Top Virginia state senator announces $275K haul in first week as gubernatorial candidate

Virginia state Sen. Jennifer McClellan’s gubernatorial campaign announced Friday it has raised $275,000 in her first week as a candidate for next year's Democratic primary.

The haul puts McClellan in a strong position for what's likely to be a crowded Democratic field with potential candidates like former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, state Attorney General Mark Herring and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.

Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, the only other Democrat to announce her candidacy thus far, has not disclosed initial fundraising totals. Foy’s political action committee, the Virginia for Everyone PAC, had $36,395 cash on hand as of March 31, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

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McClellan’s PAC, Virginia United PAC, had $67,405 cash on hand.

Ninety-three percent of McClellan's donations in her first week as a candidate came from Virginia.

“Virginians have responded strongly to Jennifer McClellan’s vision for an inclusive Virginia that builds a brighter future for all families,” Courtney McCargo, the campaign’s finance director, said in a statement Friday. “The McClellan campaign is showing strong momentum out of the gate. We’re proud of this initial support and will keep building a strong, grassroots organization across Virginia.”

The campaign also rolled out endorsements from state Democrats, including four fellow state senators, two state delegates, several members of local government from across the state and 2019 National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson of Richmond.

If elected, McClellan, who has a long résumé representing Richmond in the state legislature since 2006, would be Virginia’s first female governor and the first Black woman to be governor of any state.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is term-limited from running for reelection.

In an interview with The Hill last week, McClellan framed her campaign vision as an opportunity to bring Virginia into the future as it stands at an economic, health care and racial crossroads. She plans to tackle criminal justice reform, expand education funding, improve the state’s health care system and attract clean energy jobs.

“This is a moment to step boldly into our future,” McClellan said in her campaign announcement video. “I’m running for governor to lead Virginia as we build an inclusive economy that doesn’t leave people behind, a health care system that everyone can access affordably and public schools that deliver on the promise in our Constitution to provide high quality education to all children.”