2021 Governor Race

2021 VA Governor Race

Top News

Virginia’s GOP gambles on creative ranked-choice voting for 2021 nominees
Virginia Mercury, Mark J. Rozell May 4, 2021 (Short)

The Republican Party of Virginia has a chance this year to reestablish itself as a competitive force in statewide elections.

After a dozen years without a statewide victory, the GOP leadership needed to take a careful look within to understand why voters have turned their backs on the once dominant political party in Virginia. It appears that party leaders decided that with the right method of nominating candidates for statewide office, they can change their fortunes.

Republican Party leaders   generally have favored conventions as a means of selecting nominees for statewide offices. The closed process, open only to the most inside of GOP insiders and dominated by some of its most conservative voices, has had a mixed record of success.

There’s no clear front runner.

There are four obvious leaders in the seven-person field, but beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess who’s most likely to win.

“It’s the most difficult race to handicap imaginable,” said veteran political commentator Bob Holsworth, pointing to the GOP’s plan to employ ranked-choice voting and a system that weights delegates’ votes based on the partisan leanings of their home locality.

McAuliffe opponents struggle to break through in Virginia
Politico, Maya KingMay 1, 2021 (Short)

Former state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy’s supporters say she is best-positioned to challenge the former governor, but she has yet to gain broad name recognition.

In Virginia, 2021 was the best chance yet to elect a Black politician — and possibly the first Black woman in any state — to the governor’s mansion.

But with five weeks until the commonwealth’s Democratic primary, Terry McAuliffe, its white male former governor, is on track to secure the nomination easily.

More than 53,000 delegates register to vote in Virginia GOP convention
Virginia Mercury, Ned Oliver April 28, 2021 (Short)

The Virginia GOP says 53,524 delegates have registered to vote in the party’s nominating convention next week, in which Republicans will select their candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Rich Anderson announced the number at a candidate forum on Tuesday evening, predicting the event would be “the largest state party convention ever in American history.”

The convention is set for Saturday, May 8, and, unlike a traditional convention held at a single location, will take place at voting locations set up around the state to comply with COVID-19 safety rules.

Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial Debate
WTVR CBS 6April 6, 2021 (56:22)
Mystery groups spend thousands trashing GOP candidates for governor
Virginia Mercury, Graham MoomawApril 15, 2021 (Short)

In Virginia Cornerstone PAC’s video ads, Glenn Youngkin is an out-of-touch elitist whose global investment firm did business in China and paid Hillary Clinton $200,000 in speaking fees.

In mailers sent out by the Commonwealth Conservative Fund, Pete Snyder, aka “Sneaky Pete,” is a RINO who once said Donald Trump sounded like a “racist jerk.”

On the First Principles Fund website, Kirk Cox is a career politician, phony conservative and a “lead architect” of Medicaid expansion in Virginia.

McAuliffe showed leadership on guns
Roanoke Times, Andy Parker – OpinionApril 14, 2021 (Short)

Tragically, every day many Virginians continue to feel the heartache caused by gun violence. In the last 15 years alone, Virginians have had to witness mass shootings at Virginia Tech, Virginia Beach, and in Alexandria during a congressional baseball game. We made great strides to curb gun violence in this past legislative session, thanks to the leadership of Gov. Ralph Northam and the Democratic majorities in the General Assembly. Virginia finally passed crucial gun violence prevention measures, but we need to make sure our next governor continues to push our Commonwealth forward.

We need a leader who has the vision to roll out bold, comprehensive gun violence prevention plans, and I believe Terry McAuliffe is that leader. Terry is not afraid to stand up against extremist groups like the NRA, and in fact was the first southern governor to be elected after running with an “F” rating from the NRA. As Virginia’s 72nd governor, he fought the gun lobby and vetoed numerous radical Republican proposals that would have made our Commonwealth less safe. And as Virginia’s next governor, I know he won’t tinker around the edges. He’s going to go big when it comes to gun violence prevention. Terry recently released his gun violence prevention plan which includes a number of much-needed reforms.

Virginia’s next governor must be a climate champion
Virginia Mercury, Jolene Mafnas, OpinionApril 9, 2021 (Short)

With early voting beginning later this month in the gubernatorial primary, candidates for Virginia’s highest political office are already off to the races. As candidates work to carve out a niche for themselves among the crowded field, they are turning to climate change to make their boldest proposals.

A few weeks ago, my organization, Food & Water Watch, was proud to co-sponsor one of the first debates between candidates, the Virginia People’s Debates. All Democratic candidates for the role, save one, came to speak candidly on their policies, using the opportunity to speak to engaged constituents about the greatest converging existential threats of our time: climate change and environmental justice.

In a refreshing departure from previous administrations, all the candidates that came to the event pledged not to accept any campaign donations (direct or indirect) from Dominion Energy or any other state regulated corporations. All candidates also pledged to support a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure and to halt new permits for pending fossil fuel projects.

Northam endorses McAuliffe for Va. governor
AP, Sarah RankinApril 8, 2021 (Short)

Northam endorses McAuliffe in the race to succeed him, handing his predecessor one of the contest’s most coveted endorsements.

Northam, who under Virginia law cannot seek a consecutive term in office, said McAuliffe’s accomplishments during his previous term in the governor’s mansion show he is the right person for the job.

“Terry’s strong record of delivering for Virginians is exactly why we need him as our next governor,” Northam said in a statement shared with The Associated Press ahead of the formal announcement. “We will need bold leadership ready to build a more equitable post-COVID economy that creates jobs, invests in workers, ensures equitable access to quality affordable health care, and rebuilds Virginia’s thriving network of small businesses.”

4 moments that stood out during the first Democratic gubernatorial debate
Virginia Mercury, Graham Moomaw –April 6, 2021 (Medium)

The first televised debate of Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary started out tame Tuesday evening, with almost 25 minutes of civil discussion about how the five candidates onstage plan to lead the state out of it.

The second half took a sharper turn, with several attacks against former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, veering into a more pointed discussions of race, guns police tactics and government accountability.

Running as a quasi-incumbent, McAuliffe is considered the frontrunner in a field that includes Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, and Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas.

The GOP candidates for governor had just finished introducing themselves to members of the Princess Anne Republican Women’s Club when the forum’s moderator realized she had misplaced her list of questions.

Not a problem, she said: “I do remember one off the top of my head, so we’ll go with the elephant in the room. … The elephant in the room is election integrity.”

Not even Donald Trump alleged voter fraud contributed to his 10-point loss in Virginia last November. But the former president’s baseless post-election allegations have nonetheless dominated debate among Virginia Republicans as they prepare to select their nominee for governor in this year’s election.

Clean Virginia backs Carroll Foy for governor with $500K donation
Virginia Mercury, Graham Moomaw April 5, 2021 (Short)

The advocacy group Clean Virginia is endorsing Democrat Jennifer Carroll Foy for governor, support that comes with an eye-popping $500,000 PAC donation to the former state delegate’s campaign.

Founded and financed by wealthy Charlottesville investor Michael Bills, Clean Virginia had already given $100,000 to both Carroll Foy and Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, signaling initial approval of both candidates without going all in behind one challenger to former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the early frontrunner to win the nomination.

Coming just before the first televised Democratic debate, the group’s formal endorsement of Carroll Foy and accompanying cash infusion could give her a significant lift in the five-person field.

Billing itself as an anti-corruption group, Clean Virginia was formed in 2018 to combat the influence of Dominion Energy, the state-regulated utility many progressives see as exerting undue control over the General Assembly and its energy policy decisions. Bills, a former Goldman Sachs executive who has become one of the top individual donors to Virginia Democrats, has said his goal was to use his own money to counter Dominion’s political donations.

What to know about the 2021 Virginia governor’s race
The Washington Post, Laura VozzellaMarch 17, 2021 (Medium)

Crowded, colorful and novel, the campaign for the commonwealth’s top elected position is one to watch

This year’s race for Virginia governor is more crowded than any other in modern history, perhaps ever, with 13 declared candidates in the running: seven Republicans, five Democrats and one independent. The race is notable for another novelty: a former governor, Terry McAuliffe (D), is seeking a comeback. Since the Civil War, only one person has twice occupied the Executive Mansion: Mills Godwin, who served from 1966 to 1970 as a Democrat and from 1974 to 1978 as a Republican.

The candidates span the political spectrum, from a self-described socialist to a flamboyant Donald Trump ally who has marched through Richmond with an assault rifle. They are vying to replace Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who is prohibited by the state constitution from serving back-to-back terms.

By Geoffrey Skelley Filed under Virginia Governor Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Campaigns In Norfolk, Virginia If former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe wins a second term, he’d be one of two Virginia governors to pull this off. ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES Over the past two decades, Virginia has transformed from a Republican-leaning state to one that usually votes Democratic statewide. Nevertheless, the GOP hopes to win back Virginia’s governorship this November, and having held full control over the state legislature from 2014 until the 2019 election, that’s not an outlandish goal in a state with such a purplish-blue electoral bent. As such, the two parties are currently duking it out over who their nominee should be, with many of the same trends we see nationally playing out at the state level. For Republicans, that means a debate over how best to pick a nominee as the candidates’ rhetoric demonstrates the lasting pull of former President Trump as well as the new priorities of the GOP more broadly. And with the candidacy of former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the Democratic race, that in part mirrors the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential primary, in which an older white man and establishment heavy-hitter faced multiple women and people of color; ultimately in 2020, Biden won partly because of fears primary voters had around “electability” and who could defeat Trump, or in this case, “Trumpism.” Virginia’s recent political leanings may give Democrats the upper hand, but Republicans might benefit from a friendlier electoral environment because of the potential for a backlash against President Biden and the Democrats. After all, there’s a history of that. From 1977 to 2017, there was only one election — 2013 — in which the party in the White House won Virginia’s governorship. So national Republicans will certainly hope anti-Democratic sentiments show themselves in Virginia this November and act as a harbinger of things to come in 2022. Republicans: Going in for Trump — but perhaps not quite all-in But Virginia Republicans have had little to cheer about recently, having lost all 13 contests for statewide office held since 2012.1 During this drought, they’ve also flipped back and forth on how best to pick their nominee: a primary or a convention. Primaries, with their broader electorate, traditionally have been seen as more likely to choose nominees who have more appeal with the general electorate, while conventions with their conservative-activist appeal have tended to favor more ideological candidates. But that doesn’t appear to reflect the state party’s thinking this year. State party leaders decided to go with a convention in December, in large part to prevent one of their most ideologically divisive candidates from winning: state Sen. Amanda Chase. No stranger to controversy — she’s embraced the moniker “Trump in heels” — Chase had the Virginia GOP worried she’d rally enough support to win with a plurality — after all, she led the Republican field in two January polls. But given Chase’s toxic relationship with her own party — she left her party’s Senate caucus in 2019 and some of her Republican colleagues supported a censure vote against her in January — she might have trouble attracting support from a majority of convention delegates to win the nomination, especially in a race with 10 Republican candidates, around half of whom are serious contenders. Of course, it’s possible Chase could still attract enough support to win the nomination. She’s doubling down on an anti-establishment message that the party tried to rig the process against her — even threatening at one point to leave the GOP. But what’s more likely to happen is that delegates will pick one of the other candidates, who might not be “Trump in heels,” but are not exactly shying away from issues that appeal to the party’s pro-Trump base either. Take the widespread Republican belief in “The Big Lie,” or Trump’s false claims about election fraud in the 2020 presidential race. While other GOP contenders aren’t necessarily echoing Chase’s claim that the election was “hijacked,” just one — long-time Del. Kirk Cox — has said Biden legitimately won the election. Meanwhile, the other candidates are playing right into Republican doubts about the electoral system with their plans and messaging. Notably, wealthy businessman Glenn Youngkin has launched an “election integrity task force” as a major part of his campaign, while tech entrepreneur Pete Snyder has also released a detailed election security plan. The catch in Virginia, though, is that a more aggressive Trump-style candidate might play poorly because of the state’s Democratic lean. So some GOP candidates are toning down the messaging, although they’re still drilling into the same themes that national Republicans are fine-tuning ahead of the 2022 midterms, such as fears around “cancel culture,” online censorship and school reopenings. Take Cox, a former speaker of the House of Delegates and holder of a suburban seat that Trump failed to carry in either 2016 or 2020. Running under the label “Conservative Winner” to promote his electability, Cox has attacked “cancel culture” while promising to hold “Big Tech accountable” to protect free speech. Meanwhile, Snyder has primarily focused his campaign message of reopening schools and businesses, using the social media hashtag “#OpenOurSchools” as part of his outreach efforts. And Youngkin has leaned into his image as an outsider who isn’t just another politician, having never before run for office. The convention battle isn’t until May 8,2 which leaves plenty of time for things to change, but right now, the takeaway is this: Chase is an underdog versus the rest of the field for her party’s nomination. But her combative form of politics and embrace of Trump’s politics offers an important lesson: Republican voters everywhere like it and it’s shaping what our elections will look like in 2022 and beyond. The question now is to what lengths will the Virginia GOP go to balance its Trumpian impulses with messaging that might attract more voters in the middle, which will likely be necessary if Republicans want to end their losing streak in purplish-blue Virginia. Democrats: A familiar front-runner and familiar party divides On the Democratic side, über-establishment candidate McAuliffe is trying to win back his old office, having won the governorship in 2013 and serving until now-Gov. Ralph Northam succeeded him following the 2017 election. (Virginia doesn’t allow elected governors to immediately seek reelection.) So if McAuliffe were to win, he’d join an exclusive club. Only one other Virginia governor has ever won two nonconsecutive terms: Mills Godwin, who won as a conservative Democrat in 1965 and then as a Republican in 1973. But McAuliffe’s entry into the contest has raised the ire of some Democrats — including former Gov. Doug Wilder, the first African American ever elected governor in the United States — because McAuliffe, with his high profile and $5.5 million war chest, may swamp multiple candidates of color in the party’s June 8 primary. Most notably, two Black women in the state legislature who have thrown their hats into the ring: state Sen. Jenniffer McClellan, who’d been positioning for years to run, and now-former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, who resigned her seat in December to focus on her gubernatorial campaign. On top of this, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, a Black man, is also running, although his candidacy looks to have been heavily damaged by past allegations of rape that first broke back in 2019 while Northam experienced a scandal of his own, involving blackface in a school yearbook. But as an older white man facing a number of candidates of color, McAuliffe’s presence in the race certainly raises the question of “electability” — or that he’s more likely to win because he’s a white man. As McAuliffe himself likes to point out, he’s the only candidate to win Virginia’s governorship in the past four decades while his party was in the White House, having won the 2013 general election while Barack Obama was president. Debate over electability was a common theme in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, though, and if McAuliffe’s candidacy is any indication, it’s one that will continue to be an issue for Democrats moving forward. However, perhaps reminiscent of Biden in 2020, McAuliffe also has meaningful support from Black Democrats, including more endorsements from Black members of the state legislature than either McClellan or Carroll Foy. (McAuliffe’s record on voting rights, a hot-button issue, might also help soften some criticisms that he’s crowded out candidates of color as he restored the voting rights of hundreds of thousands of convicted felons during his governorship, including those of many African Americans.) And like Biden, McAuliffe is also unquestionably the best-known Democratic candidate. His high level of name recognition has certainly helped him start out with sizable leads in early public and internal campaign polling, too. But it’s not just name recognition; there’s also a question of just how progressive of a candidate Virginians want. Historically, establishment-oriented politicians have tended to win in Virginia, at least statewide, which is good news for McAuliffe, who leans center-left. But this year, McAuliffe faces at least one serious challenge from his left in Carroll Foy, who has endorsements from multiple labor groups, the pro-Green New Deal Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats. (To a smaller extent, McClellan may also be running to McAuliffe’s left, although she has more establishment-oriented credentials and has touted herself as a “practical progressive.”) For his part, McAuliffe has recognized that progressives have become a stronger political force in Virginia, and he has even promised “big, bold” plans to address inequities in education and promote a clean energy economy. But progressives in the state have still largely been critical of him. Justice Democrats have argued that Virginia “cannot go back” to the “pro-corporate policies” of past administrations, while Carroll Foy has attacked McAuliffe as “a former political party boss and multimillionaire” who is out of touch with everyday Virginians. However, Carroll Foy could face some criticism herself as she isn’t even the most left-wing candidate in this field. A fifth candidate, Del. Lee Carter, is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and could also win some support on the left. Ultimately, McAuliffe is betting that his winning track record and relatively popular governorship, along with some strategic tacks to the left, will make him more attractive to Democratic primary voters than his opponents — an approach that worked for Biden in the party’s 2020 nomination contest. And provided Virginia doesn’t swing too far to the right before November, that might be just enough to put McAuliffe on course to make an unusual return to Virginia’s governorship. Geoffrey Skelley is an elections analyst at FiveThirtyEight. @geoffreyvs COMMENTS FILED UNDER Virginia (108 posts) Virginia Governor (15) Terry McAuliffe (4) Virginia Politics (3) Virginia Primary (3) 2021 Governors Elections (1) NEWSLETTER
FiveThirtyEight, Geoffrey SkelleyMarch 24, 2021 (Short)

Over the past two decades, Virginia has transformed from a Republican-leaning state to one that usually votes Democratic statewide. Nevertheless, the GOP hopes to win back Virginia’s governorship this November, and having held full control over the state legislature from 2014 until the 2019 election, that’s not an outlandish goal in a state with such a purplish-blue electoral bent.

As such, the two parties are currently duking it out over who their nominee should be, with many of the same trends we see nationally playing out at the state level. For Republicans, that means a debate over how best to pick a nominee as the candidates’ rhetoric demonstrates the lasting pull of former President Trump as well as the new priorities of the GOP more broadly. And with the candidacy of former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the Democratic race, that in part mirrors the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential primary, in which an older white man and establishment heavy-hitter faced multiple women and people of color; ultimately in 2020, Biden won partly because of fears primary voters had around “electability” and who could defeat Trump, or in this case, “Trumpism.”

Virginia’s recent political leanings may give Democrats the upper hand, but Republicans might benefit from a friendlier electoral environment because of the potential for a backlash against President Biden and the Democrats. After all, there’s a history of that. From 1977 to 2017, there was only one election — 2013 — in which the party in the White House won Virginia’s governorship. So national Republicans will certainly hope anti-Democratic sentiments show themselves in Virginia this November and act as a harbinger of things to come in 2022.

Senator vies for governor’s seat after 15 years in legislature
Capital News Service, Hunter Britt March 24, 2021 (Short)

Supporter says Jennifer McClellan is ‘voice that Virginia needs to hear’

Sen. Jennifer McClellan is one of 13 candidates vying to become Virginia’s next governor; the commonwealth has never elected a woman to the top post.
McClellan, D-Richmond, has helped shape Virginia’s changing political landscape for 15 years as a state legislator. She departed her 11-year post as a delegate representing Charles City County and parts of Richmond City and Henrico and Hanover counties when she won a senate seat in a 2017 special election.
McClellan now looks to the executive mansion.

“We need a governor who can rebuild our economy, our health care, our economic safety net, and help us move forward post-COVID in a way that addresses inequity and brings people that are impacted by these crises together to be a part of that solution,” McClellan said. “I’ve got the experience and perspective to do that.”

When Jennifer Carroll Foy was first thinking of running for office in 2017, she says she sensed she wasn’t the favorite of party leaders. Two years earlier, Democrat Josh King had already come close to flipping the Prince William-area House of Delegates seat she had her eyes on, and several elected Democrats were backing his better-funded campaign in a targeted swing district.

“There was a sentiment of people saying you need to wait your turn and you need to wait your time,” Carroll Foy said in a recent interview. “People believed that you had to be tapped on the shoulder to be able to run.”

She ran anyway and won the primary by a dozen votes. Four years later, she’s trying to build a national profile as she runs for governor, part of a wave of new faces taking their shots the top jobs in state politics.

For Virginia Democrats, the explosion of candidates up and down the ticket in 2021 represents a shift from the orderly, top-down process that once determined whose turn it was to rise to higher office.

Virginia’s Republicans could find opportunities in this year’s elections to end a dozen years in the wilderness if not for their own dysfunction.

In Richmond, a Democratic administration is trying to extricate itself from the quicksand of a Parole Board scandal in which inmates serving life terms for murder were freed without proper notice or explanation followed by efforts to keep results of investigations into the board’s actions from public view.

A newly Democratic General Assembly swiftly enacted a remarkably progressive agenda by Virginia standards that includes elimination of the death penalty. Too much too soon? The election will tell.

State GOP to choose statewide slate in May 8 convention held from 37 locations
Virginia Mercury, Bob Lewis –March 12, 2021 (Short)

The Republican Party of Virginia’s governing body voted Friday to choose its nominee for governor and two other statewide offices in a May 8 convention spread out at 37 sites across the commonwealth.

RPV’s State Central Committee, meeting via videoconference, overwhelmingly adopted a convention call that apportions a different number of sites for each of the state’s 11 congressional districts, accounting for each district’s geography and difficulty of travel.

They range from as many as six polling locations in southwestern Virginia’s sprawling and mountainous 9th District to just one apiece in Northern Virginia’s compact, suburban (and Democratic-voting) 8th, 10th and 11th districts.

The “unassembled convention” plan does not specify cities or locations of polling sites. Districts will have until April 12 to select them and as late as April 24 to amend them.

Four of the five candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for Virginia governor in this year’s race met for an online debate Tuesday night that was largely cordial and absent a frontrunning ex-governor.

Del. Lee Carter, former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax took part in the event, which was hosted by political, racial justice, climate and other advocacy groups.

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, whose name recognition, broad support among many sitting lawmakers and fundraising prowess have vaunted him to Democratic frontrunner status, declined to participate.

The event was among the first opportunities of the campaign season for the public to hear from most of the Democratic field in a race considered the country’s marquee political contest of the year.

Chase attacks McClellan over leadership in Black caucus
AP, Sarah RankinMarch 17, 2021 (Short)

“Trump in heels,” said at a campaign event that a fellow state senator seeking the Democratic nod in the race would not “be a governor that supports everyone” because of her leadership in the legislative Black caucus.

The remarks about state Sen. Jennifer McClellan came during a campaign event, which Chase said took place Monday night. A video clip was circulated online by Democratic super PAC American Bridge 21st Century.

“I support equal rights not special rights. You know, Sen. McClellan, she is the vice chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus. … And I said she will not be a governor that supports everyone,” Chase said in an apparent reference to a similar attack on McClellan last year.

Split opposition boosts McAuliffe’s comeback bid in Virginia
Politico, Maya KingMarch 12, 2021 (Short)

With multiple women and people of color in the Democratic primary, groups that typically support those candidates are mostly sitting out the race so far.

The field of Democratic hopefuls for governor in Virginia is historically diverse. But that very diversity and its crowded size are causing a conflict.

That’s because the outside groups formed to support women and candidates of color are still mostly on the sidelines. And it’s leaving former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a white man and longtime Democratic insider, as the overriding frontrunner with less than three months until the primary.

Normally, these groups, which include well-funded political action committees in Democratic politics, would throw all their support and money behind candidates like Jennifer Carroll Foy or Jennifer McClellan, two African American legislators who would bring diversity to an office that has never been occupied by a woman, and only once by a Black man.

McAuliffe Focuses on Needs of Black Businesses, How to Help Them
Dogwook, Brandon CarwileMarch 4, 2021 (Short)

The former Virginia governor, who’s running for another term, spoke with Johnson Feb. 27 over Facebook Live.  The two discussed how the pandemic impacted the restaurant industry and black-owned businesses in particular.

Black-owned companies experienced the brunt the COVID-19 pandemic has had on small businesses. An H & R Block survey from February found 53% of Black business owners saw revenue drop by half. Only 37% of White business owners reported the same.

McAuliffe believes part of the solution is offering more state assistance to small businesses, and specifically minority businesses.

Virginia’s off-year elections could pose key test for both parties
CNN, Abby Phillip and Jeff SimonFebruary 28, 2021 (Medium)

Richmond, Virginia
A 16-year political shift has transformed the Commonwealth of Virginia from a solidly red state to a blue one.

Democrats in the state now control all levers of power — the Governor’s mansion, and both chambers of the state legislature — for the first time in a generation. And they are leading in an unapologetically progressive direction.

The story of Virginia politics in 2021 is a tale of two political parties. Democrats are riding a wave of demographic change and suburban revolt away from the GOP to political power. And Republicans are searching for a way forward, while trying to placate a base increasingly loyal to Trump and motivated by conspiratorial views.

As Republicans search for a path forward following Donald Trump’s defeat and the party’s loss of power in Washington, many are looking across the Potomac River to Virginia, where voters will select a new governor this November.

Well before the 2022 midterms or 2024 presidential primaries, the Virginia governor’s race will be a first real test for a post-Trump GOP — not only of whether Republicans can start to win back a state they once reliably held, but in who the party picks as its nominee.

With just three months before the state party’s planned nominating convention, attention has fallen to Amanda Chase, a pro-Trump state senator who spoke at the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on January 6. She later called those who stormed the Capitol “patriots” and has insisted the 2020 election was stolen.

Terry McAuliffe is running for governor again. Can anyone beat him?
Virginia Mercury, Graham MoomawDecember 9, 2020 (Short)

On Wednesday, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe officially announced he’s running for a second term, launching a rare comeback bid pundits and political strategists say will be difficult, but not impossible, for other gubernatorial hopefuls to stop.

“Certainly he comes into the race in a very formidable position,” said veteran political commentator Bob Holsworth. “He’s a popular former governor. He has tons of resources. And he loves to campaign. At the same time, the open question in this campaign is whether he is the person for the moment.”

Long an open secret in state politics, McAuliffe made his 2021 campaign official in an appearance at a Richmond elementary school, where he was joined by a group of Black leaders. Among them were Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, and Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, who will serve as co-chairs of McAuliffe’s campaign.

We’re about to see how serious Virginia is when it comes to advancing women in the highest elective offices in the commonwealth, and that’s particularly true for Democrats.

After the briefest respite, Virginia politics revs back up and enters the national spotlight when we elect our 74th governor next year.

Not one of the first 73 — and we’ve been doing this since Patrick Henry in 1776 — has been a woman. It’s one of the longest-running perpetual fraternities in American politics. With female candidates — declared, undeclared and still mulling it over — queueing up for both parties’ nomination sweepstakes, 2021 could be the year when that changes.

A total of 44 women have served as governors in 32 U.S. states and territories dating to 1925 when Wyoming elected Democrat Nellie Tayloe Ross, five years after women won the right to vote. Most of women’s success in governors’ races has come in the 21st century when 30 of those 44 women took office in 23 states, Guam and Puerto Rico, five of which have elected women governors twice during that time.

Summary

The 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election will be held on November 2, 2021, to elect the next governor of Virginia. Incumbent Democratic Governor Ralph Northam is unable to run for reelection, as the Constitution of Virginia prohibits the officeholder from serving consecutive terms.

The Democratic Party will select its candidate in a primary election on June 8, 2021. The Republican Party will hold a drive-thru convention on May 8, 2021 at Liberty University Princess Blanding is running under the newly formed Liberation Party.

General Election polls:

SourceRankingAs of
The Cook Political Report[57]Likely DFebruary 1, 2021
270toWin[58]Likely DFebruary 3, 2021
Inside Elections[59]Likely DFebruary 19, 2021

About

Source: CNN

Excerpt from article “Virginia’s off-year elections could pose key test for both parties”

16-year political shift has transformed the Commonwealth of Virginia from a solidly red state to a blue one.

Democrats in the state now control all levers of power — the Governor’s mansion, and both chambers of the state legislature — for the first time in a generation. And they are leading in an unapologetically progressive direction.

The story of Virginia politics in 2021 is a tale of two political parties. Democrats are riding a wave of demographic change and suburban revolt away from the GOP to political power. And Republicans are searching for a way forward, while trying to placate a base increasingly loyal to Trump and motivated by conspiratorial views.

Virginia’s off-year elections have always made it a proving ground for both political parties. But this year more than normal, it could be a potential harbinger of things to come for both parties.

Closing two paragraphs
“We have two different types of Republicans. We have firebrand Republicans, and I believe we have weak kneed Republicans. I’m a firebrand Republican,” Chase said. “I’m not afraid to speak what I believe is the truth and what a lot of other Virginians and Americans across Virginia — I’m going to be their voice.”
Amid the intra-party debate in the GOP over Trumpism and Chase, Democrats in the state of Virginia see an opportunity.

“I think they will continue to lose, and Virginia will continue to shift,” said Filler-Corn when asked how the GOP would fare if they continued to push Trump-inspired politics. “What does that mean for the election? It means we have to work hard to make sure that the other side doesn’t flip things around and roll it all back. Because it could be rolled back like that.”

Videos

Virginia’s political shift from red to purple to blue

Published on February 28, 2021
By: CNN International

CNN’s Abby Phillip previews Virginia’s gubernatorial race as Democrats ride a wave of demographic change and Republicans search for a way forward.

Democratic primary

Jennifer Carroll Foy

Auto Draft 17Former Position: Delegate for VA House District 2 from 2019 to 2021
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Jennifer Carroll Foy is fighting to:

  • Improve transportation by extending the Metro Blue Rail to Prince William County and changing the state formula to ensure Stafford county has sufficient funds for road construction and maintenance.
  • Protect the water we drink from coal ash contamination, by removing ash or recycling it to make materials like concrete.
  • Ensure that veterans have the resources they need to get an education, start a businesses, and fully participate in Virginia’s economy after returning from service.

Endorsements:
Dawn Adams (D-Chesterfield)
Joshua Cole (D-Stafford)
Kelly Convirs-Fowler (D-Virginia Beach)
Clint Jenkins (D-Suffolk)
Danica Roem (D-Manassas)
Juli Briskman (D-Algonkian), member of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors
CASA in Action
Democracy for America
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

Lee J. Carter

Current Position: Delegate for VA House District 50 from 2019 to 2021
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Throughout Lee’s career and civic engagement his focus has been on helping others — whether that was in his service in the Marine Corps, helping provide cancer patients with consistent care by maintaining biomedical radiation therapy equipment, or assisting small local businesses with IT support.

Endorsements:
Marianne Williamson, author and 2020 presidential candidate

Justin Fairfax

Justin Fairfax 2Current Position: Lieutenant Governor since 2018
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Justin Farifax has been recognized as one of the top young attorneys in the nation and a rising star in American politics. He is a prominent and highly successful lawyer, political figure, philanthropist, and a proud husband, father, and community leader.

 

Endorsements:
Nicholas Fairfax, 14th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom

Terry McAuliffe

Terry McAullifeCurrent Position: GMU Distinguished Visiting Professor since 2018
Former Positions: Governor from 2014 – 2018; Chair, Democratic National Committee from 2001 – 2005; Chair, Hillary Clinton presidential campaign since 2008
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Terry McAuliffe  is an American politician and former entrepreneur who served as the 72nd Governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018. He was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005, was co-chairman of President Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign, and was chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Endorsements:
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House (2007-2011, 2019-present)
John Bell, (D-13)
Karrie Delaney, (D-67)
Barbara Favola, (D-31)
Janet Howell, (D-Fairfax)
L. Louise Lucas, President pro tempore (D-18)
Richard Saslaw, Senate Majority Leader (D-Fairfax County)
Eileen Filler-Corn, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates (D-41)
Charniele Herring, Majority Leader of the Virginia House of Delegates (D-46)
Chris Hurst, (D-12)
Delores McQuinn, (D-70)
Martha Mugler, (D-91)
Kathleen Murphy, (D-34)
David A. Reid, (D-32)
Luke Torian, (D-52)
David Toscano, former House Minority Leader (D-57)
Roslyn Tyler, (D-75)
Jeff McKay, Chair of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
Levar Stoney, Mayor of Richmond and former Secretary of the Commonwealth
Sharon Bulova, former Chair of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
Richard Cranwell, Former Majority Leader of the Virginia House of Delegates, former Minority Leader of the Virginia House of Delegates, former Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia
John Grisham, author

Jennifer McClellan

Jenn McClellan 2Current Position: State Senator for District 9 since 2017
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During Jenn McClellan’s tenure in the General Assembly, Jennifer has served as a member of Governor Ralph Northam’s Transition Committee, Chair of Governor McAuliffe’s Transition Team, and a member of Governor McDonnell’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board, Governor Kaine’s Poverty Reduction Task Force and Commission on Sexual Violence, and the Civil Rights Memorial Commission.

Endorsements:
Jennifer Boysko, (D-Herndon)
Ghazala Hashmi (D-Chesterfield)
Mamie Locke (D-Hampton)
Monty Mason (D-Williamsburg)
Jeff Bourne (D-Richmond City)
Kathy Tran (D-Fairfax County)
Ward Armstrong, former Minority Leader of the Virginia House of Delegates (2007–2011)
Viola Baskerville, former Virginia Secretary of Administration (2006–2010) and former state delegate (1998–2005)
Patrick Gottschalk, former Virginia Secretary of Commerce (2006–2010)
Javaid Siddiqi, former Virginia Secretary of Education
Rodney Robinson, National Teacher of the Year in 2019
Justin Wilson, Mayor of Alexandria

Latest polls

Poll sourceDate(s)
administered
Sample
size[a]
Jennifer
Carroll Foy
Lee
Carter
Justin
Fairfax
Terry
McAuliffe
Jennifer
McClellan
Undecided
Christopher Newport UniversityJanuary 31 – February 14, 2021488 (RV)4%1%12%26%4%54%
YouGov Blue (D)February 6–11, 2021235 (RV)7%6%6%43%8%30%
Global Strategy Group (D)[A]January 12–20, 2021600 (LV)7%14%42%6%30%
Expedition Strategies (D)[B]December 2020– (LV)5%16%32%8%38%

Republican Convention

Source: Wikipedia

On December 5, 2020, the Republican Party of Virginia voted to hold a convention instead of a primary by a vote of 41 to 28. State Senator Amanda Chase initially indicated that she would run as an independent but later decided to seek nomination at the convention. Faced with pressure from the Chase campaign and activists to return to a primary, the state committee debated scrapping the convention on January 23, 2021. These efforts were unsuccessful and the party reaffirmed their decision to hold a convention.

On February 9, 2021, the Chase campaign filed a lawsuit against the Republican Party of Virginia. The suit argues the convention is illegal under current executive orders signed by Governor Ralph Northam. The Richmond Circuit Court dismissed the Chase campaign’s lawsuit on February 19, 2021.

Amanda Chase

Amanda ChaseCurrent Position: State Senator for District 11 since 2016
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Senator Amanda Chase is not a politician.  She’s a mom who fights for everyone and has proven she can get things done for the people of her district.

A trusted advocate and outspoken voice for Virginia families, Amanda was first elected in 2015 to represent the 11th Senatorial District. The district includes all of Amelia County, the City of Colonial Heights and most of Chesterfield County, where she has lived since 1979.

Kirk Cox

Kirkland CoxCurrent Position: State Delegate for District 66 since 1989
Former Position: Former Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates (2018–2020)
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Kirk Cox was first elected from the 66th District to the House of Delegates in 1989. The 66th House District includes all of Colonial Heights and parts of Chesterfield. Kirk is proud to represent the very district where he grew up.

On January 10, 2018, Kirk was unanimously elected as Speaker of the House by the members of the House of Delegates. Upon being sworn in, Kirk became the first Speaker in state history from Colonial Heights, the first Speaker to represent a portion of Chesterfield County since the 1800s, and the first Speaker whose profession was that of a public school teacher.

Pete Doran

2021 Governor Race - VirginiaFormer Position: Former CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis and Author
Website:  www.peterdoran.org/

Peter Doran is a Conservative outsider running for Governor of Virginia.

He is the founder and Chairman of Let’s Win, Virginia!, who has worked to recruit candidates across the Commonwealth in order to break one-party Democrat rule.

He is the successful former CEO of CEPA—a multi-million-dollar international affairs and security non-profit. He spent his career helping former Soviet Bloc countries rebuild their societies after the ravages of socialism.

Sergio de la Peña

Sergio de la PeñaFormer Positions: Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense; U.S. Army veteran
Website:  sergiodelapena.com/

Sergio is running for governor because he believes socialists and Northern Virginia liberals are ruining the Commonwealth. He believes the American Dream is under assault from the far-left seeking to destroy this country by attacking our freedoms and values.

Sergio supports fully funding police and law enforcement and arresting and prosecuting violent criminals, looters, and rioters. Sergio is a political outsider who’s never run for office, and supports term limits to get rid of career politicians in both parties.

Merle Rutledge

Current Position:  Merle RutledgeSmall government activist
Website:  rutledgeforvagovernor.com

Probusiness: Marijuana, Casinos, Uranium Mining, and cutting Democratic red tape that paralyze businesses.

Castle Doctrine: Enhanced Stand Your Ground law, Second chance pardons/expungement, and a State Recognized Gun, because Va is for Gun lovers!

Pro constitutionalist: Term limits, Tax reform, smaller and more efficient government and Law and Order Governor.

Kurt Santini

Current Position: U.S. Army veteranKurt Santini
Website:  santiniforva.com

Kurt recognizes the need for change in Virginia. He sees a need for strong minded, honest people who are willing to step up and fight to give the people back their voice. Kurt is not a career politician. He is a father, husband, military veteran, and concerned citizen. He has joined the race for Governor of Virginia because he wants to put his life experiences to good use for the people of Virginia and to restore the constitutional rights he served for. Kurt wants to help the people take Virginia back!

Pete Snyder

Current Position: Entrepreneur and marketing executive and Pete SnyderCandidate for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2013
Website:  petesnyder.com

Pete Snyder is a small business owner, a serial entrepreneur, an innovator, and a problem solver.

Pete started his first company from his apartment when he was 26 years old. That company, New Media Strategies, became the world’s first and one of the largest social media marketing companies.

Under Pete’s leadership, New Media Strategies was named by Inc. Magazine as one of the “500 Fastest Growing Companies in America” for three years in a row. Pete also built an award-winning corporate culture, as both Washingtonian Magazine and Washington Business Journal named New Media Strategies one of the area’s “Best Places to Work.” Snyder was honored by Fortune Small Business for his innovative management style when they named him one of the “Best Bosses in America.”

Glenn Youngkin

Current Position: BusinessmanGlenn Youngkin
Website:  youngkinforgovernor.com

After earning an engineering degree at Rice University and his MBA, Glenn and his wife Suzanne moved to northern Virginia. Glenn landed a job at The Carlyle Group, where he spent the next 25 years. Working his way to the top of the company, Glenn played a key role in building Carlyle into one of the leading investment firms in the world. His efforts have helped fund the retirements of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other front line public servants and supported hundreds of thousands of American jobs.

Virginia is being tested. This has been a tough time, with loved ones lost, jobs lost, and a country divided. What Virginia needs now isn’t another politician – or worse, the same politician. Government bureaucracy won’t lead the rebound; the heart and resilience of Virginians will. Getting there will take a new kind of governor, an outsider who is trusted and who can bring people together around our shared values. A governor who understands the challenges we face are worth taking on. It’s time for a new day in Virginia.

More Candidates

Princess Blanding

Current Position: Teacher; Former School Administrator; Activist
Website:  princessblanding.com

Virginians continue to face an array of uncertainties as we navigate through two public health crises: COVID-19 and systemic racism. We know more than ever that Virginia is in dire need of progressive, courageous leadership that will put people over profit and politics.

Princess Blanding, an educator for over 13 years here in the Commonwealth and a grassroots activist, has a history of fighting to elevate the voices and concerns of every day, working-class Virginians and for increased accountability from our local and state elected officials to address the inequities in our Black and most marginalized communities.

Brad Froman

2021 Governor Race - Virginia 1Current Position: Business Owner
Website:  bradfroman.com

I am independent when it comes to politics.  Half of my friends are Democrat, the other half are Republican.  They are decent people and I love them despite their labels.  But my life experience has shown me that we’re all in the same boat and are being led by a political class that can’t see through the fog that they have created.  We must embrace our friends, family and community with a common purpose through independent leadership.

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