Virginians chose a familiar name Tuesday in former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who easily won the Democratic nomination for governor.
According to unofficial results from 2,536 out of 2,584 precincts reporting, McAuliffe received about 62% percent, or 269,859 votes.
Among the chants of “Terry!” Terry!” Terry” from several hundred supporters at an election night party at a Hilton Hotel ballroom in Tysons Corner, he reminded listeners that the state has challenges ahead.
“We got to go big. We’ve got to be bold but we need seasoned leadership to move us forward and to lift up all Virginians,” said McAuliffe, standing on stage alongside his wife and three of his five children.
McAuliffe reiterated some of his campaign promises that include passing a $15 an hour minimum wage in three years, a $2 billion investment in education and incorporating broadband technology in every Virginia household within two years.
Besides McAuliffe’s name recognition as the state’s former top leader from 2014 to 2018, he received plenty of support from major politicians including Gov. Ralph Northam, state House Majority Leader Charniele Herring and city of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.
The state doesn’t allow governors to serve two consecutive terms but they can seek re-election in the following election cycle.
McAuliffe, 64, used some of his 16-minute speech to address his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, who received an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.
The Democrat seeks to align Youngkin with Trump in his efforts to secure a uniform policy of election integrity — something he believes remains essential given Trump’s 2020 election “conspiracy” that he lost the presidency.
McAuliffe called Youngkin a “job destroyer” and someone who vacations with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
“Who does that?” McAuliffe said. “Glenn Youngkin is running for governor because of Donald Trump. I am running for governor because of you.”
Youngkin, a 54-year-old businessman and former executive of the Carlyle Group, released a statement to “welcome” McAuliffe to the race for governor.
“Get ready, because Terry McAuliffe will default to the same political games he’s played his entire life,” he said. “I’m confident that voters will not choose a recycled, 40-year political insider and career politician who pretends to be a businessman, who talks big but doesn’t deliver and who failed Virginians the first time he was governor.”
The four other Democratic challengers, according to unofficial results, received the number of votes in this order:
- Former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy with 20%, or 89,018 votes
- State Sen. Jennifer McClellan garnered 11.5%, or 50,379 votes.
- Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax received nearly 4%, or 15,809 votes.
- Del. Lee Carter garnered 3%, or 12,370 votes.
Carroll Foy, Fairfax and McClellan sought to become the state’s second Black governor elected since Douglas Wilder in 1990.
If chosen, Carroll Foy or McClellan would’ve become the state’s first Black woman elected governor and the nation’s first-ever Black woman chosen to the top position.
McClellan released a statement to congratulate McAuliffe on his victory and to work with him to defeat Youngkin.
“I know that Terry will lead the Democratic Party of Virginia forward with a fierce determination and a commitment to building a brighter future for our Commonwealth,” she said.
Carroll Foy, 39, also released a statement after coming in second in the primary.
“Unfortunately, the result wasn’t what we were hoping for,” she said. “However, I’m so proud of all we accomplished together.”
Rebecca Young-Marquardt of Alexandria said Carroll Foy’s accomplishments including being one of the first female graduates of Virginia Military Institute not only made her qualified for the Democratic nomination but also would have benefited the Commonwealth because “we need new blood.
“We need a new person and a different perspective and a person of color and a woman,” Young-Marquardt said after she voted Tuesday.
But the majority of voters chose McAuliffe.
Kelvin Manurs, founder and board co-chair of Arm & Arm in Alexandria, said McAuliffe “is a brother” with experience and knowledge of the state. He said McAuliffe’s been a supporter of his organization that helps residents returning home from jail, military service and other traumatic experiences.
“Someone that constitutes a brother is someone who is going to tell you exactly how it is and go to bat for you but is going to hold you accountable as well,” said Manurs, who wore a “Terry 2021” pin.
“Terry McAuliffe has been an individual . . . who already has his. He’s a businessman but he is out there because he is community-focused. He has our community in mind and that’s why he is making this second run.”
Editor’s Note: In the race for lieutenant governor, Hala Ayala beat out Sam Rasoul, Andria McClellan, Mark Levine, Sean Perryman and Xavier Warren for the nomination. In November, she’ll go against Republican Winsome Sears who won the nomination last month. If either Ayala or Sears is elected Virginia will have its first female lieutenant general.