Ralph Northam, Mark Herring win Democratic nominations

va-democratsState Sens. Ralph Northam and Mark Herring will complete the Democratic Party ticket for the 2013 state elections.

Northam, D-Norfolk, defeated Aneesh Chopra for the lieutenant governor nomination, with 54.3 percent of the more than 140,000 votes cast. Herring, D-Leesburg, won a tighter battle with former federal prosecutor Justin Fairfax for the attorney general nomination, with 51.6 percent of the votes going to Herring.

Voter turnout was low statewide, less than 4 percent for the primary without a governor’s race at the top of the ticket.

Even with the low turnout, there was significantly more participation in the Democratic primary than there was in last month’s Republican convention that nominated E.W. Jackson for lieutenant governor and State Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, for attorney general. Around 8,500 Republicans took part in the state GOP convention in May.

“Virginians are lucky to have Terry McAuliffe, Senator Ralph Northam, and Senator Mark Herring to elect this November,” said DPVA Chair Delegate Charniele Herring in a statement. “Their focus on expanding jobs and the economy, fixing Virginia’s transportation crisis, and increased access to affordable education couldn’t be more opposite of the extreme ideological agenda and rhetoric of the Cuccinelli, Jackson, Obenshain ticket.

Northam is a VMI graduate, a doctor and a U.S. military veteran of Desert Storm. A pediatric neurologist and founding partner at Children’s Specialty Group at the Children’s Hospital of King’s Daughters, Northam authored bills in the State Senate banning smoking in restaurants and creating safety guidelines for students who suffer concussions.

“It is an honor to be the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor.  Now let’s win in November and return our Commonwealth to the years of Govs. Warner and Kaine that focused on the issues that matter most to Virginians.  We must roll back the damage that has been done in the last two years and stop the assault on women’s reproductive health care,” Northam said in a statement.

Jackson, a favorite of the Tea Party wing of the GOP, said Northam’s primary victory is “just another part of the most liberal ticket in Virginia history.”

“While Northam wants to campaign on divisive social issues and a commitment to violate our Second Amendment rights, I look forward to continuing the conversation with Virginians about better education through parental choice, strengthening our economy through jobs and economic liberty, creating a fair playing field for all businesses in Virginia by ending corporate welfare, and seeking real solutions to reduce costs and improve healthcare by standing against Obamacare,” Jackson said in a statement.

There were two major upsets in a pair of primaries involving House GOP veterans Joe May and Beverly Sherwood. May was defeated by Dave LaRock in his nomination battle, and Sherwood fell short in her race to Mark Berg. Both LaRock and Berg were backed by Tea Party groups who criticized May and Sherwood for their votes in favor of the billion-dollar transportation funding package authored by Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell earlier this year.


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