Terry McAuliffe takes on Democratic opponents in governor’s primary race

Terry McAuliffe takes on Democratic opponents in governor’s primary race
Former Governor Terry McAuliffe (Source: NBC12)

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Five Democrats are competing to be Virginia’s next governor, as the party holds its nominating primary this Tuesday. With just hours left of this primary season, candidates are making a final push to get out the vote.

In northern Virginia, former Governor Terry McAuliffe maintains a strong base of supporters, but first, he must defeat four Democratic opponents.

“It’s really the whole field against Terry McAuliffe,” said Mark Rozell, George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government.

Mark Rozell, an expert in Virginia politics, says the candidates challenging McAuliffe – state senator Jennifer McClellan, former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, delegate Lee Carter, and Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax – are all running to the left of the former governor.

“It’s really hard to compete with Terry McAuliffe on name recognition, fund-raising, the ability to get the message out to the voters,” said Rozell.

As Covid-19 cases drop, candidates are holding more in-person events and traveling around the commonwealth to meet Virginia voters. While McAuliffe is widely viewed as the front-runner of the Democratic field, Rozell says Tuesday’s election brings a level of unpredictability.

“In these off-election years, during summer vacation time, relatively low turnouts happen - and thus, anything can happen,” said Rozell.

McAuliffe is spending the last days of the campaign season branching outside deep-blue northern Virginia. His schedule included stops in Hampton Roads, Richmond, Martinsville and Danville. Rozell says this underscores McAuliffe’s clear focus on beating GOP nominee Glenn Youngkin in November.

“McAuliffe is running like he’s already the nominee and he’s focusing on the republicans, which is quite remarkable at this stage of the primary process,” said Rozell.

If re-elected, McAuliffe would make history as only the second person to be Virginia governor twice, given state law bans consecutive terms.

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