Yes or no?
10/19/2023, 6 p.m.
The announcement that former Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn will not run for governor in 2025 comes amid continuing rumors that Virginia’s current governor may make a late entry into the 2024 presidential race.
An Associated Press report notes that Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s potential bid for president could heighten after next month’s legislative elections, particularly if the outcome is a GOP sweep.
Much of that remains to be seen, including the amount of money the governor raised from two donor events this week.
Still, when pressed whether he will run for president, Gov. Youngkin avoids a definitive “yes” or “no.” Instead, he responds to such questions by saying “he’s flattered to be in the conversation but focused on Virginia, which is currently in the midst of the hectic final push to the state’s Nov. 7 election, with early voting already underway,” reports the AP.
It’s puzzling why Virginia’s governor refuses to directly say whether he wants to be president of the United States.
Why the reticence?
If Gov. Youngkin is not going to run for president, he simply should say so as did former state House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn when confirming in March that she was exploring a bid for governor, and as she did yesterday when announcing she will not run.
Delegate Filler-Corn said her decision to not run for governor is based on her being approached at political events about the possibility of a run in the 10th District, she said. That Northern Virginia congressional seat being vacated by a fellow Democrat, U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Delegate Filler-Corn has served in the Virginia General Assembly since 2010 and was the first woman and first Jewish person to hold the post of speaker. Noting that she has overseen a period of tremendous progress in Richmond, she wants to bring her legislative expertise to a “broken” Washington where a speaker-less GOP House majority was “truly taking us backward, making America weaker,” she told the AP.
“I have a record for getting the job done, protecting Virginians from all sorts of Republican chaos and extremists,” Delegate Filler-Corn added.
Most notably Delegate Filler-Corn is considered a strong fundraiser who led the Democratic House caucus during the national scandal and party strife that exploded after the 2019 discovery of a racist photo in former Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook.
And in representing her Fairfax County-based district, she helped the party flip control of the House and Senate later that year and took over the speakership in 2020. According to the AP, Democrats used two years in full control of state government to act on progressive priorities, expanding voting rights, rolling back limits on abortion, passing greater restrictions on firearms, legalizing marijuana and ending the death penalty.
Delegate Filler-Corn should be applauded for her bold decision to not run for governor while seeking to still serve the Commonwealth in an expanded role.
Who then will seek Virginia’s governor’s seat? U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney are two presumed candidates in the 2025 Democratic gubernatorial primary field.
Rep. Spanberger is a former CIA officer and a Democratic representative for Virginia’s 7th congressional district. Her background in national security and intelligence would be valuable in addressing issues related to public safety and defense.
Currently serving his second term, Mayor Stoney’s experience in local governance and urban development would benefit the Commonwealth in addressing issues related to infrastructure, economic growth and community development.
Other Democrats who equally are capable no doubt will surface as possible gubernatorial candidates in coming months.