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Monday December 17th, 2018 7:08AM

The Latest: Wexton wins Dem primary in key Virginia district

By The Associated Press
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The Latest on primaries in five states (all times EDT):

8:05 p.m.

Democrats have elected state Sen. Jennifer Wexton as their nominee in a northern Virginia congressional district key to the party's hopes of gaining control of the U.S. House.

The 10th District stretches from the wealthy suburbs of McLean inside the Capital Beltway west to Winchester. It is considered the most likely seat in Virginia to flip from Republican to Democratic — Hillary Clinton carried the district by 10 points in 2016, though Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock won re-election with 53 percent of the vote.

The race attracted six Democrats, including four who raised $980,000 or more. Wexton was the only elected official and the favorite after receiving the endorsement of Gov. Ralph Northam.

But several other candidates outraised or matched Wexton in fundraising. One competitor, Alison Friedman, committed $1 million of her money.

___

7 p.m.

Polls have closed in Virginia and South Carolina's primary elections.

A bellwether Virginia congressional district promises to be among the most watched races nationally Tuesday as five states hold primaries.

President Donald Trump also will be a factor, notably in two Republican primaries in South Carolina.

Trump is weighing in for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, an early supporter of the president's 2016 campaign, and against Republican Rep. Mark Sanford, an outspoken critic of the president who is facing a Trump devotee.

Elections are also scheduled in Maine, Nevada and North Dakota. Together, they raise to 21 the number of states having held their 2018 primary elections so far.

___

5 p.m.

President Donald Trump is urging South Carolina Republican voters to dump frequent critic Rep. Mark Sanford.

Trump says Sanford "has been very unhelpful to me" and is poking fun at his infamous disappearance in 2009, when he was found to have been carrying on an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina.

Trump tweets "he's better off in Argentina."

Sanford was elected during a 2013 special election to the U.S. House seat he had held previously despite the controversy which led to his divorce from his wife, Jenny.

He has called Trump untrustworthy and culturally intolerant, prompting Republican state Rep. Katie Arrington to challenge Sanford.

Trump tweeted his endorsement of Arrington along with the swipe at Sanford.

__

4:40 p.m.

A bellwether Virginia congressional district promises to be among the most watched races nationally in primary elections in nearly every region of the country Tuesday.

President Donald Trump also will be a factor, notably in two Republican primaries in South Carolina.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has the president's backing but faces challenges from four other candidates. Republican Rep. Mark Sanford faces a challenge from a state lawmaker painting the outspoken former governor as insufficiently loyal to the president.

Elections are also scheduled in Maine, Nevada and North Dakota. Together, they raise to 21 the number of states having held their 2018 primary elections so far.

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