U.S.

Historic Triangle picks Gillespie, Northam in gubernatorial primary

Historic Triangle picks Gillespie, Northam in gubernatorial primary

Two Virginia Democrats vying to be the face of the resistance to President Donald Trump are squaring off in a gubernatorial primary.

Far more voters seemed to turn out for the Democratic primary, perhaps twice as many, when the final votes are tallied. But the majority were happy to back the more moderate and establishment-favored Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam over a liberal insurgent who sought to portray his candidacy as the tip of the spear of the anti-Trump resistance. 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.

He will face the victor of the Republican primary between former Republican National Committee Ed Gillespie, former Trump state campaign chairman Corey Stewart and state Sen.

In a race that remained close throughout Tuesday evening, Ed Gillespie captured the Republican primary for the Virginia governor's race while Ralph Northam clinched the Democratic spot.

Unofficial results from the state Department of Elections in the Democratic primary, with 99.9 percent of districts reporting, were Northam, 303,051 (55.9 percent); Perriello, 239,028 (44.1 percent).

The Perriello-Northam race between has been closely watched by Democrats across the country.

The Republican contest for the gubernatorial nod has boiled down to three candidates: Ed Gillespie, Frank Wagner and Corey Stewart.

He defeated Corey Stewart, a former Trump state campaign chairman who made preserving Virginia's Confederate history a top campaign issue.

Northam is lieutenant governor of Virginia and a pediatric neurologist at the Children's Specialty Group in Norfolk. Perhaps more telling for the party is unusually massive turnout in an off-year primary. Looking at county-level maps of the two races, Perriello's campaign manager, Brennan Gilmore, noted that his candidate-whose old congressional district included a rural area around Charlottesville-won numerous same interior counties as Stewart. In November, she will Justin Fairfax, an attorney from northern Virginia, who won the Democratic nomination.

Northam wound up handily defeating former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, who ran as an unapologetic liberal crusader supported by prominent national Democrats like Sens.

Virginia race is receiving national attention as it is one of only two states with governor offices up for election this year.

Tim Kaine and Mark Warner - Northam was considered the party's presumed nominee before Perriello's surprise entry into the race in January.

"I'm shocked", said Nancy Russell, who was Hanover County chairwoman when Gillespie ran for Senate in 2014.

Some viewed the close battle as a pitting of the Sanders wing of the party, as channeled by Perriello, against the Clinton wing of the party, represented by Northam.

But many Democrats voted pragmatically, wanting to choose someone with the most time in state government.

The Democratic Party already is hoping to capitalize on Trump's low approval ratings in the state and show a united front with a rally today at George Mason University that will be attended by Northam and Perriello as well as Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. That included the departing governor, Terry McAuliffe, who no doubt sees the election as a validation of his administration and, perhaps, evidence of presidential appeal in 2020.

Ed Gillespie, Senior Adviser for the Romney Campaign, speaks to the crowd on stage during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on November 6, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.


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