Tuesday, June 8th, 2021
Virginia primary: Harrison wins Democratic nomination, Shepherd takes GOP nod
Virginia primary voters have chosen state representative Hugh Harrison (D) and former state attorney general Cal Shepherd (R) as the nominees for their respective parties.
Harrison defeated lieutenant governor Rachel Cornwall by a surprising ten percent margin (55% of the vote to Cornwall's 45%) to become the Democratic nominee. Harrison previously ran for the nomination in 2017 but lost to then-Richmond mayor Bobby Tyler. Tyler would go on to defeat former Walken administration staffer Cliff Calley in the general election.
Unique among the states, Virginia does not allow its governors to seek immediate re-election, making Tyler ineligible to contest this year's election. The charismatic African-American governor has been rumored to be on the shortlist for the party's vice presidential nomination next year. Tyler did not endorse either candidate during the primary, but was considered to have favored Cornwall, to the left of Harrison, to be his successor.
On the Republican side, former attorney general Cal Shepherd easily defeated state senator Tommy Curtis, with Shepherd receiving 78% of the vote from the party's primary voters. Shepherd served two terms as the state's attorney general from 2010 to 2018. He has promised a campaign on "law and order" and has pushed for a reversal of the state's recently-passed law that legalizes adult recreational marijuana use.
Virginia and New Jersey will be the only states that have gubernatorial elections this year. In New Jersey, incumbent governor Kelly Hoffman (D), another person rumored to be on the shortlist for the Democratic vice presidential nomination in 2022, will face Ruth McCabe (R), the state's senate minority leader in the first statewide election between two women in Garden State history.