by Brandon Jarvis

Governor Ralph Northam, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, and House Majority Leader Charniele Herring announced Monday morning that they have endorsed Del. Hala Ayala in the race for lieutenant governor.

Ayala is running against a large field of Democratic hopefuls for the nomination.

“During my time as Governor, we have made extraordinary progress in our Commonwealth, from expanding Medicaid for 500,000 Virginians to passing critical criminal justice reforms,” said Governor Northam, whose endorsement has become a hot commodity for Virginia Democrats. “We need to continue building on that progress, and that’s why I am so excited to endorse Delegate Hala Ayala for Lieutenant Governor. Her leadership in the House Democratic majority has been central to these and so many other historic pieces of legislation that are improving the lives of Virginia families. I’ve seen firsthand her indispensable ability to bring people together to make progress, and I know Hala will continue the good work we’ve accomplished to move Virginia forward.”

Northam’s endorsement is highly coveted for Democrats that kept him at arms length two years ago after his blackface scandal.

Ayala also received the endorsement of the top two Democrats in the House of Delegates, which is where she has served as a Prince William delegate since 2017.

“During her time in the House, Delegate Ayala has been a tireless advocate for Virginians of every background, and as a member of our Democratic Majority she helped lead the fight to enact long overdue criminal justice reforms, raise the minimum wage, and legalize marijuana,” said Speaker Filler-Corn. “Her leadership on these issues and commitment to serving every single member of our Commonwealth is why I am endorsing her campaign for Lt. Governor. If elected, Hala would be the first woman of color to serve in statewide office and first woman to serve as Lt. Governor, bringing historic representation to the highest levels of our state government. I could not be prouder to stand with Delegate Ayala during this campaign and look forward to working with her to build on our incredible progress in the years ahead.”

Ayala has raised the third most money in the race, bringing in a little over $570K so far.

“I am so proud to support my friend and colleague Delegate Hala Ayala for Lieutenant Governor,” said Leader Herring. “I have known Hala for many years and I have watched her grow into a remarkable leader and advocate for justice. In the House of Delegates, Hala has been a central part of some of the biggest legislative wins our Democratic Majority has achieved. That is why I chose her to be Chief Deputy Whip, and she has served our caucus well. This year we were able to abolish the death penalty, legalize marijuana and pass many more progressive policies that help Virginians. I know Delegate Ayala will continue this work as Lieutenant Governor and I hope you will join me in supporting her.”

In addition to Ayala, Del. Sam Rasoul, Del. Mark Levine, Norfolk City Councilor Andria McClellan, Sean Perryman, and Xavier Warren are seeking the lieutenant governor nomination. Rasoul has vastly outraised the field, bringing in over $1.2 mil so far. McClellan comes in second at $625K raised. The latest poll shows a large percentage of undecided voters, but Rasoul had a 10 point lead over the candidates still in the race.

But with Northam polling so high among Democratic voters, this latest endorsement is expected to give Ayala a boost.

“I am so honored and humbled to be endorsed by Virginia’s most accomplished Democratic leaders,” Ayala said. “Governor Northam’s leadership has transformed our Commonwealth, and because of him, we have made progress that has bettered the lives of millions of Virginians. His lasting legacy will be that of justice and equity. Together with Speaker Filler-Corn and Majority Leader Herring — two women who have been remarkable leaders and friends — we have all worked side-by-side to make progress on so many important issues. As Lieutenant Governor, I will build on these accomplishments to ensure a strong future for every Commonwealth family.”

Early voting has already began, but June 8 is the official day for Democratic primary voters to choose their nominee.

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