Del. Lee Carter (D-50th) has made it official -- he's running for governor this year.
Carter, who currently represents Manassas and parts of Prince William County in the state House of Delegates, said in a new release he's joining the crowded field of Democratic candidates to give Virginians a choice.
“For too long, we’ve listened to career politicians and pundits tell us that there is no other way,” he said. “But no more. In this primary we can finally pick a Governor that will fight for the rest of us.”
Carter will go up against former governor Terry McAuliffe, Prince William Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-2nd), Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-9th) in the Democratic primary.
“For the teachers and nurses. For shipbuilders and students struggling to make tuition. For everyone with a stack of bills on the kitchen table waiting to get paid. I’m running for Governor so the rest of us can finally get what we need and deserve,” his statement said.
Carter, a self-described socialist, represents the farthest left wing of the state’s Democratic party, and has at times been combative in Richmond and online in his support for labor rights, universal healthcare, environmental protections and taxes on the wealthy. His legislative track record, however, has been mixed. In the 2020 session, along with three other legislators, Carter sponsored a bill that successfully banned strip searches of minors when visiting someone in jail. Other bills he sponsored, like one that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana or another that would have allowed certain public employees to strike, were either continued to the next session or failed to get out of committee.
Carter won his first race in 2017, knocking off six-term Republican incumbent and House Majority Whip Jackson MIller by almost nine points. Two years later, he held off challenges from two sitting Manassas City Council members, first beating Democrat Mark Wolfe in the primary, then defeating Republican Ian Lovejoy in the general election.
In an interview with InsideNoVA last month, he said he’s been defying conventional political wisdom since he entered the field.
“People are clamoring for change, people need a big change and large scale fundamental change is possible. … It’s not all the time that the change of the magnitude we need is possible, but it is possible now and we simply can’t let this moment get away from us,” Carter said.