Former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe (D.) announced Wednesday that he will mount a campaign for his old job, promising a "new Virginia way."
"An old Richmond approach just doesn't work anymore," McAuliffe said during his gubernatorial campaign announcement. "Folks, it is time for a new Virginia way. And I know that old way of thinking because I fought against it as governor."
While McAuliffe promises a change to Virginia politics, a successful campaign would return him to the governorship he held between 2014 and 2018. McAuliffe, a major Democratic fundraiser who served on the Clinton Foundation's board of directors and co-chaired Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, left office in 2018 as the Virginia state constitution forbids governors from serving consecutive terms. McAuliffe's successor, Gov. Ralph Northam (D.), who served as his lieutenant governor, will leave office in 2022.
For Virginians, a "new Virginia way" is far from new: Northam has repeated the phrase during his time in office. In the Virginia Democrat's 2018 inauguration speech, Northam promised a new "Virginia way," calling it "a responsibility to shape the future." He also called for "a new Virginia way" in a speech on Medicaid reform the same year.
Northam faced widespread criticism in 2019 after he admitted to having worn blackface while in medical school.
Other gubernatorial hopefuls have raised doubts about how "new" McAuliffe's politics will really be.
State delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (D.) blasted McAuliffe as one of Virginia's "rich political insiders with strong ties to the special interests" in a statement. State senator Jennifer McClellan (D.) said that, unlike McAuliffe's campaign, hers "is about moving the Commonwealth forward, not back."