Democrat Ralph Northam wins Virginia governor’s race; Trump reacts

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Virginia Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, campaigns at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society following Friday prayers November 3, 2017 in Sterling, Virginia. Virginia will elect the next governor of the state next Tuesday, November 7. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Democrat Ralph Northam has won Virginia’s race for governor.

Early unofficial results show Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie on Tuesday.

Virginia’s hard-fought race was closely watched as a swing-state test of President Donald Trump’s popularity.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist and the state’s lieutenant governor, repeatedly tried to tie Gillespie to the president during months of divisive campaigning overshadowed by racial overtones and attack ads.

Northam’s victory was in large part due to a surge in anti-Trump energy since the president took office. Democrats said they had record levels of enthusiasm heading into the race.

Gillespie kept Trump at a distance throughout the campaign but tried to rally the president’s supporters with hard-edge ads focused on illegal immigration and preserving Confederate statues.

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