Ed Gillespie wins GOP nomination, will face Northam

Marsha Scott
June 16, 2017

The Old Dominion is one of only two states electing governors this year, and the primary could illustrate how voters feel about President Donald Trump's early months and the kind of response they want from Democratic candidates.

Stewart served as chairman of the Donald Trump campaign in Virginia until he was sacked from the campaign for participating in a protest at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee in Washington, a rally organized by Trump supporters who were concerned the party's support for the reality TV star would be lukewarm. Democrats nominated Ralph Northam (64.3 percent) over Tom Perriello for governor and Justin Fairfax (52.9 percent) over Susan Platt and Gene Rossi.

If you take a look at the overall totals for the governor's race, there's almost a 200,000 vote difference between the Democrats and Republicans across the state. "It's really that simple", said Stewart, who is chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. Swing state Virginia's off-year gubernatorial contests are often used to forecast the outcomes of midterm congressional elections.

Both Democrats running for the gubernatorial nomination ran hard against Trump, and it seemed to energize their voters.

"We have an incredibly, strong tested ticket now to go out, unify our party and take our policies to the voters of Virginia", said Gillespie, who left the rally at Virginia Union University without taking questions from reporters. 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. "But at some point I've got to figure out what to do", Stewart said in an interview.

Instead, he's focused his attention on economic matters, and proposed cut to the state income tax as his campaign centerpiece. He said he expects the party to unite against Gillespie in order to keep Northam out of the Executive Mansion.

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"Polling said it wasn't going to be super competitive, and then I think that probably discourages a lot of people from voting", Kimelman said.

"The reality is we've got to do something and the Republicans know it", Corn said. Of those who did vote, 59.7 percent voted in the Democratic primary and 40.3 percent voted in the Republican primary.

In Fairfax County, the largest vote-producer in the primary just outside of Washington, Gillespie defeated Stewart, 48%-39%.

Democrats reacted with glee to Gillespie's scare and created a new website Wednesday - TrumpGillespie2017.com - to try and link Gillespie with the president. Perriello was quick to endorse Northam on Tuesday night, and had been scheduled to attend a Democratic unity event Wednesday in Northern Virginia that was cancelled in the wake of the morning's politically motivated shooting on a baseball diamond in Alexandria. Oh yeah, and of COURSE get in a shot at Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, just because that's what Republicans do. He energized many new-to-politics voters who oppose Trump.

Northam, a usually low-key pediatric neurologist, won running as a pragmatist with the state Democratic establishment's firm support. He has not held elective office before, but had run for state attorney general in the Democratic primary in 2013.

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.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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