Dave Brat. 

"We've got a good candidate running for congress here in the 7th district," Romney said of Brat, "and we're going to get behind him."

But Brat did not attend Tuesday's event after returning to the campaign trail that morning. He now runs on a ticket headlined by Senate candidate and former Bush advisor Ed Gillespie. While Brat ran against many of the things the GOP establishment stands for, Gillespie argues they agree with each other on much more than they do with Democrats. 

"[Voters] see that this as their opportunity to put the breaks on some awful policies," said Gillespie.

While they may have a common enemy, marshalling the collective will of conservative, tea party and Wall Street republicans will not be easy, especially on sticky issues like immigration, gay rights and education.

Bolling, a victim of intra-party fighting himself, said Republicans have to figure it out.

"We need everybody working together to win."

Gillespie is facing current Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat, and Libertarian Robert Sarvis in the fall election. Dave Brat is squaring off against fellow Randolph Macon Professor Jack Trammell, a Democrat, and Libertarian James Carr in November.

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