RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Republican Ed Gillespie has narrowly won his party’s nomination in Virginia’s race for governor, eking out a victory against an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump.
Gillespie is a former Republican National Committee Chairman who had a huge fundraising advantage and enjoyed the solid backing of most state elected Republicans, but largely kept Trump at arm’s length during the campaign.
On Tuesday, he barely defeated Corey Stewart, a former Trump state campaign chairman who made preserving Virginia’s Confederate history a top campaign issue.
The close results shocked many political watchers and shows Trump’s enduring appeal among Republican voters in Virginia.
Gillespie will face Democrat Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in the general election.
Northam won the Democratic nomination, defeating an insurgent challenger backed by U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Northam beat former congressman Tom Perriello.
The lieutenant governor secured victory thanks in part to his longer time on the campaign trail and fundraising advantage. Northam had the support of the state Democratic Party’s core constituencies, including teachers groups and African-American political and religious leaders.
Northam had particularly strong support from some abortion rights and gun control groups, advocates from two areas where Perriello had baggage from past votes in Congress.
In the primary for lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, an attorney from northern Virginia, has won the Democratic nomination while Republican Jill Vogel won her party’s nomination.
Fairfax beat longtime party activist and former lobbyist Susan Platt and former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi in Tuesday’s primary. In November, he will face one of three Republican members of the General Assembly who are vying for their party’s nomination.
Fairfax has never held public office. He has said he would be focused on creating economic opportunity and security for the middle class by helping small businesses thrive and expanding workforce development.
Vogel beat fellow state Sen. Bryce Reeves and state Del. Glenn Davis in Tuesday’s primary. In November, she will Justin Fairfax, an attorney from northern Virginia, who won the Democratic nomination.
Vogel is a former attorney for the Republican National Committee who advises clients on political election law and other issues. She’s said her top priorities would be creating jobs and making Virginia more economically competitive. She’s also called for a ban on gifts to politicians and redistricting reform.
If elected, Vogel would be the first woman to serve as lieutenant governor and would also end Virginia’s more than two-decade streak without a woman in statewide elected office.
Lieutenant governor is a part-time, largely ceremonial job that involves presiding over the state Senate and breaking tied votes. It’s often a stepping stone to higher office.
Check out some of the sights and sounds from Election Day below: