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Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam during a campaign rally in Richmond, Va. in 2017. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday will endorse his predecessor Terry McAuliffe in the race to succeed him, AP reports.

Why it matters: The endorsement could give McAuliffe a boost ahead of the state's gubernatorial Democratic primary, set to take place in June. Northam's endorsement is thought to carry weight in the contest, on the back of a tenure which saw Virginia shift dramatically to the left.

  • McAuliffe will face off against former Virginia Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan — both of whom would make history as the nation's first Black female governors — as well as Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Del. Lee Carter.
  • Polling has indicated McAuliffe is leading the race. He would be the first person since the 1970s to serve non-consecutive terms as Virginia’s governor.

What he's saying: “Terry’s strong record of delivering for Virginians is exactly why we need him as our next governor,” Northam said in a statement obtained by AP.

  • “We will need bold leadership ready to build a more equitable post-COVID economy that creates jobs, invests in workers, ensures equitable access to quality affordable health care, and rebuilds Virginia’s thriving network of small businesses.”

Go deeper

Virginia lawmakers approve marijuana legalization

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Virginia lawmakers have approved Gov. Ralph Northam's request to legalize the possession and growth of small amounts of recreational marijuana starting July 1, up from the 2024 timeline that had previously been agreed to.

Why it matters: The move will make Virginia the first southern state, and the 16th in the nation, to legalize recreational marijuana.

Exclusive: Texas nonprofit got massive border contract after hiring Biden official

Migrants attempting to enter the United States from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Photo: David Peinado/Xinhua via Getty Images

A Texas nonprofit that recently hired a Biden transition official got a contract worth as much as $530 million to help manage the influx of migrant children at the southern border, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The contract is by far the largest ever awarded to Family Endeavors. It's potentially worth more than 12 times the group's most recently reported annual budget — a sign of the demand the new work will place on its operations.