Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced on Wednesday that he's seeking to return to the governor's mansion.
McAuliffe, a 63-year-old Democrat who has close ties to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, announced his gubernatorial bid at an elementary school in Richmond.
"I am running for governor again, to think big and to be bold, and to take the Commonwealth of Virginia to the next level and to lift up all Virginians," McAuliffe said.
The former governor said the year has been tough on many because of the COVID-19 pandemic but that the crisis was a "big opportunity" in addition to bringing challenges.
"Over the next few months, I will be releasing several plans on how to build a stronger and fair post COVID economy by continuing the fight for civil rights and voting," McAuliffe said. He said he wanted to address issues including access to affordable healthcare, building an economy on alternative energy sources, and a lack of affordable housing.
McAuliffe was governor from 2014 to 2018. Virginia law prohibits governors from serving consecutive terms.
Democrat Ralph Northam is Virginia's current governor.
Three other Democrats have announced bids to succeed Northam: Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, state Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan.
McAuliffe told reporters he has endorsements from state Sen. L. Louise Lucas, House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.
McClellan said in a statement that she welcomed McAuliffe to the race, adding: "l look forward to discussing my 15 years of experience delivering progressive change and my vision for the future with Virginians in the months to come."
Carroll Foy said she respected the work the former governor has been done. "But to be frank, he is emblematic of the status quo that has simply left too many people behind," she added, accusing him of raising money "from the special interests."
Fairfax hasn't yet commented on the development.