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Democrats Deliver a Huge Shock in Virginia, Exactly One Year After Trump's Win

Phil Murphy Ralph Northam AP
Phil Murphy Ralph Northam AP

One year ago, today, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. This morning, Democrats are celebrating two big wins after sweeping both the Virginia and New Jersey governor races, signaling a potential momentum shift ahead of next year's mid-term elections.

"A big night for Democrats, and really it was a repudiation of sorts of the Trump nationalist message," said AP reporter Steve Peoples.

In New Jersey, Democratic candidate Phil Murphy soundly beat Republican Lt. Governor Kim Guadangno, as expected, taking the seat from unpopular Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

But the Virginia race was expected to be very close, with polls showing a tightening race in the final days. In the end, however, Democratic candidate Ralph Northam decisively defeated Republican Ed Gillespie with 54 percent of the vote to Gillespie's 45 percent. 

The Biggest Shock

The size of Northam's win wasn't the only surprise in a state that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The big shock is that Democrats not only won the governor's race but also took more than a dozen Virginia House of Delegates seats.

And recounts could possibly give control of Virginia's House to the Democrats. That's a huge shift since Republicans held control of the House of Delegates with 66 seats to the Democrats' 34 seats.

Meanwhile, Virginia's incoming governor took a subtle shot at President Trump.

"Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we will not condone hatred and bigotry, and to the politics that have torn this country apart," Northam said in his acceptance speech. 

Referendum on Trump?

The president, meanwhile, is distancing himself from Gillespie.

Gillespie maintained some distance from Trump during the campaign, however, the race focused on many of the themes that Trump ran on, including crime and immigration. 

Virginia voters also made history by electing the first openly transgender state legislator, Danica Roem.

Now, President Trump is looking to shift the country's focus away from the Republican losses, tweeting about economic growth and promising Republican victories in the future.

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