The Pathway For Virginia Lieutenant Governors

Elected LG in 1977, gov. in 1981

Ralph Northam, the Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia in Tuesday’s election, has been the commonwealth’s lt. gov. the past four years.  With Virginia governors limited to one consecutive term, the LG is often seen as the heir apparent from the moment of the election.  Sometimes, but not always, that person has gone on to become governor.  Here’s the record of the past 60 years, in which every lt. governor (*except J. Sargeant Reynolds, who died in office) ran for governor:

Year Lt. Gov. Elected Result
1957 A.E.S. Stephens (D) Lost 1961 primary to AG Albertis Harrison
1961 Mills Godwin Jr. (D) Elected governor 1965
1965 Fred Pollard (D) Lost 1969 primary to William Battle
1969 J. Sargeant Reynolds (D)*
1971 Henry Howell (D) Won 1973 primary over AG Andrew Miller but lost general to ex-Gov. Godwin (now R)
1973 John Dalton (R) Elected governor 1977
1977 Chuck Robb (D) Elected governor 1981
1981 Richard Davis (D) Withdrew prior to 1985 Dem convention, won by AG Gerald Baliles
1985 Douglas Wilder (D) Elected governor 1989
1989 Don Beyer (D) Lost 1997 general election to Jim Gilmore (R)
1997 John Hager (R) Lost 2001 GOP convention to AG Mark Earley
2001 Tim Kaine (D) Elected governor 2005
2005 Bill Bolling (R) Withdrew prior to 2013 GOP convention, won by AG Ken Cuccinelli
2017 Ralph Northam (D) ??

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