Check out these numbers from last night
South Hampton Roads
Ralph Northam 19,145 (66.8%)
Aneesh Chopra 9,503 (33.2%)
Ralph Northam 23,582 (51.3%)
Aneesh Chopra 22,398 (48.7%)
Rest of Virginia
Ralph Northam 35,601 (51.0%)
Aneesh Chopra 34,191 (49.0%)
You can see an excellent map of the precinct results from Kenton Ngo here. A couple of things jump out at me.
Chopra underperformed everywhere, but he did better in the cocktail party circuit precincts. Running along the Potomac River from McLean and Great Falls through Arlington, Alexandria and into the Mt. Vernon area are areas with well organized Democrats who attend lots of events and fundraisers. Many people choose to live in the higher priced areas of Northern Virginia because of shorter commutes into the city and so there is a much bigger federal influence.
I've circled these precincts (approximating) in a screen shot of Kenton's map. While Chopra failed to sweep them (that itself is an underperformance), he did win a lot of precincts in this area and carried it overall.
So Chopra won the inner beltway cocktail party circuit- and he narrowly carried Prince William and Loudoun Counties. In Prince William he did better in the southern area of the county where there is a large minority population and Loudoun was mostly voters coming out for Mark Herring who didn't seem to have strong preferences for Lt. Governor.
So where did Chopra fall apart? Starting around the beltway all the way to Rt. 123 (where zoning changes the demographics) in Fairfax County. These are neighborhoods full of older white voters that dominate primaries. Ironically many of these neighborhoods have very large asian populations, but those voters are hard to turnout in general elections and are often invisible in party primaries. Chopra's campaign appears to have totally missed these voters- and these precincts Northam prevailed by a margin of several thousand votes- giving him enough margin to carry Fairfax County by almost 2,000 overall.
In fact, the older the precinct voters were, the bigger margin that Northam got. In Greenspring precinct- a retirement community with an onsite polling place- Northam won 245-73 (77%). In Skyline precinct which includes a huge retirement community at Goodwin House Northam won 181-80 (69%).
In fact, it is quite probable from these results that Northam won by a 2-1 margin over Chopra among white seniors in Fairfax County.
That margin for Northam destroyed Chopra's other efforts in Northern Virginia leaving Chopra's home region giving Northam a slightly higher percentage than he got in the rest of Virginia- even after subtracting Northam's win in his own base.
At the end of night most of Northam's 12,236 vote margin came from his 9,642 vote win in south Hampton Roads. Chopra could have easily made that up in his own home region which cast 60% more ballots than Northam's home region- but failed to do because of his performance among seniors and outside of the cocktail party circuit. In fact, even in the areas Chopra won you could safely assume that he was still losing seniors to Northam- holding down his margin of victory there.
This is a primary Aneesh Chopra lost, not one Ralph Northam won.