Virginia Governor Watch 2021: Updates on Cox, Hanger, and Carter


It’s been just a little more than ones month since the 2020 general election, but Virginia’s gubernatorial campaigns are in full swing, with old scandals surfacing for Democrats and a new war over the nomination process brewing in the Republican Party.

But that’s not enough gubernatorial news for one week – so here is some more…

Former Senator Bill Carrico (R-Grayson) Backs Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights)

On Wednesday, Carrico announced that he was no longer planning to run for governor, and that he was endorsing Cox.

“Though I believe that I could lead the Commonwealth with integrity and success, I will not seek the Republican nomination for Governor in 2021. I have prayed for wisdom in this decision, and the demands of my full-time job and family will not allow me to run,” Carrico said in a press release.

“The Democratic Party is waging a relentless war on law enforcement. We need leaders to stop the insane attacks on law and order before it is too late. Kirk Cox is exactly the kind of leader Virginia needs, and I am proud to endorse him today.”

Carrico is a former state trooper, and he helped unveil Cox’s “Partnership for A Safe Virginia.”

Cox said, “The top priority of our partnership is a new plan we are announcing today to commit $50 million to end salary compression and raise pay for state troopers and sheriff’s deputies.”

“At a time when Democrats are talking about defunding the police, we are going to prioritize public safety, treat our law enforcement officers as the essential heroes they are, and fully fund their needs as a core function of state government,” Cox said.

Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) Still Considering Joining the Fun

Over in Augusta, State Senator Emmett Hanger is mulling his options.

Hanger has represented Virginia’s 24th Senate district since 1996, and is a member of the finance committee, where he served as co-chair until the Democrats won the majority for the 2020 session, according to Ballotpedia. He previously served in the House of Delegates from 1983-1992.

In November, Hanger told The Virginia Star that he was evaluating a run for governor. Apparently, the Republican Party drama around the choice to hold a nominating convention didn’t scare the Senator off – not yet, anyway.

“I’m very encouraged to jump into the mix and see if I can influence the outcome,” Hanger told The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Socialist Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas) Files To Run

Meanwhile, outspoken socialist Lee Carter filed paperwork on Monday to run in the 2021 Democratic gubernatorial primary, according to a tweet from the Virginia Public Access Project. Carter was elected to the House of Delegates in 2017; his platform included goals like expanding Medicaid, expanding clean energy, reducing the use of cars, and limiting corporate power, according to Ballotpedia. Carter will also be up for re-election for his House seat in 2021.

On Twitter, Carter declared, “With divided government in DC, 2021 will be the year for VA to go big. I’ll fight for real COVID aid, an end to mass incarceration, to rebuild rural communities, and a lot more.”

Carter said that he filed to keep his options open, according to The Prince William Times. He is basing his decision on whether or not he “hears discussion from other candidates about making big, transformative change to our political system and to our economy to make sure we have an economy that works for the rest of us.”

Carter told The Times, “It’s got to work for all eight-and-a-half million Virginians, and I’m just not hearing proposals for that kind of change from anyone on the gubernatorial stage right now.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Virginia Executive Mansion” by Leonard Woody. CC BY 3.0.






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