November 3, 2017

Kojo’s 2017 Virginia Election Cheat Sheet

Virginia is one of two states in the country that will elect a new governor this year. In addition, all the commonwealth’s statewide offices and delegate seats are up for grabs. Every Friday, Kojo Nnamdi and political analyst Tom Sherwood interview local politicians and political candidates. Here are recent interviews with those vying for statewide seats, listed by race in alphabetical order.


Ed Gillespie (R)

Ed Gillespie is the former chair of the Republican National Committee and a former lobbyist. In 2000, Gillespie founded the powerful lobbying firm Quinn Gillespie & Associates. From 2003 to 2005, he served as the Republican National Committee chairperson. After that, Gillespie became a full-time counselor to President George W. Bush, and later, a senior advisor to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. In 2014, he ran for the U.S. Senate in Virginia and narrowly lost to Mark Warner, the Democratic incumbent.

Cliff Hyra (L)

Cliff Hyra is a patent attorney. In 2008, Hyra founded an intellectual property law practice, Hyra IP. In 2012, he became a partner at Symbus Law Group. Hyra’s race for governor is his first foray into politics.

Ralph Northam (D)

Ralph Northam is Virginia’s current lieutenant governor. From 1984 to 1992, Northam served as a U.S. Army physician and has practiced medicine since then. Northam served as a Virginia State Senator from 2008 to 2014.


Justin Fairfax (D)

Justin Fairfax is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. As a federal prosecutor, Fairfax was a deputy of the major crimes and narcotics unit as well as a member of the human trafficking task force. He is co-owner of a dental practice in Fairfax, Va.

Jill Vogel (R)

Jill Vogel is a Virginia State Senator representing the Virginia District 27 in Fauquier County since 2008. Vogel is also a practicing lawyer and the founding partner of the firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky.


John Adams (R)

John Adams is a practicing lawyer and partner at McGuire Woods. Adams served in the U.S. Navy from 1996 to 2000, serving two tours of duty that included a deployment in Iraq. After leaving the military, Adams entered law, ultimately becoming associate White House counsel to President George W. Bush.

Mark Herring (D)

Mark Herring is Virginia’s current attorney general, a position he has held since 2014. Herring got his start in politics as a member of Loudon County’s Board of Supervisors from 2000 to 2003. He was elected to Virginia Senate office representing the commonwealth’s 33rd district in 2006, replacing a Republican who left for a statewide office. In 2013, Herring ran for and won the last statewide Attorney General race.

Arlington County Board

Panel with Audrey Clement, Erik Gutshall and Charles McMullough

Virginia House of Delegates District 42

Interview with Kathy Tran
Interview with Lolita Mancheno-Smoak

Virginia House of Delegates, District 13

Interview with Danica Roem

Illustrations by Ruth Tam


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