Dec 3rd, 2020

Norfolk City Councilmember Joins Race for Virginia Lieutenant Governor

Originally posted by: DCist

Norfolk City Councilmember Andria McClellan has joined the crowded field of candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.

“Right now we can’t afford to be divided,” she says in the opening of a video announcing her candidacy this week. McClellan, who was first elected to the city council in 2016, highlights issues including healthcare, high-speed internet and making Virginia “a leader in the clean energy economy.”

McClellan said in an interview that she wants to be a “statewide champion for broadband.” She had been active on this issue before the pandemic, but McClellan says it is even more important now that people are spending more time at home.

“Our kids are at home going to school. Seniors are visiting with their doctors via telehealth,” she says.

Earlier in her career, McClellan worked in business, spending time in sales and marketing at Dow Chemical and leading an Alexandria-based tech startup. But after the dotcom bust, she was forced to lay off employees from that startup and file for bankruptcy.

“The good news is you learn as much from — probably more— from your mistakes and hardships than you do from your successes,” she said. She called the experience humbling, and adds that “it gives me a real appreciation for the struggles of what our local small businesses are going through right now just trying to hold on.”

McClellan highlighted the combination of her business background and her time as a local elected official “who knows how to translate what happens in Richmond to Main Street.” She also serves on several local committees, including planning and transportation commissions in Hampton Roads, as well as boards that advise and support local startups.

McClellan joins 10 other candidates, six of the Democrats, in the race for lieutenant governor. Other Democrats seeking the nomination include Fairfax NAACP chairman Sean Perryman and Prince William delegates Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman.

Lieutenant governor is a part-time job in Virginia, and the role is largely ceremonial— they preside over the state Senate, break ties and are first in the line of succession to become governor. But the post has been a stepping stone to higher office. Gov. Ralph Northam previously served as lieutenant governor, as did Tim Kane before he became governor and then a senator.

The incumbent, Justin Fairfax, said he’s running for governor.

McClellan worked on Northam’s campaign when he ran for lieutenant governor in 2013. And she then ran, unsuccessfully, in the Democratic primary to replace Northam in the state Senate seat he vacated.

In other political news this week, Jason Miyares, a Republican state delegate from Virginia Beach, said he’s seeking his party’s nomination for attorney general. Virginia’s government “has one basic job: keep our people safe and secure,” he said in a campaign video. He criticized new legislation about policing and criminal justice that the General Assembly passed in a recent special session.

Miyares said he would “work with” police, and that Democrats had supported bills to “dramatically reduce the time violent criminals will spend behind bars.” The General Assembly passed, along party lines, a bill that could allow some prisoners to earn additional early release credits, with a number of exceptions for violence crimes.

During the special session, Miyares argued legislation to end qualified immunity for police officers would make recruiting law enforcement officers more challenging. The bill passed in the House, after initially failing in committee and on the floor, but hit a dead end in the Senate.

“The good cops are all going to leave,” Miyares said of the proposal, “Because if they’re going to stay in the job … the liability exposure is just going to be enormous.”

Miyares, who joined the House of Delegates in 2016, described himself as a “lonely voice of reason in Richmond where a ruling liberal elite has gotten completely out of control.” But he also acknowledged in his campaign video that it would be a tough campaign. “The political experts, they say it can’t be done,” he said. A Republican has not won statewide office in Virginia in more than a decade.

“I know there’s a majority that will defend the freedom our nation offers, especially our newest Americans,” he says, adding that his mother immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba.

Miyares’ campaign did not respond to a call from DCist/WAMU.

Another Virginia Beach Republican, attorney Chuck Smith, is running for the GOP nomination.

On the Democratic side, Attorney General Mark Herring is seeking reelection, and Del. Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) has also declared his candidacy.

Join the A‑Team

Or Chip in $5 Today