Ralph Northam takes Democratic nomination for governor

Posted June 14, 2017

Time Kaine and Mark Warner, as well as McAuliffe.

Virginia voters are picking their nominees Tuesday for one of just two gubernatorial races this year, in contests where President Trump looms as a major factor.

Virginia voters on Tuesday will choose the Republican and Democratic nominees for governor in an election seen as a gauge of the USA electorate's mood about President Donald Trump ahead of next year's midterm races. Despite the support of the state party's establishment and elected leaders, Northam began the race ahead of Perriello and has since steadily fallen behind.

The three-way Republican primary remained too close to call, with ardent Trump supporter Corey Stewart doing surprising well against former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie. He's courted reliable Democratic voters, saying he is the more pragmatic choice who can win in the general election.

But it's in the overlooked GOP primary where a possible upset is brewing. Many says that the environmental destruction caused by the pipeline's construction could hurt the region's growing tourism industry, which brings in almost $1b a year to the region and has grown by 53% over the last decade.

On display south of the Mason-Dixon line is an experiment into how Democrats run against each other in the wake of a bruising primary season and in the midst of a party-wide power struggle over remaking itself in the image of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

Perriello had the backing of Vermont Sen. "Growing up there was no question that this law and order dystopic language was very appealing there, but I think people are beyond that". John Clisham, 53, came out to a Northam canvass kickoff on Saturday morning clad in a Bernie shirt.

In the Democratic race, Northam comfortably won statewide by almost 12 percent of the vote, and the lieutenant governor carried Loudoun County by 2.5 percent of Democratic ballots cast. Gillespie is facing two challengers for the party nomination. "Northam, a doctor, has upped his attacks on Trump, calling the President a "'narcissistic maniac" in an ad last month. But their style and approach to the campaign are distinct. He's now running a similar blow-up-the-system campaign. Turnout in 2017 could be an important key in this race because the insurgent candidates on both sides are likely banking on the fact that many voters that don't normally participate will this time around. He's heavily outspent Perriello on air in the closing stretch.

Perriello also bridges the gaps in the party.

The former congressman from Charlottesville made his anti-Trump message a priority early on, and he told NPR that was a big reason why he chose to get in the contest.

Both parties have a three-way primary for lieutenant governor, a largely ceremonial position that's often a stepping stone to higher office. "I will not campaign for him".

"All I am going to do is put forward ideas that will get Virginia going again", Gillespie said. He energized many new-to-politics voters who oppose Trump and promised to support a grab-bag of progressive policies, like raising taxes on the wealthy, using public funds for political campaigns or mandating union membership. Barrows, a 29-year old restaurant manager, says the former congressman more closely aligns with her progressive views.

Climate Hawks Vote took this step - the group's first-ever endorsement in a state race - only after first surveying its Virginia members. The general election is expected to be an early referendum on the president and a preview of what the 2018 midterm elections will look like.

Republicans Corey Stewart, Frank Wagner and Ed Gillespie will face off on today's ballot. The Minnesota native also is running on a theme of preserving Southern heritage, making multiple statements opposing the removal of Confederate monuments.

Pressed by NBC as to whether he would campaign with Trump, Gillespie also hedged and argued this was about state and local issues. "I voted for Democratic presidential candidates".

Gillespie worked his way through college by taking out student loans, working as a short order cook, waiting tables and working as a senate parking lot attendant. "This election's about Virginia and the future of the commonwealth we love".

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