“We’ll have more to say after the election,” he said.
With his filing with the state Department of Elections late Monday, Rasoul joins an unusually crowded field, with six Democrats and four Republicans now in the race. Several other potential candidates have been publicly mulling bids to succeed Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D), who is running for governor.
Virginia’s lieutenant governorship is a part-time job that pays about $36,000 a year and comes with just two constitutional duties: presiding over the state Senate and taking over for the governor if he dies or leaves office before his term expires.
The role has taken on a higher profile in recent years, with a narrowly divided state Senate giving the lieutenant governor more opportunities to cast tie-breaking votes. The post has long been a steppingstone to higher office. Fairfax’s predecessor, Gov. Ralph Northam (D), held it when he ran for the Executive Mansion in 2017.
Rasoul, 39, was the Virginia legislature’s only Muslim when he began serving in the House of Delegates in 2014. The son of Palestinian immigrants, he grew up in Roanoke and has been a member of both the Legislative Black Caucus and the Rural Caucus.
He drew headlines after the 2016 presidential election by scolding his party for demonizing President Trump’s supporters and losing touch with White, rural and working-class voters. Professionally, he has a background in nonprofit health care and works as a consultant in organizational development and strategic planning.
Other Democrats competing for the party’s nomination next summer are: Del. Hala S. Ayala (Prince William), former Virginia Democratic Party chairman Paul Goldman, Del. Elizabeth R. Guzman (Prince William), Fairfax County NAACP President Sean Perryman and Arlington County businessman Xavier Warren.
Babur Lateef, chair of the Prince William County School Board, and Andria McClellan, a Norfolk City Council member, both have said they are seriously considering seeking the Democratic nomination. Although McClellan says she is still in the “exploration” phase, she has already begun raising money through a political action committee.
The Republican field includes: Fairfax County business consultant Puneet Ahluwalia; Lance Allen, a national security company executive who lives in Fauquier County; Del. Glenn R. Davis Jr. (Virginia Beach); and former delegate Timothy D. Hugo (Fairfax).