VA-Gov: The Macker Is In
Former Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe announced his bid for the Virginia governorship via video this weekend, a candidacy that ensures a national spotlight will shine on the Commonwealth this year.
Best known for his work as a fundraiser and surrogate for former President Bill Clinton and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, McAuliffe's decision to become a candidate himself isn't terribly surprising -- he had been putting a campaign team together and traveling the state for the last few months.
Whether he can win a contested Democratic primary is more a matter of debate. Both former state Rep. Brian Moran and state Sen. Creigh Deeds have spent the better part of the last four years positioning for this race.
Moran and his surrogates have worked hard in the early going to paint McAuliffe as a carpet-bagger; Moran recently rolled out a proposal that would bar any of the trio from accepting donations from non-Virginians -- an obvious attempt to curtail McAuliffe's massive fundraising prowess.
Deeds has been far less aggressive when it comes to McAuliffe, believing, rightly, that having a second northern Virginia candidate splits that treasure trove of votes and makes his chances of putting together an outstate coalition much more likely.
McAuliffe as a candidate is almost entirely undefined but in his announcement video he gave strong indications about how he would run: as a businessman outsider with a strong touch of the power-to-the-people grassroots appeal that carried President-elect Barack Obama to the presidency. ("Yes we can do it again this year," McAuliffe says at the end of the video, aping Obama's successful campaign mantra.)
Will it work? It's tough to know. But, there's one thing that for sure about McAuliffe's candidacy: the Virginia governor's race this year just got a whole lot more interesting.
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