Culture

Northam Beats Perriello in Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial Primary

John Carr of Winchester, Va. walks into his polling place Tuesday, June 13, 2017, to vote in the Virginia Primary Election where a Republican and Democratic candidate for governor and lieutenant governor will be chosen.

Republicans Corey Stewart, Frank Wagner and Ed Gillespie will face off on today's ballot.

His primary victory would suggest that Virginia, though next door to Washington, D.C., still makes a distinction between national and state politics. She said she was leaning toward voting for Northam in the Democratic primary but liked what she heard from Perriello at his town hall last week in Leesburg.

Corey Stewart, the populist former Trump campaign state chairman who ran on an unrestrained Trumpian populist platform, stands only 1.15 percent back from Gillespie, who most mainstream outlets reported would coast to victory. (A margin of less than one percent would have triggered an automatic recount.) Gillespie's opponent Corey Stewart, a demagogue on immigration who made an issue over taking down Confederate monuments, vastly over-performed in his primary, just as President Trump did in the 2016 campaign season.

"We look forward to continuing to carry carrying our message across the Commonwealth to earn the support of Virginians in the general election", Fairfax stated in an email.

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.

But on election day, Stewart had a big showing.

A variety of Virginia politicos to whom CNN spoke peg the magic number at 375,000 voters - above that number could be good for Perriello, but below that should indicate a Northam win.

Lieutenant governor is a part-time, largely ceremonial job that involves presiding over the state Senate and breaking tied votes.

Gillespie has basically ignored Stewart, and the strategy has worked. "And we were very clear in stepping into this race that we were going to be that brick wall against Trump's policies", Perriello said in an interview. Perriello is running a more liberal campaign, promising to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for social programs.

"Nobody's excited about Ed", he said.

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On the Democratic side, attorney Justin Fairfax has snagged frontrunner status, with dozens of endorsements from state officials and a fundraising lead.

On the Republican side, former George W. Bush aide Gillespie campaigned off the goodwill he established with Republicans after his narrow loss to Democratic Sen. "I think it has bigger consequences than people imagine".

Northam beat former congressman Tom Perriello. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as the best candidate to take on President Donald Trump.

Northam, a low-key pediatric neurologist, ran as a pragmatist with state's Democratic establishment's firm support. That's the type of enthusiasm Democrats have been banking on to build a midterm election backlash to Trump, and the 2017 Virginia race will be a critical test of whether or not they can do that.

"He was kind. He was gracious", Northam said.

Democrats appeared to have set a record with more than 500,000 votes cast, compared with about 350,000 in the Republican contest.

"Clearly he has a large base of followers, and they'll be looking for leadership, and I hope he'll rally them behind Ed".

"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. "He cares for everyone".

Northam said Perriello called him to concede the race.

Northam says he's running for governor "to build on Virginia's economic progress and defend our values against those who want to take us back".

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