Headlines & Highlights from Across Virginia

Kirk Cox announced his campaign for governor on Tuesday, pledging to fight back, lead forward, and win in 2021. If you missed the announcement, click here to watch.

Here are the headlines and highlights from the launch:

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Cox formally announces run for governor, pledging to fight ‘big-government worldview’
  • Former House Speaker Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights formally announced Tuesday that he will seek the Republican nomination for governor, hoping to become the first Republican elected to the office in over a decade.
  • Cox, a retired government teacher, has served in the House since 1990, rising to the speakership in 2017 before a wave of Democratic victories across the state last year cost his party the majority and ended his tenure.
  • Cox said his decision to run for governor was prompted by the work of Democrats since they took control of government in Virginia, including efforts to reform policing and progressive legislation on collective bargaining and clean energy that he says will leave less money in people’s pockets.
  • “We just have a different worldview than a lot of the Democrats — in the state of Virginia and nationally,” he said in an interview. “They have a very big-government, sort of collectivist worldview. … I want to fight against that.”
Washington Post: Former Virginia House speaker Kirk Cox says he’ll seek GOP nomination for governor; veteran lawmaker touted his recent win in a blue district
  • No Republican has won statewide in Virginia since 2009, and since then the state has only become bluer as diverse populations in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond have rebelled against Trump’s brand of Republicanism.
  • Cox said he made connections around the state during his time in leadership positions and pointed out that his district is “the bluest seat of any Republican in the General Assembly.” That’s because court-ordered redistricting last year turned his home turf distinctly Democratic, a greater shift than any other district in the state.
  • Cox responded to the sea change with a heavy schedule of campaign events in the community, including outreach to Black voters, and defeated a well-funded African American opponent.
Virginia Mercury: Why Kirk Cox thinks he can win the governor’s mansion in an ever-bluer Virginia
  • In 2019, a blue wave swept away the GOP majority Kirk Cox presided over as speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates. But he prevailed in his own race despite steep odds in a newly redrawn district
  • Two years later, Cox is pointing to the victory as evidence he is uniquely qualified to win back the governor’s office for the GOP, which the party hasn’t held since 2014, when Bob McDonnell left office.
WRIC: “long-time Republican leader and retired public school teacher of three decades made his bid official on Tuesday”
  • Since first being elected to the House of Delegates in 1989, Cox has led Republicans as the Majority Whip, Majority Leader, and House Speaker. Cox said his credentials in Virginia politics are part of what makes him best-suited to step into the state’s top executive office. He also touted his record of cutting taxes, freezing college tuition, and slashing regulations.
  • While criticizing the state’s leftward lunge, Cox also emphasized his success in an area that has backed Hillary Clinton and Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine. He cites this as evidence that he can win, even though a Republican hasn’t taken a statewide office in Virginia in more than a decade.
  • “I have a reputation of being respectful, of working with people, of listening, which you need to do. That doesn’t mean you compromise your own values. I’m a pro-life, Second Amendment conservative,” Cox said
Virginia Scope: “he can use his calm demeanor and civility to build a coalition that can win next November.”
  • While Cox is adamant that he can use his calm demeanor and civility to build a coalition that can win next November, he also reminds voters that he will be a stark contrast to Democratic leadership and push for conservative policies and legislation.
  • “We are fighting back so we can lead forward out of this pandemic and a self-inflicted recession, lead forward to an economy where people can do more than just pay the bills, back to a place where problems are solved through dialogue and communication, and lead forward to a Virginia that is the best place to do business, where our kids leave school with an affordable degree or a valuable credential, and where people in government do what they say they’re going to do.”

Voters from across Virginia were fired up with the news of Kirk’s announcement: