Home 2019 Elections Cook Political Report: 2021 VA Governor’s Race Starts “in the Likely Democrat...

Cook Political Report: 2021 VA Governor’s Race Starts “in the Likely Democrat column,” with McAuliffe “the clear favorite to win the primary and the general election”

On the GOP side, Cook thinks Kirk Cox is the favorite for now. Also, Amanda Chase is "exactly the type of brewing headache Republicans don’t need"


With Terry McAuliffe’s entry this week into the Virginia governor’s race, the Cook Political Report (note: behind a paywall, but someone sent it to me) is out with its initial ratings of – and thoughts about – the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election. Here are a few highlights:

  • Democrats begin with the edge here, and we are starting the race in the Likely Democrat column, as it’s incumbent upon Republicans to show they can run a competitive nominee statewide — but they also now face the threat of an uber-conservative and controversial candidate playing spoiler and running as an independent.
  • “The former governor [McAuliffe] has to be seen right now as the clear favorite to win the primary and the general election. With so many other candidates, the remaining African-American vote is likely to be split. Immediately after McAuliffe made his kick-off official, his opponents made it clear they felt it was time for a new generation and perhaps a more progressive politician. Each, however, will jockey to try and claim that mantle.”
  • On the Republican side, the Cook Political Report believes that, right now at least, former Speaker Kirk Cox has the “inside but very early track.” However, watch out for “Northern Virginia venture capitalist Pete Snyder, who lost out in 2013 for the lieutenant governor nomination at a convention, [and] is widely expected to announce a bid soon”; “Former Carlyle Group co-CEO Glen Youngkin…also exploring a bid and could reportedly spend $25 million of his own money to win”; “State Sen. Emmett Hanger Jr. and soon-to-be-former Rep. Denver Riggleman, who lost his own primary earlier this year after having conducted a same-sex wedding of two campaign volunteers, have also been floated.”
  • As for Amanda Chase, the Cook Political Report says that if she gets on the ballot as an independent candidate, “it’s easy to see how she could splinter the GOP vote and pull a Republican nominee even further to the hard right — both of which would only help ensure yet another Democratic gubernatorial victory.” According to Cook, “this is exactly the type of brewing headache Republicans don’t need.”

P.S. By the way, also check out Chaz Nuttycombe’s analysis, which is that if “Chase succeed[s] in getting on the November ballot, she would severely hinder the odds of a Republican winning the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial by siphoning off conservative votes.” On the Democratic nomination, Nuttycombe writes that “McAuliffe will face strong opposition this time: he will have to grapple for the nomination with other Democrats, including Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, State Senator Jennifer McClellan, and Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax” and that “McAuliffe’s nomination is far from a given.”

Also, on the Transition VA podcast, there’s some interesting analysis of the 2021 races by former Del. David Ramadan (R), including that “somebody like [Republican former Delegate and 2021 LG candidate] Tim Hugo who has a strict conservative record will actually have an advantage in a convention” and that for governor, “the two main competitors for it will be Kirk Cox and [Pete] Snyder – and among those two Snyder wins [the GOP convention].”

There's no paywall on Blue Virginia, and we definitely want to keep it that way! If you want to help support our work, you can donate here - thanks! Also, you can sign up for our weekly email list here.