Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam is talking gay marriage, gun violence and 45 in the first TV commercial of Virginia’s gubernatorial primary season.
The ad buy seven weeks ahead of the June 13 primary, described by the Northam campaign as a “substantial, six-figure buy across Virginia,” underscores Northam’s financial advantage over Democratic rival Tom Perriello and the changing tone of Democratic campaigns in a purple state trending blue. The Northam campaign said the ad is believed to be the first in a gubernatorial race to mention marriage equality.
The ad features a testimonial from Tim Bostic and Tony London, a gay couple who successfully sued to end Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Northam, endorsed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, is locked in a close battle with Perriello, a former congressman, diplomat and activist endorsed by national progressive figures like U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Perriello’s surprise entry into the race in January has pushed Northam, a mild-mannered pediatric surgeon, to more actively highlight his credentials as a supporter of Democratic principles.