Ed Gillespie narrowly secures Republican nomination for Governor

In the three-way Republican primary, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie held a narrow lead over Corey Stewart, a Prince William County official who was Trump's Virginia campaign co-chairman before he was sacked.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting on the GOP side, Gillespie led former Trump state campaign chairman Corey Stewart by just over 4,000 votes out of almost 365,000 ballots cast.

The Republican primary races, by contrast, were significantly closer, with governor candidates Edward W. Gillespie and Corey A. Stewart neck-and-neck for much of the night, though Stewart never managed to overtake the presumed GOP frontrunner.

Northam won the Democratic nomination, defeating an insurgent challenger backed by U.S. Sens.

That Stewart came menacingly close to upsetting Gillespie - the consistent favorite in polls and of the GOP donor class - was another shock to Establishment Republicans, some of whom had predicted an effortless Gillespie victory with 50 percent or more of the primary vote.

Democratic Gubernatorial candidates Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, left, and former Congressman Tom Perriello, right, shake hands after a debate at a Union hall in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, May 9, 2017.

Virginia's election - which was viewed as a proxy war, of sorts, for progressives - ultimately stands out because it is one of only two states voting for governor this year. 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.

"Virginia is going to be the match that sparks a progressive wildfire that spreads across the country". Felty, a 48-year-old surgical assistant, said a GOP victory in Virginia would wrestle back the "narrative being touted in the mainstream media that the Democrats are gaining traction" under Trump. All six being challenged this year have big fundraising leads over their opponents. "We don't even know how scary that individual might be yet", he said, referring to the down-to-the-wire fight between Stewart and Gillespie.

The race for governor, especially, has focused almost as much on reaction to events in Washington as to policy concerns within the state.

Northam is lieutenant governor of Virginia and a pediatric neurologist at the Children's Specialty Group in Norfolk.

Locally, Stewart did better than many thought he would. The Northam-Perriello race drew the most press interest because it was seen as a proxy for ideological battles in the Democratic party.

"Corey is only getting started draining the swamp", Fritsch said.

The general election is expected to be an early referendum on the president and a preview of what the 2018 midterm elections might look like.

Vogel is a former attorney for the Republican National Committee who advises clients on political election law and other issues. 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. While Gillespie had his stronghold in Fairfax County, Stewart scored big in Loudon County, Prince William County as well as rural central and southwest regions of the state.

Vogel beat fellow state Sen.

Northam says he's running for governor "to build on Virginia's economic progress and defend our values against those who want to take us back".

President Donald Trump had an outsized effect on Virginia's primary contests for governor, but not in the ways most people expected.

But Gillespie, apparently trying to conserve resources and cement his frontrunner status, had avoided appearances with his campaign rivals in recent weeks, preferring smaller, more controlled settings.

  • Leroy Wright