New Jersey winner: Victory sends a message to Trump

FILE- In this May 11, 2017, file photo, Phil Murphy participates in a Democratic gubernatorial primary debate in Newark, N.J. New Jersey. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The Latest on the races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey (all times local):

10:35 p.m.

New Jersey’s next governor, Democrat Phil Murphy, says his party’s victory sends a message to President Donald Trump that the county is “better” than his politics of division.

Murphy spoke Tuesday from Convention Hall in Asbury Park, New Jersey, after he trounced Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

Murphy invoked the Republican president by name during his roughly 15-minute victory speech, delivered in the same spot as GOP Gov. Chris Christie in 2013 after he won big over his Democratic rival.

Murphy looked headed to a double-digit win Tuesday evening.

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10:20 p.m.

Democrat Ralph Northam, a physician by trade and winner of Virginia’s acrimonious governor’s race, says he will seek to be a healer of divisions and political rancor when he takes office.

Northam said in his victory speech that the eyes of the nation were on Virginia on Election Tuesday.

“Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we do not condone hatred and bigotry,” he added. “In Virginia, it is going to take a doctor to heal our differences. I’m here to let you know the doctor is in.  And this doctor will be on call the next four years.”

Northam also praised the state’s growing diversity and said he would work to make the state more inclusive. “Our lights will be on, our doors will be open,” he said.

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9:20 p.m.

Defeated Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie says he wishes his Democratic opponent success in the governor’s mansion.

Ralph Northam soundly beat the Republican Gillespie in a bitter race Tuesday that had been expected to be close.

In his concession speech, Gillespie wiped tears from his eyes. He said he had called Northam to offer his support in any way he could.

Gillespie hoped to win by rallying President Donald Trump’s supporters with hard-edge ads focused on illegal immigration and preserving Confederate statues.

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9:10 p.m.

A former Virginia news anchor whose journalist girlfriend was fatally shot during a live broadcast in 2015 has defeated a Republican incumbent for a seat in the statehouse.

Chris Hurst was living with fellow journalist Alison Parker when she and a cameraman were killed by a former co-worker while reporting for WDBJ-TV.

After the shooting, Hurst became the public face of the grieving Roanoke station. That brought him national attention and a large social media following. The Pennsylvania native quit his TV job and moved to Blacksburg to run for a House seat.

He beat Joseph Yost Tuesday.

Hurst’s campaign was backed by gun-control groups, but that wasn’t his main campaign issue. Instead, he focused on education, health care and the environment.

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9 p.m.

President Donald Trump is distancing himself from defeated Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie.

Trump is addressing the disappointing result in a race seen as an early referendum on his political clout. He writes on Twitter that Gillespie “worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for.” Gillespie largely tried to maintain his distance from Trump on the campaign trail.

Trump recorded robocalls to help boost Gillespie’s candidacy on Election Day. In one call, Trump said Gillespie shared his views on immigration and crime and would help “Make America Great Again.”

On what is shaping up to be a difficult night for Republicans, Trump is touting GOP victories earlier this year, writing, “With the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!”

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8:50 p.m.

A set of whoops and cheers went up at George Mason University in northern Virginia when media began calling Virginia’s governor’s race for Democrat Ralph Northam.

The call came so early that only a few hundred people had made it to the ballroom where Democrats had gathered to celebrate. Hundreds more were still waiting in line ouside the ballroom waiting to get through metal detectors.

In a Richmond, Virginia, a banquet room where Ed Gillespie was expected to speak, the room was less than half full when the outcome of the hard-fought race became apparent Tuesday evening.

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8:15 p.m.

A transgender woman has unseated one of Virginia’s most socially conservative lawmakers to become the first openly transgender member of the House of Delegates.

Democrat Danica Roem beat Republican incumbent Bob Marshall in Tuesday’s election in the northern Virginia district near the nation’s capital.

Marshall has served in the House since 1992 and has been a lightning rod for controversy. He has often drawn the ire of even his own party.

Roem is a former journalist. She will make history as the first openly transgender person elected and then seated in a state legislature. But her gender identity wasn’t a key part of her campaign. Instead, she focused on jobs, schools and northern Virginia’s traffic congestion.

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8:20 p.m.

Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey who sought to tap into anti-Donald Trump sentiments have won contests to become their states’ next governors.

In Virginia’s closely watched contest, Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie. In New Jersey front-running Democrat Phil Murphy topped Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno on Tuesday to succeed Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Northam rode to victory in part by tapping into voters’ regret at Trump’s victory in last year’s national election.

Murphy had an easier pathway in New Jersey, where Guadagno contended with Trump’s and Christie’s unpopularity.

Democrats were eager to show they could harness anti-Trump energy into success at the polls, while Republicans hoped to prove they could put together a winning blueprint in blue-leaning states.

Ralph Northam, Pam Northam
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, and his wife, Pam, right, vote in Norfolk, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Northam faces Republican Ed Gillespie in today’s election. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

8:12 p.m.

Democrat Ralph Northam has won Virginia’s race for governor.

Early unofficial results show Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie on Tuesday.

Virginia’s hard-fought race was closely watched as a swing-state test of President Donald Trump’s popularity. Northam, a pediatric neurologist and the state’s lieutenant governor, repeatedly tried to tie Gillespie to the president during months of divisive campaigning overshadowed by racial overtones and attack ads.

Northam’s victory was in large part due to a surge in anti-Trump energy since the president took office. Democrats said they had record levels of enthusiasm heading into the race.

Gillespie kept Trump at a distance throughout the campaign but tried to rally the president’s supporters with hard-edge ads focused on illegal immigration and preserving Confederate statues.

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8 p.m.

Polls have closed in New Jersey, where voters are picking GOP Gov. Chris Christie’s successor.

Democrat Phil Murphy has led Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno in the polls and fundraising. Murphy steered the campaign toward the unpopular term-limited incumbent, linking Guadagno to Christie frequently. He also tried to rouse Democrat-leaning New Jersey’s dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump and vowed to block Trump on immigration policies if elected.

Guadagno has focused on lowering property taxes, which are the country’s highest, but she also tacked toward Trump’s messaging when she called for banning sanctuary cities.

New Jersey and Virginia are the only two states electing governors on Tuesday. The race is being analyzed for signs on how next year’s midterm elections could go, and on how voters view Trump’s administration.

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7 p.m.

Polls have closed in Virginia’s hard-fought governor’s race. But in New Jersey the polls remain open until 8 p.m. as voters in both states choose new governors.

Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam have been locked in a heated race in Virginia to succeed Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who cannot seek a second term. The contest is viewed by many as a referendum on President Donald Trump and a possible preview of the 2018 midterm elections.

Virginians also cast votes for state attorney general and lieutenant governor, as well as in all 100 state house seats.

New Jersey voters were choosing a replacement for Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who cannot seek a third term. Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (gwah-DAH’-noh) and Democratic former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy are the leading candidates.

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