Home Terry McAuliffe With the Primary Over, What Might the Losing 2021 VA Dem Candidates...

With the Primary Over, What Might the Losing 2021 VA Dem Candidates Do Next?

For instance, Lee Carter's heading off to be a sheep farmer...


With the 2021 Virginia Democratic primary over, and with the nominees – Terry McAuliffe for governor, Hala Ayala for Lt. Governor, Mark Herring for Attorney General – selected, we now move on to the November general election. We also move on to thinking about what the next steps, politically speaking, might be for each of the 2021 Virginia Democratic statewide candidates who won and who didn’t win on Tuesday. I chatted with a few Virginia Democrats “in the know,” and here’s what the consensus seems to be:


  • Terry McAuliffe – Is the odds-on favorite to be the “once and future governor of Virginia” (as Joe Biden said back in March 2020) starting in January 2022.
  • Jennifer Carroll Foy – Maybe run for Congress in VA01 next year? Maybe run for State Senate in 2023 (against incumbents Jeremy McPike or Scott Surovell, depending on redistricting)? Oh, and here’s an outside-the-box thought – maybe move back to her home town of Petersburg and take on Joe Morrissey for State Senate? That latter option seems unlikely, although Carroll Foy certainly put a lot of emphasis on Petersburg during her gubernatorial campaign, so that’s why it came to mind.
  • Jennifer McClellan – Stay in the State Senate and run for leadership in 2023; maybe run again statewide in 2025, or for Congress if/when something opens up.
  • Justin Fairfax – Political future highly unlikely.
  • Lee CarterSays he’s going to start a sheep farm and wants nothing to do with elective politics.


  • Hala Ayala – Will likely be the next Lt. Governor of Virginia, the first woman of color to ever hold that office
  • Sam Rasoul – Will stay in the House of Delegates, possibly run for State Senate in 2023…the question being whether Sen. John Edwards retires or whether Rasoul primaries him. [UPDATE: It’s been suggested to me that Rasoul could also run for U.S. House in VA06, but that’s a VERY red district, and Rasoul already tried that once before – against Bob Goodlatte in 2008, losing by 25 points – so I’m skeptical he’d do so again.]
  • Mark Levine – Radio/internet talk show host? Fox “News” commentator? Maybe run for State Senate or U.S. House at some point?
  • Sean Perryman – Stay engaged as an activist, perhaps run for office again, maybe in Fairfax County, for State Senate (against Chap Petersen?) in 2023, and/or statewide again in 2025? [UPDATE: Sean Perryman tweeted, “Just to save myself a lot of messages: I do NOT live in Chap Petersen’s district.”]
  • Elizabeth Guzman – Return to the House of Delegates, quite possibly run again statewide or for federal office in the future.
  • Andria McClellan – Continue doing her job as Norfolk City Councilwoman. Maybe run for mayor of Norfolk in 2024, if Mayor Kenny Alexander doesn’t run for another term at that point? Not sure other than that.
  • Xavier Warren – No idea, other than go back to being a sports agent?


  • Mark Herring – Likely serve as Attorney General for a third straight term, then either run for governor again or conclude his political career.
  • Jay Jones – Stay in the House of Delegates, possibly run for higher office – AG again in 2025 being most likely.

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