Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has entered the race to reclaim his old job.
McAuliffe, who governed the state as a moderate Democrat from 2014-2018, announced at an event at a Richmond elementary school on Wednesday he was joining the Democratic primary field to seek a second term.
“This pandemic is a turning point in our lives, and our goal can’t be just to go back to where we were before. We need to think big and act bold to take Virginia to the next level. And the one thing that has the opportunity to lift up all Virginians is education,” he noted at the event.
He went on to argue that in order “to build a strong post-COVID economy, the best workforce in the world and to create a path for the middle class, we need to make an unprecedented investment in education.”
The Virginia Democrat also sent an email to supporters just before the event’s kick-off announcing his decision.
McAuliffe is not the only person seeking the Democratic nomination in the commonwealth ahead of next year’s gubernatorial race.
The former Democratic National Committee chairman will have to best three other candidates, all of whom are black. They include Virginia House of Delegates member Jennifer Carroll Foy, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.
With McAuliffe entering the race, one prominent Virginia Democrat will have two allies in the running: Sen. Tim Kaine.
Kaine, who has also served previously as governor and as DNC chair, is a known ally of McAuliffe, but also has ties to McClellan, who describes him as a mentor to her.
The 2016 vice presidential candidate became so close with McClellan that he even officiated her wedding.
Reached for comment by The Post on whether he would back McClellan, McAuliffe or someone else in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, a representative for Kaine said in a statement, “We are lucky in Virginia to have a qualified, diverse field of Democratic candidates running for Governor who can do the job on day one.”
McAuliffe’s intention to seek the governorship was an open secret in the state. The former governor filed paperwork to launch his 2020 gubernatorial bid back in August, but declined to comment on it officially before now.
Under state law, governors in Virginia are barred from seeking consecutive terms. McAuliffe left office in 2018 and was replaced by incumbent Gov. Ralph Northam.
The former governor and Democratic power broker had previously considered seeking the 2020 presidential nomination, but opted against running.
With Post wires