Gillespie, Northam and Hyra Make Last Pitches Before Election Day

Nov 6, 2017

Republican Ed Gillespie (left), Libertarian Cliff Hyra (center) and Democrat Ralph Northam (right) are vying to be Virginia's next governor.
Credit AP Photo / Steve Helber, File

The candidates vying to be Virginia's next governor campaigned across the state today with hopes of making one last appeal to voters before polls open tomorrow morning. 

When Virginians head to the polls tomorrow, they will elect a new governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. All 100 seats in the House of Delegates will also be up for grabs. 

In a massive get out the vote effort, Democrats knocked on more than half a million doors this weekend. Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam told volunteers in Richmond Monday that Democrats nationwide are watching.

“You all watched the campaign in 16 that was just based on so much hatred and bigotry and discrimination and fear and now what we’re seeing coming out of Washington with the detrimental policies and I could go on and on about that. But you know it’s incumbent on all of us to stand up and say ‘No, no. This is not the country that I love. It’s not the Commonwealth of Virginia that I love. And we’re not going to accept what we’re seeing.’”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam at a canvas kickoff event in Sterling over the weekend.
Credit AP Photo / Steve Helber

In the final days, Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, the Democrat, has focused his energy on Northern Virginia, Richmond and the Norfolk region -- places he’ll have to turn out in big numbers to win what’s expected to be a tight race.

Republican Ed Gillespie says he’s finishing his race for governor strong, and that he’s the one heading into Election Day with the big momentum.

“Well we’re barnstorming the Commonwealth, my running mates and me and Kathy. What we see here right now and all across the Commonwealth is incredible enthusiasm. The momentum is clearly our way.”

In the last few hours of the election, Gillespie is campaigning Abingdon, Chesapeake, Roanoke and Fairfax. Northam has a slight edge in the polls, but Republicans believe they’re making significant gains on the Democrats.

“I believe that we are going to peak on Election Day, which is what you want to do, and that we’re going to win this race.”

Republican Ed Gillespie addresses a crowd at a get-out-the-vote rally in Williamsburg over the weekend.
Credit AP Photo / Steve Helber

If he sounds a bit like a consultant there, that’s because he spent most of his career helping other people get elected. Now Gillespie is the headliner on the ticket hoping to return a Republican to the Executive Mansion for the first time since Bob McDonnell’s term ended in 2014.

With polls showing such a tight race, Libertarian Cliff Hyra says he's not afraid to possibly play spoiler.

"Overwhelmingly I'm drawing from Independents and people who might not be voting otherwise. But I think both candidates are not good candidates, I don't think they have the right plan for the future of Virginia. So I'm not concerned if it does affect the election one way or the other."

Hyra has been polling at about 2%. He says success Tuesday would be mean better setting up his party for the future.

"So I'll be happy with whatever percentage I get. Of course it would be wonderful to hit 10% which would give the Libertarian party major party status and allow us to contest many more races and play the same role because we wouldn't have to spend so much time and money gathering petition signatures to get on the ballot." 

Polls open tomorrow morning at 6 and will remain open until 7 PM. You can find more details on where to vote and what materials are needed to cast your ballot here.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.