Six hopefuls vie for No. 2 spot
Virginia to hold election June 13
RICHMOND | Six candidates are down to the final weeks of campaigning for their party’s nomination to be Virginia’s next lieutenant governor.
Democrats and Republicans both have a three-way primary for the state’s No. 2 job on June 13. Three GOP members of the General Assembly are facing off to challenge the winner of the Democratic primary, which features an attorney, a retired federal prosecutor and a longtime political staffer, none of whom have held public office before.
Campaigns for the part-time, largely ceremonial position that pays about $36,000 a year typically draw little attention or voter interest. But it’s an important job: In addition to serving on various boards and ruling on parliamentary matters in the state Senate, the lieutenant governor also breaks tie votes in the closely divided upper chamber and is next in the line of succession to the governor. The position is also often a steppingstone to higher office.
Seven lieutenant governors have gone on to become governor, according to the official web page of the state office, and current Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam is hoping to become the eighth. Others have gone on to serve in Congress and other political office.
Here are the six candidates voters will whittle to two next week:
● State Sen. Jill Vogel
On the GOP side, Ms. Vogel jumped into the race last but has a big fundraising lead. She is the managing partner at the go-to legal firm for right-leaning groups that participate in elections without disclosing donors and formerly served as chief counsel for the Republican National Committee. She is serving her third term in the Senate, where she represents northern Virginia’s 27th District, which stretches from Frederick County to part of Stafford County.
● State Sen. Bryce Reeves
Mr. Reeves, a former Army ranger and police detective, owns an insurance and financial services business and lives in Spotsylvania. The second-term senator represents District 17, which includes the city of Fredericksburg. A conservative who describes himself as “100 percent pro-life,” Mr. Reeves has made public safety a key campaign issue, with a TV ad showing masked men scaring a suburban family in their driveway while a voice-over says, “This is the America Obama left behind. Terrorists living here, the FBI investigating ISIS nationwide.”
● State Delegate Glenn Davis
Mr. Davis, a successful tech entrepreneur and former Virginia Beach city councilman, says he’s “razor focused” on issues that affect Virginia families, not his opponents’ drama. Mr. Davis, who has made jobs and workforce development his top priority, has been criss-crossing the state in an RV dubbed “Mellow Yellow” for its lemon-colored interior trim.
● Susan Platt
Ms. Platt, a veteran political staffer and former lobbyist, is hoping to make history by being the first woman elected to the office. Virginia has a dearth of women in politics: No woman has held a statewide office in two decades, when Mary Sue Terry served as attorney general in the 1990s, and less than 1 out of every 5 lawmakers is female. Like her Democratic opponents, Ms. Platt supports abortion rights, expanding Medicaid and raising the minimum wage.
● Justin Fairfax
The first Democrat to jump in the race was Mr. Fairfax, an attorney from Annandale who narrowly lost the nomination contest for attorney general to Attorney General Mark Herring in 2013. Mr. Fairfax leads the pack in fundraising and has the endorsement of dozens of Democratic leaders. So far, he’s the only Democratic candidate to run a TV ad.
● Gene Rossi
Mr. Rossi, who worked for 27 years as a Justice Department prosecutor and lives in Alexandria, said if elected he would focus on sentencing reform, helping former prisoners, as well as improving health care and public education.