Virginians Choose Pro-Gay Democratic Ticket
Virginia voters Tuesday selected a pair of pro-LGBT state senators, Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk, Northampton, Mathews, Accomack counties) and Mark Herring (D-Loudoun, Fairfax counties) as the Democratic nominees for lieutenant governor and attorney general, respectively.
According to results from the Virginia Public Access Project, Northam defeated Aneesh Chopra, former chief technology officer for the United States under President Barack Obama and Virginia secretary of technology from 2006 to 2009, by a margin of 54-46 in the lieutenant governor’s race. Northam found greatest support in Southwest Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley, the Tidewater region and Norfolk area, and stronger-than-expected showings in Northern Virginia.
In the attorney general’s race, Herring won a much narrower 52-48 victory over Justin Fairfax, a former federal proseuctor for the Eastern District of Virginia. Herring won throughout the southwestern and central parts of the state and performed well in Northern Virginia.
Northam and Herring, both of whom earned perfect scores of 100 on Equality Virginia’s 2012 and 2013 legislative scorecards for their records on LGBT issues, will appear on the ballot with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe in November, where they will face off against a slate of Republicans who are opposed to LGBT rights: current attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli; lieutenant governor nominee E.W. Jackson, a conservative minister from Chesapeake; and Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg, Rockingham, Rappahannock, Page, Shenandoah and Warren counties), who is running for attorney general. The statewide GOP slate was chosen at a May 18 convention.
While the state Senate is not up for re-election until 2015, voters also chose party nominees for 100 seats in the state’s House of Delegates, potentially setting up the possibility of a much more conservative House of Delegates following November’s election. Fifty-four of the delegates - two Republicans and 22 Democrats - re running uncontested in November, meaning control of the House will hinge on the results of the remaining 46 races.
In total, there were 11 primaries for House seats, seven of which featured incumbents. On the Democratic side, Del. Algie Howell (D-Norfolk, Virginia Beach) easily defeated Rick James by a 68-32 margin, while Del. Rosalyn Dance (D-Petersburg, Hopewell, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George counties) beat back a strong challenge from Evandra Thompson, winning 53-47. Both Howell and Dance are longtime LGBT allies who signed on as co-patrons of a failed bill that would have repealed Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. Both are running unopposed in November.