The Bulletin

Del. Lee Carter, the General Assembly’s lone elected Democratic Socialist, preps potential gubernatorial campaign

By: - December 9, 2020 12:17 pm

State Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, filed paperwork this week establishing a fundraising committee for a gubernatorial campaign, but says he’s not yet decided whether he’ll enter the race.

“I’ve still not 100 percent made a decision as to whether or not I’m running, but I did go ahead and file that paperwork — just because we need to keep that option open,” Carter said, citing the looming General Assembly session and a ban on fundraising by members while the body is meeting. “If I don’t do it now, a lot of admin stuff would have to wait until after the legislative session.”

Carter, who is the only Democratic Socialist to win elected office in Virginia’s General Assembly, began hinting at a run in late November. While he’s amassed a base of support online that extends far beyond his district, he’d likely face steep odds in a crowded Democratic field that includes former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, fellow Del. Jennifer Carrol Foy, state Sen. Jenn McClellan and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

He said he’ll base his decision on whether to enter the race based on what he sees and hears from other Democratic candidates.

“If I don’t hear other candidates talking about big transformational change in a way that’s credible and will provide a better future for the 8.5 million people who call Virginia home, I will have to go ahead and jump in,” he said.

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Ned Oliver
Ned Oliver

Ned, a Lexington native, has been a fulltime journalist since 2008, beginning at The News-Gazette in Lexington, and including stints at the Berkshire Eagle, in Berkshire County, Mass., and the Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly in Richmond. He is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass. He was named Virginia's outstanding journalist for 2020 by the Virginia Press Association. Contact him at [email protected]