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.