The Latest: Former congressman running for Virginia governor

AP News
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Posted: Jan 05, 2017 9:46 AM

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Latest on former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello's run for governor:(all times local):

9:45 a.m.

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello is making a surprise bid for governor.

The former one-term congressman from Charlottesville and State Department announced Thursday he's seeking the Democratic nomination.

In a statement on Twitter, Perriello said he's running to help keep Virginia a "firewall vs Trump." Virginia was the only southern state Republican Donald Trump did not win in last year's presidential election.

Perriello, a favorite of progressives, will face off against Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a moderate, for the Democratic primary in June.

Perriello's decision to run shocked much of Virginia's political establishment, as Northam has been considered the presumptive Democratic nominee for more than a year.

At least three Republicans are seeking their party's nomination, including former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and onetime Trump campaign surrogate Corey Stewart.

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4 a.m.

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello is set to make a surprise entrance into the Virginia governor's race, according to two Democratic operatives with direct knowledge of Perriello's plan.

According to the operatives, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Perriello is set to announce his plan to seek the Democratic nomination Thursday.

Perriello didn't respond to a phone call and text message seeking comment. His decision to run was first reported by The New York Times.

The former one-term congressman from Charlottesville and State Department official's decision to enter the race shocked Virginia's political class late Wednesday. Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam has long been considered the presumptive Democratic nominee and Perriello's kept a tight lid on his interest in running.

A spokesman for Northam did not immediately return calls seeking comment.