Ralph Northam in full front-runner mode as Ed Gillespie readies for final Virginia primary campaign events

Virginia gubernatorial candidates are getting out the vote with gusto. Last week, Democratic primary frontrunner Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam made a pit stop in Virginia Beach and met with supporters at the Towne Sports…

Ralph Northam in full front-runner mode as Ed Gillespie readies for final Virginia primary campaign events

Virginia gubernatorial candidates are getting out the vote with gusto.

Last week, Democratic primary frontrunner Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam made a pit stop in Virginia Beach and met with supporters at the Towne Sports Grill to make sure that they got registered, informed about the election and to discuss the issues facing the people of Virginia. The event was live streamed on Facebook, thanks to networking company LastPass.

In contrast, Republican nominee Ed Gillespie spent the first day of final campaign sprint before the primary at his barnstorming stop in Northern Virginia on Thursday — an hour-long campaign event at the Aviation College of Virginia in Arlington.

“I think with all of this, we’re going to be off to a great start,” Gillespie told Fox News during his appearance. “Now in the general election, there will be some other folks on the ballot that have issues on their ballots, we’re going to have to have some debates, other folks. But we’ve had a great number of debates, we’ve had a great number of forums…and I’m looking forward to the general election.”

Incumbent Republican Gov. Terry McAuliffe is polling near the top of the pack, while his opponent Democrat Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, is attracting significant attention as the favorite in the Democratic Primary.

The two candidates both showed up in Fairfax on Thursday for a candidate forum hosted by conservative group, Commonwealth Review. Northam was the only one to attend the forum, while Gillespie showed up later that day in Virginia Beach.

Virginia Politics Editor Tom Barrack tells Fox News that Northam’s turnout efforts and fundraising ability have all gone a long way in establishing himself as the frontrunner.

“I think his people have to be feeling very, very strong,” he says. “With all of the focus on Ed Gillespie… you’re looking at the two candidates moving toward each other. With so much attention on (Gillespie), the attention on Ralph Northam as being the frontrunner is a sign they are confident he can win the primary and he is doing everything right.”

As a former chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Gillespie has stepped up his campaign, focusing on independent efforts to get out the vote.

Fox News Associate Producer Craig Varoga contributed to this report.

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