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Difference between revisions of "Ralph Northam"

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   |Name = Ralph Northam
   |Name = Ralph Northam
   |Profile picture = Ralph Northam.jpg
   |Profile picture = Ralph Northam.jpg
   |Position = Virginia Lieutenant Governor
   |Position = Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
   |Status = Incumbent
   |Status = Incumbent
   |Tenure = 2014 - Present
   |Tenure =January 11, 2014 - Present
   |Term ends = 2017
   |Term ends = 2018
   |Assumed office = 2014
   |Assumed office = 2014
   |Political party = Democratic  
   |Political party = Democratic  

Revision as of 13:03, 20 January 2014

Ralph Northam
Ralph Northam.jpg
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
In office
January 11, 2014 - Present
Term ends
Years in position 1
Base salary$36,321/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Virginia State Senator, Virginia Senate District 6
Bachelor'sVirginia Military Institute
M.D.Eastern Virginia Medical School
Date of birth09/13/1959
Place of birthNassawaddox, VA
ProfessionChild Neurologist
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Ralph S. Northam (b. September 13, 1959, in Nassawaddox, Virginia) is the 40th and current Virginia Lieutenant Governor. He took office on January 11, 2014.

Northam won the November 5, 2013 election for the position of Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. He defeated Aneesh Chopra in the Democratic primary election on June 11, 2013, and faced Republican nominee E.W. Jackson in the general election. [1][2]

Prior to this election, Northam was a Democratic member of the Virginia State Senate, representing District 6. He was first elected to the chamber in 2007.


Northam earned a bachelor's degree at Virginia Military Institute and an M.D. at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Northam is a child neurologist.

Committee assignments


In the 2012-2013 legislative session, Northam served on the following committees:


In the 2010-2011 legislative session, Northam served on the following committees:



See also: Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2013

Northam won election to the office of Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2013.[3] Incumbent Bill Bolling (R) opted not to run for re-election this year, opening the seat.[2]

The Democratic primary election took place on June 11, 2013. Northam defeated one opponent, Aneesh Chopra, to win the party's nomination. He faced Republican nominee E.W. Jackson in the the general election, held on 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.[4] 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.[5] Northam and Jackson faced off in the Nov. 5, 2013 general election, and Northam won by a margin of over 10 percentage points.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]

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."[9]

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."[10]

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."[11][12]

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.[13][14]

  • General election - 2013 Lt. Governor Race
Virginia Lieutenant Gubernatorial General Election, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRalph Northam 55.1% 1,213,155
     Republican E.W. Jackson 44.5% 980,257
     N/A Write-in 0.3% 7,472
Total Votes 2,200,884
Election Results via Virginia State Board of Elections.
  • 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.


Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
Poll Ralph Northam (D) E.W. Jackson (R)Not sureMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Poll
(May 24-26, 2013)
Roanoke University Poll
(July 8-14, 2013)
Public Policy Poll
(July 11-14, 2013)
Christopher Newport Poll
(October 1-6, 2013)
Roanoke University Poll
(September 30 - October 5, 2013)
NBC4/NBC News/Marist Poll
(October 13-15, 2013)
Washington Post/Abt-SRBI Poll
(October 24-27, 2013)
Christopher Newport University Poll of Likely Voters
(October 25-30, 2013)
AVERAGES 43.13% 35% 21.5% +/-3.71 765.75
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 editor@ballotpedia.org.


Northam's candidacy for lieutenant governor in the 2013 general election was endorsed by the following individuals and organizations:[15]

  • The Washington Post[16]
  • The Richmond-Times Dispatch[17]
  • The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce PAC
  • Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce PAC
  • The Farm Bureau
  • The Virginia Association of Realtors
  • The Hampton Roads Business Political Action Committee (HRBizPAC)

Campaign themes


Northam's official 2013 campaign website highlighted the following campaign themes:

  • Standing Up for Women’s Rights:
Excerpt: "Northam says he is 'deeply disturbed by the Republican assault on women’s reproductive rights led by Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. 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.'" [11]
  • Solutions to Fix Transportation:
Excerpt: "As Lieutenant Governor, I look forward to convening a nonpartisan commission that will develop a comprehensive, sustainable transportation funding package."[18]
  • Public Safety and National Security:
Excerpt: '"As our economy rebounds, I will work hard to increase pay, benefits, and training for our law enforcement officers and other first responders. I will also continue to work with them to design and implement policies that help them keep us all safe, and ensure that justice is a reality for all Virginians,' Northam says.[18] He also notes his service in the U.S. Army in stating his commitment to strengthening the state government's relationship with the military. He promises to take care of retired military personnel living in Virginia."
  • Promoting Health Care and Public Health:
Excerpt: "Northam has been a consistent supporter of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as 'Obamacare.' He says, 'I remain committed to ensuring that the Commonwealth moves quickly to comply with the law and start getting health care to currently uninsured Virginians. I also want to make sure that we make the right and prudent decision to expand Medicaid coverage, rather than walking away from millions of federal dollars that could help make sick people well.'"[18]
  • Energy, the Environment, and Natural Resources:
Excerpt: "As Lieutenant Governor, I will continue to support efforts to promote alternative energy solutions such as wind, solar, and biodiesel, promote low impact development and improvements to wastewater treatment plants, and search for ways to make farming, forestry, and fishing more sustainable."[18]
  • Achieving Excellence in Education:
Excerpt: "In order to ensure that they are prepared to take on the jobs of tomorrow, and to compete in a global economy, we must restore and increase funding for K-12 education, including teacher salaries...We must also continue to develop a strong workforce in Virginia by supporting career and technical education at our outstanding community colleges. By investing in a workforce with cutting edge technical trade skills, we will help Virginians earn more, and make Virginia a more attractive place for existing and new businesses."


"Service" - Released October 22, 2013

"Growing" - Released October 22, 2013

Campaign finance

Ralph Northam[19] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Post-Primary ReportJuly 15, 2013$151,505.09$176,413.73$(903,874.85)$106,184.36
8 Day Pre-General ReportOctober 28, 2013$629,223.20$612,244.83$(296,481.66)$944,986.37
Running totals


See also: Virginia State Senate elections, 2011

On November 8, 2011, Northam won re-election to District 6 of the Virginia State Senate. He was unchallenged in the August 23 primary election and defeated Ben Loyola (R) in the November 8 general election. [20][21]

Virginia State Senate, District 6 General Election, 2011
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRalph Northam Incumbent 56.8% 16,606
     Republican Ben Loyola 43.2% 12,622
Total Votes 29,228

Campaign themes


Northam's campaign website listed the following issues:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
Excerpt: "I have always believed that your tax dollars are sacred, and that government has a responsibility to provide core services in an efficient and effective manner. Eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in government is a top priority of mine - it is very important to keep a close eye on how the people's money is being spent."
  • Economic Development
Excerpt: "Especially in difficult economic times such as those we face today, the most important thing we must do is support, retain, and build upon our key assets and enterprises."
  • Education
Excerpt: "I believe strongly that our children are our future, and that all of them deserve a world-class education. In order to ensure that they are prepared to take on the jobs of tomorrow, and to compete in a global economy, we must restore and increase funding for K-12 education, including teacher salaries."
  • Natural Resources
Excerpt: "I believe strongly that it is both possible and necessary to achieve economic development that retains and improves the quality of our air, water, and land."
  • Transportation
Excerpt: "We need major investments in rail, roads, and other transportation infrastructure to keep Virginia a great place for families and businesses."
  • Public Health
Excerpt: "As for health care reform, I witness the problems of a broken system every day. I have years of firsthand knowledge of the challenges that both patients and doctors face with modern medical care. While I did not agree with the methods Congress used to pass its most recent health care overhaul, and I remain skeptical that it will do enough to reduce the cost of health care, I do believe that it was a step in the right direction."
  • Public Safety
Excerpt: "During my time in Richmond, I have fought hard to spare our sheriffs, police, and firefighters from budget cuts. Especially in these difficult economic times, it is important that we are prepared to combat criminal activity in our Commonwealth."
  • Military and Veterans
Excerpt: "As an Army veteran, I understand the challenges that our servicemen and women face every day. I am committed to helping government work for them, and for the thousands of retired military personnel living in Hampton Roads, and across Virginia."[22]


See also: Virginia State Senate elections, 2007

On Nov. 6, 2007, Northam won election to the 6th District Seat in the Virginia State Senate, defeating opponent Nick Rerras (R).[23]

Northam raised $1,220,944 for his campaign while Rerras raised $648,344.[24]

Virginia State Senate, District 6 (2007)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Ralph Northam (D) 17,307 54.33%
Nick Rerras (R) 14,499 45.52%

Campaign donors


In 2011, Northam received $561,796 in campaign donations. The top contributors are listed below.[25]

Virginia State Senate 2011 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Ralph Northam's campaign in 2011
Virginia Democratic Party$53,919
Virginia Dental Association$17,925
Northam, Hon Wescott B$15,000
Virginia Medical Society$12,666
Virginia Hospital & Health Care Association PAC$10,153
Total Raised in 2011 $561,796
Total Votes received in 2011 16,606
Cost of each vote received $33.83


Listed below are Northam's top five campaign contributors in the 2007 election:

Contributor 2007 total
Democratic Party of Virginia $307,743
Moving Virginia Forward $131,250
Hon. Wescott B. Northam $100,000
Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus $46,851
Ralph S. Northam $36,959


Northam was born in Nassawadox, Virginia on September 13, 1959.

See also

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  1. The Washington Post, "Snyder raises $450,000 for lieutenant governor bid," January 15, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 Politico, Election results 2013: Ralph Northam defeats E.W. Jackson, November 5, 2013
  3. The Washington Post, "Ralph Northam to formally announce lieutenant governor bid," December 6, 2012
  4. Blue Virginia, "Virginia Primary Election Results Live Blog," June 11, 2013
  5. The Washington Post, "Va. GOP settles on Cuccinelli, Obenshain and Jackson for November ballot," May 19, 2013
  6. Virginia State Board of Elections, "2013 Statewide Unofficial Results," accessed November 6, 2013
  7. Encyclopedia Virginia, “L. Douglas Wilder (1931- ), accessed August 7, 2013
  8. Afro.com, "Virginia GOP Nominates Conservative Black Minister for Lt. Gov.," May 19, 2013
  9. The Washington Post, "Virginia GOP picks staunch conservatives as statewide candidates," May 18, 2013
  10. The Washington Post, "Jackson keeps GOP establishment at arm's length in Va. lieutenant governor campaign," September 4, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 Official Campaign Website, "Issues," accessed March 20, 2013
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named demprim
  13. The Washington Post, "McAuliffe tops Cuccinelli in fundraising race for Virginia governor," September 17, 2013
  14. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "McAuliffe maintains cash edge over Cuccineli," September 17, 2013
  15. Ralph Northam for Lieutenant Governor, "In the News," accessed September 30, 2013
  16. The Washington Post, "Virginia endorsements: Ralph Northam and Mark Herring," October 16, 2013
  17. Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Editorial: Vote for Northam," October 20, 2013
  18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named issues
  19. Virginia State Board of Elections, "Campaign Finance Report: Ralph Northam for Lt. Governor," July 15, 2013
  20. Virginia Department of State, 2011 Primary candidate list
  21. Virginia State Board of Elections - November 2011 General Election Official Results
  22. Ralph Northam's campaign website, Issues
  23. 2007 Election Results, Virginia Senate, District 6
  24. 2007 Campaign Spending, Virginia Senate, District 6
  25. Follow the Money - 2011 contributions
Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Bolling (R)
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
2014 - present
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Nick Rerras
Virginia Senate District 6
Succeeded by