Democrats won the Virginia and New Jersey governor’s races tonight, with big turnout driving Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s win over former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie.
In the race to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who sunk to 15 percent approval over the summer, the race was called quickly for Democratic former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy over GOP Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
In the highly contentious Virginia race, outlets called the race for Northam about an hour after polls closed. With 72 percent of precincts reporting, Northam had 52.2 percent of the vote to 46.5 percent for Gillespie. Democrats also won the lieutenant governor and attorney general races.
“Tonight we proved that we’re stronger when we value and fight for one another,” Northam tweeted. “Onward to Richmond!” At Northam’s election night party in Fairfax, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez declared, “The Democratic Party is back, my friends.”
President Trump, traveling in Asia, issued a trio of get-out-the-vote tweets this morning: “Ralph Northam will allow crime to be rampant in Virginia. He’s weak on crime, weak on our GREAT VETS, Anti-Second Amendment…. and has been horrible on Virginia economy. Vote @EdWGillespie today!”
“[email protected] will totally turn around the high crime and poor economic performance of VA. MS-13 and crime will be gone. Vote today, ASAP!” Trump added.
But the most populous areas in Virginia swung the race to Northam. Loudoun County, near Washington, D.C., gave Gov. Terry McAuliffe a 4-point edge four years ago. Trump lost the county by 17 points. Tonight, Gillespie lost there by more than 20 points. The GOP candidate also lost by 60 points in Arlington County.
Despite rainy, chilly weather, Fairfax County reported hitting the four-year-ago turnout level with two hours left to vote.
After the race was called, Trump tweeted: “Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don’t forget, Republicans won 4 out of 4 House seats, and with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!”
In exit polling, 55 percent of Virginia voters disapproved of Trump’s job performance, while two out of three New Jersey voters felt that way. Six in 10 Virginia voters in exit polls said Confederate monuments should be left where they are, with 28 percent of Dems voicing that opinion.
Northam won voters who decided in the last week by 62 percent to 36 percent. He also won women by 19 percent, 2 percent higher than Hillary Clinton got in the state, and got 51 percent of white college-graduate voters.
Also in Virginia, Danica Roem beat 13-term Republican Del. Bob Marshall to become the first openly transgender state legislator in the United States.
Roem, who ran a heavy neighborhood canvassing campaign and focused on traffic fixes, won the district that includes parts of Loudoun and Prince William counties 54.6 percent to Marshall’s 45.4 percent with 95 percent of precincts reporting. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) campaigned for Roem, as well.