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Northam, Gillespie make last push in Southwest Virginia

The gubernatorial candidates attended rallies throughout the area.

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SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA – On Tuesday, Virginians head to the polls to pick their next governor. 

The race for governor has been making headlines from the beginning as a test of President Donald Trump's influence in the only Southern state he lost in the 2016 elections.

From the beginning, Northam and Gillespie have been divided on the economy, Confederate monuments and natural gas pipelines.

The candidates are pulling out all the stops as they hit the home stretch. Both Democratic candidate and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and former Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie made the rounds through southwest Virginia Monday.

"The momentum is clearly our way. I believe we're going to peak on Election Day which is what you want to do, and that we're going to win this race tomorrow," said Gillespie.

A new poll from Christopher Newport University shows Northam in the lead in the race for governor. Northam leads Gillespie 51 percent to 45 percent. 

"Our message is resonating. We're going to expect a big turnout tomorrow and we expect victory tomorrow," said Northam.

Both Northam and Gillespie focused some of Monday's message on one of the hottest topics in the campaign -- the future of healthcare in Virginia. Gillespie has spoken out against the Affordable Care Act and believes adding more competition to the market is the best way to drive costs down. 

"We need to incentivize more competition. In my plan, I called for allowing more competition across state lines and across states, having their insurers be able to compete in Virginia and our insurers be able to compete in their states," said Gillespie. 

Northam showed support for parts of the Affordable Care Act and said Republicans' plans to repeal and replace put the health of Virginians and Americans at risk. 

"As a doctor, I want to let you know that there are good things about the Affordable Care Act. No more pre-existing conditions, being able to keep our children on our policy until they're 26, emphasis on access to mental health care," said Northam. 

It's a race being watched closely in the commonwealth, country and across the world -- a race that could give us a glimpse of the political climate ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

According to the Christopher Newport University poll, Democrat Justin Fairfax is leading Republican Jill Vogel in the lieutenant governor's race, and incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, leads Republican challenger John Adams.