RICHMOND, Va. -- Former Virginia Gov. John Dalton, a popular Republican who led the state GOP to dominance in the 1970s, died Wednesday at the Medical College of Virginia from lung cancer.
He was 55.
Dalton, one of the state's most popular chief executives, served as governor from 1977 to 1981. A millionaire lawyer, businessman and farmer, Dalton resisted efforts by the GOP to draft him for a second term in 1985 -- by that time he had suffered a bout with lung cancer.
Dalton served as a member of the House of Delegates from 1966 to 1972, was elected to the Senate in 1972 and then ran a successful campaign for lieutenant governor in 1973.