Virginia State Delegate Lee J. Carter (D-Manassas) officially joined the governor’s race last Friday and is now part of the crowded Democratic field vying for the party nomination this summer.
Carter, 33, is the fifth Democrat to seek the Executive Mansion next November and had originally filed paperwork to raise money for a gubernatorial bid last month.
A Marine veteran and self-described socialist, Carter made his official announcement through a Twitter post that also included a short campaign video where he discussed disparities between the state’s wealthy elites and everyday Virginians.
“It’s no secret that Virginia is divided. But it’s not divided between red and blue [and] it’s not divided between big cities and small towns. Virginia is divided between the haves and the have-nots,” Carter said in the video.
“For too long we’ve listened to career politicians and pundits tell us that there is no other way, but no more,” Carter continued. “In this primary [election] we can finally pick a governor that will fight for the rest of us. For the teachers and nurses. For the 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.”
It's no secret that Virginia is divided, but it's not red vs. blue. It's the haves and the have-nots.
One side has the lawyers and the lobbyists, but Virginia needs a governor that'll fight for the rest of us.
I'm announcing my candidacy for Governor today. pic.twitter.com/DTRpVrk5KS
— Lee J. Carter (@carterforva) January 1, 2021
The Virginia Star reached out to Carter for comment, but did not get a response before press time.
Carter has represented the 50th House of Delegates District since 2018 and in 2020 he served as a Virginia co-chair for Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) unsuccessful presidential campaign.
Recently, Carter re-introduced a bill for the upcoming General Assembly session that would repeal Virginia’s right-to-work law, which makes it illegal for companies to require union membership for employment. He is also calling for the Commonwealth to funnel all future tax revenue from legal marijuana sales toward reparations for Black and Indigenous Virginians.
Former Speaker of the House Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), a GOP candidate for governor, issued a statement following Carter’s campaign announcement, criticizing his right-to-work repeal and state Democrats.
“It’s a scary policy that will turn the Commonwealth over to the union bosses that run Chicago and Illinois,” Cox said in the statement. “Also scary is that not a single Democratic statewide candidate bothered to disavow this, or any of the other extreme policies Lee Carter believes in, like defunding the police and eliminating private healthcare. It’s clear the socialist ideas that Delegate Carter espouses and is building his campaign on are already the mainstream of today’s Democratic Party.”
The four other Democrats currently in the race are former governor Terry McAuliffe, Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond City), Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax and former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy – who resigned from the state legislature in December to focus on the gubernatorial race.
Princess Blanding, the sister of Marcus-David Peters, recently announced a third-party run for Governor.
Only two Republican candidates have declared so far: Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) and Cox. Northern Virginia businessman and entrepreneur Pete Snyder as well as Sen. Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) are expected to announce bids soon.
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Jacob Taylor is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network. Follow Jacob on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Lee J. Carter” by Lee J. Carter. Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Skip Plitt – C’ville Photography. CC BY-SA 3.0.