Virginians will vote for governor this November after a race that has drawn little notice until recently. Lt. Governor Ralph Northam is the Democrat and former RNC chair Ed Gillespie is the Republican. The Virginia Constitution prohibits Terry McAuliffe from running again.

During a debate moderated by Chuck Todd last night, the Confederate statue issue was front and center.

Cortney O’Brien reported at Townhall:

Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Confederate Statues

Virginia gubernatorial candidates Ed Gillespie (R) and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) squared off in a debate Tuesday night, moderated by “Meet the Press’s” Chuck Todd.

After both candidates’ opening statements, Todd dove right into the topics voters wanted to hear. Out of the hundreds of questions he and his staff received, the violence in Charlottesville last month was at the top of the list, Todd said. How will the candidates as governor seek an end to the conflict? Do the remaining Confederate statues need to come down?

Northam believed that the controversial statues, which drew a violent crowd of white supremacists to Charlottesville, should be removed from the public square and placed in museums.

Gillespie rejected that notion.

We may not have always been on the right side, but “our history is our history,” Gillespie said. He wants the monuments to remain standing – not to glorify them, but to use them as an education tool. They should remain, accompanied by historical context.

It’s surprising that this was the top issue of the debate. Virginia has no other more pressing matters than whether or not statues should remain standing?

According to FOX News, other issues were discussed:

Virginia gubernatorial debate touches taxes, Trump, Confederate statues

Republican Ed Gillespie said at the candidate debate, held in voter-rich Northern Virginia and televised across the state, that he’s the only candidate with a sense of urgency and the right policies to improve a floundering economy. Virginia’s economic growth has sputtered with a slowdown in federal spending, especially in defense.

“We used to always lead, and now we are lagging,” Gillespie said, peppering his remarks throughout the hourlong debate with statistics about Virginia’s slow economic growth. He’s made cutting the state income tax rate a key campaign platform, which he said would spur more economic growth.

Democrat Ralph Northam presented a far different picture of the economy, saying it had made strong progress under current Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat who is barred from seeking a consecutive term. Northam said he would take Virginia to the “next level,” with a focus on improving the economy in rural areas. He also chided Gillespie for painting a bleak picture of the state, saying that’s counterproductive to the state’s efforts to lure new businesses like Amazon’s proposed second headquarters.

The Real Clear Politics average of polls puts Northam ahead by three points.

Here’s an interesting exchange from a debate the two candidates had over the summer:

Featured image via YouTube.