FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam highlighted his ability to attract Republicans while former congressman Tom Perriello touted his appeal to disillusioned voters as the two met in their first Democratic gubernatorial debate.
Northam had been expecting an easy path to the nomination, but Perriello launched a late campaign that has attracted the support of the party’s insurgent wing.
Saturday night’s debate in Fairfax was their first ahead of the June primary. The debate was friendly, but Northam criticized Perriello’s support from the National Rifle Association during his time in Congress, while Perriello chided Northam for accepting support from the state’s powerful utility company, Dominion Resources.
The gubernatorial race is getting national attention as one of the few 2017 campaigns that will shed light on the electorate’s mood under the presidency of Donald Trump.
The Republican candidates running for the nomination are State Sen. Frank Wagner, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors Corey Stewart and former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie.
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