BREAKING: That is indeed it, folks. The Associated Press has called it: Democrat Ralph Northam has defeated Republican Ed Gillespie. We also could be seeing a Democratic wave in Virginia tonight
Wow. Surveying the down-ballot wreckage for Republicans in VA. It's not pretty. Democratic wave. Details to come...— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
That’s it, folks. The 2017 Virginia gubernatorial race has come to an end. The polls are closed and shocker—it’s too close to call. From The Washington Post, it looks like turnout was just as high as the 2013, which saw Democrat Terry McAuliffe clinch a win over Republican Ken Cuccinelli:
The exit polling also showed Northam winning roughly 7 in 10 voters in the DC suburbs, including the populous exurbs of Loudoun and Prince William counties. That’s a slightly higher edge than Clinton won there last year. Northam also had a roughly 20-point advantage in his home turf of Hampton Roads.
In the mountainous and western parts of the state, 7 in 10 voters supported Gillespie in the preliminary exit polling. The race was closer in central parts of the state as well as areas from the southern border up to Richmond.
Turnout will be key. Fairfax County, the state’s most populous jurisdiction, had already matched its 2013 level of turnout by 5 p.m. with two hours to go. That includes voters who cast absentee ballots.
Anecdotal reports from other parts of the state suggested turnout in Roanoke city was running slightly higher than in 2013; Richmond and Henrico County appeared to be on a pace similar to 2013; and Loudoun County seemed slightly higher.
Northam was counting on high turnout in Virginia’s populous, diverse urban areas, particularly among African American voters. Gillespie fought hard to eat into the growing Democratic base in Northern Virginia, as well as to motivate the largely rural, white voters who had supported Donald Trump in last fall’s presidential race.
Exit polls have Northam up by like 5 it seems... Which of course means nothing really... We just need to talk about something.— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) November 8, 2017
As with any race in the Old Dominion, the Republican will start ahead, but we’ll see what happens when Northern Virginia, specifically Fairfax County, has their returns trickle in that could decide who will occupy the governor’s mansion next year. Right now, via The New York Times, around 7,000 votes have been counted, with 2.4 million estimated left to go. We’ll keep you updated. Also, the entire House of Delegates (100 seats) are up to re-election tonight. If Democrats are able to pick-up ten or more seats, some observers feel this is a good sign that Democrats could retake the House in 2018.
Some preliminary exits show Northam is performing better than anticipated, but we'll see what happens.
Williamsburg, VA Matoaka precinct:— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
Was McAuliffe 1,399-668 in '13. Good sign for Northam.
Only a handful of precincts in so far, but so far Northam is running notably ahead of Clinton in very white areas rural areas; running a hair behind McAullife.— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) November 8, 2017
UPDATE: Northam starts out strong:
So far, so good for Ralph Northam. #VAGOV— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
We have data in one of our bellwether precincts:— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) November 8, 2017
Virginia Beach City 42 - Brandon
UPDATE II: Cook Report’s David Wasserman says Gillespie not getting the projected Trump surge. Here’s what he posted on FiveThirtyEight:
A smattering of precincts deep in the heart of Trump Country tell the same story: Gillespie is getting close to Trump levels of support, but he’s not getting the turnout surge we’re seeing in parts of the state for Northam. An example is Buchanan County’s Bull precinct, where Gillespie won 178 to 37. Trump won that precinct 434 to 83 last November, and Cuccinelli won there 197 to 55 in 2013. That’s the level of support Gillespie needs, but probably not the turnout level he needs to win statewide.
In the meantime, Northam is having a strong showing in suburbs, which is essential to victory for him.
Bull precinct, Buchanan Co., deep in the heart of SWVA's Trump country:— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
In 2013, Cuccinelli won 197-55. Gillespie's getting the support level he needs, but not the turnout he needs there.
This is looking like a pretty early night, folks. #VAGOV— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
I'm blown away by the Northam strength in the suburbs.— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) November 8, 2017
We don't make projections, but honestly we wouldn't be wildly far from calling it. pic.twitter.com/kAZNZKs28R— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) November 8, 2017
UPDATE III: It’s not official, but Wasserman thinks Gillespie is finished. As for The New York Times tracker, which predicted Trump’s win over Hillary on election night, has Northam beating Gillespie by six points.
Projection: Ralph Northam (D) has been elected next governor of VA, defeating Ed Gillespie (R). #VAGOV— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
With 7 bellwether precincts reporting Northam is up 55.5% to Gillespie's 43%. #VAGov— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) November 8, 2017
The returns put Northam on track to win the election, according to our estimates pic.twitter.com/C8CCQNfsYM— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) November 8, 2017
UPDATE IV: Blue Wave In Virginia? Cook’s Wasserman says Northam’s turnout is enough to sweep the whole Democratic ticket into office. And he’s just predicted as much. Not a good night for the GOP so far. On a side note, Danica Roem, who is running for Virginia’s House of Delegates in the 13th district, is on track to win. She will be the first transgender person elected to the Virginia state legislature.
Big night for the Dems so far... VA-GOV, Manchester Mayor, St. Pete Mayor...— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) November 8, 2017
Projection: Justin Fairfax (D) has been elected VA Lt. Gov., defeating Jill Holtzman Vogel (R).— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
Pattern: Gillespie matching Trump's %s in a lot of red strongholds, but not his turnout. Meanwhile, seeing big enthusiasm edge in Dem strongholds.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
Northam's lead looks decisive enough that it will sweep the entire Dem ticket (Fairfax, Herring) into office. #VAGOV— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
UPDATE V: The Republican Party is having a rough night. So far, it’s carnage in the House of Delegates races:
Wow. I’m surveying the down-ballot wreckage for the GOP in House of Delegates races. It’s not pretty for Republicans. Already, Democrat Wendy Gooditis (D) has defeated Del. Randy Minchew (R) in outer Loudoun County, which was one of our Democratic “reach” districts.
Among 13 of 30 bellwether precincts reporting, Northam is up 56% to 43% in race for #VAGov— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) November 8, 2017
Looking live at Republican electoral fortunes this evening... pic.twitter.com/HaHjS1AgrV— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) November 8, 2017
Now let's survey the damage to the GOP in the House of Delegates (from first few glances, looks pretty rough).— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: Danica Roem (D) has defeated 26-year Del. Bob Marshall (R) in #HD13, becoming the first transgender person elected to VA's state legislature.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: Jennifer Foy (D) has defeated Mike Makee (R) in Prince William County's #HD02. Dem pickup.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: In an upset, Wendy Gooditis (D) has unseated Del. Randy Minchew (R) in outer Loudoun County's #HD10. Dem pickup.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017