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How Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wound up on ‘The Bachelorette’

Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) on the July 2 episode of “The Bachelorette” on ABC. (Paul Hebert/ABC)
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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a mild-mannered pediatric neurologist, isn’t exactly the kind of character you’d expect to find populating “The Bachelorette,” the ABC reality show where spray tans and high drama reign. But the Commonwealth pol makes a cameo in the show’s Monday night episode, and we have the backstory on how his appearance came about: It seems he has his daughter, 27 year-old web designer Aubrey Northam, to thank for his brush with prime-time fame.

The show filmed an episode in Richmond in April (according to local news reports, the crew was seen at locations including Sugar Shack Donuts, the Veil Brewing Co. and the Edgar Allan Poe Museum). The show’s “group date” includes a mock election debate outside the state Capitol building in which the governor joined host Chris Harrison, Becca Kufrin (this season’s love-seeking single), and guys impersonating Abraham Lincoln and other historical figures pose questions to the contestants vying for Kufrin’s coveted rose. “What is your idea of the perfect date with Becca in the Commonwealth of Virginia?” he asks contestant Colton Underwood, according to a preview of the episode.

The governor wasn’t originally slated to appear on the show, which highlights some of the city’s businesses and historical sites.

Aubrey Northam, apparently a big fan of the franchise, was attending the taping at the Capitol, where she struck up a conversation with a producer, according to Ofirah Yheskel, the governor’s spokeswoman. During a break in the action, the two strolled over to the nearby executive mansion and asked if the governor would like to come to the set to make a cameo. “The rest,” Yheskel said, “is history.”