In the three-way Republican primary, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie held a narrow lead over Corey Stewart, a Prince William County official who was Trump's Virginia campaign co-chairman before he was sacked.
Mr. Gillespie had the backing of all the state's high-profile Republicans and had a major cash advantage. He eked out a win over Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart and state Sen. With over 99% of the precincts reporting, Gillespie was projected to win with over a percentage point. State Sen. Frank W. Wagner was carrying the remaining votes.
On the Democratic side, Northam wound up handily defeating former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, who ran as an unapologetic liberal crusader supported by prominent national Democrats like Sens. "It was definitely a focus from outside on what Virginia needs for the future Democratic Party". The other state choosing a new chief executive is New Jersey, more often than not a solidly Democratic state. Still, it appears enough Virginians still put stock in Northam's decade of Richmond experience, especially in the DC suburbs where the Post's endorsement might have swayed voters unfamiliar with both candidates, Skelly says.
In the Democratic primary, Northam was endorsed by almost all of the party's elective officials - from the statehouse to the courthouse. The stunning squeaker immediately changes the political calculus not only headed into Virginia's general election, but also into next year's midterm primaries. "I don't know about you, but I am inspired to keep fighting tonight".
"It is time for us to get back on offense and stop playing so much defense", Northam said.
Far more voters seemed to turn out for the Democratic primary, perhaps twice as many, when the final votes are tallied.
On Tuesday, he barely defeated Corey Stewart, a former Trump state campaign chairman who made preserving Virginia's Confederate history a top campaign issue.
His primary victory would suggest that Virginia, though next door to Washington, D.C., still makes a distinction between national and state politics. Stewart, with his prominent connections to the campaign, ran as a vocal Trump backer.
Virginia voters picked their parties' nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and dozens of House of Delegates races Tuesday, plus local contests in some areas. "Tomorrow morning, Jill Vogel, John Adams and I begin a statewide tour where we'll take this campaign to every corner of our Commonwealth and every voter in Virginia", stated Gillespie in an email. Outside groups have poured money and attention into Virginia, and a vast army of new candidates have flooded the Democratic side of House races - including a record number of women candidates.
Democratic legislative candidate Josh King talks about his hopes for winning a Republican-controlled seat in the Virginia House of Delegates in his campaign headquarters in Woodbridge, Virginia, United States, May 8, 2017.
"I think he is fiscally responsible", Sarah Revers, 52, said on her way out a polling place in Fairfax County. Virginia is the only state that prohibits its governor from serving consecutive terms.
Both locally and statewide, Tuesday's primary results showcase serious conditions for Republicans in the 2017 elections.
That lack of enthusiasm may have affected turnout.
Republican operative Tim Miller, a leader in last year's anti-Trump movement, cast the surprising returns as a wake-up call to the GOP establishment.
For Gubernatorial primaries, about 320K Democrats came out to vote in 2013, giving Senator Creigh Deeds his failing bid against Republican Bob McDonell.
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