Democrats Choose White Man to Succeed Blackface Governor

Terry McAuliffe cruises to nomination, crushes minority opponents in repeat of 2020 presidential primary

June 9, 2021

Democrats on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to nominate former governor Terry McAuliffe (D., Va.) to succeed Gov. Ralph Northam (D., Va.), who is somehow still in office after surviving a series of racism scandals involving blackface and a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

In a repeat of the 2020 presidential primary, Democratic voters were more comfortable backing a familiar white man in a field that featured a number of qualified minority candidates. McAuliffe cruised to the nomination, winning every single county in the state and finishing with 62.3 percent of the vote.

Former state lawmaker Jennifer Carroll Foy came in second with 19.8 percent of the vote. Jennifer McClellan, a state senator from Richmond, placed third with 11.6 percent. The runners-up were denied a chance at making history, as both were vying to become the first black woman to serve as governor (of any state).

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D., Va.) placed a distant fourth at just 3.5 percent. Once considered the obvious choice to succeed Northam, his political ambitions were significantly undermined by credible allegations of sexual assault.

The Washington Post, a politics blog owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, declined to back any of the black candidates for governor, endorsing McAuliffe in the primary. During his first term as governor, McAuliffe was instrumental in persuading Amazon to locate its second headquarters in Arlington, Va., one of the wealthiest municipalities in the country. McAuliffe lured the controversial trillion-dollar company to the state in part by offering tax incentives worth up to $750 billion.

The Post's endorsement, which made no mention of the Amazon deal, was not the first time the politics blog had embraced a white politician in a controversial and racially charged fashion. In 2019, the blog's editorial board demanded Northam's resignation after the governor 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.

The Democratic Party has a history of backing white candidates at the expense of qualified minorities.