Rasoul Favored in Democratic Lieutenant Gubernatorial Primary

With less than a week until primary day, Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) maintains his lead in the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor. Since our last outlook on the Virginia Lieutenant Governor race, Rasoul’s numbers have only improved. At this point, it’d be somewhat surprising if he lost.

(Photo Credit: Rasoul for Virginia)

As we approach primary day, Democratic party workers with whom we have spoken all seem to agree that Rasoul is the favorite. Despite establishment Democrats rallying around Delegate Hala Ayala (D-Prince William), Rasoul continues to prove that his is the strongest campaign in the crowded field for Lieutenant Governor. Even more remarkable than his stellar performance in the primaries (so far), Rasoul is a formidable general election candidate; he is one of only two Muslim members of the Virginia General Assembly, he brings progressive ideology to the Democratic ticket and has built a great operation for himself.

The latest campaign finance reports between April 1st and May 27th showed that Rasoul pulled in $543,973 and spent $1,386,975 while Ayala pulled in $478,069 and spent $555,118.

Ayala is still expected to place second in the primary, with a moderate amount of room for upset in winning the nomination outright if she can defy the influence of the Washington Post (who Sam Rasoul has been endorsed by) in Northern Virginia while placing 1st in the Richmond or Hampton Roads area. Rasoul is expected to dominate the western part of the Commonwealth, and place 1st in the Northern Virginia localities, besides perhaps Prince William County where Ayala resides.

Two more candidates have a chance at pulling off an upset in this primary (though the odds of that are far smaller than an Ayala upset): former Fairfax County NAACP Chairman Sean Perryman and Norfolk Councilwoman Andria McClellan.

For a Perryman victory, like Ayala, he has to defy the influence of the Washington Post over Democratic Primary voters and win his backyard while overperforming with black primary voters and progressive-leaning voters, especially millennials and zoomers.

For McClellan, she needs to have a dominant enough performance with Hampton Roads voters, especially African-American ones, and get in 2nd in either Richmond or NoVA and at least 3rd in the other major metro she doesn’t place 2nd in.

Also in the race are Delegate Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) and Xavier Warren (D-Alexandria), neither of which have a shot at the nomination. Levine has a lot more to lose though by choosing to run a futile bid for Lieutenant Governor; he’s now widely considered a heavy underdog in his re-election bid.

Overall, we rate the Democratic Primary for Lieutenant Governor as Lean Rasoul. We expect Hala Ayala to place in second, McClellan in 3rd, Perryman in 4th, Levine in 5th and Warren in 6th. It would not be surprising if Sean Perryman and Andria McClellan traded places on this list.