Jan 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Pelosi endorses McAuliffe for Virginia governor

Terry McAuliffe is seen while campaigning.
Terry McAuliffe. Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is endorsing Terry McAuliffe's campaign in a very crowded Democratic primary that will winnow the field of those seeking to be the next governor of Virginia.

Why it matters: McAuliffe, who already served one term as governor, faces competition from four other Democrats. He's looking to Pelosi to help burnish his credentials with female and progressive voters in this year's contested race.

What they are saying: "Terry's progressive record as Virginia's 72nd governor is second to none," Pelosi said in a statement. "His bold vision and inclusive leadership are exactly what Virginia needs at this critical time, and I am proud to endorse him for governor."

The backdrop: McAuliffe, a 63-year-old white man, has mainstream party credentials as a longtime Clinton associate and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He's facing two women, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan and Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, as well as Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

  • Del. Lee Carter, a Bernie Sanders supporter who is trying to occupy the party's progressive lane, is also in the race.

McAuliffe served as governor from 2014 to 2018, but Virginia law prevents anyone from serving consecutive terms. It does not prohibit a second run if there has been a gap in service.

The big picture: McAuliffe is relying on his record as governor, national profile, deep donor list and close connections to make the case he deserves another shot.

  • Last week, he announced he'd raised $6 million, a much larger sum than previous candidates had raised at similar points in their campaigns, the Washington Post reported.

Be smart: Virginia is a former red state turning blue. Its political crosscurrents often presage the country's, meaning the result could be telling for Democrats in the 2022 congressional midterms.

Editor's note - This story has been updated to note McAuliffe's age and race.

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