A week before the Virginia Gubernatorial Election, candidates locked up in a tight race


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A week before Virginia’s governor election, candidates do all they can to earn the votes of citizens.

Vikram Achuthan, Staff Writer

Over the last several months, Ed Gillespie and Ralph Northam have spent their days knocking on doors, appearing at rallies, and doing everything in their power to win the race for Virginia’s next governor. In Virginia, governors are allowed to serve for four years, but they cannot stand for election immediately after one term. However, they are re-eligible after four years.The election will be held on November 7th, and the next governor will be sworn into office in mid-January. Current polls show that Democrat Ralph Northam has an edge over the Republican candidate Ed Gillespie, however, Democrats still have several reasons to worry; Gillespie’s numbers have soared over the recent weeks, and according to RealClearPolitics, he now only trails Northam by three points.

Gillespie, the Republican nominee for the race and a former official in the George W. Bush Administration, was declared the nominee of his party in early June. Gillespie previously ran against Senator Mark Warner in 2014, just losing to him by one point. Now setting his sights on the office of the Governor, his campaign has been focused on economic growth and overhauling Virginia’s tax system. Gillespie was endorsed by President Trump in early October, however, his campaign has refrained from using the endorsement as a tool to sway Republican voters.

This race, among many, will serve as a barometer for Republicans about the current administration’s popularity. Hillary Clinton carried the state of Virginia last November, but the race was closer than most expected. Ed Gillespie winning in November would restore many Republican’s confidence in President Trump, who has failed to pass any major legislation since he was sworn-in in January. However, the stakes are much higher for the Democrats in this race. The party has not secured any major victories since Trump took office, and a loss would exacerbate the already weak relations between the left-leaning and moderate sides of the party. Democrats are counting on the liberal-leaning population of Northern Virginia to swing the race in their favor.

Northam, a physician, army veteran, and the current lieutenant governor of Virginia to departing governor Terry Mcauliffe, defeated Tom Perillo in the primary race. Northam has focused on more effective gun control, as well as a better health care system for Virginians. Only 15 out of the 50 US state governors are Democrats, and Democrats are investing a large amount of money to elect Northam. According to the Washington Post, The Democratic National Committee has spent 1.5 million dollars while hiring 40 staffers. Northam is also raising much more money than Gillespie is – as of October, Northam had raised 5.6 million dollars, compared with Gillespie’s 2.5 million.

While money might play a big role in deciding the winner of this race, the politics of today might have a bigger impact. With the current administration in the White House being highly unpopular in Virginia, voters may lean towards Northam. However, past elections have reminded us that it is important to not prematurely declare a winner and that races are won and lost only on one day – election day.