Ralph Northam and Ed Gillespie Win Virginia Governor Primary

Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam has clinched the Democratic nomination for governor of Virginia after handily winning a hard-fought primary battle against former Congressman Tom Perriello.

Northam’s double-digit victory puts the politician on solid ground as he heads into the general election in the race to replace Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, who will be term-limited out of his office.

Northam was considered to be the frontrunner throughout most of the race and the logical party favorite to replace his current boss — that is, until Perriello threw his name in for the nomination.

Although many viewed Perriello — who represented a more rural district of the state — as both pro-life and pro-gun while in Congress, he positioned himself as a Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren-style progressive populist for the governor’s race. While Northam continued to hold the support of almost all of the Democratic state leaders in Virginia, Perriello gained the support of Sanders and Warren, as well as key former members of the Obama administration — and even Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chair.

However, Perriello never managed to marry the best of both wings of the party, stopping well short of Sanders’ progressive policies.

“Perriello describes himself as a ‘pragmatic populist,’ a label that nods to the fact that his political brand and platform channels the economic populism Sanders has championed, but isn’t identical to it,” writes Clare Foran at the Atlantic. “While Sanders has called for eliminating tuition at four-year public colleges and universities, Perriello promises on his campaign website to make ‘community college available debt-free for a minimum of two years.’ Sanders has called for single-payer health care, but Perriello delivered a measured response when I asked him about its prospects in Virginia. ‘There’s not a strong coalition for that here in Virginia to pass,’ he told me during an interview…”

Democrats turned out in large number at the polls, and, unsurprisingly, they went with the more consistent Democratic values of Northam, who championed abortion rights and gun restrictions during his time in the state legislature.

NARAL VA was an early endorser of Northam’s candidacy. ”Ralph is the principled, progressive champion that we need fighting for health and reproductive rights here in the Commonwealth,” NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Executive Director Tarina Keene stated. “Our reproductive rights and freedoms are under attack every day from Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and extreme anti-choice legislators right here in the Commonwealth. But Ralph has never backed down from a tough fight during his ten years in public office, and we know he’ll continue to be a brick wall for Virginia women and families in the Governor’s Mansion.”

While Perriello failed to achieve the upset he hoped for, the Republicans nearly experienced one instead. Longtime GOP activist and former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie came within one percentage point of losing to Corey Stewart.

Gillespie, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, was expected to easily win the nomination and cruised into the primary leading Stewart by a wide margin in final polling. Instead, Stewart, the former chair of President Trump’s Virginia campaign, took a significant number of counties. As a result, the race was too close to call until the very end of vote counting.

Gillespie and Northam will now meet in the general election in November, where Gillespie is likely to face some serious challenges.

To begin with, Gillespie is the member of a party led by President Donald Trump, who has grown exceedingly toxic. Thus, he will be forced to both play up to the president in order to woo Stewart’s voters into his camp, as well as distance himself to try to pull in Democrats and retain his own moderate Republican base. He will also have to find a way to improve voter enthusiasm within his own party, as Democrats showed up for the primary in far greater numbers than Republicans.

In 2013 the Virginia governor’s race became a referendum on the state of the White House. And if that happens again this year, the Democrats will likely be saying hello to Governor Northam.

Photo credit: Ralph Northam FB


Marie W
Marie W5 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Carl O
Carl O6 months ago

Ralph Northam wins.

Trump's poll numbers are slumping.
His supporters are jumping.
His Republican candidates in Virginia took a thumping.
And Trump's wife won't hump him.

Sad very Sad.

ERIKA S11 months ago


ERIKA S11 months ago


Margie F11 months ago

Thank you

Peggy B
Peggy B11 months ago


Danuta W
Danuta W11 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Deborah W
Deborah W11 months ago

WIN SOME, LOSE SOME -- Handel not Ossoff, Norman not Parnell.

Julie D
Julie D11 months ago

We need to vote in every democrat possible in every race and at every level.

Anne M
Anne Moran11 months ago

Congrats to Gov. Northam,, now go out there, and make some 'noise'...