Northam beats back Perriello in Democratic primary race

20 June, 2017, 13:12 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Virginia Lt. Gov. and Democratic candidate for Governor Ralph Northam left talks with Senate Chief Deputy Clerk Tara Perkinson right prior to the start of the Senate session at the Capitol in Richmond

At the same time, former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie narrowly defeated Trump state campaign chairman Corey Stewart in a closer-than-expected race for the Republican nomination.

The close results shocked many political watchers and shows Trump's enduring appeal among Republican voters, as well as a party still facing significant internal strife between its establishment and anti-establishment wings.

Perriello ran against Northam as an unapologetic liberal crusader supported by prominent national Democrats like Sens. Bernie Sanders, promising to stand up to both President Donald Trump and the entrenched business interests that dominate state politics.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Northam led former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello 56 percent to 44 percent.

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. They have time - and with a possible win next week in Georgia and in Virginia in November, they may get a shot in the arm from donors and newly recruited candidates anxious to compete against flagging Republicans.

Thank you Virginia! We're the match that will spark a progressive wildfire that spreads across the country.

"We have changed the conversation here in Virginia and lifted the voices of those who have been left out of the political conservation for too long", Mr. Perriello said at a party in Falls Church. All six being challenged this year have big fundraising leads over their opponents.

"I am not going to overanalyze that statement, but I like it", said 80-year-old Jim Hensen, a retired Air Force master sergeant who backed Mr. Northam. "I don't know about you, but I am inspired to keep fighting tonight". Virginia is one of two states electing governors this year. Gillespie, the longtime GOP operative in Northern Virginia, lost the governor's race four years ago to Terry McAuliffe.

But Stewart, who frequently savaged Gillespie during the campaign as an out-of-touch former lobbyist, did not immediately concede the race.

Virginia voters picked their parties' nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and dozens of House of Delegates races on Tuesday, plus local contests in some areas.

Gillespie, 55, of Fairfax County, has tried to avoid appearing either too critical or too supportive of Trump, a task that could become more hard in a general-election campaign targeting a broader audience of potential voters.

Corey Stewart, a Minnesota-born lawyer with a soft spot for the Confederacy, almost pulled off a stunning upset in Tuesday's Republican primary for governor of Virginia. "I think it has bigger consequences than people imagine". Trump's approval rating in Virginia, in public and private polls, is now about 35 percent, creating headwinds for Gillespie and other Republicans.

The most crowded GOP primary was a six-way contest for outgoing Del.

Perriello campaigned on a promise to make Virginia "a firewall against hate, corruption and President Trump's assault on the Virginia values of decency and progress". He's accused Gillespie of trying to mislead voters with unrealistic promises to cut taxes as governor, while calling for a gas tax increase himself to pay for transportation projects.

Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam greets voters at a canvas kickoff Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Chesterfield, Va. Lt. Gov Ralph Northam faces former Congressman Tom Perriello in today's primary.

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