Jill Vogel was just getting her legal career off the ground — still a “baby lawyer,” as a friend tells it — when she went to work for the Republican National Committee.
Before long, she was chief counsel. Then a top lawyer for President George W. Bush’s Energy Department. From there, she built one of the nation’s most prominent GOP elections law firms and won a seat in the state Senate.
Now Vogel, 47, is running for lieutenant governor of Virginia — in the drain-the-swamp style of President Trump.
“We are going to take back Virginia the way this president is going to take back this country!” Vogel declared at an August rally in tiny Marion, in southwest Virginia.
If it takes a certain chutzpah for a longtime GOP insider to adopt the president’s anti-establishment mantra, Vogel has it. That’s especially notable because the man at the top of her ticket does not.
Ed Gillespie, the former Bush aide and RNC chairman running for governor, can look uncomfortable with any association with Trump. When the president endorsed Gillespie via Twitter last Thursday, the candidate did not promote it or even acknowledge it until asked by reporters the following day.
But Vogel is all in. Gillespie squirmed when news leaked that he had hired a Trump operative to help him round up rural votes. Vogel hired two of them — and trumpeted the second in a news release.
Hers could be a risky strategy in the only Southern state that Trump lost, a place where the president is deeply unpopular. Her Democratic rival, former federal prosecutor Justin Fairfax, played up her ties to Trump as a negative during their debate last week .
But some Republicans praise Vogel’s gutsy style and predict she will lead the GOP ticket.
“She is fearless,” said John Fredericks, a conservative radio host who helped run Trump’s Virginia campaign and criticized Gillespie’s response to the president’s endorsement. “She takes positions immediately. She’s not going through a focus group. . . . She’s a shot of oxygen in a room occupied with stale air.”
The latest stories and details on the 2017 Virginia general election and race for governor.
That is not to say Vogel is all Trump, all the time.
In a TV commercial, Vogel is shown soaking up the great Fauquier County outdoors with her husband and their gaggle of beautiful children. It could be an ad for L.L. Bean. Or the return of Camelot. Indeed, the Vogels live on part of the Upperville estate once owned by Listerine heiress Bunny Mellon, who entertained her friend Jackie Kennedy there.
Read the full report from The Washington Post.