Home 2017 Races Yesterday’s Primary Results = Great News for Virginia Democrats in November!

Yesterday’s Primary Results = Great News for Virginia Democrats in November!


by Chris Ambrose

YESTERDAY’S RESULTS = Great news for Democrats in November!

Here is why:

Turnout in the Democratic Primary in Fairfax County was over 50% higher than it was in record gubernatorial turnout of 2009. Yes, that means Democrats are energized, but if you drill down it means much more.

First, the increase in turnout seems to be higher in Democratic stronghold precincts that are generally low-turnout in off years and primaries. Some of those precincts increased turnout by 100% from 2009. That means we should be able to expect in an increase in those come November.

Second, the reason for the increase is not related to a particular candidate. I was always skeptical about the idea that a particular gubernatorial candidate would double participation in the primary. That was never going to happen. But there is also, no question about it, the fact that primaries are good things to prepare candidates and get voters engaged early. Also, a larger portion of the new voters than the regular voters definitely came out and voted for Tom Perriello, but all indications are the while Northam’s margin was smaller with new voters, he still won them. In those precincts where turnout was up by 100%, Perriello did well, but he still only won them by small margins (compared to the huge increase).

That is because these new voters were not coming out so much for a candidate as AGAINST TRUMP. Many may have voted for Perriello, but their real motivation for voting was Donald Trump and it will be November when they can REALLY send Trump a message so THEY WILL BE BACK..

Finally, the last piece of good news is the Republican results. They are clearly divided. But, again, if you drill down it says a lot more.

The moderate Republicans who would have been Gillespie voters are clearly demoralized and stayed home, while it seems the pro-Trump / pro-Corey Stewart group is energized. It is unclear how much the close GOP gubernatorial race is due to the depressed turnout of mainstream Republicans versus the party’s energized base (I suspect primarily the former), but either bodes well for us — especially the former.

If Virginia Republicans sense that they need to pander to the base to get them out to vote, they will lose moderates even worse. If the problem is that the moderates in the Republican Party are just so upset at Trump and the actions of their legislators supporting him, it can only get worse for them between now and November and between now and 2018.

The bottom line is the Republican Party is demoralized, while our base is energized and will vote in November to send Trump a message!

  • Anonymous Is A Woman

    It also occurs to me that two other factors might work in our favor in November. The first is that the fever for an outsider to blow the system up may be abating, except among the very hardcore alienated voters. Seeing the dysfunction of the Trump WH on full view, many people are probably feeling revulsion. Normalcy might look good. Remember the appeal of “No Drama Obama” after the turbulence of the Bush administration? We may see a return to that desire for functioning government with adults in control.

    Related to that, watching the ineptness in the White House may make voters appreciate experience and competence more. Plus, McAuliffe has high approval ratings, which should provide a tailwind to Northam too.

    We may be watching a new dynamic emerging in reaction to Washington, especially in suburbs like Fairfax, Alexandria, and Arlington, where so many federal workers and contractors live, as well as in Hampton Roads, Norfolk, and Richmond, which also are heavy on military and government-related workers. Those are voters with an appreciation for professionalism.

  • woodrowfan

    I’m not sure I’d call Gillespie voters “moderates.” Maybe “Conservatives but not totally nuts…”

    • Chris Ambrose

      “Moderate” is a relative term. They are moderate for Republicans.

  • Withheld Information

    The Republican base does not seem to be motivated, and Northam is the perfect candidate to woo independents and moderate Republican voters. Virginia Beach could be on the table for the first time since Kaine. Northam is a graduate of VMI and a military vet. He’ll do well there.

  • Mike H

    I don’t disagree with most of the above, but find myself questioning how many November Gillespie voters strategically voted Northam in the Democratic primary to knock out Perriello. While it’s hard to believe that was an overwhelming trend, two factors suggest more may have done so than intuition would otherwise suggest. 1) Most polls leading up to the primary indicated Gillespie would sail through and Northam/Perriello would be tight. Not illogical to think some Gillespie voters dismissed Stewart and voted Northam either because they have pipeline interests or felt Perriello was the stronger general election opponent (or both). 2) Dominion made an urgent and unprecedented GOTV appeal to its 76,000 current and former employees to vote against Perriello (not named overtly, but targeted by virtue of his singular opposition to the pipelines) due the threat he posed to the company’s pipeline project.

    There were powerful, well-funded entities working to ensure the pipeline-friendly (and funded) candidates from both parties were victorious. The “Virginia Way” prevails, once again.

    • LibertarianDemocrat

      You really believe that Northam won by over 12% because of Republican interference? If anything, Northam won because he dominated in areas with large African-American presence.

      With all due respect, this feels like some attempt at justifying your loss while avoiding the fact that Northam just had more support, probably due to the fact he’s been running for Governor for four years now.

      • Mike H

        I did not say nor do I believe Northam won because of Republican interference. In fact, I said “it’s hard to believe that was an overwhelming trend.”

        That said, I believe it did occur for the reasons I expressed above. I’d add to it a stunning, late-breaking Washington Post endorsement for Northam that made no mention of the significance of the pipelines and Dominion’s campaign contributions to this primary. None.

        • Going forward, Democrats should never ever ever listen to Lee Hockstader (the Post’s Virginia editorial dude) again. On anything. Ever.

        • notjohnsmosby

          You guys have to understand that the liberal populist cohort is a small part of the Dem universe. Tom tried to pick up the Bernie supporters. He did that well. Of course, Bernie got trounced by Hillary. Tom getting soundly beaten – 12 points is a drubbing – was to be expected.

          Running on the platform of a losing candidate means that you’re probably going to lose as well.

          • A_Siegel

            1. The Bernie v Hillary narrative remains at best a partial analogy for the Perriello-Northam race.
            2. Strongest portion of the analogy is the Clinton/Northam as ‘locked-in’ before the other entered the race — and, if anything, Northam had a much stronger lock when Perriello entered than was case with Clinton. There was serious endorsement ‘lock down’ before Perriello announced.
            3. The fact is clear: Northam won — won solidly. However, perhaps recall just how high a mountain Perriello had to climb?
            For example, remember how Saslaw derided Perriello and said that he would lose by (if I recal correctly) 30 points.
            4. The primary was decided, don’t you think, far from ‘fully’ on platform as opposed to the existence of [2] and people’s judgment (including Post endorsement, etc …) on ‘who would win’? (I know several people who, direct quote from one, said: “Tom Perriello is far closer to my ideals but I will vote for Northam because I think Virginians won’t vote for a progressive.”
            5. As to that last line, Northam’s advertising was emphasizing that he was ‘the progressive choice’ (which is, btw, clearly true now).
            6. The ‘fight the primary’ seems to be coming from those who might be accurately called ‘Northam supporters’/advocates rather than Perriello and Perriello supporters, most of who are rallying in unity to assure a D in the Governor’s mansion.
            7. While there was a ‘drubbing’, is the best way to get Perriello supporters enthusiastic / energetic / etc leading into November is insult/attack them?

          • Withheld Information

            No one is attacking Perriello supporters. But the fact is, the people of Virginia made their choice and it was Northam. By a considerable margin. Belittling that victory so as to assuage the rejection Perriello received isn’t right. Northam won fairly. He won convincingly. Move on.

          • A_Siegel

            1. Belittle victory …?
            2. “No one is attack Perriello supporters …”??? From another comment in this thread, “I’m not concerned about Perriello supporters. As we saw last year with the Bernie supporters, they are in general malcontents …”
            3. …

          • notjohnsmosby

            I’m not concerned about Perriello supporters. As we saw last year with the Bernie supporters, they are in general malcontents who won’t be happy with anything Ralph does. Why spend time reaching out to people who are just going to thumb their noses at you?

          • Mike H

            What the Dems need to understand is Perriello attracted counterintuitive coalitions of general election voters who are not Dems (myself included).

            I have always thought that Ralph Northam should win the general (largely on anti-Trump sentiment alone), but that he is a much greater risk to possibly lose. In passing on Perriello, the Dems just forfeited independent and conservative voters who were with him because of the environmental, economic, campaign finance integrity, and private land protection implications of his pipelines opposition and refusal to accept Dominion cash. How many of those voters? We shall see.

            Likewise, the Washington Post’s own numbers report 66% of Virginians agree with Perriello that it is inappropriate for candidates for governor to accept campaign contributions from Dominion. Northam has his work cut out for him in appealing to progressive independents and conservatives (particularly libertarian conservatives) who would have voted Perriello, but aren’t particularly fond of the Democratic Party and establishment candidate profile Northam represents.

            Northam also faces the real challenge of attacking Gillespie’s leadership role in an economically destructive George W. Bush administration that he, himself, twice voted for.

            Nobody is questioning the legitimacy of Northam’s primary win. And I agree that it is his general to lose, particularly with anti-Trump sentiment raging. But, I do believe Northam enters the general election with real vulnerabilities that will matter more in the general than they did in the primary.

          • Withheld Information

            In passing Perriello the Democrats elected someone more popular and with bipartisan support. Again, all you can do is try and make out Perriello like he was the strong candidate here. He really wasn’t. 12 points is a considerable margin.

            As for ‘how many of those voters’ clearly not enough to prevent a 12 point beatdown.

          • Mike H

            Stronger bipartisan support has yet to be determined. Northam won the Democratic primary.

            My argument all along has been that Perriello represents a stronger general election profile. Do I think Northam should win the general? Yes. But I still believe he represents a much riskier chance of actually losing for the reasons I expressed above.

        • Withheld Information

          It’s very unlikely the WaPo endorsement changed anything. Northam won by 12%. It wasn’t close at all, as loath this site might be to admit it. Northam won fairly. He ran a better campaign and has a longer record of service in the state. Why is it hard to believe he won on merit?

          This wasn’t Bernie vs Hillary or even Rebel vs Establishment. It was DC vs VA. The local endorsements Northam picked up were what did it.

          • “as loath this site might be to admit it.”


            Obviously it wasn’t close (Northam won big), has any “front pager” said differently?

          • Withheld Information

            Has this site even congratulated Northam or put out an article in support of him or rallying people disaffected by Perriello’s loss to support Northam? I’ve not seen anything to do with Northam on your front pages outside of factual reporting of the election itself.

            I said before I questioned whether this site would be willing to fight for Northam after he beat Perriello, and I was assured by you that you would. And yet it’s been two days and I’ve not seen a formal endorsement. You don’t even have Northam’s campaign links added to the site. You had two for Perriello.

            Moreover, this erasure of Northam’s victory by trying to put it down to Dominion buying the vote and Virginians just voting for Northam without being any kind of enthusiasm is insulting. It was a 12 point win. With high turnout (not the low turnout you and others on this site would be required for Northam to win). People were engaged, people were passionate, and the people made their choice. There’s no other excuse. Virginian Democrats just didn’t want Perriello.

          • “You don’t even have Northam’s campaign links added to the site. You had two for Perriello.”

            No idea what you’re talking about, other than the ads that Northam and Perriello were running.

            Again, for my part, of course I’ll be supporting the ticket, as I’ve done for….well, my entire life!

          • Withheld Information

            The Northam ads on this site. They’re gone. There used to be one, and on mobile I think there was one the other day, at the bottom, sponsored by a Virginia Education group or something of the sort. It’s gone.

            “Again, for my part, of course I’ll be supporting the ticket, as I’ve done for….well, my entire life!”

            Pardon me for raising a skeptical eyebrow. I’ll have to see it to believe it. An endorsement would clear away any doubt.

          • “The Northam ads on this site. They’re gone. ”

            Again, what the heck are you talking about? a) there’s a Northam ad running right now (!); b) the other Northam ads, as well as the Perriello ads, were paid up through the primary, and are all gone now; c) if you think constant badgering, belittlement of Tom Perriello, etc. is going to make any Perriello supporter more enthused for Ralph Northam, you’re crazy.

          • Withheld Information

            “there’s a Northam ad running right now (!)”

            There really isn’t. I’d be happy to screenshot every inch of my screen right now and every corner of your site and prove there isn’t an ad.

            “if you think constant badgering”

            No badgering, just insistent questioning. Where is the endorsement? You said you’d support the candidate, prove it. That’s all I want.

            “belittlement of Tom Perriello”

            Just telling the truth. 12 points is a big margin. Democrats made their choice and that choice is without question, Ralph Northam. So stop trying to create or perpetrate this narrative that Tom is the victim to some Dominion-Virginia Way conspiracy and just accept that he lost fairly and that it’s time to move on.

            “is going to make any Perriello supporter more enthused for Ralph Northam, you’re crazy.”

            If my strong support for Ralph Northam and my insistence that this site does something to prove they’re also for a ‘Blue Virginia’ is going to make people less likely to support Northam, then they can shove their self-righteousness up their backsides. They are not progressive people.

          • A_Siegel

            Here is another post (by Lowell): http://bluevirginia.us/2017/06/two-graphs-show-badly-va-dems-trounced-va-republicans-tuesday

            “I might add a few more graphs later, showing some key House of Delegates districts as well, but for now, check these out (below). Note that for both governor and Lt. Governor, Democrats’ first-place finishers demolished Republicans’ first-place finishers — by over 70,000 votes for governor (Northam over Gillespie) and by over 100,000 (!) votes for Lt. Governor (Fairfax over Vogel). Also worth noting is that Democrats’ second-place finishers trounced the Republicans’ first-place finishers — by 79k votes for governor (Perriello over Gillespie) and by nearly 50k votes for LG (Platt over Vogel). Let’s keep this up through November and not only win a smashing victory for the three statewide offices, but also carry in a slew of House of Delegates Democratic nominees to victory!”

            From that: “Let’s … win a smashing victory for the three statewide offices …”

            Isn’t that getting into that ‘rallying people’ that you are calling for?

            Btw, there continues to be a VEA ad for Ralph … The “links” you reference were advertisements that Northam, Perriello, etc campaigns paid for … that, evidently according to other lowkell comments, were paid up through 13 June.

    • Withheld Information

      It was Wagner who hurt Gillespie. He was Kasich to Gillespie’s Rubio. He took votes that would have gone to him and cut down on his lead. It made the race with Stewart much close. No Wagner, Gillespie would have won by over 8% most likely.

      • notjohnsmosby

        Which is just as sad as winning by a point. The fact that a neo-confederate got more than 40% of the Republican vote is a complete disaster for RPV.

  • Neo-Confederate Corey Stewart lays out his terms for Ed Gillespie to win over Stewart voters. Gillespie “MUST”: 1) “crack down on illegal immigration”; 2) support Trump; 3) “fight to support our history and our heritage” in Virginia.