By Hannah Denham
Virginia Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine dispatched Republican Corey Stewart, a die-hard supporter of President Donald Trump, to win re-election to the U.S. Senate.
The victory was widely expected as Kaine enjoyed large leads in most public polls and had a huge cash advantage.
Kaine is a former governor who was first elected to the Senate in 2012. He was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016.
Stewart is a conservative provocateur best known for his outspoken support of Confederate imagery and hard-line views on immigration. He struggled to raise money and was ignored by national GOP groups.
Statewide, Kaine captured nearly 56 percent of the vote with 1,725,289 votes. Stewart had 42 percent of votes at a ballot count of 1,294,804.
Lexington’s final counts have Kaine taking 71.26 percent of the vote – or 1,510 ballots. Votes for Stewart took 26.85 percent with 569 votes.
In Buena Vista, Stewart received nearly 60 percent of the votes with 1,047 votes. Kaine had 38 percent with 666 votes.
Stewart captured Rockbridge County with 60 percent of the vote with 5,620 ballots. Kaine had 38 percent with 3,579 votes.
Virginia polls closed at 7 p.m. The Commonwealth’s election boss says anecdotal evidence suggests higher-than-normal voter turnout for the 2018 midterm elections. Department of Elections Commissioner Chris Piper said Tuesday said there have been numerous reports of longer lines and higher voter interest than the 2014 midterms.
And the number of absentee votes this year is two and a half times higher than it was in 2014. There have been about 320,000 absentee votes recorded this year, compared to about 120,000 in 2014.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.