Ralph Northam

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Ralph Northam
Ralph Northam 2008-10-28.jpg
Northam in 2008
40th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
Assumed office
January 11, 2014
Governor Terry McAuliffe
Preceded by Bill Bolling
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 6th district
In office
January 9, 2008 – January 11, 2014
Preceded by D. Nick Rerras
Succeeded by Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr.
Personal details
Born Ralph Shearer Northam
(1959-09-13) September 13, 1959 (age 55)
Nassawadox, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Pam
Children Wes
Alma mater Eastern Virginia Medical School
Virginia Military Institute
Profession Physician and politician
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1984–1992
Rank Major
Unit Medical Corps

Ralph Shearer Northam, MD (born September 13, 1959) is an American physician and politician, currently serving as the 40th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. On November 5, 2013, Northam became the first Democrat since Tim Kaine in 2001 to be elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, defeating the Republican nominee, African-American conservative activist and minister, E.W. Jackson.

Early life[edit]

Northam is the son of Wescott B. Northam, a former Commonwealth's Attorney and Circuit Court judge in Accomack County, Virginia, and Nancy B. Shearer, a nurse.[1] He grew up in Onancock, Virginia.

Northam attended Virginia Military Institute, where he was President of the Honor Court. He went on to Eastern Virginia Medical School, obtaining his M.D. degree in 1984. From 1984 to 1992 he served as a United States Army physician, attaining the rank of major. During his army service, he completed a pediatric residency at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, followed by a child neurology fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.. During Operation Desert Storm, he treated evacuated casualties at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

In 1992 Northam established a pediatric neurology practice at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia.

Northam currently lives in Norfolk. He has two children, Wes (born May 27, 1988) and Aubrey (born March 8, 1991). His brother, Thomas Northam, is the law partner of Virginia House of Delegates member Lynwood Lewis.

Political career[edit]

Virginia State Senate[edit]

Northam first ran for office in 2007 in the Virginia 6th Senate district, which includes the Eastern Shore of Virginia; Mathews County, on the Middle Peninsula; and parts of the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. On November 6, 2007, he defeated Nick Rerras, a two-term Republican incumbent, 17,307 votes to 14,499.[2]

He was re-elected in November 2011, defeating Ben Loyola, Jr., a defense contractor, 16,606 votes to 12,622.[3]

In 2009, Northam — a self-described "conservative on fiscal issues and liberal on social issues"[4] — was the subject of an attempt by State Senate Republicans to get him to switch parties.[5] The move would have given Republicans control of the State Senate, but after news of the imminent switch broke on Twitter, Democrats held a closed-door meeting during which Northam reiterated that he was not leaving the party.[6] He later said, "I guess it's nice to be wanted, but I'm a Democrat, and that's where I'm staying."[7]

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia[edit]

Northam ran for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in the 2013 election.[8] Northam competed against U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra for the Democratic nomination.[9] On June 11, 2013, Northam won the Democratic primary over Chopra with 54% of the vote to Chopra's 46%.[10][11]

On November 5, 2013, Northam was elected over Republican E.W. Jackson by a 10% margin, receiving 55% of the vote to Jackson's 45%.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nancy B. Shearer Wed; Johns Hopkins Graduate is Bride of Wescott Northam". The New York Times. April 29, 1956. 
  2. ^ Virginia State Board of Elections; Election Results for 2007; November 6, 2007 Election Results
  3. ^ Virginia State Board of Elections; Election Results for 2011; 2011 November Official Election Results
  4. ^ Kumar, Anita. Va. Senate Democrats' Edge Little Comfort, Washington Post, February 21, 2009.
  5. ^ Linkins, Jason. Jeff Frederick's Twitter Use Foils GOP Virginia Senate Coup, Huffington Post, March 13, 2009.
  6. ^ Payne, Kimball. Northam's Move To Share Power Turns Heads, Hampton Roads Daily Press, February 14, 2009.
  7. ^ Walker, Julian (November 19, 2011). "State Sen. Northam spurns GOP offer to switch sides". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  8. ^ Vozzella, Laura (2012-12-02). "Sen. Ralph Northam announces lieutenant governor bid". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  9. ^ Walker, Julian (April 2, 2013). "McAuliffe named Dem governor nominee, 4 others make ballot". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved April 3, 2013. 
  10. ^ Pershing, Ben; Whack, Errin (2013-06-11). "Democrats give nod to Northam, Herring in statewide races". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  11. ^ Virginia SBE - Democratic Lieutenant Governor primary results
  12. ^ http://electionresults.virginia.gov/resultsSW.aspx?type=SWR&map=CTY


External links[edit]

Senate of Virginia
Preceded by
Nick Rerras
Virginia Senate, District 6
Succeeded by
Lynwood Lewis
Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Bolling
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia