McAuliffe Makes it Official, He’s Running Again for Virginia Governor

December 9, 2020 by Dan McCue
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe walks up to the stage as he prepares to introduce Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden during a campaign rally in Norfolk, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia’s former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe made a widely anticipated move official Wednesday, announcing he’s once again running to lead the Commonwealth.

The governor’s race in Virginia is expected to be one the marquee political contests of 2021, and will likely be interpreted as a litmus test for public contentment with the Biden administration as it nears the conclusion of its first year.

By law, Virginia governors are limited to four-year terms that can’t be served consecutively.

McAuliffe, who left office in 2018, governed as a centrist and is considered to have had a largely successful term.

Among his accomplishments were making major transportation deals and restoring voting and other civil rights to felons who had completed their sentences.

McAuliffe also forcefully spoke out against the white nationalists who sparked a deadly rally in Charlottesville in 2017, at a time when President Donald Trump’s response to the violence was to say “there were good people on both sides.”

Despite his standing when he left office, McAuliffe is entering a crowded Democratic primary field comprised of three candidates who are arguing the state is ready for new leadership.

Other announced Democratic candidates for governor include state Sen. Jennifer McClellan and Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, and either would be the nation’s first African American woman to lead a state. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is also running.

On the Republican side, former House Speaker Kirk Cox has announced he’s running and GOP state Sen. Amanda Chase has said she’s running as an independent.

An aide to McAuliffe said Wednesday that the former governor is entering the race because he believes his past experience as the state’s chief executive makes him the most qualified candidate to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and the sluggish economy.

McAuliffe, who announced his election bid at an elementary school in Richmond, said he also intends on making improving public education the top priority of his campaign.

McAuliffe’s desire to get his old job back has been an open secret in Virginia for several months. He actually filed his paperwork to run in August, though at the time, he said a decision on entering the race was not final.

As far back as last March, Joe Biden announced McAuliffe’s attendance at a Norfolk rally by calling him the “once and future governor of Virginia.”

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