Governor election loss a setback for Trump
Democrat Ralph Northam has won the bitter race for Virginia governor, dealing a political setback to Donald Trump by beating a Republican who embraced some of the president's combative tactics and issues.
Northam, the state's lieutenant governor, overcame a barrage of attack ads by Republican Ed Gillespie on divisive issues such as immigration, gang crime and Confederate statues.
Trump had endorsed Gillespie but not campaigned with him.US ambassador hopeful on Trump UK visit
The Republican president had taken a break from his Asia trip to send tweets and record messages on Tuesday supporting the former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
But after the outcome, Trump quickly distanced himself from the Virginia Republican.
"Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for," he said.Trump spotted golfing with Jack Nicklaus
"With the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!"
The Northam victory, in a state that Democrat Hillary Clinton won by five percentage points in the 2016 presidential election, also was a much-needed boost for national Democrats who were desperate to turn grassroots resistance to Trump into election victories.
Democrats had already lost four special congressional elections earlier this year.Wagner: Russia’s secret army operating in Syria
But exit polls in Virginia showed that one-third of the voters went to the polls to oppose Trump, while only 17 per cent went to support him.