Pundits and politicians entered Tuesday thinking Virginia's gubernatorial race would be a close one, with nearly every early model showing a virtual tie between Republican Ed Gillespie and Democratic opponent Ralph Northam.
But Northam's strong showing Tuesday—over-performing in both safely Democratic and Republican counties alike—propelled him to a roughly six-point victory against Gillespie, according to early election returns published Tuesday night by the Associated Press. The win means Virginia's governorship will stay in Democratic hands after Terry McAuliffe's term ends in January.
Gillespie's controversial campaign included advertising spots promising to keep Confederate monuments intact, as well as threatening to prevent cities in Virginia from declaring themselves immigrant sanctuaries. His loss is widely seen as a small, but not insignificant, rebuke of Trump-era conservatism.