Democrats Start Out with Edge for Virginia Governor

First Read: “Democrats start out with the advantage in this fall’s Northam-vs.-Gillespie general election. One, turnout suggests Democrats have enthusiasm on their side: There were more than 540,000 votes in the two-person Dem race, while the three-person GOP contest had 366,000 votes. (That turnout disparity looks like New Jersey, not Virginia.) Two, Democrats today hold a unity event with Northam and Perriello, while Republicans aren’t unified. ‘There is one word you will never hear from me, and that’s ‘unity,’’ Stewart told supporters, per the Washington Post. And three, President Trump’s job approval rating in Virginia is in the 30s. Add them all up, and you’d rather be Ralph Northam than Ed Gillespie, although we still have five months to go.”

Northam Wins In Virginia

Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, “backed by almost every Democratic elected official in the state, defeated the populist campaign of former congressman Tom Perriello, who had the support of Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, in a race that resembled the national party’s struggle over its future direction,” the Washington Post reports.

In the Republican race, Ed Gillespie “was hoping to fend off a stronger-than-expected challenge from rival Corey Stewart, whose strength was perhaps the biggest surprise of the night.”

Democrats Running Neck-and-Neck In Virginia

A new Washington Post-Schar School poll in Virginia finds the Democratic race for governor very close, with Tom Perriello (D) at 40% and Ralph Northam (D) at 38%.

Key finding: “Perriello leads by 18 points among Democratic-leaning registered voters who wanted Sanders to win the party’s presidential nomination last year, while Clinton voters split 35 percent for Northam and 34 percent for Perriello.”

Perriello May Run for Virginia Governor

Former Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) is considering a bid for Virginia governor, “a move that would disrupt Democrats’ well-laid plans in perhaps the highest-profile election in the country this year,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Perriello, a State Department official who is close to President Obama, has told several Democrats that he is close to deciding whether to run in the party’s June 13 primary, according to two Democratic strategists familiar with the conversations.”