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Today is Voting Registration Deadline for Gubernatorial Primary

The Republicans have already picked their Governor hopeful. Voters get to pick the Democrat hopeful on June 8th.

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If you need to register to vote or update any of your voter information for the June gubernatorial primary, you can do so online.

The 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election will be held on November 2, 2021, to elect the next governor of Virginia. Incumbent Democratic Governor Ralph Northam is unable to run for reelection, as the Constitution of Virginia prohibits the officeholder from serving consecutive terms.

The Democratic Party will select its candidate in a primary election on June 8, 2021. The Republican Party held a convention on May 8, 2021, at 37 polling locations throughout the state, after initially being announced it was to be held at Liberty University. On May 10, Glenn Youngkin was declared the Republican nominee, with Winsome Sears as his running mate.

Teacher Princess Blanding is running under the newly formed Liberation Party and businessman Brad Froman is running as an independent.

Ballotpedia has a nice rundown of the crowded Democratic field.

Five candidates are running in the Democratic primary for Governor of Virginia on June 8, 2021. Incumbent Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is unable to seek re-election due to term limits. Virginia’s constitution prevents the governor from running for a second consecutive term, although there is no lifetime term limit, meaning governors can serve non-consecutive terms.

Three candidates—Jennifer Carroll FoyTerry McAuliffe, and Jenn McClellan—are leading in fundraising and noteworthy endorsements.

Foy served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2018 to 2020. She previously worked as a magistrate judge and public defender.[1][2] Foy received endorsements from Clean Virginia, the Working Families Party, and three members of the General Assembly.[3][4][5][6] According to campaign finance reports, Foy raised $3.7 million and had $2.3 million cash on hand as of March 31, 2021.[7]

McAuliffe is a former governor of Virginia. He was elected in 2013 and held office until 2018, at which point he was term-limited. McAuliffe chaired the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005 and was the national chair of Hillary Clinton‘s (D) 2008 presidential campaign.[8][9] McAuliffe received endorsements from incumbent Gov. Ralph Northam (D), U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and 35 members of the General Assembly.[11][12] According to campaign finance reports, McAuliffe raised $9.7 million and had $8.5 million cash on hand as of March 31, 2021.[7]

McClellan is a member of the Virginia State Senate, where she serves as the vice chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. Before joining the state Senate in 2017, McClellan served in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2006.[13][14] McClellan received endorsements from New Virginia Majority, Care in Action, and twelve members of the General Assembly.[15][16][17] According to campaign finance reports, McClellan raised $1.7 million and had $442,043 cash on hand as of March 31, 2021.[7]

State Del. Lee Carter and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax are also running in the primary.

Key points of discussion in the primary have included electability, vision for Virginia’s future, and experience. McAuliffe has highlighted his experience as governor and his electoral victory in the 2013 gubernatorial election. In a campaign ad, he said that he “has always stood up to the extreme right Republicans, and he’s won … We can’t let the extreme right take us backwards. Let’s move Virginia forward.”[18] Foy described McAuliffe as Virginia’s past, saying, “When [McAuliffe] had his chance, he left most Virginians behind. That’s why we need a new leader with a clear vision and a record for getting things done here in Virginia.”[19] McClellan focused on her legislative and personal history, saying, “Virginians are looking for a new perspective: the perspective of a mother, a Black woman and leader driving progress for 15 years in Richmond.”[20]

This is the fourth contested Democratic gubernatorial primary in Virginia since 1977. It is also the largest number of Democratic candidates running in a gubernatorial primary in state’s history at five.[21] Democrats have won four of the five most recent gubernatorial elections and all thirteen statewide elections in Virginia since 2012. The state became a divided government after the 2013 elections with Democrats winning control of the governorship and state Senate and Republicans holding a majority in the state House. In 2019, Democrats won majorities in both the state House and Senate, creating a Democratic trifecta in the state for the first time since 1994.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Downtown

McAuliffe crushes competitors in Democratic primary for governor

For anyone wondering how Terry McAuliffe was feeling before Virginia’s gubernatorial primary, his election-eve shimmying spree was a solid indicator.

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For anyone wondering how Terry McAuliffe was feeling before Virginia’s gubernatorial primary, his election-eve shimmying spree was a solid indicator.

The almost-victory dance became the real thing Tuesday as the former governor and prolific Democratic fundraiser cruised to a lopsided win in a split field, setting up a general-election matchup with deep-pocketed Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin.

Tuesday’s victory cements McAuliffe’s return to the forefront of Virginia politics after serving as governor from 2014 to 2018. He had to leave office due to Virginia’s ban on governors serving consecutive terms, but there was nothing stopping him running again after a brief hiatus in which he explored the idea of a presidential run or a potential post in President Joe Biden’s cabinet.

Though McAuliffe has said fellow Democrats encouraged him to return and help keep the state blue, a claim backed by his lengthy list of endorsements from senior members of the General Assembly, some have faulted him for taking the rare step of reasserting himself atop a party that was racking up electoral successes and policy wins in his absence.

That didn’t seem to be a tough question for the primary voters who showed up Tuesday and overwhelmingly chose McAuliffe over four other contenders. Former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy and Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, both of whom had hoped to make history as the first Black woman elected governor of any state, were on pace to finish second and third, respectively. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, his political aspirations hobbled by sexual assault allegations he denies, was in fourth place as of about 8:30 p.m., while Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, was in fifth.

In-person turnout appeared sluggish at polling places Tuesday, though it wasn’t immediately clear if that could be attributed to a lack of enthusiasm for an uncompetitive contest at the top of the ticket or the broader shift to mail-in ballots due to the pandemic and looser rules on absentee voting.

Two-thirds of the 2021 Democratic ticket will be a rerun of the party’s 2013 slate after Attorney General Mark Herring defeated challenger Jay Jones, a state delegate from Norfolk.

Del. Hala Ayala, D-Prince William, backed by establishment Democrats like Gov. Ralph Northam and Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, came out on top in the crowded primary for lieutenant governor, adding diversity to a ticket with two other slots filled by White men who have held statewide office before.

In interviews Tuesday about their picks for governor, some Democratic voters indicated they didn’t look much further than McAuliffe, deciding early that someone who did the job before could do it again.

“He was forthcoming. He was honest,” said Doreen Taylor, a self-described “60-plus” voter who cast her ballot for McAuliffe in Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighborhood. “He told people what needed to be done and he did it.”

Nick Walker, a 26-year-old craft brewer who saw his Virginia Beach brewpub shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had a more specific McAuliffe story. He said he met the former governor at a beer event during McAuliffe’s first term and complained that the state’s arcane beer distribution rules were preventing small brewers from transporting their products throughout the state. Instead of getting brushed off, Walker said, McAuliffe connected him with a state official who could help.

“At that moment, he was just a guy who didn’t understand what was going on, but knew that something was wrong,” Walker said. “And instead of being like, ‘Oh we’ll fix it’ and then saying nothing, he delegated it to someone who knew how to fix it. And then we literally fixed that problem within the craft beer industry within a year. That doesn’t happen. And that was huge for me.”

While voting for McAuliffe at Petersburg’s 112-year-old train station, Carol Johnson said that, as a Black woman, she had considered supporting McClellan or Caroll Foy, both of whom have strong Petersburg ties. But she ultimately decided McAuliffe gives Democrats their best shot at victory this fall.

“I don’t think we have time to waste. I think we need somebody in there who knows how to get things done from the start,” Johnson said.

Darrell Mason, however, was all about getting “some new blood in there.”

“I voted for Jennifer … somebody,” he said, sliding down his mask to show a sly grin. Later, he said he voted for Carroll Foy.

“I know Terry McAuliffe; had my picture made with him. I like him and I know, hands down, that he’s going to win. It’s a sure thing,” Mason said. “I just want her (Carroll Foy) to get some votes to help her with her career.”

Other voters said they were frustrated by the way McAuliffe blocked the rise of other contenders who could have offered a fresher perspective.

Patty Loyde, a 51-year-old bookkeeper who voted for McClellan at a church in Richmond’s Fan District, said McAuliffe was “sucking all the air out of the room because he’s got so much money.”

“If Virginia allowed two terms and he won a second term, I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” Loyde said. “But he’s had his turn. And I just feel like it’s time for a Black person and a woman to be our governor.”

Martha Hoagland, a 23-year-old supply chain management major at Virginia Commonwealth University, said she voted for Carroll Foy because she was looking for the most progressive candidate with the broadest appeal.

“I just don’t want Terry McAuliffe to win,” she said. “Because I think he’s just kind of a corporate person.”

“He seems like a cool-enough guy,” said Kofi Roberts, a 23-year-old recent VCU graduate now working as a copywriting intern. “But it’s just like, what have you done since you’ve been governor that’s impacted me that I could point to?”

A McAuliffe win, he said, would feel “kind of like the Joe Biden presidency.”

“I wanted Bernie to win. Biden won. It’s not great. But it’s not terrible,” Roberts said. “Like the world still might burn. But at least in the meantime …”

“It’s not being lit on fire,” Hoagland said.

Mercury columnist Bob Lewis contributed reporting.

This has been a breaking news post. Check back for updates. 

Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Robert Zullo for questions: [email protected] Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

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Downtown

Department of Public Utilities accepting new applications for CARES utility relief assistance

Funds are limited and applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible customers are encouraged to apply immediately.

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On June 1, 2021, the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities began accepting new applications from customers who have fallen behind on their utility bills due to economic hardship due to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Municipal Utility Relief Program funding provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is being administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and supports municipal utility relief efforts during the pandemic.

To be eligible for funding under this Relief Program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a residential or non-residential customer of the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities with active utility service;
  • Have experienced/been impacted by an economic hardship due to COVID-19;
  • Have fallen behind on their City water, wastewater, or natural gas utility* bill for services from March 1, 2020, through November 1, 2021;
  • Have not received any other forms of relief or financial assistance for their City utility services. However, previous CARES Act utility relief recipients are eligible to reapply within the extended service period defined above.

Funds are limited and applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible customers are encouraged to apply immediately. More information, including the application, is available at www.rva.gov/public-utilities. Customers may also request an application via email to [email protected] or pick one up at any of the following locations:

  • City Hall | 900 E. Broad Street, Room 115
  • East District Initiative | 701 N. 25th Street
  • Southside Community Services Center | 4100 Hull Street
  • All Richmond Public Libraries

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Business

Governor Northam drops COVID restrictions as Virginia fully reopens

All capacity and gathering restrictions are now lifted as Virginia fully reopens. Businesses can still make their own rules about whether patrons must wear masks, however.

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Governor Ralph Northam today dropped all distancing and capacity restrictions, two weeks earlier than planned. Northam’s office says Virginia is able to take these steps as a result of “increasing vaccination rates, dramatically declining COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and statewide test positivity rate, and revised federal guidelines.”

“Virginians have been working hard, and we are seeing the results in our strong vaccine numbers and dramatically lowered case counts,” said Governor Northam. “That’s why we can safely move up the timeline for lifting mitigation measures in Virginia. I strongly urge any Virginian who is not yet vaccinated to do so—the vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19. The message is clear: vaccinations are how we put this pandemic in the rearview mirror and get back to being with the people we love and doing the things we have missed.”

The CDC guidelines state that fully-vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in most indoor settings, except on public transit, in health care facilities, and in congregate settings. Businesses retain the ability to require masks in their establishments. Employees who work in certain business sectors—including restaurants, retail, fitness, personal care, and entertainment—must continue to wear masks unless fully vaccinated, per CDC guidance. Those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks in all settings.

The state of emergency in Virginia will remain in place at least through June 30 to provide flexibility for local government and support ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Governor Northam will take executive action to ensure individuals have the option to wear masks up to and after that date. Masks will continue to be required in K-12 public schools, given low rates of vaccination among children.

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