Honor distinguishes Doctor Ralph Northam’s character. It was recognized early on by all with whom he came in contact; chosen by his fellow students at VMI to head the Honor Court: the classmate whose judgment they trusted most. His character is reflected in his campaign staff and his campaign.
Northam’s opponent and the RPV have employed the common lowbrow attack strategy. The issues important to the district have never been at the center of the Republican’s campaign. His opponent would be critically vulnerable to a negative strategy from the Northam camp. But Senator Northam (D-6th) did not fall to that temptation. And unlike others, who rue their 2009 strategies, he can walk away from this race, either way it goes, certain he has not violated his own personal standards and that he has run the best race possible.
“I am a huge Ralph Northam fan. I worked with Ralph when he ran and won his Senate race on 07. It was just an absolutely magnificent race. I think Ralph is one of the great public servants in Virginia.” – Governor Tim Kaine
Anyone involved in the Senator’s 2007 race, where he unseated a Republican incumbent, knows that his staff then, managed by Jon Blair, was as professional as they come. Jon went on to head up the successful 2008 race for New Mexico Congressional candidate Martin Heimrich. That same atmosphere is evident at his current campaign headquarters on Granby Street in Norfolk. On a recent visit, the phone rang and a volunteer answered, then asked, “Is there anyone here who can talk to a man about menhaden?” And every campaign staff member raised their hand. It isn’t often that they have to reach for Northam’s legislative assistant, Matt Strickler. All of them know the district and the issues far better than Northam’s opponent. Ralph surrounds himself with class and competence.
Rather than respond to the attacks from the dark side, the even-tempered Northam has stayed focused on the issues. He has not mentioned his opponent’s name at any campaign event. This campaigning on the issues is a risky business. But as I pointed out last August:
There is no finer gentleman than Ralph Northam in Virginia politics. He will not allow the DPVA to force him into the pig slop of making personal attacks. He will run on the issues, not away from them.
And if the GOTV effort his staff has coordinated goes off as designed and there is any justice in Virginia politics, Wednesday morning will find the doctor a Senator for four more years.