CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va -- Now that registrars have finished their canvasses and returned their vote tallies to the Virginia Department of Elections, Governor-elect Ralph Northam became the first Democrat to carry traditionally Republican Chesterfield County in a gubernatorial race since 1961. That year, Albertis Harrison Jr. beat H Clyde Pearson by more than 2,700 votes.
Northam received 58,647 votes in Chesterfield compared to Republican Ed Gillespie's 58,182 votes, according to vote totals posted online by the Chesterfield County registrars office.
Typically a Republican stronghold, the rest of the ballot in Chesterfield showed mixed results. Republicans Jill Vogel and John Adams won Chesterfield in the other two statewide races.
Political experts have said demographics, the influence of President Trump on the race, and the candidates themselves all likely played a part in Northam carrying the county.
For Chesterfield voter Tonya Anderson-Mason, Northam's win the in county was a welcome surprise. Anderson-Mason said Chesterfield's population is evolving and its politics with it.
"Chesterfield has been a historically conservative county, and change is good," she said.
Kevin Newman has lived in Chesterfield for twenty years. Although his politics lean libertarian, Newman said he reluctantly voted for Gillespie because he was the best choice of the options on the ballot.
"I sort of held my nose and voted for Gillespie," he said. "They're totally wishy-washy, and you really can't tell the difference between them and the Democrats anymore."
Whether Northam's win in Chesterfield is just a data point or major shift in the county's politics is at this point unclear. Republican voter Linda Pace said she feels politicians of all stripes work more for their party than the voters who elected them.
"We're out here going, 'Hello, how bought us? Remember us?'" she said.
The Department of Elections is expected to officially certify the results of statewide and local races during the week of Nov. 20.