Northam Wins Virginia Democratic Primary For Governor As GOP Race Remains Tight

Virginia's lieutenant governor claimed victory on Tuesday in the state's Democratic gubernatorial primary while two Republican contenders battled for their party's nomination in an November general election seen as a bellwether for next year's mid-term congressional races.

Both Democratic candidates in today's primary - former Rep. Tom Perriello and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam - are strongly favored over their likely Republican opponent in the general election.

The victor of Tuesday's primary is likely to challenge Republican Ed Gillespie in November. The GOP candidates for lieutenant governor are state senators Jill Holzmann Vogel and Bryce Reeves and Del.

In the three-way Republican race, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie has a double-digit lead in the Hampton University poll over Corey Stewart, a Prince William County official, and state Senator Frank Wagner.

He is running the classic outsider campaign, vowing to shake up the status quo in Richmond, where many issues such as expanding Medicaid and revamping transportation funding have been stalemated between the Democratic governor and a Republican Legislature that strengthened its position by drawing favorable districts. A strong progressive, pro-climate Democratic win will send a message that we can take the country back from the Republican stranglehold.

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.

The Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor are former Democratic operative Susan Platt and former federal prosecutors Justin Fairfax and Gene Rossi. But as primary day has neared, the competing ideas about what issues should drive the race dovetailed.

The 13th District race was Tuesday's most crowded Democratic primary. Democrats view it as vulnerable in part because Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump there in November.

Governor McAuliffe says he's "all in" for Northam, but his biggest goal is keeping the Governor's Mansion in Democratic hands.




Republican strength has eroded in recent Virginia elections, with Democrats now holding all statewide offices. "I'm no Bobby Kennedy, but it's the moment", says Perriello.

The Democratic vote is dicier.

Perriello has gained ground on Northam with the help of prominent national Democrats.

Perriello sought to overcome this advantage by barnstorming Virginia over the weekend, beginning with a blitz of 24 hours of campaigning that started 7 a.m. Friday.

Democrats have an advantage going into the general since Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonEx-aide: Trump "frustrated" by Russian Federation probe Northam defeats Sanders-backed candidate in Va.gov primary OPINION: Firing Mueller may be legal, but it would not be right MORE carried Virginia in 2016 - and won it by a larger margin than former President Obama.

Widely endorsed and one of three Republican candidates, Gillespie has made sure to answer every probable question for his voters before the primary election on Tuesday.

That could be a problem for Periello, whose profile is less that of state politician than megaphone for the Trump-era angst of the national party.

The registrar's Cowford Road office in Halifax is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m.to 5 p.m.

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