Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has endorsed his predecessor to also be his successor.
Northam on Thursday endorsed the candidacy of former Gov. Terry McAuliffe for the Democratic nomination to run for governor this fall. McAuliffe, who lives in McLean, served as governor from 2014 to 2018; Virginia governors cannot succeed themselves.
"It's critical that our next governor has the plans and experience to continue the fight to rebuild Virginia into a stronger, more equitable future," Northam said in a statement released by the McAuliffe campaign. "When Terry puts his mind to something, he'll move heaven and earth to make it happen. I've worked side-by-side with him for years, and simply put, he always gets the job done."
Northam was scheduled to appear with McAuliffe on Thursday morning in Norfolk and at noon Thursday in Alexandria. The Alexandria event also was scheduled to include Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn of Fairfax, who endorsed McAuliffe in December, and House Majority Leader Charniele Herring of Alexandria, who also previously endorsed McAuliffe.
McAuliffe is among five candidates seeking the Democratic nomination, which will be decided in a primary on June 8. The other candidates include three other Northern Virginia residents: Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of Fairfax, former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy of Prince William and Del. Lee Carter of Manassas. Also running is state Sen. Jennifer McClellan of Richmond.
Northam’s senior political adviser, Mark Bergman, told the Associated Press that in making his decision, the governor met with all the Democratic candidates except Carter, a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist, who did not seek his endorsement.
Bergman told the AP that for Northam, it was a decision between McAuliffe and the two women, Foy and McClellan, both of whom are also Black.
Seven Republican candidates are seeking their party's nomination for governor in a ranked-choice convention-style vote that will be held May 8.
If McAuliffe is elected in November, he would become just the second Virginia governor in modern times to serve two terms. Mills Godwin was the first, elected as a Democrat in 1965 and as a Republican in 1973.