Biden ally Terry McAuliffe could face pushback from liberal groups in bid for VA gubernatorial reelection

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Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Wednesday he will be running for a second term as governor in 2021, but he could face pushback from liberal Democrats, as the pool of candidates becomes increasingly diverse in the upcoming cycle. 

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McAuliffe, who held the position from 2014 to 2018 but by law isn't allowed to serve for two consecutive terms, now faces two female Black candidates in the race– state Sen. Jennifer McClellan and state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy. 

“We've never elected a Black woman governor in this country's history,” Glynda Carr, CEO of the Higher Heights PAC, which supports Black women running for political office, told Politico. 

“And frankly, you've got two candidates that voters have an opportunity to elect at the office that both come from different qualifications, experiences, but particularly lived experiences as Black women. … I think voters are going to take a real hard look at the opportunity to do that.”

In addition, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who is also Black, says he intends to run as well. 

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Some worry that three Vlack candidates could thin out the votes behind one of the prospects among the crucial Black voting bloc, giving McAuliffe the opportunity to soar to victory. 

McAuliffe is a strong supporter of President-elect Joe Biden and held more than 150 campaign events in Virginia ahead of the presidential elections. 

Biden himself campaigned on issues of racial injustice and pledged to initiate changes to bridge inequities in Black and minority communities, and protests from progressives asking McAuliffe to step aside and clear the field for a more diverse candidate could create a murky conflict for Biden in his first term. 

McAuliffe is also a favorite with numerous Democratic lawmakers in Washington and a close friend to the Clintons. 

Already, another prospective gubernatorial candidate, state Del. Lee Carter, a Democratic socialist, pegged McAuliffe as "the embodiment of everything that needs to change in this commonwealth."

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"He’s a multimillionaire who is funded by big corporate interests,” Carter said.

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