Home Virginia Politics Endorsements Start for 2017 Virginia Governor?!? Talk About WAYYYY Too Early!

Endorsements Start for 2017 Virginia Governor?!? Talk About WAYYYY Too Early!


On Tuesday, after reading that Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam was essentially announcing his run for Governor of Virginia in 2017, I wrote that it’s waaaaaay too early for us to be starting that now. First, let’s focus on the 2015 state legislative races. Then, let’s focus on making sure the Democratic presidential nominee carries Virginia in 2016 (and hopefully picking up a House of Representatives seat or seats). Then, it seems to me, it will be time to turn our attention to 2017.

But certainly not now. Which is why I was happy to read that Northam had “walked that back somewhat Tuesday evening, telling The Richmond Times-Dispatch that he is in the preliminary stages of assessing whether a run is feasible and could be successful before deciding whether to seek the office.” OK, cool, I’ve got absolutely no problem with any of that, particularly since it’s 100% expected that, as Larry Sabato notes in the article, “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who ran for lieutenant governor because his or her life ambition was to preside over the state Senate.” And it’s also fully expected that Attorney General Mark Herring will run for governor as well. But again, why on earth do we want to be starting this in February 2015?

Yet, whether we want it or not, here it comes apparently, with the first major endorsement of the election — 2013 Democratic primary candidate for Attorney General, Justin Fairfax, endorsing Ralph Northam. What makes this one particularly interesting is that Fairfax is clearly running for Attorney General again, which means he hopes to be on the ticket of whoever the Democratic nominee for governor is — Northam, Herring, or someone else for that matter. Given that we don’t know who that nominee will be, I don’t think that’s a move I would ever have recommended, since it risks alienating any other potential gubernatorial nominees, but to each his own I suppose…

P.S. Just a side note, but I really wish politicians would stop referring to actual or potential political allies as their “dear friend,” “great friend,” or whatever, when obviously they’re not.

  • Moulin Desai

    Lowell, you’re right. It is major. A Northam-Fairfax pairing would be formidable.

    As to why things should start now, I think that you minimize 2 key considerations. First, given that our Governor is prevented from serving consecutive terms, why wouldn’t we want a candidate for Governor to start early at building a governing coalition and formulating a plan of action, if elected? After all, Governor McAuliffe has quickly done many great things. Second, why wouldn’t we want a full and open discussion on Blue Virginia and other places about the implications of a costly nomination fight for Governor in 2017? I think that we can agree that our nominee will have to raise a large sum of money to win the general election.

    Lt. Governor Northam is approaching this seriously.

  • Moulin Desai

    This is a good discussion.

    Absolutely, every Democrat should do his or her part to achieve the goals that you list. And I know that everyone will continue to. I guess where we differ is that I wouldn’t say that it’s an either/or proposition. That is, I don’t see how Lt. Governor Northam announcing that he’s seriously considering a run or Justin announcing his support & encouragement for a good friend prevent us from achieving these goals, let alone complicate them. The Party is bigger than 2 individuals. And I don’t see why we shouldn’t discuss the implications of a nomination fight while we fight to win in 2015 & 2016. The stakes are high.