Voters got a nail-biter of a primary night, just not the one they expected. The Democratic primary between Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello was supposed to be a toss up, but Northam won with 56 percent of the vote to 44 percent for Perriello. This solid victory gives Democrats an edge going into the general election. It was the Republican primary that was decided by a narrow margin. Former Republican National Committee chair and lobbyist Ed Gillespie was supposed to glide to an easy win against Prince William Board of Supervisors chair Corey Stewart and state Sen. Frank Wagner. Gillespie had every advantage – a flush war chest, a solid organization and better name recognition – yet won by just over 4,500 votes out of nearly 366,000 cast. He took 44 percent to 43 percent for Stewart and 14 percent for Wagner. Stewart’s performance was fueled by his anti-immigration rhetoric and his support of the Confederate flag and monuments. His style is often compared to that of President Donald Trump’s; Stewart served as Trump’s state
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