RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia voters will head to the polls on June 13 for primary elections. Political observers are watching the race to become Virginia next Governor since it represents one of the first statewide elections since the November election of President Donald Trump.
Since we are less than three weeks away from primary day, we asked the campaigns for all five candidates what their focus will be as we push closer to primary day.
Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and former Virginia Congressman Tom Perriello are locked in a close race, according to multiple polls, for the Democratic nomination. Northam has the backing of most big name Democrats in Virginia (Governor McAuliffe, Senators Kaine and Warner), and has sold himself as an experienced state legislator, physician, and veteran. Perriello has received endorsements from progressive stalwarts like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Lt. Governor Northam:
"I've been fighting for progressive values my entire career including defending women's reproductive healthcare, responsible gun ownership, and equality for LGBT Virginians. Voters are taking a look at that record and because of it, we've received a tremendous amount of support across the commonwealth -- in these last three weeks of the primary, our campaign will be focused on harnessing that grassroots energy and driving it towards the polls. We're organizing a broad, winning coalition of voters from across Virginia because of my consistently progressive record and vision for creating economic opportunity for everyone, no matter who they are or where they live. Those supporters have given this campaign the unparalleled resources to reach all Virginians and assemble them for victory on June 13th, and we're running hard towards the finish line to make sure that happens."
Former Congressman Perriello:
"Headed into the final three weeks, we're going to continue building on the groundswell of momentum our campaign has seen in the few short months since we launched. So far, we have traveled to over 50 counties and independent cities in every corner of the state, listening and articulating our progressive vision for a fair and inclusive Virginia that leaves no race or region behind. In our more than nineteen town halls and countless more Facebook Q and As and live events, it's been clear that Virginians are ready and energized for a bold progressive agenda like ours, that fights for economic fairness and ensures our great commonwealth is a firewall to President Trump and his hateful, divisive agenda."
Political analysts say the race for the GOP nomination appears to be more of a sure thing three weeks from primary day.
Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie has proposed across the board income tax cuts for Virginians and trimming state government. Polls show Gillespie has a comfortable lead right now.
Prince William County Board Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart has campaigned pushing back against sanctuary cities and defending Confederate monuments. State Senator Frank Wagner has pitched his government experience and promised to invest in Virginia's transportation system.
The Gillespie campaign did not send comment, but did release a campaign video this week.
In the ad, Gillespie said:
"I helped author the Contract with America and advised the President [Bush]. I also grew up in a hard-working family, watching my parents earn whatever we had. I’m Ed Gillespie. I know firsthand how the system works, and I know when it’s not working for middle class families. As governor, I’ll stand up to special interests, eliminate tax breaks for big businesses, simplify our tax code, and cut taxes for families and small businesses."
During a press conference Thursday, Senator Wagner said the following:
"I ask voters honestly, who would you call in for a job interview to hire somebody to run Virginia? I think they'll come up with the name Frank Wagner. The person with experience, the person with real business experience, and in a state with over 800,000 veterans, the only veteran."
Noel Fristsch, a spokesman for Corey Stewart, released the following.
"Corey Stewart is focused on draining the swamp, taking back Virginia and contrasting his experience in leading Prince William to the top county for jobs in Virginia with liberal lobbyist Ed Gillespie's record of supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants and increased taxes and spending."
The general election is in November.