Virginia Primaries: Ralph Northam fends off progressive Tom Perriello with double-digit lead
09:07, Jun 24, 2017
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The Republican contest between Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie, Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart and state Sen.
(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.
In last year's Presidential election, the bombastic Trump easily won in Floyd County and most of Southwestern Virginia but lost overall in the state because of Northern Virginia and Tidewater voters who now control the overall election results for the Commonwealth.
On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam is on track to win the nomination for Virginia governor, CNN has projected. Elizabeth Warren of MA and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont endorsed Perriello, but Northam dominated in state leadership endorsements.
Northam's state-party backing beat Perriello's national support.
Virginia Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, with his wife Pam, left, and son Weston, celebrate his victory in the Democratic primary during an election party in Crystal City, Va., Tuesday, June 13, 2017. "And it's incumbent on Ed to bring us back together".
Virginia and New Jersey are the only states set to elect governors this year, and the contest in the Old Dominion is attracting broad national attention as a possible early referendum on Trump ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
Rob Manch is up in Arlington, Virginia, at the watch party for Northam, who's received endorsements from U.S. Sens.
"I trust his leadership". Northam hopes to continue the work he started with McAuliffe and is focusing his campaign on economic progress. "He cares for everyone". Polls have shown that Perriello has a slight lead in the race, but that lead may be contingent on unreliable pools of voters who usually sit primaries out.
Northam sought to stoke Democrats' anger toward Trump, calling the president a "narcissistic maniac" in statewide ads.
Obama never joined Perriello on the campaign trail, as he did in 2010 when the congressman was fighting an ill-fated battle to keep his seat in the House.
Interestingly, though, neither Northam nor Perriello is as true-blue Democrat as the campaign might have led voters to believe.
"I am running for governor to take back Virginia from the establishment and political elites in Richmond", conservative Republican candidate Corey Stewartsaid on his campaign website.
Democrat Justin Fairfax and Republican state Sen.
Gillespie is backed by most of the state party establishment and has focused on pocketbook issues, including proposing a modest cut to the state's income tax rate. Northam, meanwhile, focused more on state issues and highlighted the support of almost every elected Democratic leader in the state, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe. In Ohio, for example, US Rep. Jim Renacci already is campaigning with a message that mimics Trump's - and with the support of colorful groups such as Bikers for Trump. Stewart repeatedly blasted the former Washington lobbyist as a product of the "swamp" Trump had pledged to drain, and said Tuesday evening that he's against party unity for unity's sake.
"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.
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