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Aneesh Chopra

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Aneesh Chopra
Aneesh Chopra.jpg
Former candidate for
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
Bachelor'sJohns Hopkins University
Master'sHarvard's Kennedy School of Government
Personal website
Campaign website
Aneesh Chopra campaign logo
Aneesh Chopra was a Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in the 2013 elections.[1] He was defeated by state Sen. Ralph Northam in the Democratic primary election on June 11, 2013.[2]


Chopra received a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and a Master's of Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School. He served as the first ever U.S. Chief Technology Officer under President Obama from 2009-2011, as the fourth Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2006-2009 and as Managing Director with the Advisory Board Company, a healthcare think tank.[3]


  • Bachelor's of Arts - Johns Hopkins University
  • Master's of Public Policy - Harvard's Kennedy School of Government



See also: Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2013

Chopra ran for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. He sought the Democratic nomination[1][4] in the Democratic primary election on June 11, 2013. He was defeated in the primary by state Sen. Ralph Northam.

The general election will be held November 5, 2013.

Race background

Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling (R) did not seek re-election in 2013. Nine candidates filed to fill the imminently-open executive seat, including two Democrats and seven Republicans. State Sen. Ralph Northam defeated Aneesh Chopra for the Democratic Party's nomination for lieutenant governor in the June 11 primary election.[5] Northam's general election opponent was Republican E.W. Jackson. Jackson was nominated by delegates of the Virginia Republican Party at the party-funded statewide primary convention on May 17-18.[6] Northam and Jackson faced off in the Nov. 5, 2013 general election, and Northam won by a margin of over 10 percentage points.[7]

When Virginia voters elected Democrat L. Douglas Wilder, the grandson of slaves, as its 66th Governor in 1989, it was the first time an African-American was elected to the office in the nation's history.[8] Given the state's heritage of trailblazing, it is notable that until Jackson's convention victory, Virginia Republicans had not nominated an African-American for any statewide office since backing Maurice Dawkins' a quarter of a century ago.[9]

A minister at a non-denominational church and relatively new member of the Republican Party, Jackson edged out six primary opponents by emphasizing his commitment to hallmark conservative issues such as smaller government, gun rights and traditional family values. He appealed to the delegation with the promise, "We will not only win an election in November, we will open the hearts and minds of our people and save this commonwealth and save this country."[10]

Regardless of his post-convention promise, Jackson was an unwelcome choice for the state's Republican establishment from the start, thanks to his refusal to divert from, or soften the rhetoric of, his "liberty agenda." The agenda contained the issues mentioned above, none of which were earth-shattering stances for a conservative; Jackson was anti-Obamacare, pro-Second Amendment and anti-federal overreach. His approach to delivering these messages, however, rose more concerns - as well as eyebrows - from the party than was originally anticipated. In August, Jackson referred to the Democratic Party as the "anti-God party" because of its supportive position on same-sex marriage and abortion, cementing his reputation for being impermeable to warnings about how his often inflammatory rhetoric might alienate swing voters or more moderate Republican voters heading into the general election. Then on Sept. 4, The Washington Post reported that his independent streak also extended to his behind the scenes campaign style. After securing the nomination in May, Jackson had not taken advantage of the Virginia Republican Party's massive pool of campaign resources. He declined offers to utilize the party's voter databases and related logistical tools in addition to field office venues across the state- a "virtually unheard-of forfeiture of resources for a statewide candidate."[11]

On the Democratic end, Northam, a pediatric neurologist who was first elected to the state legislature's upper chamber in 2008, wanted to win the lt. governor's office in order to restore Democratic control over the state senate. His campaign focused on improving education and creating jobs in energy efficiency, in addition to reversing the direction the Republican leadership had taken the state on women's health issues. "Their crusades to shut down reproductive health centers and to mandate costly and invasive medical procedures for women seeking abortions have embarrassed the Commonwealth, and have inserted government between doctors and their patients."[12][13]

The final campaign finance reporting cycle prior to the general election showed Northam maintaining an ample fundraising lead over Jackson, adding to the consistent edge he had shown in the polls. Jackson's remarkable refusal to accept assistance from the Republican Party had no doubt hindered him from overtaking Northam in money and/or voter support. His proven difficulties adhering to the state board of elections' filing protocols, having twice needed to amend his documentation of loans or donations, likewise boded unfavorably for the GOP nominee heading into the home stretch of what was an ultimately unsuccessful campaign.[14][15]

  • Primary election - 2013 Lt. Governor Race
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia Democratic Primary Election, 2013
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngRalph Northam 54.2% 78,337
Aneesh Chopra 45.8% 66,098
Total Votes 144,435
Election Results via Virginia State Board of Elections.


Campaign themes

Chopra outlines three key issues on his official campaign website:

  • Education:

"By 2020: We need to build on Virginia’s highly regarded education system. We need to close the achievement gap and increase the number of students that obtain college degrees and industry certificates. To lead the country in educational attainment, we need 100,000 net new college graduates by 2020."[16]

  • Energy:

"By 2020: Virginia will have the nation's smartest electric grid capable of faster response to outages, and saving consumers money through better efficiency, information, and incentives. We will create tens of thousands of good jobs in the clean energy and energy efficiency industries. We will be a model for renewable energy use, and a hub for clean energy businesses, including those born from commercializing research performed at our great universities and federal labs."[16]

  • Healthcare:

"By 2020: In order to expand access to healthcare and improve affordability, we need to bring our public and private healthcare systems together to achieve the triple aim – better population health, better patient service, and lower costs. Our goal should be to lead the country in achieving the triple aim so that we not only deliver a more affordable system, but that we lead the country in the health innovative jobs of the future that will help us get there."[16]

Primary election polls

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia - 2013 Democratic Primary Race
Poll Aneesh Chopra Ralph NorthamUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Polling
(May 24-26, 2013)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

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Chopra and his wife, Rohini, have two children.[17]

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Washington Post, "Anesh Chopra leaving the White House, likely to run for Virginia lieutenant governor," January 27, 2012
  2. Blue Virginia, "Virginia Primary Election Results Live Blog," June 11, 2013
  3. White, "White House Profile: Aneesh Chopra," accessed June 19, 2012
  4. The Washington Post, "Aneesh Chopra to run for Virginia lieutenant governor," July 12, 2012
  5. Blue Virginia, "Virginia Primary Election Results Live Blog," June 11, 2013
  6. The Washington Post, "Va. GOP settles on Cuccinelli, Obenshain and Jackson for November ballot," May 19, 2013
  7. Virginia State Board of Elections, "2013 Statewide Unofficial Results," accessed November 6, 2013
  8. Encyclopedia Virginia, “L. Douglas Wilder (1931- ), accessed August 7, 2013
  9., "Virginia GOP Nominates Conservative Black Minister for Lt. Gov.," May 19, 2013
  10. The Washington Post, "Virginia GOP picks staunch conservatives as statewide candidates," May 18, 2013
  11. The Washington Post, "Jackson keeps GOP establishment at arm's length in Va. lieutenant governor campaign," September 4, 2013
  12. Official Campaign Website, "Issues," accessed March 20, 2013
  13. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named demprim
  14. The Washington Post, "McAuliffe tops Cuccinelli in fundraising race for Virginia governor," September 17, 2013
  15. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "McAuliffe maintains cash edge over Cuccineli," September 17, 2013
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Official Campaign Website, "Issues," accessed March 20, 2013
  17., "Aneesh Paul Chopra biography," accessed June 19, 2012