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