Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam won the Democratic nomination for governor of Virginia Tuesday, easily beating challenger Tom Perriello in what had been billed as a tight race between the establishment choice and the populist insurgent.
Perriello conceded about 90 minutes after polls closed.
Republican Ed Gillespie, meanwhile, was contending with an unexpectedly strong challenge from rival Corey Stewart [Want to understand modern Republican Party? Stewart, a guy who wants to resurrect the Confederacy has a fighting chance of winning Virginia primary.] With about 85 percent of precincts reporting, Gillespie had a razor-thin lead of less than a percentage point. State Sen. Frank Wagner was a distant third.
The nation was watching Virginia as a political laboratory for how the parties handle the deep divisions that followed last year's election of President Trump. Perriello channeled the energy - and endorsement - of progressive leader Sen. Bernie Sanders in trying to shake up the Democratic party, but fell short in his bid to bring in new voters from among the young and working class.
Northam's command of the state party's machinery, including the endorsement of every Democrat in the General Assembly and most Democrats in the state's congressional delegation, simply turned out more voters.
Trump's approval rating in Virginia is even worse than it is nationwide: Only 36 percent of Virginians were satisfied with his performance in a poll conducted last month by The Washington Post and the Schar School.
On the Democratic side, it was Perriello who was trying to tap into voter passion. He pushed Northam to make the campaign as much about Trump as about state issues.
But Northam responded in kind, calling Trump a "narcissistic maniac" and pledging to resist his policies.
The mashup is ours. Source and much of the wording is WApo, June 13, 2017. The full WApo article is here .
June 13, 2017