Even more surprising was the Republican finish. Former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie was supposed to score a comfortable primary victory, but instead scrambled to hang on for a 4,300-vote (44-43%) margin over under-funded Prince William County Board chairman Corey Stewart with one precinct outstanding. Gillespie must now spend valuable time improving his position within the Republican vote base if he is to have any chance of upending Northam in the fall election.
Turnout also favored the Democrats, though the prevailing wisdom that Gillespie was a lock for the GOP nomination could have tamped down their participation rate. Of the more than 909,000 individuals who cast their vote in yesterday’s primary election, 60% of them chose the Democratic ballot.
Based upon last night’s results and developments, Lt. Gov. Northam must be rated as the early favorite to replace outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in the November 6th election.