Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam announces intention to run for governor

RICHMOND, Va. — Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam (D) officially announced his intention to run for governor, on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

“As a former Army doctor and practicing pediatric neurologist, I know that the best way to serve people is to listen to their needs and concerns,” Northam said in an e-mail sent to supporters. “And as a public official, I’ve taken the same approach to serving our Commonwealth.”

Northam has served with Gov. Terry McAuliffe the past two years.

“In the two years I’ve been Lieutenant Governor, we’ve been able to make great strides. We’ve expanded access to affordable health care, created over 40,000 jobs, and opened up pre-K to thousands of young Virginians. I’ve broken ties on Senate votes in favor of increasing the minimum wage, banning discrimination in the workplace, and repealing the invasive ultrasound mandate.

Initially it was unclear if he would face off against Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D), who would have likely received strong support from the party given his high profile actions with same-sex marriage. Herring announced he will run for reelection in 2017.

On the Republican ticket, Ed Gillespie has announced he will run. Former attorney general Ken Cuccinelli has not ruled out a run.

The Virginia GOP released a statement:

“We welcome Democrat Ralph Northam to the race for Governor. Over the next two years we look forward to discussing his far-left, liberal views with voters, such as his unwavering support for Obamacare and his dedication to higher taxes.”

“Lt. Governor Northam picked a newsworthy day to announce his campaign. As his second official announcement, he should tell Virginia voters if he stands behind Governor McAuliffe’s refusal to put our Commonwealth ahead of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, or if he will join Republicans in calling for a pause in re-settlement of Syrian refugees.”

“A failure to answer would tell us a great deal about the kind of campaign Ralph Northam intends to run.”