Latest: Democrat Justin Fairfax Elected Va. Lieutenant Governor

by: The Associated Press
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Latest on Election Day in Virginia, including the races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general (all times local):

9:15 p.m.

Democrat Justin Fairfax has been elected Virginia’s next lieutenant governor, a position that often serves as a springboard for future gubernatorial candidates.

Democrat Justin Fairfax has been elected Virginia’s next Lieutenant Governor. (Twitter Photo)

Fairfax, a former federal prosecutor won Tuesday over Republican Jill Vogel, a Republican state senator from Fauquier County.

Fairfax has never held elective office before. He made his first run for office four years ago, narrowly losing the Democratic nomination for attorney general to Mark Herring.

The lieutenant governor post is considered a part-time job and receives a salary just above $36,000 a year. While there are few official duties, the lieutenant governor can cast tiebreaking votes in Virginia’s closely divided state Senate.

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9 p.m.

Democratic incumbent Mark Herring has won Virginia’s attorney general race, beating back a challenge from Republican John Adams.

Herring won his second term Tuesday.

During the campaign, Herring was sharply criticized by Adams for his refusal to defend Virginia’s 2006 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Herring said his position was vindicated by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling striking down same-sex marriage bans as unconstitutional.

The race was the only attorney general contest in the country this year and drew national interest.

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8:50 p.m.

A former Virginia news anchor whose journalist girlfriend was fatally shot during a live broadcast in 2015 has defeated a Republican incumbent for a seat in the House of Delegates.

Chris Hurst beat Joseph Yost Tuesday in a high-profile race for the Blacksburg-area seat.

Hurst was living with fellow journalist Alison Parker when she and a cameraman were killed by a former co-worker while reporting for WDBJ-TV.

After the shooting, Hurst became the public face of the grieving Roanoke station, bringing national attention and a large social media following. The Pennsylvania native quit his TV job and moved to Blacksburg to run in the 12th District.

Hurst’s campaign was backed by gun-control groups, but that wasn’t his main campaign issue. Instead, he focused on education, health care and the environment.

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8:30 p.m.

Democrats have picked up three more seats in the House of Delegates.

Hala Ayala unseated Rich Anderson in the 51st District. In the 32nd District, David Reid beat Thomas “Tag” Greason. Elizabeth Guzman defeated Scott Lingamfelter in the 31st district.

With the election of Ayala and Guzman, the House will have its first Latina members.

Democrats need to pick up 17 seats to retake control of the 100-member chamber from Republicans, who have led it for nearly two decades.

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8:15 p.m.

A former journalist has unseated one of Virginia’s most socially conservative lawmakers to become the first openly transgender member of the House of Delegates.

Democrat Danica Roem, an experienced newspaper reporter, beat Republican incumbent Bob Marshall in Tuesday’s election. The race was one of this year’s most high profile, drawing national and international attention to the northern Virginia district near the nation’s capital.

Marshall has served in the House since 1992 and has been a lightning rod for controversy, often drawing the ire of even his own party.

Roem is set to make history as the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a state legislature. But her gender identity wasn’t a key part of her campaign. Instead, she focused on jobs, schools and northern Virginia’s traffic congestion.

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8:05 p.m.

Democrats have picked up a seat in a northern Virginia House of Delegates race, knocking out a member of Republican leadership.

Lee Carter, an IT specialist and Marine veteran, beat incumbent Jackson Miller in Tuesday’s election.

Democrats need to pick up 17 seats to retake control of the 100-member chamber from Republicans, who have led it for nearly two decades.

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7 p.m.

Polls have closed in Virginia’s hard-fought governor’s race. But in New Jersey the polls remain open until 8 p.m. as voters in both states choose new governors.

Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam have been locked in a heated race in Virginia to succeed Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who cannot seek a second term. The contest is viewed by many as a referendum on President Donald Trump and a possible preview of the 2018 midterm elections.

Virginians will also cast votes for state attorney general and lieutenant governor, as well as in all 100 state house seats.

New Jersey voters are choosing a replacement for Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who cannot seek a third term. Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (gwah-DAH’-noh) and Democratic former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy are the leading candidates.

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4:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is lending last-minute support to Republican Ed Gillespie in Virginia’s closely watched race for governor.

Trump recorded robocalls to help boost Gillespie supporters on Election Day. Gillespie is facing Democrat Ralph Northam in a contest that many view as an early referendum on the president’s political popularity.

In one call, Trump says Gillespie shared his views on immigration and crime and would help “Make America Great Again.” Trump also says Northam would be a “total disaster” for Virginia.

Gillespie has largely kept the president at a distance throughout the contest and did not campaign with Trump. Virginia is the only southern state Trump lost last year.

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2:55 p.m.

Early voter numbers are up in Virginia’s closely watched race for governor while polling places around the state are reporting a steady turnout.

Department of Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortes says Virginia had a “substantially higher” number of early voters in this year’s closely watched race for governor than in recent past gubernatorial contests.

The 180,000 absentee ballots returned as of Sunday were 60,000 more than all absentee votes cast in the 2013 gubernatorial election.

Generally speaking, Democrats tend to do better in Virginia with a greater turnout.

Fairfax County, a large, reliably Democratic county in Northern Virginia, reported that voter turnout as of 2 p.m. was 30.6 percent

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1:45 p.m.

Hillary Clinton has tweeted her support for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northum.

In a Tuesday morning tweet, the former presidential candidate urged Virginia residents to vote and get Northum “across the finish line.”

The former Secretary of State headlined a fundraiser for Northam in New York last month.

In the same tweet, Clinton also endorsed incumbent Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Justin Fairfax, who is running for lieutenant governor.

Clinton’s tweets came hours after her political rival, President Donald Trump, sent out a series of tweets from South Korea to support Northum’s opponent Ed Gillespie.

Clinton won the state by five percentage points in 2016, but Republicans typically are more likely to turn out in off-year statewide elections. Northam has led in most polls, but the race is close.

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12 p.m.

The NAACP says voters in northern Virginia have received phone calls from people who are lying to them by saying their polling place has changed.

The Prince William County chapter of the NAACP wrote on its Facebook page Monday that the calls are fraudulent and an attempt to suppress the vote as Virginians choose their new governor Tuesday.

The NAACP says the out-of-area calls have been reported in Prince William County, as well as in Manassas and Manassas Park.

Hillary Clinton received about 5 percent more votes in Prince William County than Donald Trump did during the 2016 presidential election.

The NAACP says voter protection services are aware of the issue.

The organization urges anyone who receives suspicious calls to dial the voter protection hotline: 1-844-4VA-VOTE.

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11:30 a.m.

Republican Ed Gillespie said he appreciates President Donald Trump’s support after the commander in chief backed the Virginia gubernatorial candidate in a series of early morning tweets.

Gillespie made the comment to reporters Tuesday morning after he arrived at his local polling station in Alexandria to cast his ballot.

In order to get to the elementary school gym and vote, Gillespie had to drive by a huge inflatable balloon of a chicken that resembles Trump.

Throughout the closely contested race, Gillespie has kept Trump at an arm’s distance while mimicking his policies on certain social issues. In particular, Gillespie has pledged tougher policies for immigrants in the country illegally and blasted his opponent Ralph Northam for the Democrat’s support of so-called sanctuary cities.

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10:10 a.m.

A friendly crowd greeted Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam and his wife as they arrived at their local polling station to cast their ballots.

Northam hugged cheering voters Tuesday morning at a Norfolk community center, thanking them for their support during the closely watched race. A few dozen voters were there.

He and Republican Ed Gillespie have been locked in a heated battle to succeed Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who cannot seek a second term.

Virginia is one of only two states electing a new governor this year, and the contest is viewed by many as an early referendum on President Donald Trump’s political popularity.

Democrats are eager to prove they can harness anti-Trump energy into success at the polls, while Republicans are looking to show they have a winning blueprint in a blue-leaning state.

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9:10 a.m.

Thousands of Virginia voters have already cast their ballots for governor this morning, driven by a wide range of issues.

At Jahnke Road Baptist Church in suburban Richmond, 39-year-old Angelica Bega said she wasn’t sure who she would vote for until she was handed a ballot, but she ultimately voted for Democrat Ralph Northam.

As an “issues-driven voter,” she says she said it was “very frustrating” to see so many attack ads. She said Ed Gillespie’s attempt to make immigration such a big part of the campaign frustrated her and was a factor in her decision to vote for his opponent.

Emogene and Jimmy Babb, both 74, voted straight Republican at a rural polling station in Windsor, Virginia.

They said there wasn’t any one particular issue that drove them to the polls. But they said they shared Gillespie’s positions on gun rights and not removing Confederate statues.

“We don’t need a governor who is going to take our guns away,” Jimmy Babb said.

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7:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump took to Twitter once again to back Republican Virginia gubernatorial Ed Gillespie minutes before the polls opened across the state.

In a series of early morning tweets Tuesday, Trump said Gillespie will crack down on crime and improve the state’s economy.

Trump tweeted that Gillespie’s Democratic opponent Ralph Northam is “weak on crime” and against the Second Amendment. Northam, an Army veteran, says he grew up hunting and wants common-sense gun laws.

Polls show a tight race to succeed Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Virginia is the only Southern state that Trump lost last year.

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6:00 a.m.

Polls have opened in Virginia as the state picks a new governor in a race that’s being closely watched nationwide.

Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam have been locked in a heated race to succeed Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who cannot seek a second term. The contest is viewed by many as a referendum on President Donald Trump and a possible preview of the 2018 midterm elections. Libertarian Cliff Hyra is also running.

Virginians will also elect a new state attorney general race and lieutenant governor. Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring is seeking a second term. He’s being challenged by Republican John Adams.

Democrat Justin Fairfax and Republican Jill Vogel are competing to be the next lieutenant governor.

All 100 state House seats are also up for grabs.

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