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Terry McAuliffe at a Virginia State University homecoming parade. Photo: Parker Michels-Boyce for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Terry McAuliffe is telling friends he'll announce plans to again run for governor of Virginia in the coming weeks.

Why it matters: This could spark a divisive primary with younger, more diverse candidates and serve as a bellwether for 2024 races — including the next presidential election.

Details: Virginia holds its gubernatorial election a year after the presidential race, and its outcome can preview where the Democratic Party is heading and how it's viewed by Americans nationally.

  • This 2021 contest could expose deep divisions since it is expected to draw candidates from across the racial, gender and ideological spectrum.
  • It also may mirror the brewing battle between centrists and progressives in what had been a swing state but in recent cycles has become bluer.

The big picture: Other candidates already include two female members of the state legislature — Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy and Sen. Jennifer McClellan — and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who is African American. McAuliffe, as governor from 2014 to 2018, cast himself as a pro-business, job-creating Clinton Democrat.

  • He also made inroads with progressives by pushing for women's access to reproductive health, gun control and voting rights for former felons.
  • His PAC is flush with cash, having raised some $1.7 million as of this summer, and he counts nearly half of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus as supporters.

Between the lines: McAuliffe had been discussed as a possible ambassador or commerce secretary in the Biden administration, but he's made it clear the job he loves the most is being Virginia's governor.

  • Virginia law limits governors to a four-year term, but it also lets them run again after being out of office for four years.
  • McAuliffe passed on running for president in 2020, but if he won the governor's race, he could be primed to run for president in 2024.

Go deeper

Gov. Northam: "It's time to legalize marijuana in Virginia"

Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said on Monday he plans introduce and support legislation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state.

The big picture: If Northam is successful, Virginia would join 15 other states and D.C. that have broadly legalized cannabis use.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Key government agency says Biden transition can formally begin

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday that she has determined the transition from the Trump administration can formally begin.

Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries.
  2. Health: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking recordsWhy we're numb to 250,000 deaths.
  3. World: England to impose stricter regional systemU.S. hotspots far outpacing Europe's — Portugal to ban domestic travel for national holidays.
  4. Economy: The biggest pandemic labor market drags.
  5. Sports: Coronavirus precautions leave college basketball schedule in flux.