Politics: Lots of surprises but no clear message from Virginia primary - PressFrom - US
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PoliticsLots of surprises but no clear message from Virginia primary

10:25  12 june  2019
10:25  12 june  2019 Source:   msn.com

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But the primary in Virginia underscored that the party’s new reality isn’t so clear -cut. Gillespie’s close call immediately reminded Virginians and political professionals alike of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning loss in his House race three years ago — another establishment favorite

Virginia Republicans and Democrats selected their nominees for governor and other state and local offices on Tuesday, with Ed Gillespie But no matter which way you slice it, both the Trump wing and the Trump-skeptical wing of the GOP have a base in Virginia , and the results of Tuesday’s primary

Lots of surprises but no clear message from Virginia primary© The Associated Press Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax, speaks to supporters at an election party in Springfield, Va., Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Saslaw won the race. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia's off-year elections later this year — when 140 legislative seats and partisan control of the Legislature is up for grabs — may signal what the rest of the country's mood will be in 2020. But a series of surprising primary results Tuesday offered mix messages on what voters want.

The progressive wing of the Democratic party flexed its muscles in some races and faltered in others. Conservatives unhappy with moderate Republicans who backed Medicaid expansion last year took out one target and whiffed on another.

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West Virginia is a tough loss for Clinton to be sure, especially given the fact that she easily won the state in the 2008 Democratic primary over Barack She came under fire from the state's important coal industry after she remarked last summer that "we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal

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Once a key swing state that's been tilting increasingly toward Democrats, Virginia's 2017 elections were an early warning signal that a blue wave of opposition to President Donald Trump would wash over the 2018 U.S. midterms. Only four states are having legislative elections this year and Virginia is the only one where Democrats have a chance of flipping control of the House and Senate, where Republicans currently have narrow majorities. Both parties are hoping to use this year's contests to send a message about next year's presidential and congressional races.

Normally sleepy affairs, this year's primaries had drama, as moderates in both parties took fire from their more extreme flanks.

On the Democratic side, Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw faced his first challenge in four decades and nearly lost to human rights lawyer Yasmine Taeb despite having a massive cash advantage.

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(The White House later said he was responding to a different question.) Hours later, in a CBS News interview, Mr. Trump seemed to reverse course again. According to nearly a dozen people who either attended the meeting with the president-elect or were later briefed on it, the four primary intelligence

Reporter covering Virginia from the Richmond bureau. Stewart’s strength on the Republican ballot was the biggest surprise of the evening. He had been running as more Trump than Trump, making provocative statements and campaigning on the issue of preserving Confederate monuments.

"The other guy's been in there too long," said John Laszakovits, a 60-year-old engineer from Falls Church, who said he voted for Taeb.

"I'm not gonna lie. It was closer than I thought it was going to be," Saslaw said in a brief interview at his victory party.

He attributed the close nature of the race to the momentum for candidates who promise change. "People want new," he said.

In a sign of unease with established Democratic politicians on the local level, two long-tenured northern Virginia prosecutors lost to reform-minded challengers intent on making changes to what they view as a heavy handed criminal justice system. Parisa Dehghani-Tafti defeated incumbent Commonwealth's Attorney Theo Stamos in Arlington County and Steve Descano unseated incumbent Raymond Morrogh in Fairfax County.

But every other Democratic state lawmaker, except for one, was easily able to fend off a challenger. Joe Morrissey, who was jailed four years ago after a sex scandal involving a teenager he later married, defeated incumbent Sen. Rosalyn Dance in a Richmond-area senate district. That victory was more a sign of Morrissey's enduring popularity than anything else.

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Date set for session on guns after Virginia Beach shooting Virginia's governor has set a July 9 start date for a special legislative session on gun-related legislation after last week's deadly shooting rampage in Virginia Beach.Gov. Ralph Northam announced the date Friday.The Democratic governor says the best way to respond to the May 31 mass shooting at a municipal building is with "votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers." He wants the Republican-led General Assembly to consider gun-control measures including universal background checks and a ban on silencers . Police say the gunman who fatally shot 12 people used a silencer. Northam can call the session but can't dictate how it's conducted.

But Sanders' win in West Virginia won't substantially change the Democratic primary race. Sanders' victory in West Virginia did not come as a surprise . The polls showed him with a slight edge over Sanders' message of economic populism resonated especially among blue-collar voters in the poor

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On the GOP side, lingering resentment over last year's vote to expand Medicaid in Virginia fueled divisive contests.

Republican voters in a swing district punished Del. Bob Thomas, who voted for the expansion. They opted instead for a more conservative challenger, Paul Milde, who could make it harder for Republicans to keep their majority in the House.

But Republican Sen. Emmett Hanger, one of the state's most powerful senators, easily defeated his opponent.

Hanger played a key role in the Medicaid expansion that made 400,000 low-income adults eligible to enroll. Opponent Tina Freitas said Hanger had betrayed constituents on the Medicaid issue and wasn't conservative enough on guns or abortion. Hospitals spent heavily to help Hanger.

Both parties said they are feeling optimistic about their chances in the general election. Democrats are hoping anti-Trump energy powers them to victory and they've shown an eagerness to run in seats they've traditionally ignored, including in southeast Virginia where three Democrats fought to run in a district Trump won by 14 percentage points in 2016.

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The Virginia primary race, which will be decided on Tuesday, offers a glimpse at There’s a lot to draw on from the leaders that have been there.” The Northam campaign is trying to strike a careful It may not be clear until November, however, whether the candidate who wins the primary has found a

The demographics of the West Virginia primary overall appeared to be highly favourable to Sanders, with a higher than usual proportion of independents taking part and few minority voters, who have tended to lean toward Clinton. A similar mix of voters helped Sanders claim a surprise win in Indiana

Republicans were cheering Tuesday's turnout in key districts. More people voted in the Republican primary than in the Democratic primary in an open Virginia Beach Senate district that could determine the upper chamber's balance of power.

Republicans were also counting on a wave of scandals earlier this year involving the state's top Democrats to help GOP candidates.

A racist yearbook photo that surfaced in February almost forced Gov. Ralph Northam from office. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax was then accused by two women of sexual assault, which he denied. And Attorney General Mark Herring, after calling for Northam to resign, revealed that he too wore blackface once in college.

Morrissey's victory is likely to add a significant new headache for Democrats eager to move past those scandals. Republicans wasted little time trying to exploit Morrissey's victory, tweeting a sarcastic congratulatory note and adding "You'll fit right in with Justin Fairfax."

But voter Melvin Washington said he picked Morrissey because he believes he understands the district's neighborhoods, and Washington said he is not bothered by Morrissey's past legal problems.

"People try to blow things up more than what it is," he said. "Ain't none of us perfect."

___

Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie in Richmond, Matt Barakat in Falls Church and Ben Finley in Virginia Beach contributed to this report.

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