- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ed Gillespie leads the GOP gubernatorial primary race in Virginia, but is trailing in hypothetical general election contests against the contenders for the Democratic nomination, according to a new poll, which also showed that most voters are still making up their minds.

A Qunnipiac University survey released Thursday shows Mr. Gillespie capturing 24 percent of GOP and GOP-leaning voters, compared to 7 percent for Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County board of supervisors, 5 percent for state Sen. Frank Wagner and 2 percent for businessman Denver Riggleman.

On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former Rep. Tom Perriello are locked in a tight battle, with each of them receiving the support of 19 percent of Democrat of Democrat-leaning voters.

Roughly 60 percent of those surveyed said they are undecided.

Mr. Northam, meanwhile, holds a 41 to 35 percent lead over Mr. Gillespie in a potential head to head general election race, while Mr. Perriello holds a 43 to 36 percent lead.

“Although none of the candidates — Democrat or Republican — is very well known to the Virginia electorate, the Old Dominion obviously has a blue tinge at this point,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “The fact that relatively unknown Democrats are scoring better than relatively unknown Republicans indicates that for now at least this Democratic brand is more attractive to Virginia voters.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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