“Jennifer Carroll Foy is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate who knows what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet, go without healthcare, and raise a family as a working mom,” Porter said in a statement. “She is building a grassroots movement that is centered on working families which is exactly what we need right now with special interests trying to gain even more power and influence.”
The endorsement helps solidify Carroll Foy’s status as the liberal favorite in a crowded Democratic primary field. On Monday, Carroll Foy, a former state delegate and public defender, picked up the backing of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate action group that played a key role in the reelection of Democratic Sen. Ed Markey in Massachusetts.
In her statement welcoming Porter’s endorsement, Carroll Foy emphasized Porter’s background as a consumer rights attorney and crusader against corruption.
“Rep. Porter has been a tireless advocate for working people, focused on rooting out corruption wherever it may be,” said Carroll Foy. “Rep. Porter understands what I believe: when special interests have a seat at the table, they kick the people out of the room.”
In Porter’s first term in Congress, her grilling of top Wall Street executives at congressional hearings went viral, earning her notoriety as a consumer advocate walking in the footsteps of her former law professor, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). She has now extended her repertoire to include putdowns of fossil-fuel industry titans.
Porter’s blessing could also introduce Carroll Foy to a broader world of Democratic donors. Porter, who unseated a Republican incumbent in 2018, raised nearly $17 million in the 2020 election cycle ― more than all but three of her fellow House Democrats.
Porter is one of just two members of Congress to endorse in Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fellow California Democrat and the biggest fundraiser in the House Democratic Caucus, is backing former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
Virginia law prohibits governors from serving more than one consecutive term. McAuliffe, who served from 2014 to 2017, is free to run for a second, nonconsecutive term.
Public polls show McAuliffe leading the Democratic field ahead of the June 8 primary. But as of mid-February, large numbers of voters were still undecided. State Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D), a veteran lawmaker and attorney from Richmond; Del. Lee Carter, a democratic socialist from Manassas; and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax are all also competing for the nomination.
Aside from McAuliffe, McClellan is Carroll Foy’s most formidable opponent. McClellan, a regulatory attorney for the phone company Verizon, is casting herself as a more pragmatic and experienced progressive. Either woman would make history as the state and the country’s first Black female governor.
Of the three main contenders, Carroll Foy is running on the most progressive platform, including a promise to repeal the state’s right-to-work law, which limits the power of labor unions.
Carroll Foy enjoys the support of a number of progressive groups, labor unions and elected officials, most of whom hail from northern Virginia where she lives. Carroll Foy, who is also a former judge and one of the first women to graduate from Virginia Military Institute, represented parts of Prince William and Stafford counties in the state House of Delegates from 2018 until last December.