The Washington Post, a news blog owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has issued a controversial endorsement in the Virginia governor's race, backing a white man over two qualified black women seeking the Democratic nomination.
The Post editorial board on Monday endorsed Terry McAuliffe, who was elected governor in 2014 despite having no political experience beyond raising money for Democrats. The Post, which also endorsed McAuliffe in 2014, explained its decision by noting that McAuliffe's rivals, including two black women serving in state government, are "relatively untested" and lack political experience.
Candidates Jennifer McClellan, a state senator from Richmond, and Jennifer Carroll Foy, a former state lawmaker, are each trying to make history and become the first black woman to serve as governor (of any state) in American history. The Post believes history will have to wait because these qualified black women are unable to match McAuliffe's "talent for persuasion and strategy."
That talent was on full display in 2017, when Amazon announced its search for a location to build a second North American headquarters. Then-governor McAuliffe was instrumental in persuading Amazon to select Arlington, Va., located just outside Washington, D.C., in one of America's richest counties. The trillion-dollar company was lured to the state in part by tax incentives worth up to $750 billion.
The Post's endorsement, which does not mention the Amazon deal, is not the first time the Bezos-owned paper has embraced a white politician in a controversial and potentially racially charged fashion. In 2019, for example, the editorial board demanded the resignation of Gov. Ralph Northam (D., Va.) after he admitted to wearing either blackface or a Ku Klux Klan hood in a photo published in his medical school yearbook. Less than a year later, the Post published a second editorial recanting its call for Northam's resignation.
Northam survived the racism scandal in large part due to his party affiliation, but it didn't hurt that the person who would have succeeded him, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D.), has been credibly accused of sexual assault. Fairfax didn't resign either. In fact, he is running for governor in the Democratic primary. During a debate earlier this month, Fairfax accused McAuliffe of treating him like Emmitt Till or George Floyd.
On the same day the Bezos-owned paper endorsed McAuliffe, its executive fact checker Glenn Kessler announced that the Post will no longer maintain its database of President Joe Biden's lies. The paper will continue to fact check claims from politicians, Kessler said. Last week, for example, he took Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.) to task for suggesting that his grandfather—a black farmer who grew up in South Carolina during the Great Depression—did not lead a particularly privileged life.