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Gillespie, Northam Win GOP and Democratic Primaries in Virginia Governor's Race

by Associated Press / / Source: Associated Press
Republican candidate for governor, Ed Gillespie (R) talks with Republican Lt. Gov. candidate Glenn Davis (L) at a polling place on June 13, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. Steve Helber / AP

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RICHMOND, Va. — Ed Gillespie has narrowly won his party's nomination in Virginia's race for governor, eking out a victory against an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump.

Gillespie is a former Republican National Committee Chairman who had a huge fundraising advantage and enjoyed the solid backing of most state elected Republicans, but largely kept Trump at arm's length during the campaign.

On Tuesday, he barely defeated Corey Stewart, a former Trump state campaign chairman who made preserving Virginia's Confederate history a top campaign issue.

Republican candidate for governor, Ed Gillespie (R) talks with Republican Lt. Gov. candidate Glenn Davis (L) at a polling place on June 13, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. Steve Helber / AP

The close results shocked many political watchers and shows Trump's enduring appeal among Republican voters in Virginia.

Meanwhile, current Lt. Governor Ralph Northam has won the Democratic nomination in Virginia's closely watched race for governor, defeating an insurgent challenger backed by U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. He beat former congressman Tom Perriello, with most polls reporting Tuesday.

Virginia Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, with his wife Pam, left, son Weston, and daughter Aubrey celebrate his victory in the Democratic primary during an election party on June 13, 2017 in Crystal City, Virginia. Cliff Owen / AP

Virginia is one of only two states electing new governors this year, and the contest could serve as a preview to 2018's midterm elections.

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