RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Terry McAuliffe has moved one step closer in his bid for a second term as Virginia governor, defeating four other Democrats seeking the party’s nomination by a wide margin in Tuesday’s primary.
McAuliffe will face off with Republican Glenn Youngkin, who won the GOP nomination in the party-run convention last month, in the Nov. 2 general election. Independent candidate Princess Blanding has also put her name in the running.
McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, was elected as Virginia’s governor in 2013, the first time he had run for political office. During his campaign, McAuliffe said if elected he will push for an assault weapons ban and the creation of an agency to combat gun violence in Virginia as part of his gun control platform.
In his victory speech, McAuliffe laid out the key initiatives he aims to accomplish if given another term and painted Youngkin as a far-right Republican closely aligned with former President Donald Trump.
“My plan for governor is very clear. I promise you as governor we will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. We will have great paying jobs. We will have paid sick days here in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe said Tuesday. “We will have paid family medical leave. And I promise you within three years we will get the $15 minimum wage raised for every Virginian.”
McAuliffe also promised to go after pharmaceutical companies in order to reduce health care costs and that every Virginia home will have access to broadband within two years.
The former governor was the presumptive favorite in the primary race, picking up key endorsements and easily outraising his rivals in his quest to return to the Executive Mansion. In the end, the Associated Press called the race for McAuliffe less than an hour after polls closed in Virginia.
Tuesday’s nominating contest was never in doubt, but two candidates hoping to be the country’s first Black woman to be elected governor were able to gain support and came in behind McAuliffe in the race.
Jennifer Carroll Foy, a former state delegate who represented Petersburg, called on her supporters to back McAuliffe and pledged that she will “stay in this fight to uplift marginalized communities, to uplift people who need the help, and to be a fighter for those who can’t fight for themselves.”
State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, a longtime state legislator, said she plans to support McAuliffe “every step of the way” ahead of the general election.
“Although tonight did not go the way we wanted it to, we made history,” McClellan said in a statement. “Like Maggie Walker and Shirley Chisholm before me, we put more cracks in the glass ceiling that one day a Black woman will shatter. And I hope I have inspired her to find her voice and demand her seat at the head of the table.”
With Virginia’s Constitution preventing governors from running for back-to-back terms, McAuliffe is seeking to continue Democrats’ winning streak in statewide races and succeed Gov. Ralph Northam. GOP candidates have not won a statewide election since Republicans swept the races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in 2009.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.