Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Edward Gillespie wins Virginia's GOP primary for governor


Republican Ed Gillespie narrowly edged out Corey Stewart in Virginia's Republican gubernatorial primary Tuesday night, while Lt. Ralph Northam defeated former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello in the Democratic primary, according to the Associated Press.

It took several more hours for a call to be made in the unexpectedly tight GOP race, with Gillespie besting Stewart by less than five thousand votes. State Sen. Frank W. Wagner was carrying the remaining votes. "When it comes, the growth and the job creation, Virginia should be first in the nation and we are going to be!"

Anyone in line when the polls close at 7 p.m. will still be able to vote. Perriello had run as an unapologetic liberal crusader supported by prominent national Democrats like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen.

Meanwhile, Northam's win capped off fierce competition on the Democratic side, where he faced off against former congressman Tom Perriello. Observers initially expected it to be an easy win for Gillespie, who polled in a double-digit lead. "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. He also promised to reduce economic inequality. "Together we helped elevate mainstream ideas that should have been there all along", he said, citing his support for a $15 minimum wage as an example.

Local Democrats had been showering Northam with support during his campaign, with every member of the state legislature endorsing him. "We could not have a more important election on our hands", he told his cheering supporters.

"He is experienced", Sandra Welch, 71, said of Mr. Northam as she voted in Alexandria.

His voice quivering a bit, he paid tribute to his late mother and 92-year-old father.

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The biggest surprise was on the Republican side. But there is a catch: You can only vote in one primary, either the Democratic primary or the Republican primary. Notably, Prince William County journalist and transgender woman Danica Roem beat three opponents in Virginia's 13th district.

At the polls Tuesday, Mr. Gillespie's backers said they hoped he could deliver a victory to a state Republican Party that has been on a losing streak. Gillespie is facing two challengers for the party nomination.

She managed to win the Democratic nomination to challenge Del.

"This November, the voters of Virginia will send a strong message to Donald Trump by electing Ralph Northam as their next governor".

In James City County, voters came out in droves. He said the election was "too close to call".

But looking at the data available, 2017 proved to be a banner year for Democrats and possibly a sign of Trump's waining popularity.

The race for governor, especially, has focused almost as much on reaction to events in Washington as to policy concerns within the state.

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Another top GOP strategist cast the Virginia results as "horrible news" for those lukewarm toward Trump previous year.

The same polling that predicted Corey Stewart finishing well back of Gillespie puts Northam well-ahead for November's general election to succeed incumbent Democrat and long-time Clinton ally Terry McAauliffe.

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

Northam will now face former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie in the race for the governor's seat. He has been a lukewarm supporter of Trump, but cast himself as a true conservative who will cut taxes and promote business. Those with more moderate views with the GOP stayed home.

Steve Chapman cast a ballot for Stewart at the George Mullen elementary school in Manassas. "As delegate, I will hold him accountable for his actions".

White nationalists flocked to Stewart's campaign of protection of Confederate monuments and hatred of immigrants. "I liked (Perriello) a lot, but I didn't think he could quite get enough people behind him in the general election".

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