SPOTLIGHT

Trump’s Starring Role in Virginia

Support and opposition to the president will define the governor race.

Republican candidate for governor, Ed Gillespie, gestures as he gives a victory speech at his victory party Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Richmond, Va. Gillespie beat State Sen. Frank Wagner and Corey Stewart in today's primary.
AP Photo/Steve Helber
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Kyle Trygstad
June 14, 2017, 5:51 a.m.

Former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie has less than five months to de­cipher and ex­ecute the del­ic­ate bal­ance between sup­port for Pres­id­ent Trump on the right and the mo­tiv­a­tion on the left to mo­bil­ize in op­pos­i­tion to him.

Both were on stark dis­play Tues­day, as Corey Stew­art, the con­tro­ver­sial county su­per­visor from the D.C. ex­urbs and former state chair of the Trump cam­paign, came gasp­ingly close to turn­ing in what would have been the biggest up­set of the year. He not only de­clined to con­cede Tues­day night, he pushed his sup­port­ers to fol­low his lead and tied Gillespie to Lt. Gov. Ral­ph Northam, the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee: “Es­tab­lish­ment Re­pub­lic­ans and es­tab­lish­ment Demo­crats are one in the same.”

On the Demo­crat­ic side, Northam dom­in­ated the heav­ily pop­u­lated North­ern Vir­gin­ia, Rich­mond, and Hamp­ton Roads areas, while former Rep. Tom Per­ri­ello won in the cent­ral, south­w­est, and South­side re­gions, some of which he rep­res­en­ted in Con­gress.

Nearly 200,000 more people turned out to vote in the Demo­crat­ic primary, and the party’s can­did­ates were already mov­ing to uni­fy Wed­nes­day morn­ing at an event in Fair­fax and to high­light the im­port­ance of fight­ing back against the “Trump-Gillespie agenda.”

Kyle Tryg­stad

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