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An Early Look at the 2021 Gubernatorial Race


The election for governor is still 18 months away. But, candidates are already coming out of the woodwork.

The field of Democrats eyeing a race for governor next year is already crowded, and a number of people may still jump in. Attorney General Mark Herring and Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax have already expressed interest. And this week Delegate Jennifer Carroll-Foy formally announced her campaign.

Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says she’s smart to get in early. 

“There are a lot of people who are always eyeing the governor’s office," Farnsworth says. "And the sooner you get in perhaps the better, particularly if you are trying to make a name for yourself in a statewide contest and you’ve only served in a lower visability role.”

On the Republican side, Senator Amanda Chase is the only Republican who has announced her campaign so far.

Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says many Republicans may be waiting to see what happens with the presidential election. 

“If Donald Trump does better than expected in Virginia in this election, then it might encourage moderate establishment Republicans like a Barbara Comstock, for example, to run," he explains. "But if President Trump doesn’t do really well it may discourage a moderate.”

On the other hand, if Joe Biden wins the presidential election, some Republicans believe they might be in a better position to ride the wave of opposition that usually happens in the first year of an administration.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.