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Northam. AP photo

Democrat Ralph Northam has defeated Republican Ed Gillespie by a 9 point margin to become Virginia's next governor. About half an hour after the race was called, President Trump tweeted that Gillespie "didn't embrace me or what I stand for."

Why it matters: The race inflamed tensions over immigration and crime with brutal negative ads, and was seen as a preview of how the "Trump question" would loom over elections in 2018. If Northam had lost there would have been panic and introspection within the Democratic Party. Now, the Dems have notched their first big win of the Trump era.

What to watch: Democrats won all 3 statewide races and are surging in the House of Delegates. The Dems could ultimately take a majority in that chamber, a completely unforeseen outcome.

Smart takes...

  • Larry Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, says tonight's results establish Virginia as a blue state: "Goodbye, purple."
  • Nate Cohn of the Upshot: "By any measure other than Trump, Gillespie did great in white, rural, western Virginia. He was annihilated in the suburbs."
  • Ryan Struyk of CNN points out that "Northam doubled Clinton margin among white college-educated women."
  • Dave Wasserman of the Cook political report on the results across Virginia: "This is a tidal wave."
Two notable VA winners
  1. Danica Roem became the first transgender person to win elected office in Virginia, beating a man who once referred to himself as Virginia's "chief homophobe."
  2. Chris Hurst was elected to the House of Delegates two years after his girlfriend Alison Parker was murdered during a live TV broadcast. Hurst said he was running to honor her legacy.
Other noteworthy results
A playbook for 2018?

Shortly after the election was called, David Turner, Northam's communication director told Axios' Shannon Vavra he hopes the win provides a playbook for "how to deal with Trump." His advice:

  • "Attach [Trump] policies to the candidate," as Northam did on clean air and water issues and education, for example.
  • Get out a strong ground game. Turner cited stats showing Northam's was "an organization that was ready to turn out and it clearly worked," Turner said.
  • Turner emphasized if Dems attack the other candidate on a personal level, that's less effective than doing so on issues.
  • For GOP hopefuls in the 2018 election cycle, "I think Republicans are going to have to think long and hard about this tax bet," Turner said. He thinks the GOP tax plan is "just like Trumpcare" and puts Republicans on a "dangerous" electoral footing.
One eye-catching quote...

"I do believe that this is a referendum on this administration" and Trump should do some "self-reflection." That's from Congressman Scott Taylor, a Virginia Republican (h/t Alex Burns, NYT)

One thing to watch...
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.

7 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.