Second Black Woman Enters Race For Virginia Governor

Jennifer McClellan would also be the first Black woman in the nation to hold the position.

The 2021 race for governor of Virginia is beginning to heat up as several candidates have lined up to replace Gov. Ralph Northam

In an announcement released Thursday (June 18), Democratic State Sen. Jennifer McClellan announced her bid for the office and could become the first African-American woman governor of the state and in the nation. 

McClellan, 47, is one of two Black women who have announced candidacies for the 2021 election, joining Democratic delegate Jennifer Caroll Foy in the race, who announced her candidacy late last month. 

Virginia’s first African-American governor was Doug Wilder, who served from 1990 to 1994.

In a video announcement, McClellan emphasized the state’s health, economic and racial challenges.

“This is a moment to step boldly into our future. I’m running for governor to lead Virginia in building an inclusive economy that doesn’t leave people behind, a healthcare system that everyone can access affordably, and public schools that deliver on the promise in our constitution to provide high quality education to all children,” she said in a statement.

Although currently a state senator, McClellan also served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2006 to 2017. According to Politico, her platform focuses on education and she served as a member of the House Education, Commerce and Labor Committee.

“In some ways the basics haven’t changed,” McClellan explained, according to Politico. “You need to meet people where they are and give them information that [shows] you understand their problems. And whether we were in a pandemic or not, to truly do that, you need many different modes.”

But the race already may have stiff competition for her. In addition to Carroll Foy, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, another African American; and state Attorney General Mark Herring have already declared their candidacies.

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