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Democrat Jennifer McClellan joins Carroll Foy running for Virginia governor; both could be 1st US black female governor

Virginia could become the first state to elect a Black woman as governor, with both McClellan and Jennifer Carroll Foy in the running.

WASHINGTON — Richmond Democratic State Senator Jennifer McClellan announced her candidacy for Virginia governor on Thursday, joining Prince William Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy as the second Black female in the race.

If McClellan or Foy wins, they would become the country's first Black female governor and the second woman ever elected to statewide office in Virginia.

The first elected Black governor in the country, Douglas Wilder, also served Virginia.

McClellan, 47, won a Senate seat in 2017, previously serving 11 years as a delegate for the 71st district for the commonwealth. A graduate of the University of Virginia, she also serves as the vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Current Governor Ralph Northam cannot run for re-election due to term limits.

Other potential Democratic candidates in running to succeed Governor Northam include Lt.Gov. Justin Fairfax, Attorney General Mark R. Herring and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Only McClellan and Foy have formally filed paperwork for running.

Across the aisle, Republican Senator Amanda Chase announced her candidacy for governor back in February.

In an interview with the Associated Press prior to the formal announcement, McClellan stressed that she is a "compassionate listener" who plans on creating a more inclusive commonwealth.

"I have the understanding of where we are in this moment in time, how we got here, and the vision to take Virginia forward," McClellan said.

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