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This Virginia Democratic Primary Is A Crucial Test For The Party’s Progressive Wing

By in Huffington Post on June 13, 2017

By Daniel Marans

WASHINGTON ― Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam squares off against progressive favorite Tom Perriello on Tuesday in the state’s highly competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary, where the left flank hopes national momentum will carry it to a win.

Thanks to Virginia’s status as one of two states with gubernatorial races this year (the other is New Jersey), the primary has attracted historic levels of attention and resources from Democrats eager to land a blow against President Donald Trump.

Northam, a 57-year-old pediatric neurologist, had locked up the support of virtually every major elected official in Virginia and was poised to cruise to the nomination until Perriello, a 42-year-old former diplomat and one-term congressman, announced his run in January.

Thanks to the endorsements of Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the country’s leading progressive politicians, and firm stances on several controversial issues, Perriello has excited the state’s younger and more liberal voters, erasing virtually all of Northam’s lead in the polls.

As a result, many progressives view the race as a crucial test of whether a more liberal candidate can prevail in a state where moderate Democrats have long ruled the roost.

“This primary is really about what foot the Democratic Party in Virginia is going to lean on,” said Quentin Kidd, a Virginia politics expert at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. “It’s leaned on the right foot for a decade and a half since Mark Warner evolved this model of a Democrat who can win statewide in Virginia. If Perriello wins it means it will lean slightly to the […]    

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