Jennifer Carroll Foy emerges as frontrunner looking ahead to 2025
The writing being on the wall, it was clear in the closing days of the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary that the real race wasn’t for first, but rather second.
Terry McAuliffe was certain to win the nomination, the only question being, would he get over 50 percent, which he did, with ease, actually pushing past the 60 percent mark.
Who among the two Jennifers would come in second was what was up for grabs.
Both are young – Jennifer McClellan, a state senator, is 48; Jennifer Carroll Foy, who resigned her seat in the House of Delegates to focus her attention on her gubernatorial run, is 39.
Thus both have the luxury of being able to think into the future.
Sure, anything could have happened, one of them could have run the table this year, but it was understood that the consolation prize was who would be a frontrunner looking ahead to 2025.
That it was Carroll Foy who came in the distant second last night, garnering 19.8 percent of the vote, with McClellan an even more distant third, at 11.7 percent, makes her next steps interesting.
Because McClellan still has a platform as a state senator from which she can continue to build on her showing, whereas Carroll Foy, having given up her seat in the House of Delegates, will have to work to build off her momentum without an obvious bully pulpit to work from.
Her blueprint could be Stacey Abrams, who lost her bid to become governor of Georgia in 2018, but was able to spin off her narrow defeat to build a national voter protection group, with an eye at the 2022 cycle that is now just a few months away.
Carroll Foy showed a propensity for attracting money to her cause, raising more than $4.4 million for her primary campaign, trailing only the prolific McAuliffe – and for context, her haul was comparable to what Ralph Northam raised in his 2017 gubernatorial primary campaign, on his way toward a nomination win and then a win over Republican Ed Gillespie that November.
So, she can raise money, and she emerged last night as the favorite of progressives in the Commonwealth.
Another blueprint for her could very well be the man who won his second Democratic gubernatorial nomination, McAuliffe, who you might remember came up short in his first bid for that nomination, back in 2009, but bided his time, raised money for Democratic legislative candidates, kept his name out in front of folks, and then crested at the right time.
This is what you’re going to see from Carroll Foy over the next couple of years.
She made that much clear last night.
“I am going nowhere,” she said in her concession speech. “I pledge to stay in this fight to uplift marginalized communities, people who need the help. To be a fighter for those who can’t fight for themselves. I love our great Commonwealth. I love you all. And I believe in the greatness of our state and our country.”