Governor Ralph Northam endorsed his predecessor to be his successor. Gubernatorial candidate and former Governor Terry McAuliffe received Northam’s endorsement in a week with several key gubernatorial endorsements. On Thursday, the governor appeared with the former governor in Norfolk.
“We need a leader that can continue this progress. We need a leader that will bring us out of COVID-19, a leader that will help small businesses. A leader that will promote equity in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Terry McAuliffe will do that,” Northam said. “He was a great 72nd Governor of the Commonwealth, he’ll be an even greater 74th Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Northam served as lieutenant governor under Terry McAuliffe, and was endorsed in his 2017 race by McAuliffe, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch. Northam’s endorsement of McAuliffe leaves out current Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax who, alongside Northam, faced calls to resign from McAuliffe.
Chase vs. Cox
Two endorsements of Republican gubernatorial candidates highlight the contrast between the two General Assembly members running for the nomination — Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) and Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). Chase and Cox are working to turn out the most delegates to the upcoming Republican Party of Virginia nominating convention, a process that tends to favor passionate, hard-right candidates.
On Tuesday, Chase teased a “BIG announcement” in a campaign email. Later on Tuesday, she sent another email. “This was just TOO GOOD not to share today so I decided to share this afternoon rather than tomorrow morning,” she wrote. ” I am honored to receive the endorsement of a true American patriot General Michael T. Flynn (Ret.)!”
“I fully and wholeheartedly endorse Amanda Chase to be the next Governor of Virginia. She is the strongest voice for VA’s small businesses, she is a leader and champion for our 2nd Amendment,” Flynn’s endorsement said. “Amanda is a strong advocate for the Pro-Life movement, for family values, and she will fight against the socialist agenda denying our Liberty and Constitution Freedoms.”
In December 2020, Chase repeated Flynn’s controversial calls to action over the presidential election results, leading Cox to blast the call to action as “dangerous.”
On the other side of Virginia Republican identity, Cox received an endorsement from Senate Minority Leader Thomas Norment (R-James City.) Norment described the former Speaker of the House’s experience as critical to turning around Democratic policies enacted in the past two years.
“To begin the daunting work of restoring the common-sense conservative policies that made Virginia a national model, Republicans must win all three statewide offices and regain the majority in the House of Delegates this year,” Norment said. “But to effectively fulfill that mission, we need a Republican governor who has the extensive experience to start reversing the damage on day one. Kirk Cox will be that governor.”
Norment said, “Most importantly, Kirk Cox will win in November. A native Virginian, career educator, experienced leader, and proven campaigner, Kirk has what it takes to lead us to victory in November.”
Norment overlooking Chase is not a surprise — Chase does not caucus with the Senate Republicans, and Norment was one of three Republican senators to vote to censure Chase earlier this year. But in a Friday email newsletter from The Republican Standard, Shaun Kenney argues that a rivalry between House of Delegates Republicans and Senate Republicans adds significance to Norment’s endorsement of Cox.
“So wide is this gulf that when then-Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) cut the deal to expand Medicaid in order to avoid a Bernie-style Medicaid for All proposal, it was Norment who was left in the cold as Cox and Northam cut the deal that brought it much close to what then-Governor (and former Vice President) Mike Pence achieved in Indiana,” Kenney states.
In March, political consultant and former Trump appointee Mark Lloyd told The Virginia Star that generally, endorsements may not change people’s minds about candidates. He said, “But, if someone is still trying to make their decision, it could make the difference.”
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