Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam decisively beat out Tom Periello, a one-term Congressman, for the Democratic nomination.
That finish emboldened Stewart, and though he's tired after the grind of stumping for President Donald Trump and then running his own gubernatorial bid in quick succession, he thinks he just may challenge Democratic Sen. But the majority was 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.
Gillespie won the Republican primary by a narrow lead over Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart. Virginia is one of only two states electing new governors this year, and the swing-state contest is likely to draw intense national scrutiny for signs of how voters are reacting to Trump's first year in office.
Democratic voters were energized in opposition to Trump and turned out in higher-than-expected numbers Tuesday.
"Is all of this protest energy going to turn into votes at the polls, or is this something where we've figured out how to march every weekend but not quite how to march to the polls", said Perriello, who is backed by prominent national Democrats like U.S. Sens. Northam has particularly highlighted his strong support of abortion rights and gun control, two issues where Perriello has baggage from his past votes in Congress. He also fashioned himself a champion of Confederate history, railing against efforts to have a statue of Confederal Gen. Robert E. Lee removed from a Charlottesville park.
"I think [the comparison] does show a lot though that we are kind of talking about Virginia politics in the sphere of national politics, especially since we are an off-year election", Chambers said".
Instead, he's focused his attention on economic matters, and proposed cut to the state income tax as his campaign centerpiece.
"We are absolutely not going to stand behind Northam until he stands out against the pipeline", said Luca Connolly, an organizer with the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition that disrupted Northam's election party.
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"I've got to take a breather and take stock".
"If he fights for them", Stewart said.
"The reality is we've got to do something and the Republicans know it", Corn said.
At his victory party, Gillespie joked that he'd been fiscally prudent by not spending any more than was necessary to win the primary and asked the supporters of Stewart and Wagner to get behind him.
Democrats reacted with glee to Gillespie's scare and created a new website Wednesday - TrumpGillespie2017.com - to try and link Gillespie with the president.
Northam and Periello were scheduled to appear at a "unity rally" today, which has been cancelled in light of the shooting in Alexandria. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Northam, a usually low-key pediatric neurologist, won running as a pragmatist with the state Democratic establishment's firm support. The last time he was in a squeaker election, he came within an eyelash of unseating Democratic Sen.
Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam has been planning a run for the Executive Mansion for years, lining up nearly every elected official in the state before anyone else even thought about entering the race.