HAMPTON, Va. - Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D-Virginia) made a stop in Hampton Roads Sunday afternoon to officially announce his run for governor of Virginia in 2021.
The event was part of a weekend campaign kickoff, which started Saturday in Fairfax County. On Sunday, Fairfax made his candidacy announcement at Ft. Monroe in Hampton, because he said it holds a special meaning.
“It is with courage, it is with humility, it is with power of the ancestors that I am proud to announce on this sacred ground, Ft. Monroe, Hampton, Virginia my candidacy for the governorship of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The campaign kickoff was a very spiritual and uplifting event full of music and prayer. The Lt. Governor was surrounded by family, friends and community members.
As a descendant of slavery, Fairfax said he wanted to honor his ancestors by holding the event at Ft. Monroe, the site of the first enslaved Africans in North America. The democrat’s campaign message builds off of that journey that was started 401 years ago.
“We will fight for justice, fairness and opportunity for all,” Fairfax said.
If elected, Fairfax said he will break the cycle of oppression and work to help bridge the racial divide that’s been a flashpoint throughout the country.
“We’ve got to start by telling the truth about our story,” he said.
Fairfax’s candidacy comes as allegations of sexual assault made by two women last year remain unsettled. He has never been charged with any related crime and denies any wrongdoing.
“These were false allegations from the start; they were politically motivated, and people were able to see that right away,” said Fairfax. “The voters are incredibly smart, and they see the truth and they see we’ve done everything to demonstrate these are false.”
The former federal prosecutor filed his paperwork with the state on Friday to run for governor. He joins a crowded field of Democratic hopefuls looking to throw their hat in the ring.
Fairfax said his work as lieutenant governor sets him apart, saying his proudest moment was casting a tie-breaking vote in the legislature to expand Medicaid in 2018.
“With that tie-breaking vote, 450,000 more Virginians now have health insurance here in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” he said.
News 3 asked the lieutenant governor if Gov. Northam has expressed his support for his candidacy yet. Fairfax told us he has not yet weighed in on the race.
Fairfax is endorsed by Rev. Rob Lee IV and Lord Nicholas Fairfax.
Two Black women are also running for the Democratic nomination – Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy and Sen. Jennifer McClellan.