Bernie Sanders Ally Tom Perriello Loses Virginia Gubernatorial Primary to Ralph Northam

Republican candidate for governor Ed Gillespie arrives on stage with his wife Cathy as he prepares to deliver a victory speech at his victory party Tuesday

Democratic candidate for governor, former Rep. Tom Perriello, speaks to supporters at an election night party at the State Theatre Tuesday, June 13, 2017 in Falls Church, Va. Perriello lost to Lt. Gov Ralph Northam in the primary for the Democratic nomination for Virginia Governor.

He will face the victor of the Republican primary between former Republican National Committee Ed Gillespie, former Trump state campaign chairman Corey Stewart and state Sen.

On Tuesday, he barely defeated Stewart, a former Trump state campaign chairman who made preserving Virginia's Confederate history a top campaign issue. He energized many new-to-politics voters who oppose Trump but was ultimately unable to expand the universe of Democratic primary voters enough to counter Northam's advantages.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam easily won the Democratic nomination for governor of the southern state, besting challenger Tom Perriello.

For Democrats, the race had been framed as a reboot of the Bernie Sanders-Hillary Clinton contest.

That Stewart came menacingly close to upsetting Gillespie - the consistent favorite in polls and of the GOP donor class - was another shock to Establishment Republicans, some of whom had predicted an effortless Gillespie victory with 50 percent or more of the primary vote.

Virginia's lieutenant governor claimed victory on Tuesday in the state's Democratic gubernatorial primary while two Republican contenders battled for their party's nomination in an November general election seen as a bellwether for next year's mid-term congressional races.

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. That's the type of enthusiasm Democrats have been banking on to build a midterm election backlash to Trump, and the 2017 Virginia race will be a critical test of whether or not they can do that. Felty, a 48-year-old surgical assistant, said a GOP victory in Virginia would wrestle back the "narrative being touted in the mainstream media that the Democrats are gaining traction" under Trump.

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Gillespie dominated his challengers in fundraising efforts.

Democratic Governors Association Chairman Dan Malloy of CT, meanwhile, said in a statment that Northam would "continue Governor McAuliffe's work of growing the economy, fighting for the middle class and protecting Virginians' health care". "I don't know about you, but I am inspired to keep fighting tonight". I will be a governor for all Virginians, and our policies will benefit all Virginians.

Virginian's also chose nominees for lieutenant governor, with three candidates running in each party. Stewart, who rallied around Confederate symbols, was seen as little more than a nuisance, and a minor one at that.

The Democratic side of primary night saw a huge increase in voter turnout with more than half a million voters heading to the polls in the gubernatorial race. This is just the beginning.

Republicans Corey Stewart, Frank Wagner and Ed Gillespie will face off on today's ballot. Gillespie rarely mentioned Trump and aired commercials that showed he was an adviser to former President George W. Bush. "I think it has bigger consequences than people imagine".

Gillespie was endorsed by a raft of state and national Republican leaders.

Perriello campaigned on a promise to make Virginia "a firewall against hate, corruption and President Trump's assault on the Virginia values of decency and progress". Republican Ed Gillespie, who had led by double digits in polling, won by slightly more than 1 percent. Gillespie ran largely on pocketbook issues, like lowering the state income tax rate, but kept Trump at arm's length.

Perriello entered the race long after Northam had locked up the backing of the state's party establishment and banked on his campaign drawing in younger voters and people of color who don't typically vote during statewide primaries.

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