Some Virginia politicians are shaking hands again as the state makes progress against COVID-19.
But it depends on who’s offering the handshake.
After the six Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor debated Tuesday at George Mason University, Norfolk City Councilwoman Andria McClellan reached out her hand to Del. Hala Ayala, D-Prince William, for a post-debate handshake on stage.
Ayala did not extend her hand in return and walked away, according to a video captured by someone in the audience.
The moment came after McClellan in the debate rebutted a statement by Ayala that her donors were from Virginia. McClellan noted that Ayala had received in-kind donations of more than $187,000, according to her campaign finance filings, from a limited liability company in Maryland called Good Vibes Entertainment.
The Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation lists the business as “not in good standing” because it did not file a required annual report this year.
Tuesday night, Ayala campaign manager Veronica Ingham emailed this explanation of the non-handshake to the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “This was a simple miscommunication about the COVID-19 precautions after the debate and no harm was meant toward Councilwoman McClellan.”
But video showed Ayala shaking hands with candidates Sean Perryman and Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, on stage after the debate.
Ingham did not respond to requests for comment about that on Wednesday.
Also in the June 8 primary are Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, and businessman Xavier Warren.