Northam wins Democratic gubernatorial primary in Virginia; Perriello concedes in a first test of Trump-era politics – Washington Post

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam won the Democratic nomination for governor of Virginia Tuesday by an unexpectedly wide margin, but Republican Ed Gillespie was locked in a surprising fight with Donald Trump acolyte Corey Stewart for that party’s nomination.

With about 95 percent of precincts reporting, Gillespie had a razor-thin lead of less than a percentage point. State Sen. Frank Wagner was a distant third.

The nation was watching Virginia as a political laboratory for how the parties handle the deep divisions that followed last year’s election of President Trump. Perriello channeled the energy – and endorsement – of progressive leader Sen. Bernie Sanders in trying to shake up the Democratic party, but fell short in his bid to bring in new voters from among the young and working class.

Northam’s command of the state party’s machinery, including the endorsement of every Democrat in the General Assembly and most Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation, simply turned out more voters.

Perriello conceded about 90 minutes after polls closed. To screams of “Go Tom Go!”Perriello addressed his supporters gathered at the State Theatre and urged unity against “very scary Republicans …. We don’t even know how scary that individual might be yet,” he said, referring to the down-to-the-wire fight between Stewart and Gillespie.

He credited his own campaign with a ‘great victory’ for forcing issues of economic inequality in the political conversation. “Together we helped elevate mainstream ideas that should have been there all along,” he said, citing his support for a $15 minimum wage as an example. “I think it’s movements that change the world, and politicians who work as allies to that movement.”

But first, Perriello praised Northam for winning a “great victory, and offered him my full and unequivocal support.”

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