In Tuesday's Biggest Race, Trump Looms Large

Virginia governor's race is neck and neck
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2017 10:28 AM CST

(Newser) – America votes on Tuesday, and the biggest race on the ballot is in Virginia. Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie are in a razor-tight race for governor that has turned into a referendum on President Trump. Gillespie has closed the gap in the polls with a series of ads invoking themes of Trump's own campaign, the most controversial of which links Northam, currently the lieutenant governor, to the gang MS-13. Gillespie also has defended Confederate monuments. More details on that contest and others, including the race to succeed Chris Christie in New Jersey and Bill de Blasio's bid for re-election as mayor in New York City.

  • Virginia ad: The New Yorker explains how Gillespie has gained traction thanks to his MS-13 ad, which accuses Northam of "[letting] illegal immigrants who commit crimes back on the street, increasing the threat of MS-13.” It revolves around Northam's vote against a GOP bill to ban sanctuary cities, though Northam now says he opposes such cities. (Virginia doesn't have any currently, and the Washington Post has a primer on what the term means.)
  • Trump's role: The president tweeted Tuesday that Northam "will allow crime to be rampant in Virginia" and called him "Anti-Second Amendment." Trump lost Virginia in the 2016 election, and he has not personally campaigned in the state for Gillespie. But the GOP candidate seems to have mastered the Trump playbook. "If there is a candidate out there who can figure out how to run in this age of Trump, it's Ed Gillespie," says an analyst for the Cook Political Report, per Bloomberg.
  • Fear for Democrats: It boils down to this: A "Gillespie upset would leave Democrats with major fears heading into the 2018 midterms" by showing that "Trumpian themes" work, writes Margaret Hartmann at New York.

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