Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Gold Star Muslim parents from Charlottesville whose campaign feud with President Trump vaulted them to a national spotlight, are endorsing former congressman Tom Perriello in the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary.
The Khans say Perriello, who represented them in Congress from 2009 to 2011, is the best candidate to resist Trump and his values. Perriello faces Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, who has called the president a narcissistic maniac, in the June 13 Democratic primary.
“Resisting President Trump and defeating the hate and bigotry that he sows will take people of conviction and good conscience standing up and fighting back. Tom Perriello is one of those people,” the Khans said in a statement provided by the Perriello campaign.
“We support Tom Perriello for governor and will be voting for him in June because he will fiercely resist the unconstitutional actions of President Trump while advancing an inclusive Virginia that welcomes all.”
The couple have become politically active and a public face for Muslims who sacrificed for their country after their son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, died during the Iraq War in 2004.
Khizr Khan delivered one of the most memorable speeches at the Democratic National Convention with a forceful condemnation of Trump and his proposal for a ban on Muslim immigration.
Trump responded by accusing Khizr Khan of “viciously” attacking him and suggesting his wife did not speak during the convention address because of her religion. Republicans and Democrats alike condemned Trump for his criticism of parents of a fallen soldier.
The Khans have stayed active in Virginia politics, endorsing Democrat LuAnn Bennett’s unsuccessful challenge to Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) and supporting Rep. Don Beyer (D) with a bill to block the federal government from considering religion when setting immigration policy.
Northam has been endorsed by all but one state and federal Democratic officeholder in Virginia, as well as the largest state teachers union and the abortion rights group NARAL. Perriello has been endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and top staffers to Hillary Clinton and former president Barack Obama, in addition to several national progressive figures. Northam had twice as much campaign cash available at the end of March, according to financial filings released on Monday.
Perriello also picked up support from the Progressive Campaign Change Committee, a million member national grass-roots group that supports candidates similar to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), which sent out a late Tuesday fundraising email for him and Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff.
The winner of the Democratic primary faces one of three Republicans: longtime operative Ed Gillespie, Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors Corey A. Stewart or state Sen. Frank Wagner (Virginia Beach).