RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Former Governor Bob McDonnell has endorsed former House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox and his 2021 gubernatorial campaign.

McDonnell is the last Republican to win a statewide election in the commonwealth. He served as the 71st governor of Virginia from 2010-2014. The two had a close working relationship during that time.

“Kirk Cox is a highly accomplished career teacher and servant leader who has shown through more than 30 years of public service that he loves this Commonwealth deeply,” McDonnell said. “He is a humble effective legislator who has great vision for bringing people together to pass laws that actually work and solve real problems. He is a consistent conservative who governs with the traditional values made this state a national model for good government.”

Gov. McDonnell joins an already lengthy list of supporters, including another former governor in George Allen, to endorse Cox’s bid.

“It is an honor to have an effective leader and proven winner like Governor Bob McDonnell endorse our campaign,” said Cox. “In order to win in 2021, our party needs to come together, which is why the support of Governor McDonnell, a tested conservative and loyal Republican, means so much. It is long overdue Republicans win statewide in Virginia, and there is no better person to have in our corner than the last individual to actually do it.

The former house speaker’s competition includes, three other republicans, five democrats and one independent. The republicans running for governor include Sen. Amanda Chase, Sergio de la Pena and Glenn Youngkin. The republican candidate will be chosen using a convention method instead of a primary election this year.

Even larger is the list of democratic candidates for governor, Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, Del. Lee Carter, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Sen. Jennifer McClellan are all vying for the Democratic nomination.

The one independent candidate, Princess Blanding, is an activist whose brother Marcus-David Peters was shot and killed by a Richmond police officer in 2018.