State Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Norfolk, told the state Democratic Party Sunday he is running for lieutenant governor in 2013.
That brings the total of Democratic contenders for the state's second highest elected position to two. Northam is challenging Aneesh Chopra, President Barack Obama administration's chief technology officer, in the party's June primary.
That's a paltry sum compared to the seven Republicans running for the office. The state GOP will choose its nominee at a convention in May.
Northam , a pediatric neurologist, sent an email to the Democratic Party of Virginia's steering committee announcing his candidacy in which he played up social issues championed by Republicans in the last General Assembly session - particularly the mandatory ultrasounds before abortions law.
“While Virginians desperately needed their representatives to find solutions that would improve education, fix our broken transportation system, and help put people back to work, Republicans used their majority to launch an all-out assault on women, working families, and the LGBT community,” Northam wrote.
“As I spoke on the floor of the Virginia Senate to defend a most basic right of women — the right to control their own bodies and personal health — I was struck by how far Virginia’s government had strayed from its most fundamental mission of improving the lives of all Virginians. As a doctor, I have learned that I am supposed to heal, not harm; to lift people up, not keep them down. With these lessons firmly in mind I am proud to announce my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.”
Northam is expected to make a formal announcement Thursday.