(CNN)Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam endorsed former Gov. Terry McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid on Thursday, backing the man he succeeded as governor to be the commonwealth's next chief executive.
Northam's endorsement, two years removed from a blackface scandal that threatened to end his tenure, is one of the most coveted in Virginia Democratic circles, especially in the race to be the commonwealth's next governor. Northam previously served as McAuliffe's lieutenant governor from 2014 to 2018. Northam is term limited and not running in the next election since the Virginia constitution forbids governors from serving successive terms.
“The longer-term impacts of this pandemic, however, will be around long after I leave office, and it's critical that our next governor has the plans and experience to continue the fight to rebuild Virginia into a stronger, more equitable future,“ Northam said in a statement explaining his endorsement. “When Terry puts his mind to something, he'll move heaven and earth to make it happen. I've worked side-by-side with him for years, and simply put, he always gets the job done.“