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McAuliffe Considering 09 Bid for Governor

Tim Craig

DENVER-Terry McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a key adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY.) is considering running for governor of Virginia next year.

McAuliffe spoke to the Virginia delegation at the Democratic National Convention this morning. After his speech in support of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), McAuliffe distributed free copies of his latest book. He then spent nearly an hour signing autographs and chatting with the delegates.

Rumors that McAuliffe is interested in being governor of Virginia have been percolating around the convention all week. In an interview with reporters after his speech, McAuliffe did little to dampen speculation that he was considering entering next year's race for the Democratic nomination.

"I'm focused on this election, I am going full time for Senator Obama," said McAuliffe, who lives in McLean. "But I never rule anything out. ...Everyday is a new opportunity. I would like to be Pope if I could."

During his speech to the delegation, McAuliffe noted he diverted $5 million when he was national party chairman to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine 's (D) 2005 race for governor. The infusion of party money is widely believed to have helped Kaine defeat former attorney general Jerry W. Kilgore (R).

Last month, McAuliffe surprised many pundits and Clinton supporters when he told reporters that Obama should pick Kaine as his vice-presidential nominee. McAuliffe made the comment following a speech before the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, another potential sign he is testing the waters to run for governor.

If he ran, McAuliffe would likely be able to tap his personal fortune and vast national fundraising network to raise millions of dollars in a short amount of time, especially considering how Virginia does not limit how much a donor can give to a candidate running for state office.

"Terry McAuliffe doesn't know Norton from Norfolk,'' said Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the likely Republican candidate for governor next year. "If he runs, remind me to send him a Virginia state map."

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) are the only announced candidates in the 2009 race for the Democratic nomination for governor.

When asked if he would jump into the governors race even though Deeds and Moran are already campaigning for the job, McAuliffe said, "I don't rule anything out, we will see where we go."

"I was a kid who grew up in Syracuse, I started my first business when I was 14, got lucky, started a couple companies and basically retired at a young age," McAuliffe added. "I've spent the last 15 years as basically a full-time volunteer for the Democratic Party. I love its ideals...I never take anything off the table."

Mo Elleithee, a Virginia-based Democratic consultant, said McAuliffe could "certainly shake things up" next year if he decided to run for governor.

"I think Terry McAuliffe is a dynamic and exciting figure," Elleithee said. "I think he has the potential to be a very strong and formidable statewide candidate."

Moran appeared surprised when he was asked today for his reaction to McAuliffe's comments. But Moran declined to comment.

"The more the merrier," Deeds said. "Terry McAuliffe is an accomplished political professional. He knows how the process works."

He added, "It doesn't change anything for me."

After he finished signing his books, McAuliffe volunteered to a reporter, "A lot of people came up and said, 'I hope you run'."

By Tim Craig  |  August 27, 2008; 1:19 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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NOOOOOOO!!!! I can't stand McAuliffe and his insanely hyper demeanor. He is the absolute antithesis of authentic and this is coming from an avowed liberal. I can't stand the guy! I'd rather vote for a republican than him...

Posted by: around | August 27, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. This would be the end of the line for the Dem resurgence in Virginia.

Posted by: Pompous Magnus | August 27, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

If he is the Democratic nominee, can you say Governor McDonnell? What a contrast a McAuliffe - McDonnell race would provide...

Posted by: Fairfax | August 27, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Terry McAuliffe needs to leave his ambitions and his DLC failure OUT OF VIRGINIA. We have good candidates here, home-grown Democrats who don't go out of their way to undermine our presidential nominee during his convention. Thanks, Terry, but we like loyal Democrats in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Go sell snake oil somewhere else.

Posted by: bamagirlinVA | August 27, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Has McAuliff ever lived in VA? If you want to talk about a carpetbagger, he certainly would be one, just like the Clintons.

BTW- what experience does McAuliffe have that makes him think he can govern?

Posted by: Alan | August 27, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

GREAT NEWS. I hope he runs and brings his great leadership to this great state. WAY TO GO.

Posted by: Fred Johns | August 27, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

yuck! He is so fake, a cheesy salesman at best. I am a liberal, but NO WAY!

Posted by: MK | August 27, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Is this the same Terry McAuliffe who isn't staying around for Barack Obama's acceptance speech tomorrow? (Or has that changed?) Is he aware how strongly Virginia went for Obama in the primaries?

Unless it's an operation, a family funeral, or a wedding, please change your flight, Terry, if you want to retain this voter's interest in this novel idea. There are times you have to stand up and be counted. One of those is Thursday at Invesco Field.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | August 27, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh NO, I live in MD, but have family in VA. I hope McAuliffe stays out of the race. I remember him from Syracuse NY, where we both hail from. He went to school with my sister. She couldn't stand him then, since he was so phony, and she can't stand him now, still phony. McAulifee, Don't do anyone any favors. No one wants you in public office. You are a creep!!

Posted by: Anne | August 27, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

If you call yourself a Democrat, you owe Terry McAuliffe a great deal of thanks. He was a major player in the election and re-election of the only two-term president we've had since FDR, and he rebuilt the national party financially and technologically in the early part of this decade. The guy has phenomenal drive and commitment to the party, which he's served in various capacities since his early 20s. No political party -- or state government -- can succeed without someone who brings tons of energy and a can-do attitude to the task. I hope he runs. He'd surely be a great governor.

Posted by: bateman | August 27, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Both Moran and Deeds are wonderful choices for Governor. Both have worked hard as members of the Virginia House and Senate. Terry Mcauliffe should stay out of the race. He doesn't offer what these two candidates do. Virginia can't loose with either Moran or Deeds.

McAuliffe should run for some other office, perhaps a local one. He has no right to the nomination as Governor.

Posted by: Linda Singer | August 27, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I knew him when I worked on the Hill and he was a lobbyist for Turkey. He isn't what we need in Virginia - trust me.

Posted by: thinker | August 27, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Great news!!!
And assest to Virginia but I am not sure, party chairman qualifies him.

Posted by: Kylie | August 27, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

If McAuliffe was testing the waters, I think that he found out that the pH level is zero.

Posted by: HisRoc | August 27, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Oliver North had a better chance.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 27, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

the guy is an idiot

Posted by: Anonymous | August 27, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Terry would light it up in Virginia considering the weak pool of Dem candidates, but the pool of Republican candidates is probably weaker

Posted by: Big D | August 27, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me, that guy is such a crook, AND I'M A DEMOCRAT!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 27, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

nooooooooooooooooooo say it aint so

Posted by: Anonymous | August 27, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Terry should do what he does best: lobby pols and/or raise money. As an elected representative, he could do so much more damage than he's already caused.

Posted by: DC | August 27, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm a dem and he's the last guy I would want.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 27, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Has Terry McAuliffe ever been involved in Virginia government, in any way, shape or form?

I had been impressed with him for his work raising money for Bill Clinton and the DNC. Then I read his book which was underwhelming, with lots of name-dropping and bragging how often he played late night card games with Clinton.

Even though Virginia is trending blue, I do not think being DNC chair is a springboard to Virginia's governorship.

Posted by: VA Dem | August 27, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

I've never ever seen him at the Mason District Crab Feast. Will he be there this year? Will he help get Obama there? Does he even know what I am talking about as he reads this? Everyone who wants a vote has to show up there. Bill was there in 1992. Moran and Deeds have been going for years. If he isn't there this year - he shouldn't even bother coming to the state next year.

Posted by: Paul | August 27, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't always agree with VA's political choices, but at least they are, for the most part, ladies and gentlemen.

McAuliffe is a political thug and not the upper class VA is used to.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | August 27, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

McAuliffe, full of hot air, and still hoping Clinton would be present.
If he has any sincerity in his bones, which I don't think he is capable of,
he needs to show his support for Obama tonight, 8/28.
If Hillary Clinton is going so should he.
Also, Bill Clinton should be there in support of Obama.
These two people will show they are sincere and hopefull for Obama.

Posted by: Christian | August 28, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Pretty crazy Terry!

I'd recommend an honest, no b.s. consultation with someone like Steve Jarding or Mudcat Saunders first before taking the plunge (e.g. the kind of consultants who have a track record in the state and are pretty well plugged into what has worked).

I'd say Virginia statewide politics aren't entirely closed to "carpet-baggers" -- just look at what a guy like George Allen was able to pull off over the years with his cowboy schtick.

Still, it's going to be tough sledding without having established deep roots in the state.

In the case of "outsiders" who pulled it off, I see some critical differences with McAuliffe.

1. Allen. In his case, he had some ties to the region through his father's association with the Skins. He also went to UVA law and started out at the local level before running for Governor.

2. Kaine pulled it off in part because of his connection to Warner, his wife's long-standing ties to the state, and his having established far outside of the Beltway. He didn't jump first for the Governorship.

3. In Mark Warner's case he spent the better part of a decade cultivating connections throughout the state -- even running for statewide office and losing before taking on the Governorship. His business relationships were an absolutely essential part of the equation.

4. Jim Webb -- family ties in the southwestern corner, long-term resident, former Reagan Navy secretary and decorated war veteran in a state which contains the world's largest naval base and sizeable population of veterans.

5. John Warner. Former Navy secretary in a Republican administration, decorated veteran. UVA law.

McAuliffe's at a disadvantage to begin with having lived exclusively in Northern Virginia. He's at a double disadvantage having cycled through the most transient circles in Northern Virginia.

McAuliffe may have some ties to some of the bigger players within state politics, but my sense is that he probably doesn't have a heck of a lot of connection to local school boards -- the smaller scale local politics that tends to involve the kind of people who are involved in politics as an avocation. McAuliffe doesn't have a strong connection to the Virginia that is rooted outside of the Washington bubble. In a state like Virginia where roots tend to go back generations -- stuff like that can count for something.

McAuliffe does have money, but money alone won't buy the party nomination. It might make a nice payday though for some campaign consultants.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

All states need a governor who is part of the reality-based community.

McAuliffe doesn't qualify.

Posted by: Womanist | August 28, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

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