Del. Elizabeth Guzman has filed to seek re-election for a third term in the House of Delegates in addition to seeking the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, joining already crowded Democratic primaries for both seats.
Guzman, D-31st, of Woodbridge, had said several months ago when she announced her candidacy for lieutenant governor that she would not seek re-election in the House of Delegates. Since then, four candidates have filed to run for her seat, including one who has picked up endorsements from key Democrats in the Prince William delegation.
Guzman said in an interview on Monday she chose to run at the insistence of her constituents in the 31st District, which includes parts of eastern Prince William and Fauquier counties.
“I have gotten a lot of feedback from my constituents. And while they are very excited about me running to be the first Latinx woman lieutenant governor, they don’t want me to lose my voice. I’m an effective legislator and I’m fighting for working people,” Guzman said.
Guzman and Del. Hala Ayala, D-51st, of Woodbridge, were the first Hispanic women to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2017. Both were re-elected in 2019, and both are now vying for lieutenant governor.
Guzman has been an advocate for workers' rights, including pushing for guaranteed paid sick leave for Virginia workers, and for immigrants' rights.
Guzman also serves as an appointed member of the Prince William-Manassas Regional Jail Board and was among several jail board members who pushed to end Prince William County’s 287(g) agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in June 2020. Prince William County was one of only two Virginia jurisdictions to hold such an agreement.
Idris O’Connor, Katelyn Page, Rod Hall and Kara Pitek are also running for the Democratic nomination in the 31st District. Hall, a transportation official and former President Barack Obama appointee, has already picked up endorsements from Sen. Scott Surovell, D-36th, Sen. Jeremy McPike, D-29th, and Del. Luke Torian, D-52nd, some of whom have endorsed Guzman in past election cycles.
Guzman said she had reached out to the other candidates to let them know she was preparing to enter the race in recent days. “I’ve always told them I would make a decision by March,” Guzman said. “I was very transparent about the process.”
On the Republican side, only one candidate, newcomer Ben Baldwin, a U.S. Marine veteran and financial advisor living in Woodbridge, has filed for the Republican nomination. The seat is rated “competitive” based on 2016 and 2017 gubernatorial results, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
Ayala has filed to run only for lieutenant governor and will not file for re-election for the 51st District House of Delegates’ seat. Ayala has endorsed Briana Sewell in that race, according to a statement Ayala released Monday.
Sewell is the only Democrat vying for her party's nomination in the 51st District race, but two Republicans – Tim Cox and Jeff Dove – are vying for the Republican nomination.
In the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, Guzman is one of eight candidates, a field that includes Ayala and Del. Mark Levine, D-45th, of Fairfax County, and Del. Sam Rasoul, D-11th, of the Roanoke area. Also vying for the nomination are Paul Goldman, Andria McClellan, Sean Perryman and Xavier Warren. Guzman is so far in fifth place in fund-raising for that race, with Rasoul leading the pack by raising more than $655,000, according to VPAP.
Guzman said Monday she is confident that she will have the support of her constituents in the Democratic primary.
“I want to do the people’s work in any capacity that I can,” Guzman said. “I want my constituents to know that I am committed to representing them and that I [will] work for them either as a delegate or lieutenant governor.”
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