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Lieutenant Governor Candidates Square Off in ODU Debate

Photo from Lt. Gov. debateVirginia Lt. Governor candidates Ralph Northam and E.W. Jackson (L to R) debate at ODU. Photo from Lt. Gov. debateAudience members listen as Virginia Lt. Gov. candidates Ralph Northam and E.W. Jackson discuss the issues.

On Wednesday night at Old Dominion University, a pair of candidates for lieutenant governor of Virginia took to the stage for the second (and last) debate scheduled before next month's election. The event marked the only chance Hampton Roads voters had to see the men spar over the issues as the race for the state's second highest office draws to a close.

At the nexus of the race are Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist and state senator (D-Norfolk) who has held office since 2008, and E.W. Jackson, a former attorney and Chesapeake minister who beat out six opponents to win the Republican Party's nomination in May.

While the race has largely taken a back seat to the highly contentious battle for governor, the outcome is still extremely important given the lieutenant governor's tie-breaking capacity in presiding over the Virginia Senate, which is currently evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.

The debate, held at ODU's Diehn Center for the Performing Arts, was co-sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division of the Virginia Bar Association and the university's Student Government Association. Quentin Kidd, a political science professor at Christopher Newport University, and Julian Walker, The Virginian-Pilot's statewide politics reporter, served as moderators.

About 200 people attended the hourlong forum, which provided the candidates an opportunity to discuss their campaign platforms and tussle over a wide-ranging list of topics that touched on conduct in office, transportation, the federal government shutdown, medical malpractice lawsuits, restoration of voting rights for convicted felons, education, business taxes and even the controversial HPV vaccine.

Not surprisingly, both candidates claimed victory following the debate.

Signaling the importance of the ODU event, a contingent of journalists was on hand to provide press coverage.

To read the Washington Post's version of events, visit washingtonpost.com.

The Virginian-Pilot's coverage can be viewed at pilotonline.com.

Analysis by the Daily Press can be seen at dailypress.com.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch's coverage of the event is available at timesdispatch.com.

Hampton Roads television station WVEC was also on hand. Its coverage can be viewed at wvec.com.

The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 5 general election is Oct. 15. For more election information, including how to register and where to vote, visit the Virginia State Board of Elections website.