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Gillespie, Northam Win In Virginia Primaries

FILE — Ed Gillespie, senior political adviser of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, speaks during the Romney election night rally in Boston, Mass., Nov. 6, 2012. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Sitting Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam easily defeated former Rep. Tom Perriello and former Senate candidate Ed Gillespie defeated challenger Corey Stewart in the Virginia primary races held Tuesday evening.

Although the Democratic race was decided early in the night, the Republican primary was much closer. Gillespie held a slim lead throughout the night and ended up with 43.7 percent of the votes. Stewart came in a close second with 42.5 percent. State Sen. Frank Wagner brought up the rear with 13.8 percent of the vote.

Stewart trailed by larger than 1 percent of the vote at the time the Associated Press called the race, effectively eliminating him from a qualifying recount appeal. Virginia has no automatic recount rule, and requires that the candidate filing for a recount follow the leader with fewer than 1 percent.

“I would like to congratulate Ed Gillespie on securing the Republican nomination and moving one step closer towards becoming Virginia’s next governor,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in an official statement. “Today’s primary concludes a nasty race to the left by Democrats, while Virginia Republicans emerge unified and ready to win.”

Northam led the Democratic race with 55.9 percent, earning a wider than expected victory over Perriello, who only earned 44.1 percent. Polling before the race was largely divided. Perriello led in four of the latest seven polls taken in the race since May, and Northam took the lead in the remaining three.

Perriello officially conceded the race via his official Twitter account Tuesday evening.

Congratulations to @RalphNortham. Let’s go win this thing—united. Let’s take back the House and ensure VA remains a firewall against hate.

— Tom Perriello (@tomperriello) June 14, 2017

National progressives like Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont endorsed Perriello, but Northam dominated in state leadership endorsements. Clinton ally and current Governor Terry McAuliffe endorsed the sitting Lieutenant Governor.

The Washington Post officially called the race with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.

Gillespie polled below both Democratic challenge unanimously in the May polls, earning only 38 percent compared to Northam’s 49 percent, and 37 percent compared to Perriello’s 50 percent in the latest WaPo poll.

Gillespie dominated his challengers in fundraising efforts. He raised $1.9 million as of the April filing, according to the Daily Press. Stewart raised $306,500, and Wagner garnered only $59,830.

Progressive-backed Perriello raised $1.7 million as of April, and Northam earned $1.4 million, although it should be noted that he was unable to accept campaign donations during the state’s legislative session this spring.

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