Virginia lieutenant governor claims victory in Democratic primary

Virginia lieutenant governor claims victory in Democratic primary

Republican Ed Gillespie led a tight race all night in the GOP primary for Virginia's governor, beating out an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump.

Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman, edged Corey Stewart, who made preserving Virginia's Confederate history a top campaign issue. However, conservative challenger Corey Stewart, the chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and a staunch supporter of President Trump, has pulled within less than 1 percent of Gillespie with 95 percent of votes counted.

The primary sets up a general election between a native Virginian with a soft drawl, Northam, who seeks to pair an appeal to bipartisan sensibilities with building anger at Trump, and Gillespie, a non-native originally from New Jersey who must find a way to lure election-deciding independents and hold voters loyal to the new president he has largely avoided.

Ralph Northam defeated former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, who ran as an unapologetic liberal crusader supported by prominent national Democrats like Sens. The dichotomy evoked comparisons to the 2016 Democratic presidential primary contest between the upstart Sanders and the establishment Hillary Clinton.

But on a night when the only suspense was supposed to be on the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the insiders' favorite, put away progressive darling Tom Perriello easily and early.

The Historic Triangle sided with the rest of Virginia on Tuesday, picking Democrat Ralph Northam and trending with Republican Ed Gillespie as candidates for November's race for governor.

If elected, Vogel would be the first woman to serve as lieutenant governor and would also end Virginia's more than two-decade streak without a woman in statewide elected office.

"We have an incredible slate of diverse candidates", rising second-year College student Virginia Chambers, University Democrats spokesperson, said.

"We have changed the conversation here in Virginia and elevated the voices of those who have been left out of the political conversation for too long", Perriello said, pointing specifically to his calls for a $15 minimum wage and a "clean energy future" that doesn't include new natural-gas pipelines.

"We want you to be part of our effort", Gillespie said.

"I am not going to overanalyze that statement, but I like it", said 80-year-old Jim Hensen, a retired Air Force master sergeant who backed Mr. Northam. Virginia is the only state that prohibits its governor from serving consecutive terms. Northam, meanwhile, focused more on state issues and highlighted the support of almost every elected Democratic leader in the state, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Voters in some areas narrowed the pool of candidates in local contests, including city council and commonwealth's attorney races.

Virginia voters cast their ballots in the Democratic primary Tuesday, choosing their candidates for the gubernatorial, lieutenant gubernatorial and House of Delegates races.

Gillespie, a political strategist and former chair of the Republican National Committee, emerged the victor with just over a percentage point.

Gillespie, 55, of Fairfax County, has tried to avoid appearing either too critical or too supportive of Trump, a task that could become more hard in a general-election campaign targeting a broader audience of potential voters.

Ed Gillespie won the Republican gubernatorial nomination with 44% to Corey Stewart's 43% with 99% of the precincts reported. Those with more moderate views with the GOP stayed home. He energized many new-to-politics voters who oppose Trump but was ultimately unable to expand the universe of Democratic primary voters enough to counter Northam's advantages. Glenn Davis (Virginia Beach) far behind.