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Northam, House leaders endorse Ayala for lt. governor

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Ralph Northam and the two top leaders of the Virginia House endorsed Hala Ayala, a two-term delegate representing a district in Prince William County, in the crowded race for lieutenant governor Monday.

Northam, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn and Democratic House Majority Leader Charniele Herring announced their support for Ayala in a news release ahead of a press conference.

Northam said in a statement that Ayala had helped usher in “transformational progress” for Virginia as part of the new Democratic majority in the House.

“I’ve seen firsthand her indispensable ability to bring people together to make progress, and I know Hala will continue the good work we’ve accomplished to move Virginia forward,” Northam said.

Also seeking the Democratic nomination are: Del. Mark Levine; Norfolk City Council member Andria McClellan; attorney and activist Sean Perryman; Del. Sam Rasoul, who has a big fundraising lead, according to the latest reports; and businessman Xavier Warren.

The lieutenant governor is a mostly ceremonial part-time job that involves presiding over the day-to-day work of the state Senate. The position is often a stepping stone to higher office.

Six Republican candidates are competing for their party’s nomination, which will be decided in a convention next month. The Democratic nominee will be chosen in a June primary.

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