Gillespie wins GOP nomination in governor's race

Polls have closed in Virginia's closely watched primary contests for governor that could be an early referendum on President Donald Trump.

Both contests feature established candidates with lengthy political careers facing off against insurgent, populist candidates hoping to upset the power bases of their respective parties.

For the Democrats, it's Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello. In an ad released last week, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders endorse Perriello in attempt to lock in his nomination. Ed Gillespie, a political consultant and adviser to former President George W. Bush, appears to have the edge among the Republicans running for governor. Although Mark Warner narrowly defeated Gillespie, Gillespie quickly bounced back and announced his plan to run for Virginia's governor in October 2015. Gillespie worked to tiptoe around the presence of Trump, embracing policies that are popular with Republicans without directly tying his campaign to the President.

It hasn't been easy. The state pays for a recount if candidates are under.5 percent. Two months ago, Stewart participated in an "ask me anything" session on Reddit's largest pro-Trump forum, where, among other things, he called Gillespie a "cuckservative". Most polls show Gillespie with a double-digit lead. Jill Vogel defeated fellow Sen. Wagner has represented the 7th Senate District (Virginia Beach and Norfolk) since 2002 and was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1992-2001.

A chemical spill at a Virginia school has forced voting in the state's gubernatorial primary to move outside to a parking lot. His aspiration is to grant equal opportunities for all candidates by banning the use of personal campaign funds, livestreaming many statewide meetings and establishing a process for accepting gifts, although his ultimate goal is to ban receiving gifts because he believes that this will help the government establish full disclosure and integrity.

But Perriello, who sought to tout a progressive vision for the state, got more support from national Democrats. That makes Richmond and especially vote-rich northern Virginia the real arenas.

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The Perriello-Northam contest could go either way, while Ed Gillespie seems to have the GOP primary under control. Without that last job, he would have never been introduced to politics or be running for the election this year.

A variety of Virginia politicos to whom CNN spoke peg the magic number at 375,000 voters - above that number could be good for Perriello, but below that should indicate a Northam win.

In the lieutenant governor general, Vogel will match-up with Democrat Justin Fairfax, who comfortably secured his party's nomination over two challengers.

That show of support should matter to the politically tuned-in primary electorate. He's now running a TV ad that features Massachusetts Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. One of the spots featured Obama, Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. In 2013, the same year that Democrats swept all three of Virginia's statewide offices, the GOP won 67 seats in the state house.

Still, Stewart's constant invocation of Trump and reliance on identity politics and nationalist ideas has forced Gillespie to walk a fine line.

Campaigning for statewide office, most Democratic candidates have typically ignored the deep red Appalachian corner of the state where Trump won numerous counties by 70% margins. That was, of course, after the primary, but there is no sign Gillespie will be in search in the same kind of lift from Washington in 2017.

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