(CN) - Democrat Ralph Northam has won Virginia's hard-fought race for governor, a contest widely seen as a referendum on the first 11 months of Donald Trump's presidency.
Northam, the current Lt. Governor and a pediatric neurologist, defeated Ed Gillespie, a former chair of the Republican National Committee.
Projections suggest Northam's victory was sealed by his running neck-and-neck with his Republican opponent in GOP-leaning counties, while getting close to 80 percent of the total votes in traditional Democratic strongholds.
Edgardo Cortés, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections, said the day’s voting had gone on with little issue except for two “minor issues.”
Students at Virginia Commonwealth University in the heart of Richmond reported they had been turned away. It turns out they weren’t registered correctly and they were given provisional ballots in the interim. A board member was sent to address the issue.
A precinct in the more rural Chesterfield county had an electronic voting machine turned off so the rest of the voters at that location had to vote by paper for the rest of the night. Again, a Department of Elections board member showed up to address the issue.
“On a statewide basis, the election has gone very smoothly today,” said Cortés at a press conference before polls closed. “The reports of issues have been minor and resolved quickly. Our process worked the way it’s supposed to.”
The president never directly stumped for the GOP candidate, former Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie, but he did spend the early hours of the morning tweeting messages of support.
“The state of Virginia economy, under Democrat (sic) rule, has been terrible. If you vote Ed Gillespie tomorrow, it will come roaring back!” the President tweeted, inaccurately calling the "Commonwealth" of Virginia, a “state,” a distinction native Virginians take pride in.
He went on to say the Democratic candidate, pediatric neurologist and current Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, would be weak on crime.
Here's how the early hours of voting look around the state:
This Washington suburb is one of the most liberal in the Commonwealth and overwhelmingly went for Democrat Terry McAuliffe in 2013. But it appears the president has inspired voters who otherwise might not have come out to also make a statement.
Phillip and Victoria Ferguson, a government contractor and cyber security specialist ,respectively, said neither voted in 2013, but this year was “different.” This time, they said, it was particularly important to “keep Virginia blue.”
“Clean air, clean water, the whole package. I want global warming to be brought to attention,” Victoria said. Victoria Ferguson said.
She went on to say she believes Northam is more likely to accomplish these goals than his opponent.
Lucy Hunt, an advertising agency employee in nearby Del Ray, said she “never misses a chance to vote.”
While she said she voted for Northam’s primary opponent, former Roanoke-area congressman Tom Perriello, she was supporting Northam on Tuesday because he appears more “trustworthy.”
“We need to fix this healthcare funding mess,” she said, noting the possible premium hikes that could accompany the “destruction of Obamacare.”
“Fix healthcare,” Hunt said when asked if she has a message for the eventual winner. “Just fix healthcare.”