Democrats Win Governor Seats in Virginia, New Jersey

Ralph Northam takes closely watched contest in Va.; Phil Murphy will succeed Chris Christie
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 7, 2017 7:39 PM CST
Democrats Win Governor Seats in Virginia, New Jersey
Democrat Ralph Northam will be Virginia's next governor.   (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via AP, Pool, File)

Democrat Ralph Northam has won Virginia's closely watched race for governor, reports the AP. Early unofficial results show Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie on Tuesday in a race that had been seen as a test of whether Democrats could withstand a candidate who ran largely on President Trump's platform. Democrats also got good news in New Jersey, where front-running Democrat Phil Murphy overcame Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno to succeed Chris Christie. The New Jersey race came out as expected, but Virginia's had been too close to call heading into election day.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist and the state's lieutenant governor, repeatedly tried to tie Gillespie to the president during months of divisive campaigning overshadowed by racial overtones and attack ads. Northam's victory was in large part due to a surge in anti-Trump energy since the president took office. Democrats said they had record levels of enthusiasm heading into the race. Gillespie kept Trump at a distance throughout the campaign but tried to rally the president's supporters with hard-edge ads focused on illegal immigration and preserving Confederate statues.

(More Virginia stories.)

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