Published: Sat, June 24, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Trump affects Virginia primaries, but not as expected


And even though the man he once supported in the presidential race is endorsing Perriello, he said he's still lining up behind Northam, citing his experience as lieutenant governor, his military service and his career as a pediatric neurologist. A little more than 319,000 Democrats turned out in a three-way primary in 2009. Perriello, who backed Obamacare, then defended his decision - and the law - when many of his Democratic colleagues backed off, was confronted on the trail for his support of the "Stupak Amendment", a contentious proposed Obamacare tweak that would have denied federal money to insurance plans offering abortion coverage. He believes that many of Stewart's voters believed in his message attacking the political establishment, noting that he likely "tapped into the same things that caused Trump's win".

Stewart - who served as Donald Trump's campaign chairman in Virginia - got 155,743 votes (42.5 percent) to the 160,060 votes (43.7 percent) cast for establishment Republican Ed Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Northam led the Democratic race with 55.9 percent, earning a wider than expected victory over Perriello, who only earned 44.1 percent.

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

Bryce Reeves and state Del.

Virginia Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, with his wife Pam, left, son Weston, and daughter Aubrey celebrate his victory in the Democratic primary during an election party on June 13, 2017 in Crystal City, Virginia. In November, he will face one of three Republican members of the General Assembly who are vying for their party's nomination. Challenger Corey Stewart, a former state campaign manager for President Donald Trump, carried a large number of counties in Southwest Virginia including 75 percent of the vote in Russell County, according to data produced by the Board of Elections.

Already looking ahead to the November contest, Gillespie has criticized both Democrats as being hostile to charter schools and Virginia's status as a right-to-work state, a business-friendly policy that makes it hard for labor unions to organize. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Sen.

But on election day, Stewart had a big showing.

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In the closing days of the Democratic primary race, Northam will appear multiple times with Virginia's powerful trio of popular statewide elected Democrats.

In Virginia, voters can vote in either gubernatorial primary, regardless of party affiliation.

For Democrats, the race had been framed as a reboot of the Bernie Sanders-Hillary Clinton contest. 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.

The Republican primary also has a black candidate, Bishop Emmanuel Peter, who is running to prioritize safety and family values. Observers initially expected it to be an easy win for Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Although the Democratic race was decided early in the night, the Republican primary was much closer.

Northam went on to win the state and will go on to become the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the fall.

County Democrats like Elizabeth Guzman see it as no surprise that Stewart's prompted division within his own party - she feels he's been "dividing people in the county for years", particularly with his harsh immigration policies.

There was no primary for Virginia's other statewide elected office, attorney general. Now the critical question is whether Stewart supporters will turn out for Gillespie in November.

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