From left to proper: Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie, libertarian Cliff Hyra and Democrat Ralph Northam. (Steve Helber/AP)
Virginians head to the polls Tuesday to decide on a brand new governor in a neck-and-neck race that started as a genteel affair however devolved into an intense battle that mimics the nation’s deep partisan divide.
And the political world is watching the outcomes from Virginia for clues concerning the nationwide political panorama within the Trump period and a touch of what could are available subsequent yr’s midterms.
The contest has drawn document spending for the three statewide contests — governor, lieutenant governor and legal professional basic — and far of it’s coming from exterior teams keen to say victory in Virginia. In addition, all 100 House of Delegates seats are on the poll.
Campaigns for Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam say they’re doubling and in some instances tripling the variety of doorways they’ve knocked on, properties they’ve referred to as and textual content messages they’ve despatched in contrast with the campaigns at this level within the 2013 governor’s race.
For voters nonetheless making an attempt to get caught up to the mark on the candidates and the problems, right here’s a rundown.
MEET THE CANDIDATES
●Republican Ed Gillespie
Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie stumps on the Inspiration Plumbing Company on Oct. 30 in Sterling, Va. (picture by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)
At 56, Gillespie is a longtime, behind-the-scenes GOP operative making an attempt to interrupt into elective workplace. The son of an Irish immigrant and raised in New Jersey, Gillespie got here to the Washington area to attend Catholic University and was drawn into the world of politics.
He labored his means up from a car parking zone attendant on the U.S. Senate to a prime strategist for House Republicans, in addition to chairman of the Republican National Committee and White House counselor in the course of the President George W. Bush years. Gillespie is called a savvy communicator with a robust deal with on coverage issues. He additionally has made thousands and thousands as a lobbyist and guide between political stints, and got here near unseating U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D) in 2014.
●Democrat Ralph Northam
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam waves as he arrives to talk throughout a marketing campaign rally with former president Barack Obama in Richmond on Oct. 19. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
He’s a 58-year-old pediatric neurologist who has served because the state’s lieutenant governor since 2014. Born and raised in Virginia’s rural Eastern Shore, Northam attended Virginia Military Institute, handled wounded troopers as an Army physician throughout Operation Desert Storm and returned house to begin a profitable medical follow.
His biography made him a major goal for each events’ recruitment efforts, and he efficiently ran as a conservative Democrat for state Senate in 2007. He has developed a popularity as a champion for abortion rights with a ardour for health-care points, and has adopted the celebration’s leftward drift since taking workplace.
●Libertarian Cliff Hyra
He’s a 34-year-old patent legal professional within the Richmond suburbs making his first run for elective workplace.
Cliff Hyra, the Libertarian candidate for Virginia governor, gestures throughout an interview in Richmond (Steve Helber/AP)
Hyra is operating on a message of social tolerance, restricted authorities and opposing overreach by the Trump administration. He has been operating within the low single digits in polls and has comparatively little marketing campaign money, and hasn’t been invited to debates. But his message could promote to these dissatisfied by the two-party system, and tip the scales in what is anticipated to be a detailed race. He additionally has referred to as for his rivals to cease their destructive advert blitz and finish the marketing campaign on a optimistic word.
SO, WHAT DOES THE GOVERNOR DO?
Republican Ed Gillespie and Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam are operating on this yr’s carefully watched race for Virginia governor. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)
Virginia is exclusive amongst states in that it bars governors from serving consecutive phrases, which means whoever wins November is a lame duck as quickly as he offers his victory speech.
But a governor can get quite a bit accomplished in 4 years. The state’s General Assembly is managed by Republicans, barring a monumental upset that neither celebration expects in House of Delegates races. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) set a document for vetoes, and Northam vowed to proceed to be a backstop towards hard-right GOP laws. Gillespie has promised to signal payments that McAuliffe vetoed, together with laws defunding Planned Parenthood and a “Tim Tebow” invoice to permit home-schoolers to play in public faculty sports activities leagues.
Executive orders additionally enable governors to wield important energy: McAuliffe used his to revive voting rights to greater than 168,000 felons who served their time and to cap state carbon emissions.
The subsequent governor additionally has sway over nationwide politics: He can have veto energy of state and federal legislative maps drawn after the 2020 Census. That has implications for management of Congress.
WHERE THEY STAND ON ISSUES
●The financial system
Northam says the state financial system has been on track beneath McAuliffe with a three.7 % unemployment fee, one of many lowest within the nation. He says his prime precedence can be filling middle-skill jobs by making group school and apprenticeships free for college students in search of careers in high-demand fields, together with cybersecurity and early-childhood training, in the event that they decide to a yr of paid public service. He additionally proposes a $15 minimal wage — which is opposed by the legislature — and a tax credit score for small companies that provide staff paid household go away. He desires to chop taxes on groceries for low-income Virginians and desires a bipartisan fee to design a broader tax overhaul.
[Virginia’s uneven economy mirrors its political divide]
Gillespie gives a harsher evaluation of Virginia’s financial system, pointing to sluggish annual progress and uneven restoration throughout the state. He’s proposing an across-the-board 10 % minimize in state earnings tax charges to stimulate financial progress, though it might be contingent on rising state income to offset losses. As governor, he says he would concentrate on serving to companies develop, not simply luring large corporations to the state.
[Think tank questions badumptions in tax plans]
Both candidates need to elevate instructor pay and rework the Standards of Learning checks, though neither has a alternative plan. Gillespie desires to develop the variety of constitution faculties, that are publicly funded faculties which might be operated privately. Northam desires extra funding in conventional public faculties. Northam is backed by lecturers unions; Gillespie has monetary backing from the household of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a champion of taxpayer-funded personal faculty vouchers.
The candidates sharply disagree about public funding for personal faculties. Gillespie helps training financial savings accounts that enable mother and father who pull their youngsters from public faculties to obtain 90 % of the state funding that will have been spent on their youngsters. They would have the ability to use these tax for personal faculty tuition. Northam opposes such accounts as a drain on public faculty sources.
[Future of public education at stake in governor’s race]
Thousands of poor and uninsured flock to the annual Remote Area Medical open air medical clinic on the Wise County Fairgrounds in southwest Virginia. (Michael S. Williamson / The Washington Post)
Northam, who volunteers his medical companies every year on the RAM free care clinic in Wise County, helps increasing Medicaid to 400,000 Virginians, though the Republican legislature stays opposed. He opposes rising calls in his celebration for a single-payer well being care system, however would help a state-run public choice.
Gillespie opposes increasing Medicaid to low-income Virginians. In lieu of federal motion, Gillespie says Virginia ought to create an interstate compact to permit insurance coverage corporations to promote throughout state strains.
One of Virginia’s hottest environmental points is the event of two pure fuel pipelines that will run by way of southern Virginia. Gillespie helps them as vital for trade and jobs. Northam says he’ll help the pipelines in the event that they go regulatory overview, disappointing environmentalists. Hyra, the libertarian, opposes the pipelines.
On local weather change, Northam helps McAuliffe’s order for state businesses to attract up rules to restrict carbon emissions and becoming a member of a state local weather alliance as President Trump strikes to withdraw the United States from the Paris local weather accords. Gillespie opposes each measures, though he thinks that there’s ample proof of local weather change and that individuals contribute to it.
Northam can be the primary Democratic candidate for governor to oppose offshore drilling, which Gillespie helps.
[Activists say they’d work their hearts out for Northam if only he opposed pipelines]
Rush hour visitors is backed up alongside Interstate 66 on this view from the Vienna Metro Station in Virginia, on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)
Although Northern Virginia has among the worst visitors congestion within the nation, the difficulty hasn’t gotten a lot consideration within the governor’s race.
Northam and Gillespie help widening Route 66 and changing common lanes to tolled categorical lanes on Interstates 395 and 95. They disagree on pay for initiatives. Northam helps a “floor” on the Northern Virginia fuel tax to ensure income doesn’t plummet when fuel costs fluctuate, and questions whether or not Gillespie’s tax minimize plan would drain sources for roads. Gillespie says his tax plan is designed to part in additional slowly if funding for important wants together with training and transportation is threatened — and that he would help a “lock box” to forestall transportation funding from being diverted to different state wants.
Both candidates agree that Metro ought to be overhauled earlier than receiving further funding, and haven’t referred to as for brand new tax income because the District’s authorities favors. But Northam explicitly favors a devoted supply of funding for the company, a step that Gillespie has not taken.
Gillespie has sought to place MS-13 gang violence entrance and middle within the race, and Republican legislative leaders mentioned they’ll work with him to provide $1.5 million to the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force. Northam hasn’t taken a place on rising state funding for the gang process drive, however says Republicans ought to be preventing to protect federal funding for anti-gang initiatives which might be slated for cuts by the Trump administration.
Gillespie has additionally sought to hyperlink MS-13 gang violence to “sanctuary cities” — which don’t exist in Virginia. Gillespie helps a preemptive ban; Northam says he would solely help a ban if a jurisdiction declared itself a sanctuary.
Both help enjoyable different felony penalties — together with elevating the edge for felony grand larceny from $200, one of many lowest within the nation. Northam backs decriminalizing marijuana, whereas Gillespie helps no felony fees for easy possession till the third offense.
Northam helps abortion rights, whereas Gillespie opposes the process besides in instances of rape, incest and to save lots of the mom’s life. Gillespie would signal laws to ban abortion after 20 weeks that accommodates these exceptions, whereas Northam wouldn’t.
[Unusually high stakes for both sides in abortion debate in this year’s governor’s race]
Northam helps further gun management measures, together with the reinstatement of Virginia’s “one-gun-a-month” regulation limiting purchases, in addition to a ban on high-capacity magazines and badault weapons. He has an F ranking from the National Rifle Association and help from a number of gun management teams.
Gillespie, who has an A ranking from the NRA, opposes any additional restrictions on weapons. Gillespie says he would rescind an govt order barring individuals from carrying weapons in state authorities buildings, and can be open to limiting “bump stocks” — the system used to speed up gunfire within the Las Vegas bloodbath.
[How Virginia candidates responded to Las Vegas mbadacre]
Charlottesville metropolis staff drape a tarp over the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park in Charlottesville. A Virginia choose dominated Oct. four lawsuit over Charlottesville’s plans to take away the statue ought to go ahead. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
No Southern state has extra Confederate statues than Virginia, and the state has struggled with its legacy. The subject grew to become distinguished within the governor’s race in August, when white nationalists marched in Charlottesville to defend a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee — an occasion that become a melee that left three individuals useless.
Northam initially mentioned he thought Confederate monuments ought to be relocated from public areas to museums, however has since backpedaled and mentioned he’d go away the choice as much as localities. Gillespie helps preserving the statues with historic context, though he doesn’t add that caveat in a marketing campaign business airing in southwest Virginia.
[McAuliffe strikes softer tone on monuments]
●Gillespie’s enterprise consulting: Since his final political marketing campaign in 2014, Gillespie has consulted for at the very least 4 main companies with pursuits in Virginia. As governor, he would face selections the place the general public’s curiosity might battle with the pursuits of corporations that paid him and his agency thousands and thousands.
●Northam’s monetary holdings: Since taking workplace, Northam expanded his monetary portfolio to incorporate inventory in corporations doing in depth work in Virginia, and whose values might be affected by selections he makes as governor. The Democrat says he’d tackle potential conflicts by putting his investments in a blind belief.
HOW TO VOTE
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., and voters should current picture identification. The registration deadline has handed. Registration standing and the placement of polling locations might be confirmed by contacting the Virginia Board of Elections at elections.virginia.gov .