State Sens. Ralph Northam and Mark Herring will join gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on the Democratic ticket in November after winning Virginia’s Democratic primary election Tuesday.
McAuliffe, who was unopposed in the primary, will run against Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for governor. Northam, of Norfolk, will face Chesapeake pastor E.W. Jackson in the lieutenant governor’s race and Herring, from Loudon, will go up against GOP nominee Mark Obenshain.
The end of the primary marks the start of a general election that promises to be a political junkie’s dream: McAuliffe, a prolific fundraiser who for years was joined at the hip with President Bill Clinton, versus Cuccinelli, a Tea Party favorite and anything but shy about flaunting his conservative credentials.
Tuesday’s unofficial results showed Northam won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor with 55 percent of the vote, defeating his opponent Aneesh Chopra. Chopra conceded around 9 p.m.
The following tweet went out on Chopra’s Twitter account at 9 p.m.: “Congratulations to Senator @RalphNortham on his victory tonight. I'm looking forward to working together to win in November. #Unity”
“It is an honor to be the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor,” Northam said in a statement. “Now let’s win in November and return our Commonwealth to the years of Governors 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."
The Associated Press sent out a bulletin at 9:20 p.m. Tuesday announcing Herring had defeated former federal prosecutor Justin Fairfax for attorney general.
Voter turnout for the primary was extremely low.
Northam, 53, is a U.S. Army veteran who has served six years in office. He defeated an incumbent of eight years in 2007 to win the seat.
During his campaign, Northam said he would try to repeal legislation he believes attacks women's reproductive rights, and he wants Virginia to expand its Medicaid system. The pediatric neurologist from Norfolk also said he would support stricter gun control legislation, including universal background checks and banning assault weapons and high-volume clips.
Chopra, 40, is a Harvard grad and the first U.S. chief technology officer under President Barack Obama.
During his campaign, Chopra promised to work to repeal laws that curtail women's access to healthcare and so-called voter suppression laws.
Polls closed at 7 p.m.
Here are the statewide races we’re following. Check for updates throughout the night.
Lieutenant GovernorCandidate Percent of Votes Aneesh Chopra 46 Ralph Northam 55
Although Chopra lacks Northam’s veteran experience in public office, he had more financial support behind him, soundly beating Northam in the most recent fundraising period.
Attorney GeneralCandidate Percent of Votes Justin Fairfax Mark Herring
Like Northam, Herring has experience as an advantage in the race, but Fairfax’s history as a prosecutor won him looks from big players, including a Washington Post endorsement.
Virginia residents in the Commonwealth's 86th district will also vote for one of two Democratic candidates for the House of Delegates. The winner will oppose Del. Tom Rust (R-Fairfax) in November.