Democrats' absence prompts criticism at Labor Day parade

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BUENA VISTA, Va. (WDBJ7) Republican Ed Gillespie greeted the crowd as the annual Labor Day parade made its way through town on Monday morning.

So did the LIbertarian Candidate for Governor Cliff Hyra.

But Ralph Northam and the rest of the statewide Democratic ticket had already come and gone.

Northam and his running mates attended a Democratic breakfast at Parry McCluer High School, but left before the parade and public speeches that followed.

The break from longstanding tradition was fodder for Northam's opponents.

"If you're going to be a governor for all Virginians, you have to take your campaign to all Virginians," said Gillespie. "You can't just ignore and write off parts of the Commonwealth."

"It's just more of this partisan nonsense," Hyra added, "but boy it's a shame to not have all the candidates there."

"Well our schedule is so tight and we have events all over the Commonwealth, so we're happy to be in Buena Vista this morning," Northam said. "The Commonwealth is large and we look forward to traveling all over the Commonwealth between now and November."

Northam rejected the notion that he's writing off part of the state, noting he's a native of rural Virginia, and has a plan to boost the economy across Virginia.