Virginia Primaries: Gillespie wins close Republican race; Northam clinches Democratic

Frederick Owens
June 19, 2017

Edward Gillespie, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, won Virginia's GOP primary for governor, the state's Department of Elections has confirmed.

Running on his decade of experience at the statehouse and ability to push pragmatic progressive change in what will likely remain a GOP-controlled General Assembly, Northam's strength with traditionally active Democratic constituencies carried him through and avoided a potentially embarrassing repudiation of Democratic leaders by the party's base. So was almost every Democratic member of the state's House delegation and statehouse and local-elected officials.

"It is time for us to get back on offense and stop playing so much defense", he said. The general election is expected to be an early referendum on the president and a preview of what the 2018 midterm elections will look like.

In November, Virginia will be one of only two states electing a governor, and the commonwealth's race has always been seen as the first indicator of the national mood after a presidential election the year before.

The Associated Press declared Northam the victor just after 8 p.m. eastern. "He cares for everyone".

Northam faced former Rep. Tom Perriello in the primary.

Far more voters seemed to turn out for the Democratic primary, perhaps twice as many, when the final votes are tallied.

Perriello pledged in his concession speech to help Northam and said his campaign had shown that a "movement" is "rising up". As the centerpiece of his campaign, Gillespie is proposing reducing the income tax rate that most Virginians pay from 5.75 percent to 5.15 percent over three years as long as revenues grow.

Former state Sen. Frank Wager was running in a distant third, according to the election reports. Stewart, who rallied around Confederate symbols, was seen as little more than a nuisance, and a minor one at that.

"We agreed that we're going to bring all Democrats under the tent starting tonight".

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He promises "to continue the revolution that Donald Trump started". "We're all in this together", he said.

Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, greets voters on Tuesday in Chesterfield, Va.

Some viewed the close battle as a pitting of the Sanders wing of the party, as channeled by Perriello, against the Clinton wing of the party, represented by Northam. Obama, whose speech on behalf of Perriello's unsuccessful 2010 campaign featured in most of the former congressman's ads, stayed neutral himself.

In the race for November in the Lieutenant Governor's Republican Primary, Upperville senator Jill Vogel captured the vote over Bryce Reeves and Glen Davis, Jr. Virginia is the only state that prohibits its governor from serving consecutive terms.

Northam will face Gillespie in the race for Virginia's next governor.

After a closely contested race to shape the future of the Democratic Party, Tom Perriello lost to Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in the Virginia gubernatorial primary. That is to say, the number or Republicans who came out to vote in today's primary (363K) was dwarfed by the turnout during the 2016 Primary when Trump won with 356K votes with a total of over 1 million Republicans coming out. All six being challenged this year have big fundraising leads over their opponents.

Although he received a large amount of attention and praise from prominent national Democrats, Perriello was ultimately unable to expand the universe of Democratic primary voters enough to counter Northam's advantages.

Northam beat opponent Tom Perriello, a one-time US representative for Virginia's 5th district, with roughly 55 percent of the vote statewide.

When you arrive at your polling place an election officer will ask which party ballot you would like.

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