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Northam backs McAuliffe in Virginia governor primary

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The state constitution prohibits Northam from seeking a second consecutive term in office, while McAuliffe — the frontrunner in the June 8 primary — is running to become the first Virginia governor to serve a second term in nearly a half-century.

In supporting McAuliffe, Northam bypassed endorsements of former state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan — either of whom would become Virginia’s first female governor and the country’s first Black female governor if elected.

Northam also picked McAuliffe over his own deputy in Richmond, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who continues to dispute sexual assault allegations made against him in 2019, at the same time Northam became embroiled in a blackface scandal. Numerous national Democrats called on Northam to resign as a result of the episode — including McAuliffe.

The Associated Press first reported the news of Northam’s endorsement. Northam and McAuliffe are scheduled to appear together at two campaign events Thursday, in Norfolk and Alexandria.

Republicans will pick their nominee in a May 8 party-run “firehouse primary,” with roughly three dozen voting centers set up by the state GOP on a Saturday for preregistered voters to cast their ballots.

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