Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, left, shakes hands with Republican challenger Ed Gillespie after a debate at the University of Virginia-Wise. Photo: Steve Helber / AP

The only competitive gubernatorial election this year is in its final hours today in Virginia, pitting Democrat Ralph Northam, the state's Lieutenant Governor, against Republican Ed Gillespie, the former chair of the RNC. The race has inflamed tensions over immigration and crime with several negative ad hits, and has left the candidates essentially neck-and-neck in the last few days.

  • Why it matters: The implications of this gubernatorial race could help candidates from both parties decide how to handle the 'Trump question' in 2018.
  • What to know: 11 races to watch tonight
The gubernatorial race: Northam v. Gillespie

Northam leads by 3% in the RCP polling average. Turnout drops from presidential election year rates of 70% to about 40% during off-year elections in Virginia, and when some polls have used that data to model results, Gillespie wins.

Virginia has tinted blue over the last several years and it's the only southern state that went for Hillary Clinton last year. If this was purely a referendum on Trump, polls wouldn't be nearly as close, especially given Trump's approval in Virginia is just over 30%.

  • Northam communications director David Turner tells Axios he thinks that Trump's unpopularity will turn out the vote on the Democratic side, but "I don't think you can rely on just Trump."
  • The 2017 volunteering numbers for Democrats and Republicans alike have been higher than in 2013, the last time Virginia held a gubernatorial race.
  • In 2014, Gillespie was polling double digits behind Mark Warner for a Senate seat, but he came back and ultimately lost by just 0.8%.

How the ad wars are playing out:

  • Gillespie has painted Northam as responsible for MS-13 gang violence in Virginia.
  • Northam has linked Gillespie to white supremacists with mailers including Gillespie, Trump, and tiki torches evoking the Charlottesville protests. Just last week, an ad from a group opposing Gillespie seemed to paint his supporters as racists. In it, a truck with a Gillespie bumper sticker chases minority children. It was pulled from the air after the NYC vehicular terror attack last week, and Gillespie issued a response ad claiming Northam "disdains" Virginians.
  • Meanwhile Northam has been aggressively linking Gillespie to Trump, who has endorsed Gillespie.

Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that Northam "will allow crime to be rampant" and that he has been "horrible" for the economy, adding he thinks Gillespie will "totally turn around" crime and the economy. The president has endorsed Gillespie, but has not campaigned for him in Virginia.

The wild card in the race is how sanctuary cities rhetoric plays. Northam's comment that he would sign a bill banning sanctuary cities in the state last week has potentially put some votes in play given how electorally important that issue is, although there are are no "sanctuary" jurisdictions in Virginia currently.

On voting

The campaigns have already garnered a record amount of absentee ballots — 147,000 per Friday's numbers, but there's still time for Virginians to cast votes. Polls are open 6am - 7pm Tuesday (find your polling location here). Voters must bring a photo ID, but can use IDs up to one year after the expiration date (student photo IDs and employer-issued photo IDs will work), per The Washington Post.

As results stack up tonight watch the bellwether counties, which usually predict the outcome of elections in Virginia: Prince William County and Radford City are the two most reliable, but it could also be worth watching Loudon County, Harrisonburg City, Albemarle County, Henrico County, Sussex County, and Northampton County. Keep in mind, the Democratic-leaning Washington suburbs tend to report later, so if Gillespie is ahead at first, it doesn't mean the jig is up yet, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Go deeper

Rep. Rice demands Cuomo resign after third woman accuses him of misconduct

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February news conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) on Monday evening called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign, after a third woman accused him of inappropriate behavior.

Driving the news: Anna Ruch told the New York Times Monday that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a New York City wedding reception in September 2019.

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.

36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump talked out of early Ohio endorsement

Jane Timken at a 2017 Trump rally. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump had to be talked out of making an early endorsement in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race, a sign of his eagerness to reengage politically, people familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

What we're hearing: The former president discussed endorsing former state GOP chair Jane Timken last week during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, but top advisers — including Donald Trump Jr. — urged him to wait.