Who is running?
Tuesday’s gubernatorial race in Virginia pits Ralph Northam, the Democratic lieutenant governor and former Army physician, against Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman and counselor to the George W. Bush administration.
The race is shaping up to be a nail-biter. The most recent polling gives Northam a slight edge, but his lead often falls within the margin of error.
“It could be anybody's game," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. Monmouth’s poll Monday had Northam ahead by 2 points, 47%-45%.
What time do the polls close?
Polls in Virginia will be open from 6 a.m. ET to 7 p.m. ET on Nov. 7. According to the Virginia Department of Elections, any voter in line before 7 p.m. will be able to cast a ballot.
What role will Trump play?
Despite Virginia’s proximity to Washington, D.C., and a few supportive tweets, the president hasn’t campaigned in the state for Gillespie. Hillary Clinton won Virginia in the 2016 presidential election by 5 points, and Democrats are hoping to tie the Republican candidate to the controversial president. Northam told USA TODAY his election “absolutely” would be a repudiation of Trump.
While Gillespie hasn’t run on Trump’s support, he has associated himself with key issues of the president’s in the hopes of appealing to the most hardline GOP base.
Gillespie has said he’ll fight to preserve the state’s Confederate monuments and has run ads saying Northam is soft on immigration and the MS-13 gang. Gillespie has also endorsed the president’s fight with the NFL over athletes who don’t stand during the national anthem.
Will Democrats be able to unite?
The Virginia governor’s race also shines a spotlight on the cracks between the traditional and progressive wings of the Democratic Party.
Northam — considered to be running a more centrist campaign — has gotten pushback from some progressives. Democracy for America, a political action committee with 1 million members, accused Northam of running a racist campaign because he said he would sign legislation banning sanctuary cities if a city were to declare itself one. Currently, Virginia doesn’t have any sanctuary cities.
Are there any other elections to watch on Tuesday?
Virginia’s election to replace term-limited Gov. Terry McAuliffe is getting most of the press as the tossup race, but there are other elections happening across the country. The other statewide campaign is the New Jersey governor's race, where Democrat Phil Murphy has a double-digit lead over the current lieutenant governor, Republican Kim Guadagno, in most polling. Democrats have tied Guadagno to Gov. Chris Christie, who is historically unpopular.
Contributing: Nicole Gaudiano