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Ralph Northam and Ed Gillespie shake hands prior to a debate in September: Photo: Bonnie Jo Mount / The Washington Post via AP

The N.Y. Times' Jonathan Martin, a Virginia resident and expert on Old Dominion politics, has your talking points for tomorrow's gubernatorial election:

  • "Should [Republican Ed] Gillespie win or narrowly fall short, he will have handed 2018 candidates in competitive races a playbook for Trump-era campaigns: deploy the president's politics but avoid Mr. Trump himself."
  • "What ultimately may save [Democrat Ralph] Northam ... Virginia Democrats, especially in the Washington suburbs, view this election as an exercise in cathartic revenge against Mr. Trump."

The state of play: Per the Real Clear Politics polling average, Northam by 2.

Go deeper

Mike Pence calls Kamala Harris to offer congratulations and help

Mike Pence. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty

Vice President Mike Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance in the transition, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: The belated conversation came six days before the inauguration after a contentious post-election stretch. President Trump has neither spoken with President-elect Joe Biden, nor explicitly conceded the 2020 election.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

The coronavirus variants: What you need to know

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New variants of the coronavirus circulating globally appear to increase transmission and are being closely monitored by scientists.

Driving the news: The highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 originally detected in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March if no measures are taken to control the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

2 hours ago - World

Abbas announces first Palestinian elections in 15 years

Abbas is 85 and in the 15th year of a 4-year term. Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas published a decree on Friday announcing the dates for parliamentary and presidential elections in the Palestinian Authority.

Why it matters: This is the first time in 15 years that such a decree has been published. The last presidential elections took place in 2005, with Abbas winning, and the last parliamentary elections took place in 2006, with Hamas winning.