April 9, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that he is backing Terry McAuliffe in the race to succeed him, handing his predecessor one of the contest’s most coveted endorsements.

Speaking at an event at the Norfolk waterfront, Northam said McAuliffe was a “visionary” with tireless energy who is best suited to lead Virginia out of the economic recovery from the pandemic and cement the transformational changes Democrats have implemented since taking control of state government.

“Let’s all get behind him. Let’s keep Virginia blue, and let’s win in November,” said Northam, who under Virginia law cannot seek a consecutive term in office.

McAuliffe, the presumptive front-runner in the five-person Democratic primary, to be held in June, has been methodically locking up and rolling out an unmatched number of endorsements and said he was honored to have Northam’s.

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A former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and top party fundraiser for the Clintons who was previously in office from 2014-2018, McAuliffe has promised that increased education spending would be his top priority if elected. He’s also pledged to work to accelerate Virginia’s minimum wage increase to $15 by 2024 and said during a debate Tuesday night that he would push to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Northam’s senior political adviser, Mark Bergman, said that in making his decision, the governor met with all the Democratic candidates except Lee Carter, the only socialist in the House of Delegates, who did not seek his endorsement.


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