Northam supporters pack convention center to see Obama

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RICHMOND, Va — The line to get into the rally with former President Barack Obama wrapped around the corner of the Richmond Greater Convention Center Thursday night. More than 7,000 supporters showed up to see Obama campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam.

The wait to get inside the building was two hours for some supporters, but this did not dampen the excitement many had for the former president and the Democratic candidate.

Lucas Anderton, from Hampton Roads, said he is a big fan of Obama and liked what Northam did for his community during his time as lieutenant governor.

“I don’t like seeing people around me suffer and I think healthcare is one of the ways to make people lives better, and I don’t think it should be a privilege for a select few, but a right for all,” said Anderton, who believes that expanding Medicaid should be a top priority for state leaders.

When the doors of the Richmond Convention Center finally opened, excited supporters came in by the hundreds. A live band played many of the songs that were a staple during President Obama’s own campaigns. Supporters stood anxiously watching the stage, singing and sharing smiles.

Supporter Linda Chavis, who campaigned for Northam when he ran for lieutenant governor, said that she believed in his policies and likes him as a person. Over the last six months, Chavis has been out on the campaign trail campaigning for Northam’s gubernatorial bid.

“When I was campaigning for him in the last election for lieutenant governor everything that he said made sense. He was for not just certain people, he was for all of the people of Virginia,” Chavis said.

She said she believed Northam was an advocate for minorities’ rights and equal rights for men and women.

Chavis added that Donald Trump’s victory in last year’s presidential election was disturbing and shocking for her. It has given her more of an incentive to campaign even harder for Northam.

Richmond resident Roxanne Lamb said the most important thing to her is her child’s future. Northam’s stance on supporting education is what led to her support for him.

“At this point, we are not seeing a return on investment. It’s important for us all to get out and make a decision and concentrate on making the right choices for the right people for the right reasons. It should not be personal, it should be what are we doing for the best of all people involved,” Lamb said.

Linda Moss, a supporter of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, said that the next governor needed to continue to build on what the current governor has done for the commonwealth over the last four years. Moss added that the current climate of politics is very troubling to her.

“In our country, it's very sad what we have been going through the last nine months and we look forward to a better day, Moss said.

Many of the supporters at the rally have been following Northam since he ran for lieutenant governor. But there were also many supporters who simply came because they are fans of Obama and just wanted to see and hear him speak again.

By Gary Haskins and Jessica Samuels (Special to

EDITOR’S NOTE: has partnered with the “iPadJournos” mobile and social media journalism project at VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students from the project reported this story.