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Virginia governor’s race a fitting after-party for the presidential election

By Gregory S. Schneider and Laura Vozzella

RICHMOND — One candidate for governor carries a gun and a glittery American flag purse but won’t wear a mask against the coronavirus. Another is a self-described socialist who got pepper-sprayed by police during racial justice protests last summer.

In between is a spectrum of potential nominees that’s bigger and more diverse than any slate of major-party candidates for governor that Virginia has ever seen. So far, six Republicans and five Democrats have filed papers to run.

The 2021 Virginia governor’s race is a fitting after-party for the presidential election. Its familiar plotlines will test the fatigue level of voters in a newly blue state with a strong red tradition: the fight for GOP identity, post-Trump; the tension among Democrats between familiar leadership and candidates of color offering something new; both sides battling for the suburbs — all against the backdrop of a coronavirus pandemic that could provide an early test of Biden and Democratic leadership.

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