With 98 percent reporting, Northam won with just over 53 percent of the vote and a margin of eight points. In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton carried the commonwealth with almost a five-point margin of victory.
And while President Trump endorsed Gillespie in the last remaining weeks of the campaign, the Republican candidate was coy about expressing his support for the president. However, for Northam and the Democrats, Trump's endorsement was all they needed to paint Gillespie, a Washington insider and moderate Republican, as a white supremacist. It didn't help that Gillespie endorsed keeping the statues of Confederate generals and soldiers in Virginia.
Before the Northam campaign was called out on it, they embraced an ad by the Latino Victory Fund depicting young Latino children running for their lives from an angry white man driving a pickup truck decked out with a Confederate flag, a Tea Party "Don't Tread on Me" license plate, and an Ed Gillespie for Governor bumper sticker. It's the type of advertising that gives Virginians post-traumatic stress disorder following the deadly clashes in Charlottesville in August.
Although Northam said that his campaign had nothing to do with the ad, his victory gives Democratic outside groups that are keen on winning the green light to create more advertisements like it.
If anything, the Virginia governor's race is an example for how future elections will be run by Democrats. The days of "when they go low, we go high" are dead. Election Day 2017 represents the nail in the coffin.