Trump looms over Virginia gubernatorial primaries Tuesday

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Virginia voters are picking their nominees Tuesday for one of just two gubernatorial races this year, in contests where President Trump looms as a major factor.

On the Republican side, underdog Corey Stewart has made his devout support for Trump a dominant focus of his campaign.

But former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie, a more mainstream GOP candidate, has distanced himself from Trump and his policies. A third candidate, state Sen. Frank Wagner, is also running in the GOP primary.

On the Democratic side, former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam are facing off, each vying to be the face of the Trump resistance.

Though Perriello previously voted for an anti-abortion amendment, the former congressman now offers a more liberal platform against Trump and his business policies, promising to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for social programs and arguing against two proposed natural gas pipelines. Perriello has been endorsed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and bankrolled by Democratic super donors George Soros and Donald Sussman.

Northam, a more traditional candidate, opposes tax increases. He's courted reliable Democratic voters, saying he is the more pragmatic choice who can win in the general election. He’s also a Trump critic, having called him a “narcissistic maniac”.

Polling stations are open Tuesday between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. to determine who will take the place of the current Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who can’t run for a second consecutive term under the term limit law unique to Virginia. New Jersey is the only other state holding a gubernatorial contest this year.

Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, also is a proponent for preserving Confederate history and deporting all illegal immigrants upon arrest.

Gillespie, a moderate GOP insider, aims to make a modest cut to income tax. The former chairman is backed by most of the state party establishment, and has the fundraising advantage.

Wagner has criticized Gillespie as being unrealistic in his proposed tax cuts, and aims to implement a gas tax increase for transportation projects.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.