New Jersey and Virginia are the two states holding elections for governor this year, and the Old Dominion State’s Democratic primary was shaken up when former congressman Tom Perriello jumped in the race.
Much of the state’s political establishment had already lined up behind his primary opponent, Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam. However, Perriello has the potential to channel some energy provided by backers of Bernie Sanders, and his campaign manager was Sanders’s national field director.
Perriello’s entry into the race has the potential to reopen wounds for Democrats after the 2016 election. The perception of Northam is that he is a boring insider who is far too moderate for the Democratic base (at one point, Republicans had actually targeted him for defection). On the other hand, Perriello is running so far to the left that he is lying about his record, and local papers have begun to take notice, with one running an editorial that said that “Mr. Perriello, a dedicated liberal, has been really going left of late.”
However, Perriello’s momentum has definitely halted after he was filmed saying that Donald Trump’s election was a “political and constitutional September 11.”
Perriello’s opponents from across the political spectrum have condemned his remarks. The extent to which they will harm his still-nascent campaign remain to be seen.