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OK, I'm voting for Northam

Ralph Northam (photo by WaPo)
For each statewide office Virginia's Democrats and Republicans must select their candidates either by way of a convention (with delegates only voting) or a primary (with registered voters casting ballots). Accordingly, tomorrow, this commonwealth's voters can weigh in on the process, if they are so inclined. 

Voters can participate in either party's primary, but not in both. Without any sort of Party registration our system is therefore open to gaming by partisan activists seeking to undermine the other party's effort to win in the general election in November.Which is the last thing I want to do.

That means I'm going to cast my vote to put Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam at the top of the Democratic Party's 2017 ticket. In short, he seems qualified and ready for the job. 

One of the reasons I care enough to bother to vote in a primary concerns my grandson's future. After I vote on June 13 I'll be attending Sam's high school graduation ceremony. I'm proud of his accomplishment (he's going to VCU in the fall). Plus, I'm glad he and his sister, Emily, don't have to live in a state Donald Trump carried in 2016. Naturally, I want my grandchildren (Emily is a rising senior at JMU) to live their next four years in a Virginia not governed by any member of Trump's Republican Party, including the presumed Republican nominee, Ed Gillespie. 

At best Gillespie is a glib conservative flack; probably more of a weasel than an extremist, but these are strange times. Hence, given the makeup of Virginia's General Assembly, if a Republican is elected governor in November we could turn into North Carolina, trying to regulate public bathrooms.

OK, former-congressman Tom Perriello seems to have his heart in the right place. Seems smart enough. Seems to be a bona fide liberal. Seems to have a bright future. In spite of all that, I don't believe he will be as good a gubernatorial candidate as will Northam. Hey, I'm not saying Perriello is Creigh Deeds again, but this time around being ideologically correct on the issues (except for guns) is not enough for me. Winning in November is too important. 

Only two states are having gubernatorial elections this year, New Jersey and Virginia. Therefore much will be made of the Virginia race's signs of the Trump effect, going into the 2018 mid-term elections. Meanwhile, some wags would have you to believe that merely by having a perceived moderate clashing with a perceived liberal, the Democrats here are re-fighting the national primary of 2016.

In that perspective Hillary Clinton's stand-in is Northam and the Bernie Sanders stand-in is Perriello. Mostly, I don't buy that too-convenient analysis.

Maybe Perriello is more liberal, I'm not sure. He does have the endorsements of the two best known Democratic senators from the party's left-wing – Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Although that speaks well for Perriello, it also serves to underline his lack of endorsements from the likes of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine.

That's because those elected office-holders have endorsed Northam, which says volumes to me. Northam's 10 years of experience in state government is also a plus. Moreover, on television Northam seems more comfortable in his own skin. Finally, I'm told by people I trust that he's a good man, an honest man. 

This year honesty really matters. I hope Emily and Sam remember to vote. 


This post first appeared on SLANTblog, please read the originial post: here

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OK, I'm voting for Northam

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