- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Polls closed in Virginia Tuesday night with a governor’s race too close to call, and President Trump’s early electoral legacy on the line.

Despite national party officials insisting the race wasn’t about Mr. Trump, many voters said it was.

Half of voters said in exit polling that they voted in order to send a message about the president, and by about 2-to-1 they were sending an anti-Trump message.

“The United States is looking at the Virginia race today and that we want to have somebody moved into the governorship and carry on the things that Democrats stand for,” said Lenore Plissner , 82, who showed up to work the polls in Woodbridge and said Mr. Trump “tremendously” affected her political outlook, leaving her distraught over the direction of politics.

While Ed Gillespie tried to keep Mr. Trump at arm’s length throughout the campaign, voters didn’t hesitate to make the connection.

“Ralph Northam is a great solid guy. He’s not Bernie. He doesn’t shout. He’s not flamboyant. But he’s a wonderful man who has dedicated himself to peoples’ health on and off the battlefield,” said Carol Douglis(CQ), voting in Alexandria. “Against him, we have an avid Trump supporter who spent his life gaining from corporate lobbying, who is in bed with the NRA. Who seems to love guns and hate women. Who doesn’t believe in planned parenthood or birth control, women’s rights.”

Republicans in Virginia said Mr. Gillespie made a decision to keep distance from Mr. Trump, fearing he would be a drag.

But the GOP candidate did get last-minute assistance from the president Tuesday with robo-calls to voters urging them to back the Republican ticket.

Mr. Trump said Mr. Northam would be a “total disaster” for Virginia, the Associated Press reported.

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