Richmond Mayor Stoney drops Virginia governor bid, he will run for lieutenant governor instead

Apr 23, 2024, 5:43 AM

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Democratic Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced Tuesday that he is dropping his bid for Virginia governor in 2025 and will instead run for lieutenant governor.

“After careful consideration with my family, I believe that the best way to ensure that all Virginia families do get the change they deserve is for our party to come together, avoid a costly and damaging primary and, for me to run instead for Lieutenant Governor,” Stoney said in a statement.

When Stoney entered the gubernatorial race in December, it set up a Democratic nomination contest with U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA officer who has cultivated an identity as a bipartisan consensus builder over three terms in Congress.

After growing up in a working poor family, Stoney said he got into public service and the governor’s race to make sure families like his get a fair shot at success. As he spent the last few weeks with his wife and their new daughter, he said he thought about the future he wanted for his daughter and all Virginia families.

Stoney said it was not an easy decision. There was a path to victory in the gubernatorial race, but he said it was narrow and he believed running for lieutenant governor was the right path for him, his family, the Democratic party and Virginia’s future.

“As LG, I believe I can be an effective advocate for Virginia families to ensure that everyone in our state does in fact get that fair shot at success. Given everything at stake in the next Governor’s race — from reproductive rights to education funding and tax fairness — I believe this is a time when Democrats must stand united and avoid an ugly primary for Governor.”

No Republicans have announced campaigns for governor yet, though state Attorney General Jason Miyares and Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears are seen as likely contenders. Under state law, Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin cannot seek a second consecutive term.

Virginia State Sen. Aaron Rouse also announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor Tuesday morning. The retired NFL player and former Virginia Beach councilman said Democrats must retake control of statewide offices in 2025.

“I’ve built my career on winning in tough spots when it matters — whether it be under the glare of NFL lights or flipping the State Senate seat needed to ensure we blocked Republicans’ assaults on reproductive freedom and voting rights,” Rouse said.

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Richmond Mayor Stoney drops Virginia governor bid, he will run for lieutenant governor instead