Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam Thursday endorsed Terry McAuliffe in the state’s gubernatorial primary, electing to back his own predecessor over multiple candidates vying for the job.
Under the state’s term limits, governors cannot serve more than one consecutive term, but can run for an additional term after leaving office if they so choose.
“While our Commonwealth has faced the most severe pandemic in our lifetimes this past year, I am so proud of the work we have done to turn the corner and bring Virginia into recovery,” Northam said in a statement. “The longer-term impacts of this pandemic, however, will be around long after I leave office, and it’s critical that our next governor has the plans and experience to continue the fight to rebuild Virginia into a stronger, more equitable future. That’s why I am so proud to support Terry McAuliffe to be our next governor.”
McAuliffe served as governor from 2013 to 2017, and led the Democratic National Committee from 2001-2005. He is a close-knit member of the political establishment and a strong fundraiser, and was a co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. (RELATED: Virginia Legalizes Recreational Marijuana)
Northam endorsed his predecessor over his own lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax. Fairfax was accused of sexual assault in 2019, allegations which he denies happened, just weeks after Northam himself was mired in a blackface scandal.
Northam also opted against endorsing state Del. Jennifer Carrol Foy and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, both of whom would be the country’s first black female governor if elected.
Republicans will pick their own nominee during their primary on May 8, though the eventual pick will likely enter the race as an underdog in the trending-blue state.
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