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Democratic gubernatorial candidate says he'd ban sanctuary cities in Virginia. He voted against banning them earlier this year.

After voting against a bill earlier this year that would pre-emptively ban sanctuary cities in Virginia, the state's sitting lieutenant governor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam said Wednesday that if elected, he would sign a measure to do exactly that. In an interview with Norfolk-based TV station WAVY, Northam called the bill he opposed a "political game" that would "promote fearmongering," but went on to explain that under certain circumstances, he'd actually sign a bill like the one he previously voted against.

"If that bill comes to my desk ... I sure will [sign it]," Northam said. "I've always been opposed to sanctuary cities."

In a previous debate with his Republican rival Ed Gillespie, Northam said that he opposed sanctuary cities but did not commit to signing legislation that would ban them in Virginia. There are currently no cities or counties in the state with sanctuary city laws, but immigration became a prominent issue in the race after Gillespie released an ad claiming that "Northam voted in favor of sanctuary cities that let dangerous illegal immigrants back on the street, increasing the threat of MS-13."

The Gillespie campaign released a statement in response to Northam's comments, with Gillespie saying: "I sincerely hope that this change of heart is real. That Ralph Northam recognizes MS-13 is a real issue, and a serious threat, and that allowing for the creation of sanctuary cities would only make things worse. Given his track record on the issue, I'm not sure where the lieutenant governor stands."