Ralph Northam wins nomination; GOP race too close to call

But despite a huge financial disadvantage and the general impression he was a clown running a circus-like campaign, Prince William County supervisor Corey Stewart threw a big scare into Gillespie and other Virginia Republicans by very narrowly missing an upset win against the front-runner.

Months before his opponent even entered the race, Northam sewed up everything that usually decides intra-left state primaries - the endorsements of all of Virginia's major Democratic officials, backing from the state's biggest donors, and the support of its most powerful interest groups.

Coasting to a surprisingly easy win for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam heads into the fall election with an unexpected boost: Ed Gillespie's hard - and perhaps disputed - Republican victory, one viewed as fresh evidence of candidate-crippling discord within the GOP over President Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as the best candidate to take on President Donald Trump.

The Democratic primary contest has been a hard fought battle between Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the state party establishment's favorite, and insurgent candidate Tom Perriello.

Virginia is one of two states electing governors this year, and the race is testing the enthusiasm of the electorate in both parties in the wake of Trump's victory.

The Republican nomination for lieutenant governor went to Jill Vogel, who held off a push from Bryce Reeves.

Virginia law does not have automatic recounts, but a candidate is allowed to request one if there is no more than 1 percent difference in the total votes cast for the top two candidates (unless one is a write-in), according to the Virginia Department of Elections, which notes that an apparent losing candidate can not request a recount until after the election is certified.

All six Virginia House of Delegates incumbents who were facing a primary challenger are headed to the November general election.

The victor in November will succeed incumbent Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, who is barred by term limits from running again.

If Northam's victory is any indication - and that too will be up for debate - then Democrats might be wise not to bank on "the resistance" for too much, at least when they're vying for the support of their own party's rank-and-file. Virginia, once a Republican bulwark in presidential polls, has gone Democratic in three straight elections.

Justin Fairfax, an attorney from northern Virginia, has won the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.

The general election will take place November 7.

"I am so thankful to the people of Virginia for this vote of confidence in our vision for the future of the Commonwealth". The final tally on Tuesday was about 537,000, almost 70 percent of the electorate in last year's presidential primary. Gillespie's concession speech was remarkably happy, and Republicans learned that he was a strong political contender against Democrats. Vogel occasionally bucks her party on votes in the Senate and has said her top priorities would be creating jobs and making Virginia more economically competitive.

And Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman, played it down the middle. But in a way, the vote for lieutenant governor can be seen as a party nominating a gubernatorial hopeful in waiting. Wagner, a longtime state senator from Virginia Beach, has positioned himself as the pro-business, common sense conservative in the race who's interested in getting the economy moving above all else. State Sen. Frank Wagner, the third wheel, hasn't made much of an impression during this campaign, nor has he brought in much cash.

While Perriello may have embraced the party's progressive, populist mantle more than Northam, there are few gaps between the two when it comes to policy.

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