RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Ralph Northam has vaulted into the national spotlight with a thunderous victory in Virginia's race for governor, instantly becoming a hero of the anti-Trump movement and a balm for jittery Democrats.

The low-key pediatrician who preaches pragmatism with a strong Southern twang is an unlikely face of the resistance. His campaign was a frequent target for pundits and liberal activists who doubted and fretted about his ability to mobilize voters.

But Northam convincingly won Virginia's race for governor Tuesday, delivering his party's first major victory since President Donald Trump was elected.

While his victory is due in large part to the surge in anti-Trump sentiment, Northam told The Associated Press that it also shows voters respond well to civility, and he's eager to help Democrats follow his lead.