Trump distances himself from Virginia defeat

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Latest on the races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey (all times local):

9 p.m.

President Donald Trump is distancing himself from defeated Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie.

Trump is addressing the disappointing result in a race seen as an early referendum on his political clout. He writes on Twitter that Gillespie "worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for." Gillespie largely tried to maintain his distance from Trump on the campaign trail.

Trump recorded robocalls to help boost Gillespie's candidacy on Election Day. In one call, Trump said Gillespie shared his views on immigration and crime and would help "Make America Great Again."

On what is shaping up to be a difficult night for Republicans, Trump is touting GOP victories earlier this year, writing, "With the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!"

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8:50 p.m.

A set of whoops and cheers went up at George Mason University in northern Virginia when media began calling Virginia's governor's race for Democrat Ralph Northam.

The call came so early that only a few hundred people had made it to the ballroom where Democrats had gathered to celebrate. Hundreds more were still waiting in line ouside the ballroom waiting to get through metal detectors.

In a Richmond, Virginia, a banquet room where Ed Gillespie was expected to speak, the room was less than half full when the outcome of the hard-fought race became apparent Tuesday evening.

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8:15 p.m.

A transgender woman 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 beat Republican incumbent Bob Marshall in Tuesday's election in 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. He has often drawn the ire of even his own party.

Roem is a former journalist. She will make history as the first openly transgender person elected and then 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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8:20 p.m.

Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey who sought to tap into anti-Donald Trump sentiments have won contests to become their states' next governors.

In Virginia's closely watched contest, Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie. In New Jersey front-running Democrat Phil Murphy topped Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (gwah-DAH'-noh) on Tuesday to succeed Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Northam rode to victory in part by tapping into voters' regret at Trump's victory in last year's national election.

Murphy had an easier pathway in New Jersey, where Guadagno contended with Trump's and Christie's unpopularity.

Democrats were eager to show they could harness anti-Trump energy into success at the polls, while Republicans hoped to prove they could put together a winning blueprint in blue-leaning states.

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8:12 p.m.

Democrat Ralph Northam has won Virginia's race for governor.

Early unofficial results show Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie on Tuesday.

Virginia's hard-fought race was closely watched as a swing-state test of President Donald Trump's popularity. Northam, a pediatric neurologist and the state's lieutenant governor, repeatedly tried to tie Gillespie to the president during months of divisive campaigning overshadowed by racial overtones and attack ads.

Northam's victory was in large part due to a surge in anti-Trump energy since the president took office. Democrats said they had record levels of enthusiasm heading into the race.

Gillespie kept Trump at a distance throughout the campaign but tried to rally the president's supporters with hard-edge ads focused on illegal immigration and preserving Confederate statues.

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8 p.m.

Polls have closed in New Jersey, where voters are picking GOP Gov. Chris Christie's successor.

Democrat Phil Murphy has led Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno in the polls and fundraising. Murphy steered the campaign toward the unpopular term-limited incumbent, linking Guadagno to Christie frequently. He also tried to rouse Democrat-leaning New Jersey's dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump and vowed to block Trump on immigration policies if elected.

Guadagno has focused on lowering property taxes, which are the country's highest, but she also tacked toward Trump's messaging when she called for banning sanctuary cities.

New Jersey and Virginia are the only two states electing governors on Tuesday. The race is being analyzed for signs on how next year's midterm elections could go, and on how voters view Trump's administration.

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

New Jersey voters were 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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6:25 p.m.

A Virginia teenager voting for the first time in her life has cast her vote for Democrat Ralph Northam for governor.

Emily Hachey, of Glen Allen, Virginia, said she liked Northam's stance on social issues, including equal rights for the LGBT community. The 18-year-old Hachey said she disagrees with the Republican Party's position on many issues.

Meanwhile, fifty-eight-year-old David Coker voted Republican all the way down the ticket when he cast his ballot in Mechanicsville, just outside of Richmond. Coker said the main reason he voted for Gillespie over Northam was because the Republican supports keeping Virginia's Confederate monuments in place. He said it would be a shame to disrupt something as "sacred" was the war memorials

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5:15 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's tell-it-like-it-is style has annoyed many residents in his state, but he has made sure to give it to at least one more voter in his final Election Day before leaving office.

The term-limited Republican got into a parking lot dispute with a resident after voting near his home in Mendham Township, New Jersey, on Tuesday. While he was speaking to reporters, the woman asked him why he didn't merge Mendham Township and Mendham Borough.

Christie shot back the easiest thing to do is "stand on the sidelines and critique." He told the woman "serving folks like" her is the "joy of public service."

Christie failed in a 2016 presidential bid and has abysmal approval ratings. He was criticized last summer for lounging on a beach that was closed to the public during a budget stalemate.

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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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12:55 p.m.

The Democratic and Republican candidates running to replace Gov. Chris Christie have cast their ballots.

Democrat Phil Murphy voted in Middletown on Tuesday and told reporters that his election against Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (gwah-DAH'-noh) is a referendum on the economy, which he says is not strong.

Guadagno told reporters after voting in Monmouth Beach that her campaigns feels "fabulous" and that the momentum picked up in the last couple of weeks. She says voters can't afford more taxes and a less safe state.

Christie says he voted for Guadagno and that the election is not about him.

Polls are open around the state until 8 p.m.

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12:25 p.m.

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

The NAACP says the calls are fraudulent and an attempt to suppress the vote. Virginia voters are choosing a 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.

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11:20 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 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, driven by a wide range of issues.

At Jahnke Road Baptist Church in suburban Richmond, 39-year-old Angelica Bega said Tuesday morning she wasn't sure whom 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 Republican 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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6:45 a.m.

Polls have opened in Virginia and New Jersey as voters 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.

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.

In Virginia, all 100 state House seats are up for election and voters in New Jersey are choosing lawmakers for all of its legislative districts.

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3 a.m.

Voters in Virginia and New Jersey are choosing new governors in contests that could be an early referendum on President Donald Trump.

Tuesday's elections pit two mild-mannered Democrats against two Republicans who have kept the president at arm's length while mimicking Trump's posture on certain social issues.

Swing-state Virginia is expected to be close, as most polls show Republican Ed Gillespie within striking distance of Democrat Ralph Northam. In New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy holds a double-digit lead over Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

Current governors in both states, Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia and Republican Chris Christie in New Jersey, are term-limited.

The outcome of the contests could also shape how candidates campaign in next year's midterm elections.

Polls open at 6 a.m. in both states.



 
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