WASHINGTON — On his way to a 9-point victory Tuesday, Gov.-elect Ralph Northam won Northern Virginia’s vote-rich communities by huge margins.
In some cases he garnered four times the number of votes cast for his opponent Republican Ed Gillespie. Regionwide, Northam received double the number of ballots in support of Gillespie, according to unofficial election results.
Tuesday’s decisive results delivered Democrats three statewide victories and flipped enough seats in the House of Delegates to threaten Republican control of the chamber.
In Fairfax County, twice as many voters supported Northam, a pediatric neurologist and the current lieutenant governor, than Gillespie in a race that was widely considered the first test of voter sentiment since President Donald Trump’s election win a year ago.
The county is the largest locality in Virginia and reported 56 percent turnout for the off-year election — higher than the 47 percent voter turnout four years ago for the last gubernatorial contest.
Northam also carried Loudoun County by more than 23,000 votes — a 20-point spread. Once considered a haven for fox chases and horse farms, the rapidly growing suburban community voted for Hillary Clinton last fall and for Barack Obama in 2012. CNN named it a swing county to watch in the run up to election night.
Fernando “Marty” Martinez, chair of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee, said new residents are moving into the county from traditionally Democratic-leaning parts of the country, bringing those more liberal values with them.
But the county’s population boom is just one facet of the community’s blue tinge.
He noted that Republican Del. David LaRock won his re-election race handily and said that Republicans can still compete in the county.
But Martinez said Republican candidates aren’t delivering a message that resonates with independent or moderate Republican voters, making Democrats a more reasonable choice. He said attack ads and divisive politics turn off voters who’d like their politicians to work together. And rancor among Republicans in Congress is not helping the party at the state level.
Northam also carried Prince William County by similar margins to Loudoun, according to unofficial election results.
Gillespie won neighboring Fauquier County by 20 percent and Stafford County by a smaller 5-percent margin.
In the city of Falls Church and Arlington County, Northam received roughly four times the number of votes cast for Gillespie. And in Alexandria, Northam received more than three times the votes cast in support of Gillespie.
Turnout was 55 percent in Arlington and it reached 58 percent in Alexandria, according to election officials.
Statewide, voter turnout was roughly 48 percent — higher than the 43 percent turnout for the last gubernatorial election in 2013, according to the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks political spending.
Northam garnered 54 percent of the vote, compared to Gillespie’s 45 percent. Libertarian Cliff Hyra earned just 1 percent of the votes cast statewide.
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