Former Virginia state Sen. Bill Carrico said Thursday he is considering a run for the GOP nomination for governor in 2021.
Speaking on the Virginia Free video town hall with host Chris Saxman, Carrico said current national conversations and recently filed legislation in Virginia about defunding police was a “driving force” in his interest in returning to the political arena.
Carrico, 58, represented Southwest Virginia for eight years in the state Senate and 10 years in the House of Delegates. Before that, he worked for 15 years as a Virginia State Police trooper.
“I’ve been having conversations. Talking to family, to friends, other leaders, to see what the possibility of me to get in this [is],” Carrico said. “I feel a calling. My heart has always been in public service for 35 years. Seeing the direction Virginia went after I left, I just have a desire to do it.”
Carrico retired from the Senate in 2019.
“I have a lot of experience. I have a lot to offer. We’re at a point in Virginia where we have to have strong leadership, and I feel like I can lead,” Carrico said on the broadcast.
He expects to make a final decision by “September or October.”
Current Gov. Ralph Northam’s term expires next year. The only announced GOP candidate is state Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Midlothian, who was first elected in 2015.
The Democratic field includes state Attorney General Mark Herring, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy of Prince William. State Sen. Jennifer McClellan of Richmond has established a PAC and is considering a run.
Carrico said proposed legislation filed for the upcoming special session of the General Assembly would take the state in the wrong direction.
“When I see all these initiatives coming out, these battle cries to defund police, I don’t think that is the majority. I think people realize there has to be a need for law enforcement to keep their families, their property, everything that they do [safe],” he said.
“What the Black Caucus came out … with is way too far. There are some things that are meaningful. We can do some of those things — more uniform training, tracking bad police officers. … Most police officers don’t want the bad apple.”