BREAKING: Winner Declared in Virginia Governor Race

After a bitter race, incumbent Democrat Lt. Governor Ralph Northam has defeated former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie to become the next Governor of Virginia [OR VICE VERSA].

Fox News has just called the race for Northam with 58% of precincts reporting and Northam ahead by three points. The Associated Press has called the race as well:

Polls have been incredibly tight leading up to Election Day. The race became a lightning rod for national attention and controversy, thanks in part to the Northam campaign and the Left framing it as battle between tolerance and bigotry in the weeks following the August Charlottesville riots. Gillespie has also earned liberals’ wrath by opposing the removal of Confederate statues from public settings, a position President Donald Trump has highlighted for praise.

At the end of October, leftists cranked the racial demagoguery up to eleven when the pro-Democrat Latino Victory Fund released an ad in which a pickup truck bearing a Confederate flag, and Gillespie and “Don’t Tread on Me” bumper stickers is depicted as chasing and implicitly running down terrified minority children:

“Is this what Donald Trump and Ed Gillespie mean by the American dream?” a narrator says as the children wake up.

There are also images of adults watching TV coverage of the Charlottesville rally, where white nationalists marched with torches to protest the destruction of a Confederate statue. The event turned violent and fatal when white nationalists clashed with Antifa counter-protesters.

Northam spokesman Ofirah Yheskel initially defended the ad as depicting the fears of immigrant and minorities communities, while spokesman David Turner also denied the campaign’s involvement with it. Northam himself disavowed it, but campaign finance filings indicate that it had actually been coordinated between the Northam Campaign and the Latino Victory Fund:

These efforts to paint Gillespie as some far-right racist have been particularly ironic considering that the former RNC chair was long considered to be a moderate Republican, so much so that this particular author knows several Virginia conservatives who had been planning to stay home rather than vote for him. For a while it seemed like the Left would wind up spurring disaffected conservatives to turn out for him as a repudiation of the Left’s smear tactics, but conservative turnout was still not enough to defeat liberal turnout.

Gillespie’s moderate history has also made it particularly curious to see several prominent NeverTrumpers, including failed spoiler candidate Evan McMullin and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, join the Left in characterizing him as part of Trump’s “corruption” of the Right. Kristol’s wife Susan even donated to Northam’s campaign:

Finally, Democrats’ race-baiting has been ironic in light of a scandal last month in which the Northam campaign removed a picture of Northam’s black Lt. Governor running mate, Justin Fairfax, from campaign pamphlets.

Observers are also projecting that Democrats have made major gains tonight in the Virginia legislature. Here’s a roundup of notable reactions and analysis from Twitter: