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Democratic primary set for Lt. Governor, AG races

SoVaNow.com / June 10, 2013
Polls in Halifax County will open tomorrow, June 11 for the Democratic primary to select the party’s nominees for lieutenant governor and attorney general in the November general election.

Voting will begin at 6 a.m. and last until 7 p.m.

Voters have a choice between two candidates running for Lieutenant Governor — Aneesh Chopra of Arlington, and Ralph Northam of Norfolk.

Chopra is a former Virginia Secretary of Technology and U.S. Chief of Technology with the Obama Administration. Northam is a State Senator who serves parts of Norfolk, Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore.

Seeking the Democratic nomination for Attorney General are State Senator Mark R. Herring of Loudoun County and Justin E. Fairfax, a former federal prosecutor in Annandale.

There is no contest for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Leading the Democratic ticket in November is Terry McAuliffe, who is running against Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli, currently Virginia’s Attorney General.

Northam, the only one of the two lieutenant governor candidates to visit Halifax County during the campaign, was warmly received at an appearance at Molasses Grill in late April. As a state senator, he emphasized his leadership on public health and environmental issues, including his early opposition to lifting Virginia’s ban on uranium mining.

Northam practices pediatric neurology at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk. His wife is an elementary school science teacher.

Chopra has raised the most money of the two candidates for lieutenant governor and is banking on support from his home region in Northern Virginia to push him over the top. He has also criticized Northam for votes he has taken on bills relating to gun rights, seeking to paint his rival as too close to the National Rifle Association.

The Attorney General’s race has been more low-key, with Herring emphasizing his experience in the State Senator. Fairfax has countered by citing his background as a federal prosecutor.

The winners of the Democratic primary will go on to the compete against the Republican Party’s nominees in the Nov. 5 general election. Last month, Republicans chose Hampton Roads minister E.W. Jackson to run for lieutenant governor and State Senator Mark Obenshain of Harrisburg to run for attorney general.

The Tuesday primary is expected to be a low-turnout affair. As of late Saturday afternoon, only 18 absentee ballots had been cast in the primary. Expectations for statewide turnout range from 1-4 percent.

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