What To Watch For In Virginia's Gubernatorial Primaries

A primary contest in Virginia offers clues to the future of the Democrats

Trump's approval among Virginians was at just 36 percent in an April Quinnipiac University Poll, and last November he lost the state by six points.

The Democratic contest was expected to be the closer one of the night. Virginia's Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, along with attorney general Mark Herring have endorsed Northam.

"Tonight, we're one step closer to building a Virginia that works for everyone - no matter who you are, no matter where you're from", Northam said in a Twitter post hours after polls closed.

Fairfax beat longtime party activist and former lobbyist Susan Platt and former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi in Tuesday's primary.

"In off-year elections the Democrats have been winning, but not by as much", he said. Which way will it go?

Among them were Democratic House Minority Leader David Toscano of Charlottesville and Republican Del.

Urban-suburban Hampton Roads, Northam's home base, is likely to produce a strong vote for the local guy. 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.

Perriello also says he will concentrate on lowering debt for education - and will fund two years of free community college for trade and apprentice schools.

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Waiting in line for canvassing materials with his wife, Seth McDaniel said he resented the idea that national figures backing Perriello, including Sens.

JOSHUA BUTLER: So anyone that both Senator Warren and Bernie support I am all for.

The difficulty in doing accurate polls in an off-year primary (when turnouts are typically low) is magnified by the roiling political moment. There is no party registration in Virginia, so every registered voter is eligible to cast his or her ballot in either party primary. Turning to the Republicans. Among the three, Gillespie is considered the frontrunner. All six being challenged this year have big fundraising leads over their opponents. Gillespie has successfully tiptoed around the presence of Trump, embracing his policies that are popular with Republicans without directly tying his campaign to the President. Jill Vogel of Fauquier County against 17th District State Sen.

Warner, as vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is leading the sweeping investigation of Russian efforts to tip the election to Trump.

But unfortunately for Gillespie, the commonwealth is in the shadow of Washington, D.C., and the contest for Virginia governor is going to be the nation's biggest race come November. He also has tried to tie Gillespie to Tyson Foods, which was accused of smuggling immigrant workers to work in their factories.

Sanders' interest in the 2020 race, whether as a candidate himself or as the influential head of his growing organization, is evident. Among those, two incumbents — Ron Villanueva, who represents part of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, and Bobby Orrock, who represents parts of Caroline and Spotsylvania counties — are facing primary challengers.

In the Democratic gubernatorial primary, voters will choose between Northam and Perriello. Looking toward the general election, Democrats are hoping to use anti-Trump headwinds to buoy them to victory in one of the first statewide races in the president's administration. And he believed months of meeting voters around the state would pay dividends Tuesday, even though Northam has financial and endorsement advantages.

The Democratic vote is dicier.

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