Six hope­fuls vie for No. 2 spot

Vir­ginia to hold elec­tion June 13

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - BY SARAH RANKIN

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.

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