Lieutenant Governor of Virginia

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Virginia Lieutenant Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012 FY Budget:  $323,803
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Virginia Constitution, Article V, Section 13
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Ralph Northam.jpg
Name:  Ralph Northam
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  January 11, 2014
Compensation:  $36,321
Next election:  November 7, 2017
Last election:  November 5, 2013
Other Virginia Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia is an elected constitutional officer, the second ranking officer of the executive branch and the first officer in line to succeed the Governor of Virginia. The lieutenant governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and, unlike the governor, may run for re-election.

Current officer

See also: Current Lieutenant Governors

The 40th and current lieutenant governor is Ralph Northam, a Democrat elected in 2014.[1]


The Virginia Constitution addresses the office of the lieutenant governor Article V, the Executive.

Under Article V, Section 13:

A Lieutenant Governor shall be elected at the same time and for the same term as the Governor, and his qualifications and the manner and ascertainment of his election, in all respects, shall be the same, except that there shall be no limit on the terms of the Lieutenant Governor.


In order to be eligible for the office of lieutenant governor, a candidate must be:

  • a United States citizen
  • a resident of Virginia for at least five years at the time of the election
  • a qualified elector of Virginia for at least one year preceding the election
  • at least 30 years old


Virginia state government organizational chart
See also: Gubernatorial election cycles by state
See also: Election of lieutenant governors

Virginia belongs to the handful of states that hold off-year elections, that is, elections in odd-numbered years that are neither presidential nor midterm years. In Virginia's case, elections are held in the year after a presidential and before a midterm; thus, 2017, 2021 and 2025 are all lieutenant gubernatorial election years. Legally, the inauguration is always held the second Wednesday in the January after an election.

By law, lieutenant governors are elected in separate elections from governors in both the primary and general elections. This means it is possible to have a partisan split in the executive office.

In the event of a tie between two candidates or a contested election, a joint session of the legislature shall cast ballots.

Success running for governor

An April 2013 article in Governing looked at how successful lieutenant governors in all states have been in their bids for the governorship. Their research showed that since the early 1990s they made 55 attempts for the top post, of which 17 won and 38 lost—a winning percentage of 31 percent.[2]

Virginia stood out among the states, where incumbent lieutenant governors won four of the nine races for governor since 1977. State term limits allow governors only one term in office and provide lieutenant governors with an advantage. University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato explained the situation, stating, "It's a part-time, poorly paid post whose occupants mainly spend their time running for governor." And due to Virginia's system, he added, "being seen as in the wings is a big plus."[2]

Full history


Details of vacancies are addressed under Article V, Section 7.

A vacancy in the lieutenant governor's office is filled by the governor.



The lieutenant governor serves as the president of the Virginia State Senate and is first in the line of succession to the governor; in the event the governor dies, resigns or otherwise leaves office, the lieutenant governor becomes governor.

He serves as the President of the Senate but only has a vote in cases of a tie. (§ 14)

The Code of Virginia provides that the lieutenant governor is automatically a member of these state boards, commissions and councils:

  • The Board of Trustees of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation
  • The Board of Trustees of the Center for Rural Virginia
  • The Board of Directors of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership
  • The Board of Directors of the Virginia Tourism Authority
  • The Virginia Military Advisory Council
  • The Commonwealth Preparedness Council
  • The Council on Virginia’s Future[3]


Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for information that describes the divisions (if any exist) of a state executive office. That information for the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia has not yet been added. After extensive research we were unable to identify any relevant information on state official websites. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

State budget

See also: Virginia state budget and finances

The budget for the Virginia Lieutenant Governor's Office in Fiscal Year 2012 was $323,803.[4]


See also: Comparison of lieutenant gubernatorial salaries and Compensation of state executive officers

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: VA Code § 2.2-201 (2014)

The lieutenant governor is entitled to receive a fixed annual salary in accordance with Title 2, Chapter 2 of the Virginia Code (§ 2.2-201).[5] The amount is set by law, pursuant to Article V, Section 14 of the Virginia Constitution:

The Lieutenant Governor... shall receive for his services a compensation to be prescribed by law, which shall not be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected.


In 2014, the lieutenant governor received a salary of $36,321, according to the Council of State Governments.[6]


In 2013, the lieutenant governor was paid an estimated $36,321. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.[7]


As of 2010, the lieutenant governor was paid $36,321 a year, the 40th highest lieutenant gubernatorial salary in America.

Historical officeholders

There have been 39 lieutenant governors of Virginia since 1852. Of the 39 officeholders, 27 were Democrats, five were Republicans, three were Unionists, two were Conservatives, one was a Readjuster Republican coalition and one was an Independent.[8][9]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Virginia Lieutenant Governor."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia - Google News Feed

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Contact information

Physical Address:
102 Governor Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1195
Richmond, VA 23218


See also

External links

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