VA GOV: Northam And Gillespie Both Play Wait And See

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Posted: Nov 07, 2017 7:22 PM
VA GOV: Northam And Gillespie Both Play Wait And See

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 

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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.

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.

UPDATE: Northam starts out strong:

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.

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

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. 

UPDATE V: The Republican Party is having a rough night. So far, it’s carnage in the House of Delegates races: 

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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.