With Virginia General Assembly elections less than six months away, state Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan (D-Richmond) has launched a new political action committee to help Democrats win control of both houses of the General Assembly.
Republicans hold razor-thin, two seat margins in both the state House and Senate, and Democrats see a majority in sight after winning 15 seats in the House of Delegates in 2017.
McClellan’s decision to form the Virginia United PAC also portends a potential run for governor in 2021.
Virginia’s state constitution bars the governor from serving consecutive terms, meaning scandal-plagued Gov. Ralph Northam cannot run for re-election in 2021. The two Democrats widely expected to run to replace him, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, and Attorney General Mark R. Herring, have faced their own scandals, opening the door for another candidate.
In the aftermath of these scandals, McClellan has been floated as a strong contender for governor. Her decision to launch Virginia United supports that theory, as it is a “leadership PAC,” which politicians can use to support other candidates while also boosting their own chances to reach higher office.
McClellan, 46, started out in the legislature as a delegate in 2006 before winning a Senate seat in 2017. During her time in the General Assembly, she has promoted criminal justice reform, sponsored the groundbreaking Solar Freedom bill, and fought for a woman’s right to choose.
If she decided to run for governor and won, McClellan would become the first female governor in Virginia and the first African-American female elected to statewide office.
For now though, McClellan and Virginia United are focused on this year’s races.