Ralph Northam sworn in as Virginia governor

Ralph Northam was sworn in as Virginia's governor Saturday, replacing now-former Gov. Terry McAuliffe. At a chilly ceremony in Richmond surrounded by his family and, further back, a number of former governors, Northam took the oath to become the Old Dominion's 73rd chief executive. 

Northam, a Democrat, veteran and pediatrician who was previously the state's lieutenant governor, beat Republican Ed Gillespie for the seat in November. 

Governors in Virginia cannot have two consecutive four-year terms, so McAuliffe, who was sworn in on a rainy January day four years ago, could not run again. McAuliffe, a Democrat with close ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, is being floated as a possible 2020 presidential candidate, especially since Clinton lost her presidential bid to President Trump.

Virginia Inauguration

Gov. Ralph Northam, right, and his wife, Pam, smile after he took the oath of office during inaugural ceremonies at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018.

Steve Helber/AP

Virginia, a traditionally conservative state, has become more heavily Democrat in recent years, partly because of the explosive population growth of Northern Virginia outside Washington, D.C. 

Local politics in Virginia garnered national interest in recent weeks when a contested statehouse race and the balance of power in the state's lower chamber rested on a single vote. Republican David Yancey beat Shelly Simonds in a state-officiated name drawing last week, meaning Republicans keep their slight edge in Virginia's House of Delegates. 

— CBS News' Kathryn Watson contributed to this report