RICHMOND — Former Roanoke sheriff Octavia Johnson said this last week that she will seek the Republican nomination for governor, joining a crowded field of hopefuls.

Johnson served as sheriff from 2006 to 2013. In 2014 she ran in a special election for a House of Delegates seat but lost to Democrat Sam Rasoul.

Johnson is seeking to become the first Black woman elected governor of a state. In making her announcement Thursday in downtown Roanoke, she said she was unhappy with the state’s direction, suggesting that some areas have been left behind.

“I am running for governor of this great commonwealth because there is a deep need for change. It is time — it is time for the whole state to thrive,” she said in a video posted on local news sites.

Her entry into the race comes at a time when the Republican Party is struggling to set a mechanism for picking a nominee. The candidate is supposed to be chosen at a convention on May 8, but the party is still determining how the event will be conducted.

Also seeking the GOP nomination are state Sen. Amanda F. Chase (Chesterfield); Del. Kirk Cox (Colonial Heights), a former House speaker; retired Army Col. Sergio de la Peña; former think tank executive Peter Doran; businessman Pete Snyder; and former private equity executive Glenn Youngkin.

On the Democratic side, the field is only slightly less crowded. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, former governor Terry McAuliffe, state Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan (Richmond), Del. Lee J. Carter (Manassas) and former Prince William delegate Jennifer D. Carroll Foy are all seeking the nomination in a primary election set for June 8.

Also running on the left is third-party candidate Princess Blanding, whose brother, Marcus-David Peters, was killed by Richmond police while he was experiencing a mental health crisis in 2018.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) cannot run for reelection because the state’s constitution prohibits any governor from serving two consecutive terms.