Ralph Northam Virginia
Ralph Northam won the governor's race in Virginia, despite millions of dollars of support for his GOP opponent from a Koch-linked group. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Democrat Ralph Northam beat Republican Ed Gillespie in the Virginia governor’s race. CNN called the election for Northam with around 70 percent of the vote in, 51.4 percent to 47.4 percent. The victory came despite massive outside political spending from billionaire libertarian brothers Charles and David Koch, who run the materials and chemicals conglomerate Koch Industries and operate a sophisticated network of conservative political donors.

An early exit poll among Virginia voters found that health care was by far the biggest priority, with 37 percent of voters giving it as their most important issue. Second was gun policy at 17 percent; immigration and taxes tied at 14 percent.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) has reported over $2.6 million on TV and digital ads and mailers against Northam, according to data compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project. Their mailers attempted to hammer Northam over supporting policies to raise taxes, painting his policies as hurting Virginia policies. That money did not appear to have been well spent, since Northam secured the election with surprising ease.

AFP mailer on Northam
A mailer sent out by Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity attacking Ralph Northam's positions on taxes. Washington Post

AFP is not required to disclose its donors due to its status as a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” nonprofit. However, data compiled by Conservative Transparency shows that AFP has received millions from Freedom Partners, which acts as a sort of “central bank” for the Koch political operation.

Gillespie’s campaign was also backed with $760,000 spent on pro-Gillespie ads by the National Rifle Association. Northam received significant support from the League of Conservation Voters, which contributed nearly $2.6 million to his campaign.