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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
In Tuesday's Biggest Race, Trump Looms Large
Republican candidate for Virginia governor Ed Gillespie fills out his ballot at his polling place Tuesday in Alexandria, Va.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(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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  • New Jersey: Democrats are expected to grab the governorship. The GOP candidate is Chris Christie's lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno, who has been trying to distance herself from Christie, per CNN. Heavily favored to win is the Democratic candidate, Phil Murphy, a multimillionaire who's a former Goldman Sachs exec and former US ambassador to Germany.
  • New York City: Bill de Blasio is expected to easily win a second term over his GOP challenger, state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis. He has a giant lead in the polls, about 61% to 17%, and has been burnishing his progressive credentials of late by campaigning with Bernie Sanders, reports Reuters.
  • Chaffetz's seat: Utah has a special election to fill the House seat of former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, and Provo's GOP mayor is the favorite in the reliably Republican district. The race pits Mayor John Curtis against Democrat Kathie Allen, a doctor. KSL has the bare bones of the race.

  • Frustration in Flint: Seventeen people are on the ballot in Flint, Mich., hoping to oust Mayor Karen Weaver in a recall election. Weaver also is on the ballot, hoping to keep her job. She came to office two years ago vowing to clean up the city's water crisis and became one of the most visible mayors in the country, reports the New York Times. But opponents accuse her of corruption.
  • Washington state: Democrats can take control of the state Senate if Democrat Manka Dhingra beats the GOP's Jinyoung Lee Englund, giving them control of the House, Senate, and governor's office. CNN sees this as "incredibly important" for Democrats, which have such trifectas in only six states, compared with 26 for Republicans.
  • ObamaCare in Maine: A ballot initiative would let voters decide on whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Gov. Paul LePage has killed such ObamaCare efforts multiple times, but voters can essentially overrule him Tuesday, per NPR.
(Read more election stories.)

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