RICHMOND, Va. — Democratic state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy is resigning her seat to focus on her bid to be Virginia's next governor.
The two-term lawmaker who represents Prince William and Stafford counties announced her resignation Tuesday in a bid to help distinguish herself among a crowded Democratic field for governor.
"I'm stepping down from the House of Delegates to focus 100% of my time on building a grassroots movement to meet this moment," Carroll Foy said in a statement.
By resigning her seat, Carroll Foy will not be barred from fundraising during next year's legislative session. Her campaign said in a statement that the extra time fundraising will give her the best chance to "take on entrenched career politicians like Terry McAuliffe."
The former governor is expected to announce his bid for the Democratic primary shortly. State Sen. Jennifer McClellan and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax are also running for the nomination.
Current Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam cannot serve consecutive terms.
On the Republican side, former House Speaker Kirk Cox and state Sen. Amanda Chase have announced they are running for governor. Chase said recently that she's going to run as an independent in protest of the state GOP's decision to hold a convention instead of a primary to pick the Republican nominee.
Part of a blue wave in 2017 that flipped 15 Republican-held seats, Carroll Foy, who lives in Woodbridge, handily defeated a Republican challenger and then won re-election in 2019 with over 60% of the vote.
Carroll Foy grew up in Petersburg, one of the state's poorest cities, and was among the first women to graduate from the traditionally all-male Virginia Military Institute. She's also been a foster parent and worked as a public defender.
She took on a high-profile role as one of the sponsors of a resolution that the new Democratic majority quickly advanced, making Virginia the critical 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. She's also supported criminal justice reforms and increasing COVID-19 related benefits to families affected by the pandemic.
Her seat will be filled via a special election. A date has not yet been set.