Nov 8, 11:19 AM EST

The Latest: Transgender candidate thanks grassroot support

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The Latest on Democratic victories in Tuesday's elections, including governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey (all times local):

9:15 a.m.

A transgender candidate who defeated an incumbent Virginia lawmaker and the sponsor of a bill that would have restricted which bathrooms she could use is thanking her grassroots supporters.

Democrat Danica Roem, a former journalist, told Washinton's WTTG-TV in an interview Wednesday morning that her supporters made it possible for her to run without relying on campaign contributions from corporations. She says she has refused to accept money from Dominion Energy, which she says has too much influence over lawmakers.

Roem is set to make history as the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a state legislature in the United States. She unseated Republican Del. Bob Marshall, one of the state's longest serving and most socially conservative lawmakers. The race was one of the year's most high profile, drawing international attention and big money to the northern Virginia House of Delegates district outside the nation's capital.

She will be the first transgender member of the House of Delegates and will become the first out transgender person to win and serve in a state legislature, according to the Victory Fund, The political action committee works to get openly LGBTQ people elected and has supported Roem.

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8:50 a.m.

Former President Barack Obama is congratulating the two Democrats who won gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey.

In a Wednesday morning tweet, Obama said: "This is what happens when the people vote."

Democrat Ralph Northam beat Republican Ed Gillespie in the race for Virginia governor. In New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy trounced Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who served under the term-limited, deeply unpopular GOP Gov. Chris Christie.

In his tweet, Obama also congratulated "all the victors in state legislative, county and mayors' races."

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8:30 a.m.

Democrats' startlingly strong showing on Election Day in Virginia has set off overnight recriminations and finger pointing by some of President Donald Trump's most ardent supporters.

Democrat Ralph Northam easily defeated Republican Ed Gillespie in the closely watched race for governor. Gillespie is a former White House aide to President George W. Bush and lobbyist who largely kept his distance from Trump throughout the campaign but embraced some of the president's messaging.

The pro-Trump website Breitbart News, which had earlier praised Gillespie as a "culture warrior" before Election Day derided him as a "Republican swamp thing" late Tuesday.

Trump's former Virginia campaign manager Corey Stewart called the loss a "humiliating rejection" of Gillespie and moderate Republicans. Gillespie narrowly defeated Stewart in the GOP primary this summer.

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8:20 a.m.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez says the key to his party's success in Tuesday's elections was fielding good candidates and thorough organizing efforts.

Democrats won governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey and performed well in races scattered around the country in this off-year election.

"Organizing matters," Perez said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." ''This was the most extensive, coordinated ground game in Virginia history, more extensive than any presidential. ... Terry McAuliffe did a spectacular job four years ago, and they did that much more."

Perez said another key was also making sure Democrats had candidates up and down the ballot. "When you organize, organize, organize, and you compete in every zip code, you win," he said.

He said voters are growing tired of current political tactics.

"The politics of division are not what we want in New Jersey and elsewhere," Perez said. Voters "want leaders they can be proud of," he said. "They care about facts, not playing the politics of division."

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8:10 a.m.

Virginia's governor-elect Democrat Ralph Northam is assuring residents that the state will be inclusive as long as he holds that position.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist and Army veteran, defeated longtime Republican operative Ed Gillespie in Tuesday's election, a bruising contest that tested the power of President Donald Trump's fiery nationalism against the energy the energy of the Trump resistance.

"I'm here to let you know the doctor is in," a smiling Northam told supporters in suburban Washington, D.C., gathered for his victory speech.

And he added, "Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we do not condone hatred and bigotry and to end the politics that have torn this country apart."

Gillespie told his supporters that he had called Northam to congratulate him. He called his former opponent in the hard-fought race "a good man," adding that he wishes him nothing but the best.

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3:30 a.m.

Democrat Ralph Northam has seized his party's first major Trump-era victory, beating back a charge from Republican Ed Gillespie in the race for Virginia governor.

The bruising election tested the power of President Donald Trump's fiery nationalism against the energy of the Trump resistance. In Virginia, like in several contests across America on Tuesday, the Trump resistance won. And it wasn't close.

Democrats also scored victories in the race for New Jersey governor. The Democratic mayors of New York and Boston also won re-election easily. And Virginia voters elected the state's first openly-transgender state representative.

The resounding victories marked the GOP's most significant day of defeat in the young Trump presidency and a rebuke to the president himself as his party eyes a suddenly more threatening 2018 midterm election season.

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