Virginia primary: Ed Gillespie ekes out win to face Ralph Northam in governor’s race

Three-way Republican primary remains too close to call in governors race as the general election ought to be able to preview what the 2018 midterms will look like

Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam won the Democratic nomination in the closely watched race for governor Tuesday, defeating a more liberal insurgent challenger in a tournament to be one of the partys standard-bearers against President Donald Trump.

Northam will face Ed Gillespie in the general election. The former Republican National Committee chairman eked out an uncomfortably close victory against an outspoken Trump supporter who constructed preserving Virginias Confederate history a top campaign issue.

Although the Democratic tournament garnered the most pre-election attention, Gillespies narrow victory against former Trump state campaign chairman Corey Stewart the nights biggest astonish. Gillespie was expected to win easily, and the shut competition indicates Trumps suffering appeal among GOP voters in Virginia and a potentially rocky path forward for Republicans in a state where Democrats have win every statewide election since 2009.

Northam wound up handily defeating former US congressman Tom Perriello, a more liberal insurgent challenger supported by prominent national Democrat such as senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as the best nominee to take on Trump.

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.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist, ran as a pragmatist with the states Democratic establishments firm support. He has also vowed to fight Trump, but with pledges to work with nation Republican lawmakers on issues like a taxation overhaul.

It is time for us to get back on offense and stop playing so much defense, Northam said.

Virginia is one of merely two states electing new governors this year, and the swing-state contest is likely to draw intense national scrutiny for signs of how voters are reacting to Trumps first year in office.

Frank Von Richter said he voted for Northam because he likes that the lieutenant governor is more middle of the road than Perriello and thinks he will work better with a Republican-controlled official records of the general assembly. The retired Richmond resident said Northam is strong on issues such as education and healthcare and will continue governor Terry McAuliffes efforts to bringing more undertakings to Virginia.

I think he has the ability to move Virginia forward like McAuliffe has, the 80 -year-old said.

McAuliffe, who, like US senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, backed Northam, is barred from attempting a consecutive term.

Perriello made a surprise entrance into the race in January and faced an uphill climbing at the very beginning. He energized many new-to-politics voters who oppose Trump and promised to support a grab-bag of progressive policies, such as raising taxes on the wealthy, use public funds for political campaigns or mandating union membership.

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

Northam had been essentially campaigning for years, inducing key contacts with influential power brokers like prominent African-American politicians and religious leaders, and building up a large cash advantage that let him outspend Perriello on TV advertising in the closing weeks of the race.

Northams campaign operated a traditionally bred campaign focused heavily on his biography rural upbringing, army veteran, pediatric neurologist as well as his endorsements from key progressive groups that make up the Democratic base such as both teachers and abortion-rights groups.

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