Northam, the state's lieutenant governor, was leading the latest RealClearPolitics polling average by 3 percentage points heading into Tuesday's election. However, a last-minute push by President Donald Trump for Gillespie looked to make things interesting.
Tensions during the campaign escalated following a string of negative controversial immigration and crime ad hits.
Trump tweeted multiple times urging Virginians to vote for Gillespie on Tuesday. He also recorded a rare robo-call claiming a Northam win would be a “total disaster for your state.”
Ralph Northam will allow crime to be rampant in Virginia. He’s weak on crime, weak on our GREAT VETS, Anti-Second Amendment....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2017
The Virginia race had been closely watched and perceived as a referendum of sorts on Trump-politics and their effectiveness at the ballot box heading into 2018 election.
Tuesday night's results are likely to influence how both Republican and Democratic candidates in 2018 will handle the “Trump question.” As the president's approval rating continues to dip to record lows, GOP candidates may look to distance themselves not just from endorsements but also from his policies.
While the president didn't campaign with Gillespie, the former chair of the RNC ran a campaign viewed by many as “Trumpism without Trump.”
Former White House adviser Steve Bannon pitched the close Virginia race as a “test” to see if “Trumpism without Trump can show the way forward. If that's the case, Democrats better be very, very worried.”
NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: Democratic candidate Phil Murphy is projected to win, defeating Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who was saddled with both President Donald Trump and outgoing Gov. Chris Christie's record-low polling numbers.
NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Mayor Bill de Blasio is projected to win re-election.
VIRGINIA LT. GOVERNOR: Democrat Justin Fairfax is projected to defeat Republican Jill Vogel.
VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Incumbent Democrat Mark Herring is projected to defeat Republican opponent John Adams.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as additional information becomes available.