In Virginia, a Democratic Party Proxy War

As the Democratic Party works to remake itself amid the tenure of President Donald Trump, a timely test case has materialized in the race for Virginia governor.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the originally presumed party favorite to succeed Gov. Terry McAuliffe next year, is no longer the lock for the nomination due to the blossoming candidacy of Tom Perriello, a former one-term congressman who’s embraced the idea that the primary battle is a proxy war over what the future of the Democratic Party should look like.

The Northam-Perriello contest – which will be decided in a June 13 election in one of the country’s most prominent political battlegrounds – will provide the first inkling of the party’s mood moving forward.

Democrats across the spectrum agree the race will be viewed as a national weather vane. But the exact undercurrents at play are in dispute.

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