The 2021 race for the governor’s mansion in Virginia got a little more complicated last week, when northern Virginia Delegate Lee Carter declared his candidacy for the office.
In his campaign announcement, Carter emphasized economic stratification as the driving force of discontent in the commonwealth. “[Virginia] is not divided between red and blue. It’s not divided between big cities and small towns. Virginia is divided between the haves and the have-nots,” he said.
Carter identifies as a democratic socialist and was a Virginia co-chair of Bernie Sanders’ campaign. He made headlines last year when he spearheaded a bill to cap insulin prices at $50 per month. With the 2021 General Assembly session approaching, Carter has already introduced a bill to abolish the death penalty.
Outside the halls of the state capital, the former Marine and electronic repairman has been active on social media. He’s got more than 100,000 followers on Twitter (six times as many as House Majority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn), and just before his 2018 election he made headlines after tweeting out a memorable self-initiated “oppo dump,” sharing that he was “on divorce number 3” and that “just like everyone else under 35, I’m sure explicit images or video of me exists out there somewhere,” though “unlike Anthony Weiner, I never sent them unsolicited.”
Carter joins former governor Terry McAuliffe, current lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax, state senator Jennifer McClellan, and state delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy in a crowded Democratic field.
McAuliffe, a career Democratic Party insider, announced record-breaking fundraising numbers this week—“the Macker” raised $6.1 million as of December 31. The rest of the candidates will share updates as a campaign finance filing deadline approaches in the coming weeks, but The Washington Post reports that McAuliffe’s haul surpasses any previous total from a candidate at this point in the race.
Spending hasn’t always translated to victories for McAuliffe, however. In his first run for governor in 2009, he outspent primary opponent and then-state delegate Creigh Deeds $8.2 million to $3.4 million, but wound up losing to Deeds by more than 20 percent. In 2013, McAuliffe beat Ken Cuccinelli in the general election, outspending him $38 million to $20.9 million.
The Democratic primary will be held on June 8.
Quote of the week
“He said that in his many years of doing executive searches, he had never seen a level of dysfunction as profound as what he was seeing here.“
—City Councilor Lloyd Snook, in a Facebook post, relaying the comments of the firm retained to find a new city manager
State senator killed by COVID
Virginia state senator Ben Chafin passed away last Friday at age 60 after contracting coronavirus. The southwestern Virginia Republican served in the legislature for six years, and was one of four GOP state senators to break rank and vote in favor of Medicaid expansion in 2018. Governor Ralph Northam ordered state flags lowered in Chafin’s honor over the weekend.
You Dew you
The steel and concrete husk of a skyscraper that’s been languishing on the Downtown Mall for more than a decade is now facing further legal trouble, reports The Daily Progress. Last year, the Dewberry Group, which owns the building, changed the building’s name from the Laramore to Dewberry Living—but the Dewberry Living name violated a trademark agreement between the Dewberry Group and a northern Virginia firm called Dewberry Engineers, Inc. Now, Dewberry Engineers is suing the Dewberry Group for copyright infringement. The building itself remains empty.
Eyes on the road
As of January 1, it is illegal for drivers in Virginia to hold a phone while operating a vehicle. If you’re caught gabbing while driving, or skipping that one terrible song, you’ll be subject to a $125 fine for a first offense and a $250 fine for a second offense. Opponents of the law are concerned that it will open the door for more racial profiling by law enforcement, while the law’s backers cite the dangers of distracted driving.