Washington (CNN)The big-ticket race on the ballot Tuesday is in Virginia, where either Republican Ed Gillespie or Democrat Ralph Northam will be elected the next governor of the commonwealth.
The 5 counties to watch in the Virginia governor's race
Virginia has transformed from a solidly red state to a leaning blue one rapidly over the last decade. And most polling in the race gives Northam a small lead -- although everyone agrees Gillespie has been closing fast amid a series of slip-ups by Northam's side.
So where should you look to see who might be having the better night? I talked to a half-dozen smart Virginia political operatives -- Democrats and Republicans -- and asked them to pick a single county in the state that would best tell the tale of Gillespie vs. Northam.
Their picks -- and their thoughts about those picks -- are below. (And make sure to check out another look at counties that matter via CNN's Terence Burlij and Ryan Struyk.)
Charlottesville -- the site of the white supremacist violence over the summer -- sits at the center of this central Virginia county. Thanks in no small part to the University of Virginia -- and the community that has grown up around it -- Albemarle is seen as the home of the liberals' liberals in the state.
"A place that has become emblematic for all of Virginia's past sins/transgressions and yet possesses one of its most stunning achievements," said one Democratic insider. "(It's) traditionally conservative and rural yet has that progressive center."
Hillary Clinton won Albemarle by more than 14,000 votes over Donald Trump in 2016. Democrat Terry McAuliffe carried it by 6,500 votes over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the 2013 governor's race.
If liberals are fired up and ready to go -- even for a candidate like Northam, who is not progressives' first choice -- you'll see it in his margins in Albemarle.