Virginia Democratic governor-elect Terry McAuliffe (R) celebrates with lieutenant governor-elect Ralph Northam (L) at their election night victory rally in Tyson's Corner, Virginia November 5, 2013.
Corey Stewart didn't quite manage the sort of massive upset achieved by President Donald Trump, his former boss and political role model, but he came bad close.
However, the battle between Northam and Perriello was not the only noteworthy development for liberals - grassroots anti-Trump fervor also led to an unprecedented number of Democrats wrangling for seats in Virginia's House of Delegates. In other words, Northam may be what Virginia voters believe a progressive candidate to be, while Perriello seems to represent progressive Washington D.C.'s idea.
The biggest surprise was on the Republican side.
James City and York counties and Williamsburg followed the statewide mold, picking the state's current lieutenant governor in Northam and leaning toward former Republican National Committee chairman in Gillespie, according to unofficial results from the Virginia Board of Elections.
Republicans, meanwhile, were given a choice between the old GOP era in Mr. Gillespie, who was a counselor to President George W. Bush, and the new GOP in Mr. Stewart, who was pushing immigration crackdowns well before Mr. Trump and had been chairman of the Trump campaign in Virginia.
The general election is expected to be an early referendum on the president and a preview of what the 2018 midterm elections might look like.
Virginia's election - which was viewed as a proxy war, of sorts, for progressives - ultimately stands out because it is one of only two states voting for governor this year.
Stewart also gained attention during the primary campaign for his defense of Confederate monuments. "This is the southwest, and we can get those 1,000 votes", said Bryanna Altman, a Stewart campaign volunteer told an anxious crowd sitting at a Stewart victory party in Woodbridge.
Justin Fairfax handily beat his two opponents to secure the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor.
Gillespie has basically ignored Stewart, and the strategy has worked. Are they going to make Trump the focus of every contest, or is their path back to power through local issues? Perriello drilled him on the decision throughout the campaign.
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"Nobody's excited about Ed", he said.
Kevin Felty, a Norfolk Republican, said he voted for Gillespie because of his fundraising prowess in what's likely to be a bloody general campaign. Gillespie is a former RNC chair and the former head of the Virginia GOP. "I think it has bigger consequences than people imagine". The primary campaign was mostly a civil affair, and there's no reason Perriello and his supporters (who skewed young) won't be able to pull together behind Northam.
Northam, a low-key pediatric neurologist, won running as a pragmatist with state's Democratic establishment's firm support.
Conservative Republican Corey Stewart narrowly lost Virginia's gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, June 13.
"He was kind. He was gracious", Northam said.
More than 560,000 people voted in the Democratic primary, a more than 240,000 voter jump from the last time there was contested primary in 2009.
Rob Manch is up in Arlington, Virginia, at the watch party for Northam, who's received endorsements from U.S. Sens.
"I trust his leadership". "He cares for everyone".
"When Tom Perriello entered the race a few months ago, nobody expected a competitive race", Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Commitee and a senior adviser to Perriello, wrote to Mic in a statement.
Northam says he's running for governor "to build on Virginia's economic progress and defend our values against those who want to take us back". In short, Trump may do for Democrats what President Barack Obama did for Republicans - give them a new lease on life.
In his concession speech, Perriello vowed to help Northam on his path to victory - saying a "movement" was "rising up".
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