RICHMOND, VA (AP) - 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.
Northam beat former congressman Tom Perriello, with most polls reporting Tuesday. The lieutenant governor secured victory thanks in part to his longer time on the campaign trail and fundraising advantage.
Northam had the support of the state Democratic Party's core constituencies, including teachers groups and African-American political and religious leaders. Northam had particularly strong support from some abortion rights and gun control groups, advocates from two areas where Perriello had baggage from past votes in Congress.
Tonight, we're one step closer to building a Virginia that works for everyone—no matter who you are, no matter where you're from. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/xPA2n8P7aB— Ralph Northam (@RalphNortham) June 14, 2017
On the Republican side, the race remains too close to call between Ed Gillespie and Corey Stewart.
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.
Justin Fairfax, an attorney from northern Virginia, won the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.
Fairfax beat longtime party activist and former lobbyist Susan Platt and former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi in Tuesday's primary. In November, he will face one of three Republican members of the General Assembly who are vying for their party's nomination.
Thank you Virginia! We're the match that will spark a progressive wildfire that spreads across the country. This is just the beginning.— Justin Fairfax (@fairfaxforlg) June 14, 2017
Fairfax has never held public office. He has said he would be focused on creating economic opportunity and security for the middle class by helping small businesses thrive and expanding workforce development.
Lieutenant governor is a part-time, largely ceremonial job that involves presiding over the state Senate and breaking tied votes. It's often a stepping stone to higher office.
© 2017 Associated Press