By Kevin Robillard (Kentucky) –
FAIRFAX, Va.—It’s St. Patrick’s Day, a Friday night at a Shriners Hall. The cream of the Northern Virginia Democratic establishment is here, and while they’re not exactly drunk, they’re on their way to killing four kegs of Harp and a couple of cases of Guinness. Lieutenant Gov. Ralph Northam is working the crowd of 1,200 buttoned-down post-Millennials. Actually, the crowd is working him, surging toward him not long after he enters the building. His staffers indulge in a beer or a glass of wine, but he doesn’t. The first rule of running for office is never be photographed holding a drink, even on St. Patrick’s Day, and people are taking a lot of photographs.
This fundraiser, hosted annually by Representative Gerry Connolly, is unquestionably friendly territory for a candidate who has made an appearance for the past four years straight—basically ever since Northam started running to succeed his boss, Governor Terry McAuliffe. “I have a lot of friends in here because I’ve been doing this for a while,” he says.