A governor election too close to call

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A governor election too close to call

Democrat Ralph Northam, left, and Republican Ed Gillespie, right

Democrat Ralph Northam, left, and Republican Ed Gillespie, right

Larry French/Getty Images/ Steve Helber/ AP

Democrat Ralph Northam, left, and Republican Ed Gillespie, right

Larry French/Getty Images/ Steve Helber/ AP

Larry French/Getty Images/ Steve Helber/ AP

Democrat Ralph Northam, left, and Republican Ed Gillespie, right

Sarah Houle, Staff

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As November 7th approaches, voters in Virginia look towards the close gubernatorial election between Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie.

This year, Virginia is one of two states with a gubernatorial election. The other state is New Jersey where Democrat Murphy leads the polls with double digits.

The governor race in Virginia is much closer. Currently, polls published by Christopher Newport University show Northam up by only four points, and another poll done by Monmouth University has Gillespie leading by one point.

Since the Virginia race is the closer of the two governor races, it has been receiving much more national attention.

On October 19th, President Obama joined the campaign trail for Northam in Richmond, Virginia. According to NPR, President Obama turned the focus of the election to national issues. He emphasised the importance of the election, calling for Democrats to go out and vote on November 7th.

President Trump has also voiced his opinion in the Virginia gubernatorial race. According to Fox News, despite Gillespie’s reputation as an establishment Republican and his attempts to pull away from President Trump, President Trump has given Gillespie his support on Twitter.

Here is a drawing of the candidates created by Claudia Hasenfang

Historically, Virginia has been a swing state, but in recent years, it has voted Democrat in national elections. If a Republican replaced the current Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, the state would fall back into full swing state status.

Virginia becoming a swing state would help Trump in his reelection, because it would prove that Republican candidates are able to win with a controversial Republican as president. Therefore, a win for Gillespie in the Virginia gubernatorial race would be considered a win for the Trump administration.

With the race being so close, there have been a lot of attack ads posted from both candidates’ campaign offices. It is a common theme for high school students to not take the ads seriously.

“All of the ones that are negative are funny. I see more negative than positive so they are basing their campaigns on a negative portrayal of the other,” senior Anna Linehan said.

Although Linehan is not able to vote in the gubernatorial election, she has taken note of the ads and formed her opinions on the race. Senior Lexi Christie, who is also unable to vote in the election, spoke about the ads.

“It’s like a bad music video, any credibility is lost for the candidate,” Christie said about Ralph Northam’s ad that features his face shot from different angles with flashing colors.

One particular Ed Gillespie ad has upset viewers. The ad implies that Northam supports the gang MS-13.

According to The Washington Post, MS-13 is a gang that originated in Los Angeles when Salvadorans fled from violence in El Salvador. MS-13 is a violent gang that focuses on gang-on-gang violence. Gillespie claims that there are 2,000 members of MS-13 in Fairfax, Virginia, a community that is home to almost 200,000 Hispanic Americans.

Gillespie’s comments regarding MS-13 and Northam’s alleged support of the gang have left some Grafton students angry.

“I think that it is very unprofessional and misleading of [Gillespie] to use pictures and evidence that aren’t real, it is awful that he is essentially feeding off the fear of colored people,” senior Lindsey Hoffpauir said.

The opinions regarding the candidates are mixed, but Grafton’s general view of the election follows one trend; the students are either unaware that there is an election, or they do not care about it.

Given the minimum voting age of 18 and the age range of high school students, the majority of high schools students are unable to vote in the upcoming election.

Of the students that are able to vote, many have not put much thought into who they will vote for.

“I’ll probably vote how my mom is [voting],” senior Justin Briley said.

Meanwhile, others who are unable to vote hold strong opinions about one candidate over the other.

“I have seen the campaign ads and I think Ralph Northam being a doctor and helping military veterans is great,” senior Bria Hickson said.

Given how close the gubernatorial election is, it is important that everyone who can vote does so.

To find out where to vote, go to: