Virginia Democrats vying to be face of Trump resistance

In-person absentee voting ended on Saturday, June 10. And even though the man he once supported in the presidential race is endorsing Perriello, he said he's still lining up behind Northam, citing his experience as lieutenant governor, his military service and his career as a pediatric neurologist. Without that last job, he would have never been introduced to politics or be running for the election this year. The Republican Party holds 66 of those seats.

Democrats in Virginia go to the polls today to choose their nominee for governor, but their choice may also help settle simmering tensions in the party that are distracting from its attempts to resist USA president Donald Trump's agenda.

The race for governor has Corey Stewart, Prince William County Board of Supervisors chairman, campaigning against Ed Gillespie, a onetime candidate for the U.S. Senate and a former chairman of the National Republican Party, and Frank Wagner, a state senator from Virginia Beach, battling for the Republican Party nomination.

When former congressman Tom Perriello made his surprise entrance into the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary in January, the stage looked set for an intra-party proxy war - the establishment, in the form of incumbent Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, put to the test by Perriello and the party's growing progressive insurgency.

In Fairfax and Loudoun counties more Democratic ballots than Republican ballots were being cast, in part because the Democratic race for governor between Northam and former Perriello was seen as the closest race.

Gillespie is endorsed by a raft of state and national Republican leaders. Looking toward the general election, Democrats are hoping to use anti-Trump headwinds to buoy them to victory in one of the first statewide races in the president's administration.

The Republican race for lieutenant governor features 27th District State Sen. A third candidate, state Sen.

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Wagner has criticized Gillespie as being unrealistic in his proposed tax cuts, and aims to implement a gas tax increase for transportation projects.

Reeves cited his range of experience as a legislator, owner of a State Farm insurance business, former police detective and Army ranger.

At a town hall in Richmond a month earlier, Perriello suggested those votes would hamstring Northam in a general election debate with the likely GOP nominee, Ed Gillespie, who served as the Republican National Committee chair during Bush's re-election campaign before eventually working in his White House for 18 months.

The polls on the Democratic side of the aisle have been all over the place.

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. Republican Mark Dudenhefer now holds the seat but decided not to run again. And turnout in the Democratic primary far outpaced the Republican side.

Trying to convince voters like Jones that this race isn't about Trump will be Gillespie's biggest challenge - if he wins the primary on Tuesday night. Gillespie, who founded one of the capital's premier influence firms, has been much closer to the Paul Ryan, pro-immigration reform wing of the party.

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