Historic Triangle remains right-leaning region in statewide races


Despite losing the state’s gubernatorial seat Tuesday to Democrat Ralph Northam, Ed Gillespie found he has friends in the Historic Triangle.

Statewide, Northam defeated Gillespie; Democrat Justin Fairfax beat Republican Jill Vogel for lieutenant governor, and Democrat Mark Herring won a second term for attorney general over Republican John Adams, according to unofficial results from the state Department of Elections.

Republicans running for statewide office fared much better with local voters on Tuesday.

About 90 percent of registered voters in the Historic Triangle live in the GOP strongholds of James City and York counties, while the remaining 10 percent live in left-leaning Williamsburg.

Those localities have seldom crossed party lines on Election Day in the past two decades, save for when James City notably voted for Democrat Tim Kaine during his gubernatorial race in 2005 against Jerry Kilgore.

Here is how the Historic Triangle voted Tuesday:

Race for governor

Gillespie tallied 51 percent (30,110 votes) locally compared to Northam’s 49 percent (29,340 votes), according to unofficial results with all precincts reporting in Williamsburg, James City and York.

York County votes again placed a strong showing for the GOP, casting 12,698 votes for Gillespie, compared to Northam’s 10,065, according to unofficial results.

Despite favoring Gillespie on Tuesday (15,923-15,552 votes), James City County voters did show a soft spot for Northam in 2013 when they voted for him for lieutenant governor over Earl Jackson.

Northam’s victory keeps the governor’s seat in Democratic hands. In 2013, Terry McAuliffe beat Republican Ken Cuccinelli, needing just 1,069,789 votes to win the seat. Northam was projected to get closer to 1.3 million votes Tuesday, according to unofficial results.

While several local precincts reported a healthy turnout Tuesday, final tallies will likely be shy of the 72 percent of registered voters who cast ballots during last year’s presidential race.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe won with 43 percent turnout four years ago, while Bob McDonnell took the seat in 2009 with 40 percent.

Lieutenant governor

Northam will hand the lieutenant governor’s seat to Fairfax, who will keep the seat in Democratic hands for the next four years.

Local voters sided with his Republican opponent, Vogel, 53-47 percent, according to unofficial results. Vogel had strong showings in York and James City counties, where she tallied 26,583 votes compared to Fairfax’s 19,305.

Attorney general

Herring will hold a second term as attorney general, fending off Republican challenger Adams.

Election night was smoother for Herring on Tuesday compared to 2013, when he beat Mark Obenshain by just 165 votes to become the first Democrat elected to the post since Mary Terry won back-to-back terms in 1985 and ’89.

Statewide, Herring won the attorney general post by close to 140,000 votes, according to unofficial results.

Again, the Historic Triangle voted for the Republican candidate, favoring Adams 53-47 percent (31,416-28,329 votes), according to unofficial results.

Brauchle can be reached by phone at 757-846-4361.

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