The next Virginia gubernatorial election is on November 7, 2017. Primaries are on June 13, 2017. The incumbent is Democrat Terry McAuliffe who is not eligible to run for re-election due to term limits. Virginia is the only state that prohibits a governor from serving consecutive terms.
Three Republican candidates are running: political consultants Ed Gillespie and Corey Stewart, and state Senator Frank Wagner.
In Virginia the office of governor has tended to flip back and forth on a regular basis over the past five decades; no single party has controlled the seat for longer than 12 years since 1969.
A few polls with small sample sizes show Gillespie out in front for the GOP nomination, and Northam and Perriello close on the Democratic side.
Not surprisingly everyone that counts rates the general election as a toss-up. There was a poll in December by Quinnipiac University that found Northam slightly ahead of Gillespie, 38 percent to 34 percent.
Governing magazine notes that because “Virginia holds its gubernatorial election in an off-year, and the race often reflects the national mood…it’s too soon to know which party will be better positioned in 2017.
In other words, we’ll just have to wait and see how unpopular Trump is in six months.
Here are a couple of recent TV ads, one from Republican Gillespie and one from Democrat Perriello. It’s notable that neither want to say anything about Trump at this stage, clearly waiting to see how things go.