Del. Lee Carter of Manassas has filed a statement of organization to run for Virginia governor in 2021 but says he’s still deciding whether he’ll launch a gubernatorial campaign and is “keeping his options open.”
“I’m still in the decision phase of whether or not to run for governor. But I did file some paperwork because, at this point, it is a prerequisite to keep that option open,” Carter, 33, said in an interview Wednesday.
News of Carter’s filing corresponded with Wednesday’s announcement that former governor Terry McAuliff, 64, will also enter the race.
Carter, a self-described democratic-socialist, said his decision to run will be solely based on whether he “hears discussion from other candidates about making big, transformative change to our political system and to our economy to make sure we have an economy that works for the rest of us.”
“It’s got to work for all eight-and-a-half million Virginians, and I’m just not hearing proposals for that kind of change from anyone on the gubernatorial stage right now,” Carter said.
Carter added that he will not drop his run for re-election in his 50th district House of Delegates seat even if he jumps into the gubernatorial race. Virginia law allows candidates in statewide primaries to run for their House seats at the same time.
“If that doesn’t work out, we still need someone in the General Assembly talking about these issues,” Carter said.
If Carter does run for governor, he will face McAuliffe as well as Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-9th, and Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-2nd, in the Democratic primary. Foy, of Woodbridge, announced Tuesday that she’s resigning her House of Delegates seat to focus on her gubernatorial run.
Del. Kirk Cox, R-66th, of Colonial Heights, and state Sen. Amanda Chase, R-11th, of Chesterfield, are the only Republicans running for governor, so far. Chase, however, said over the weekend she is planning to run as an independent and will not participate in the GOP nominating process. The Republican Party of Virginia decided Saturday to hold a party-run nominating process instead of participating in a state-run primary.
Reach Daniel Berti at email@example.com