Northam and Gillespie win nominations for Virginia governor

Frederick Owens
June 19, 2017

Mr. Gillespie had the backing of all the state's high-profile Republicans and had a major cash advantage. While Gillespie had his stronghold in Fairfax County, Stewart scored big in Loudon County, Prince William County as well as rural central and southwest regions of the state. Gillespie, heavily favored going into the race, drew 43.67 percent of the vote, compared with 42.63 percent for Stewart with nearly 98 percent of precincts reporting. Despite the call, Gillespie never did so, citing Ronald Reagan's apocryphal eleventh commandment to not attack fellow Republicans, and congratulated him and fellow challenger State Senator Tom Wagner on a hard-fought campaign.

Ralph Northam has won the Democratic nomination in Virginia's closely watched race for governor, defeating an insurgent challenger backed by U.S. Sens. Davis has run a business-focused race; Reeves has touted his conservative credentials; and Vogel, who has a big fundraising lead, has promised to put "principle over party".

But many Democrats voted pragmatically, wanting to choose someone with the most time in state government. Northam, a pediatric neurologist and Army veteran, emphasized his pragmatic approach and ability to work with Republicans. He begins the general election looking uphill at Democratic nominee Ralph Northam.

He and his supporters claimed a moral victory in the loss, saying they forced Mr. Northam to run to the left. The Democrats have moved way too far to the left - too far left for a state like Virginia. "I'm shocked. If Donald Trump didn't carry the state of Virginia, I don't know how Corey is going to", Nancy Russell, former Hanover County chairwoman said.

Even before the primary, the Virginia election emerged as a swing-state referendum on Trump, who was defeated here by Hillary Clinton last November by 5 percentage points and remains deeply unpopular.

"It is time for us to get back on offense and stop playing so much defense", Northam said. Northam's campaign had been expecting about 320,000 voters, similar to the last contested Democratic primary in 2009.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting on the GOP side, Gillespie led former Trump state campaign chairman Corey Stewart by just over 4,000 votes out of almost 365,000 ballots cast. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). He also saw endorsements from every Democrat in the state legislature and three of Virginia's four Democratic members of Congress. NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Education Association teachers' union, and several gun control advocacy groups endorsed Northam.

Mr. Stewart sprinted toward Mr. Trump, making immigration a centerpiece of his campaign, and accused Mr. Gillespie of running away from the president.

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State Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel of Fauquier County won a narrow victory over state Sen.

"You had to ask if he was running for the president of the Confederacy or governor of Virginia", declared George Mason University political science professor Mark Rozell. This is just the beginning.

Two attorneys from northern Virginia will be facing off in November to be the next lieutenant governor.

That lack of enthusiasm may have affected turnout.

Some Democrats said they were motivated by Trump's presidency to vote Tuesday.

The Republican primary saw a noticeably lower voter turnout compared to the Democratic Party, with only 5.5 percent of registered voters casting ballots for the party.

Democratic legislative candidate Jennifer Carroll Foy, vying for a Republican-held seat in the state of Viriginia's House of Delegates, is shown in this handout provided June 3, 2017. "We're all in this together", he said.

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