Of the three statewide elections this year, the contest for lieutenant governor presents by far the easiest choice. The race pits a fiscally conservative, socially moderate veteran of state government against an entertaining (and, at times, frightening) political neophyte whose bombastic statements have alienated even his running mates.
Ralph Northam served as a physician in the Army and started a pediatric neurology practice. He is a fiscal conservative who believes “the less government, the better” — in both the financial and the personal realms. At one point he considered leaving the Democratic caucus in the General Assembly because of his differences over fiscal policy.
Ralph Northam has served in the state Senate since 2008. This year he has earned our endorsement for lieutenant governor, the position that serves as the president of that house of the General Assembly.
Mr. Northam, the Democratic nominee, impressed us as a plainspoken man who approaches issues in a thoughtful, even-handed manner. He has the right temperament to work with the governor and lead the state senate as a negotiator in search of bipartisan compromises.
VIRGINIA’S DOWN-TICKET races for lieutenant governor and attorney general don’t get much play, which is a pity. Both offices wield real power and serve as springboards for future gubernatorial bids. The campaigns themselves have been fascinating, mostly as exercises in shape-shifting by the ultra-conservative Republican candidates.
In the race for lieutenant governor, a sober, low-key and well-respected Democratic state senator, Ralph S. Northam of Norfolk, is pitted against E.W. Jackson of Chesapeake, a Republican pastor whose rhetorical overkill compels journalists to overemploy the euphemism “fiery.” Mr. Jackson has spent much of the campaign trying to persuade Virginians to disregard his toxic oratory and venomous views on practically everything.
Where Mr. Northam, a fiscal conservative, is measured and moderate.