Former Virginia House speaker eyes gubernatorial run

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The former GOP speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates is eyeing a run for governor next year.
Del. Kirk Cox said in a statement Monday that he is “seriously looking” at running for the Republican nomination in 2021.
Cox said hadn’t previously considered running for a statewide office but added that the Democrats’ “vacuum of leadership” in recent months has led him to reconsider.
Cox served as House speaker for one term before losing the Republican majority in the 2019 elections. A low-key retired high school teacher, Cox’s record as speaker may complicate his potential bid to win over Republican primary voters. He has strong pro-business and anti-abortion credentials, but also helped push through Medicaid expansion, which conservatives opposed.
Firebrand conservative state Sen. Amanda Chase has announced she’s running for governor. Northern Virginia businessman Pete Snyder may also run. Cox said he won’t make a formal decision until later.
Republicans haven’t won a statewide race in Virginia since 2009. Several Democrats, including former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, have either announced they are running or have indicated they might. Virginia law blocks Gov. Ralph Northam from running for re-election.