RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney is preparing for a run for Virginia governor in 2025, a source close to the mayor told 8News Thursday.

The announcement from Stoney, first reported by Politico, is expected before the end of the year, 8News was told. A bid from Stoney isn’t a surprise considering he has told multiple outlets that he was strongly considering a run.

The mayor has already begun bringing in key members for his campaign team, including a chief strategist and staffers for ads and polling as he gears up for a run, 8News was told.

Stoney will join Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who Politico said has told Democrats she’s running, in the Democratic primary for governor. How Stoney will fare against Spanberger, who has represented congressional districts anchored in central and northern Virginia after redistricting, remains to be seen.

Stoney’s team is staffed with people with experience in gubernatorial campaigns and tough primaries, 8News was told.

This includes Doug Thornell, the CEO of SKDK, a consulting firm that served as a strategist and ad maker for then-candidate Wes Moore before he became Maryland’s governor, as chief strategist. Thornell and SKDK consultant Oren Shur will run Stoney’s campaign ads, 8News was also told.

Stoney will announce plans for “his political future” by the end of the year, Kevin Zeithaml, a top political aide for the mayor, told 8News. Stoney won a second term in 2020 but can’t run for a third straight term under city rules.

The news about Stoney’s plans comes on the heels of city voters again rejecting a proposal to bring a casino to South Richmond, a development project that the mayor got behind. Unlike two years, this year’s pro-casino campaign was overwhelmingly defeated by voters.

The mayor’s team also includes Fred Yang, a Democratic pollster, for polling, Becca Slutzky, the former executive director and CEO of the Democratic Party of Virginia, to lead digital fundraising, Alan Moore to run direct mailing efforts, Ian Mandel for research and Zeithaml as senior adviser.