A Republican congressman from Virginia said that former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie's (R) loss to Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) is a "referendum on this [Trump] administration."
Scott Taylor, who represents Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore counties of Accomack and Northampton, said Trump's "divisive rhetoric" helped energize Democrats to get out to vote, according to reports from The Hill and the New York Times.
Taylor, a retired Navy SEAL, said he watched in surprise as several "no-name" Democrats beat incumbent more established Republicans in state assembly races as Northam surged to an eight-point victory.
"I do believe that this is a referendum on this administration," Taylor said. "Democrats turned out tonight, but I'm pretty sure there were some Republicans who spoke loudly and clearly as well."
"Some of the very divisive rhetoric helped... usher-in a really high Democratic turnout in Virginia," Taylor said.
Taylor added that Trump was incorrect when he tweeted that Gillespie's loss stemmed from the fact he never fully embraced the president.
Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don’t forget, Republicans won 4 out of 4 House seats, and with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2017
"With all due respect to him, I think he's profoundly wrong in his tweet," he said. "[I] watched people lose tonight against opponents who are completely no-name."
About a dozen state assembly seats flipped Democratic, including a seat long held by Del. Robert Marshall (R-Gainesville).
In that district, former journalist Danica Roem became the first transgender legislator in Virginia.
Roem ran on a platform that included job creation and alleviating chronic congestion on busy State Route 28, which links Culpeper and Manassas with Dulles International Airport and I-66.