Trump affects Virginia primaries, but not as expected

On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a fierce critic of President Donald Trump's, was projected to win the party nomination - with more than 55 percent of the vote - over Tom Perriello.

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.

Sen. Jill Vogel (R-27th) edged out opponents Bryce Reeves and Glenn Davis Jr. for the Republican lieutenant governor nomination with 42.3 percent of the vote.

Gillespie was expected to win easily, and the close contest shows Trump's enduring appeal among GOP voters in Virginia, a state where Democrats have won every statewide election since 2009.

As for the Democratic candidates, the race has come down to two candidates - Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former congressman Tom Perriello.

The Democratic campaign focused on Northam's experience as a lawmaker working with Republicans, and Perriello saying he could better harness the frustration voters feel over Trump to forge a new direction for the party and bring in new voters for the general election in November.

Northam stressed his pragmatic approach and ability to work with Republicans, while Perriello - who made a surprise entrance into the race in January - ran a more liberal campaign, promising to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for social programs.

Virginia is one of only two states electing new governors this year, and the contest could serve as a preview to 2018's midterm elections. "There have been 40 lieutenant governors of Virginia, including 6 Johns, 4 James, 2 Roberts, and 1 L. Douglas".

The Perriello/Northam race was viewed as a sort-of redux of the 2016 presidential election's Democratic primary. Still, it appears enough Virginians still put stock in Northam's decade of Richmond experience, especially in the DC suburbs where the Post's endorsement might have swayed voters unfamiliar with both candidates, Skelly says.

Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, has spoken out against moves to remove Confederate monuments from city streets and has advocated deporting all illegal immigrants upon arrest.

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Perriello officially conceded the race via his official Twitter account Tuesday evening.

Northern Virginia attorney Justin Fairfax won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, defeating Gene Rossi, a retired federal prosecutor, and Susan Platt, a longtime political operative and former lobbyist.

Voters head to the polls Tuesday in Virginia's primary contests for governor, with the white hot Democratic contest coming down to a choice between heads and hearts. "Hillary-versus-Bernie, Vol. II" will have to wait for some other Democratic primary.

Trailing by less than 5,000 votes, Stewart said his campaign would look into whether a recount was possible.

You all said that someone who supported our president, somebody who supported President Trump ... somebody who was out financed five-to-one ... somebody who was fighting against the establishment could never win!

Northam, a pediatric neurologist by training, also heavily outspent Perriello on TV, including a memorable spot where he minced no words in proclaiming that Trump was a "narcissistic maniac".

Republican strength has eroded in recent Virginia elections, with Democrats now holding all statewide offices.

On the Republican side, Stewart has tried to make his support of Trump a top issue while Gillespie has largely tried to keep Trump at arm's length.

In his victory speech, Gillespie tried to play peacemaker and asked Stewart supporters to get behind him for the general election.

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