Frank Wagner

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Ralph Northam has won the Democratic nomination in Virginia's closely watched race for governor, defeating an insurgent challenger backed by U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Northam beat former congressman Tom Perriello, with most polls reporting Tuesday.

The lieutenant governor secured victory thanks in part to his longer time on the campaign trail and fundraising advantage. Northam had the support of the state Democratic Party's core constituencies, including teachers groups and African-American political and religious leaders.

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Virginia voters have begun casting their votes in the state's closely watched primary contests for governor that could be an early referendum on President Donald Trump.

Polls in Tuesday's primary races are open until 7 p.m.

The Democratic primary contest has been a hard fought battle between Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the state party establishment's favorite, and insurgent candidate Tom Perriello. Both candidates have pledged fierce opposition to Trump and his policies.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginians are set to head to the polls Tuesday to pick a Republican and Democratic candidate in the closely watched race for governor.

The Old Dominion is one of only two states electing governors this year, and the primary could illustrate how voters feel about President Donald Trump's early months and the kind of response they want from Democratic candidates.

The highest profile contest is on the Democratic side, where Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam is in a close race with former congressman Tom Perriello.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Republican state senator running for governor is planning to call a legislative hearing to investigate Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's plan to limit carbon emissions from power plants.

Sen. Frank Wagner tells The Richmond Times-Dispatch that he will convene an emergency meeting of the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules within a few weeks to question McAuliffe administration officials on the executive order. Wagner has said he will do everything in his "legislative authority" to stop the governor's power plant plan.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Democrat Ralph Northam has outspent rival Tom Perriello by more than 2 to 1 on TV advertising in Virginia's closely watched governor's race with less than four weeks before the primary.

Spokesman for both campaigns said Wednesday their media tracking showed Northam had spent $1.2 million while Perriello has spent more than $500,000.

On the Republican side, Ed Gillespie is the only candidate spending money on TV. He's spent more than $235,000, according to media tracking company Advertising Analytics LLC.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Republican state Sen. Frank Wagner says voters are flocking to his campaign in the final six weeks of the GOP primary for Virginia governor.

Wagner held a Richmond news conference Monday to tout his experience as a businessman, military veteran and long-time lawmaker, saying his record is winning over Republican voters.

Wagner repeatedly lambasted Ed Gillespie, a Washington insider early frontrunner in the GOP gubernatorial contest. Wagner accused Gillespie of trying to mislead voters with unrealistic promises to cut taxes as governor.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Democrat Tom Perriello, an insurgent candidate for Virginia governor, outraised his opponents last quarter with big help from a wealthy donors like hedge-fund billionaire George Soros and the global activist group Avaaz.
 
Campaign finance reports filed Monday show Perriello raised $2.2 million since he got in the race in January, with about half coming from four donors.
 

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - Three Republicans vying to be governor of Virginia are showing markedly different styles ahead of the June primary.

At a candidate debate Thursday at Liberty University, frontrunner Ed Gillespie largely ignored attacks from his opponents and focused his pitch on improving the state's economy.

Corey Stewart, a one-time chairman of President Donald Trump's campaign in Virginia, positioned him as a politically incorrect fighter who would curb illegal immigration.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Former President George W. Bush is set to host a fundraiser for Virginia Republican gubernatorial hopeful Ed Gillespie.

The Roanoke Times reports that the former president and wealthy businessmen will host Gillespie at a Dallas fundraiser Wednesday.

Gillespie was White House counselor under Bush, who donated $25,000 to Gillespie's political action committee last year.

Tickets for the Wednesday luncheon range from $1,000 to $25,000.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A political newcomer running for Virginia governor in a populist style similar to President Donald Trump's has suspended his campaign.

Republican Denver Riggleman announced Thursday that he had no choice but to stop campaigning because of "resource shortages" and other considerations.

A distillery owner with no previous political experience, Riggleman had struggled to raise money.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Virginia Republican hopefuls for governor have played nice during their first debate.

The candidates avoided attacking each other Saturday at an event in Charlottesville and instead stuck largely to GOP talking points.

Corey Stewart, a one-time chairman of President Donald Trump's campaign in Virginia, has blasted former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie several times in interviews and social media accounts.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam has a slight early lead in the money race in Virginia's closely watched 2017 gubernatorial contest.

New campaign finance reports filed late Tuesday show Northam raising more than $1.6 million in the last half of 2016. Ed Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman who is his party's establishment favorite for the GOP nomination, raised nearly $1.5 million.

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - Republican Ed Gillespie has launched his campaign for Virginia governor with a pledge to jump-start the state's economy, in part by cutting taxes.

The former Republican National Committee chairman is making a series of appearances around the state. His first three stops on Saturday were in Chantilly, Richmond and Virginia Beach.

Gillespie narrowly lost a U.S. Senate bid against Democrat Mark Warner in 2014.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Republican Governors Association has donated $5 million to a political-action committee to help the GOP take back the Virginia governor's mansion.

The donation is the largest in Virginia political history and suggests Republicans like their chances to win this year's race for governor. However, the RGA could take the money back if that outlook changes.

Democrats have won three of the past four governors' races in Virginia, where governors are limited to a single term.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman is dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination for governor of Virginia.

Wittman's campaign manager made the announcement Thursday afternoon.

Wittman represents the 1st Congressional District, which runs from Hampton Roads into the Fredericksburg area and Prince William County. He says he believes he can "do the most good for Virginia" by staying in Congress.

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - State Sen. Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach says he's seeking the Republican nomination for governor.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that Wagner made the announcement on Sunday.

He's one of four candidates who've announced they are seeking the nomination. He's the only state lawmaker of the group and the only candidate from Hampton Roads.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A nonprofit organization that tracks campaign funds has released data showing that state lawmakers are accepting fewer gifts than a year ago.

Data from the Virginia Public Access Project shows that 74 lawmakers reported taking a gift worth more than $50 between November 2015 and April. That number dropped by 15 percent compared to the same time frame a year ago, when 87 lawmakers reported taking gifts.