McAuliffe wins Democratic primary in Virginia governor’s race

VIRGINIA (thehill): Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) won his party’s gubernatorial nomination on Tuesday, advancing in his bid to serve a second term in the governor’s mansion.

The Associated Press called the race for him at 7:44 p.m. EDT.

McAuliffe continuously led the five-person field in polling and fundraising throughout the primary. He competed against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, former Virginia Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, and Virginia Del. Lee Carter. 

While the primary was largely uneventful, McAuliffe came under attack from his opponents toward the end of the race. The other Democrats argued that McAuliffe was out of touch and that it was time for a change in leadership in the commonwealth.

McAuliffe previously served as governor from 2014 to 2018 after running unopposed in the Democratic primary in 2013. He did not run for a second consecutive term due to term limits in Virginia.

Before wading into Virginia politics, McAuliffe served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee and as chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. He lost his first bid for Virginia governor in 2009.

The former governor addressed his supporters on Tuesday night, along with Gov. Ralph Northam (D), Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (D), and Virginia state Senate President pro tempore Louise Lucas.

“Are you ready to light it up?” he told a crowd in Tysons Corner.

McAuliffe highlighted Democratic leadership in the state under him and Northam before launching a barrage of attacks on Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin. The former governor hit the former private equity CEO on a number of fronts including his ties to former President Trump.

“We cannot let Glenn Youngkin do to Virginia what Donald Trump has done to our country,” McAuliffe said. 

The former governor targeted Youngkin particularly on social issues, touting his own record in the governor’s mansion.

“We are a different state than we were eight years ago and we are not going back,” McAuliffe said. “I can tell you this, folks. There is not one business that wants to move to Virginia where they have a governor who is putting a social agenda on us.”

McAuliffe said he spoke to President Biden after his primary win, telling CNN that the president said he was “all in” on helping him in his election efforts.

Youngkin and McAuliffe started lobbing attacks at each other weeks before primary day, with McAuliffe painting Youngkin as too close to Trump and Youngkin hitting McAuliffe’s and Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s records.

The Republican nominee released two new ads highlighting his status as a political outsider and hitting McAuliffe shortly after his primary win on Tuesday.

Youngkin also released a statement following McAuliffe’s win, referring to him as a “a recycled, 40-year political insider and career politician who pretends to be a businessman.”

“Voters from across the political spectrum agree that we need a new kind of leader to bring a new day to Virginia. Get ready, because Terry McAuliffe will default to the same political games he’s played his entire life,” Youngkin said.

The race is expected to be expensive. McAuliffe’s campaign announced this month that he’s raised $13.1 million since he announced his candidacy in December. 

Youngkin’s campaign announced this month the Virginia businessman raised $15.9 million since announcing his candidacy in January, including a $12 million loan from Youngkin himself, meaning his own personal wealth could boost him.