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.
Governor Ralph Northam was projected to defeat a progressive challenger for the Democratic nomination in the commonwealth’s closely-watched race for governor, while former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie was projected to win a closer-than-expected GOP primary.
Northam beat former congressman Tom Perriello.
Gillespie’s GOP ticket-mate will be State Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel of Fauquier County.
As the election neared, Perriello and Northam increasingly appealed to the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
With 87 percent of precincts reporting, Republican state Sen.
The victor on the Democrat side, Ralph Northam, notes that as lieutenant governor, he cast tie-breaking votes to ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation in state government; to repeal the “infamous and medically unnecessary” mandate requiring an ultrasound before abortion; and to raise the minimum wage for all working Virginians.
Local Democrats had been showering Northam with support during his campaign, with every member of the state legislature endorsing him.
For Democrats, the race had been framed as a reboot of the Bernie Sanders-Hillary Clinton contest. Northam faces a primary against former Rep. Tom Perriello. The statewide support plus a late Washington Post endorsement may have sealed it. “I trust his dedication to all Virginians”, Lee said of Northam. “He ran strongly among black voters and ended up carrying liberal strongholds like Alexandria and Arlington”.
Perriello called Northam a “good public servant and a good man”. They will also need a positive message that offers traditional Democrats and newly alienated Republicans an alternative to Trump-Stewart Republicans.
President Donald Trump had an outsized effect on Virginia’s primary contests for governor, but not in the ways most people expected. Northam wasn’t uncritical of Trump, but was slower to focus his campaign’s energy on opposition to the President.
“Nearly more Virginians voted for Ralph Northam tonight than Ed Gillespie and Corey Stewart combined”, Susan Swecker, chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said in a statement. Perriello and Northam were also closely aligned on almost every policy issue, both running as solid liberals. “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.
Northam said Perriello called him to concede the race.
Northam accumulated those chits during a decade in Democratic politics, starting with his election to the Virginia Senate in 2007. The former RNC head was backed by most of the state party establishment, and had the fundraising advantage. He’s a fine Democrat. Perhaps more telling for the party is unusually massive turnout in an off-year primary.
At 9 a.m. Tuesday, 3 percent had cast ballots, the same overall voter turnout for the Democratic primary four years ago, James City voter registrar Dianna Moorman said. The final tally on Tuesday was about 537,000, almost 70 percent of the electorate in last year’s presidential primary. Are we ready to keep Virginia blue?.
Nohe adds that he’s “struggling a bit” that Republican voters didn’t offer any sort of overwhelming rejection of Stewart’s more incendiary rhetoric defending Confederate statues and monuments – the chairman often compared people seeking to remove these symbols to terrorists.