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McAuliffe gets early boost from former Deeds, Moran supporters

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

As he contemplates a second bid for Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe has gained some surprising support -- a full three years before Election Day.

McAuliffe is being backed by two longtime supporters of his former Democratic rivals in the 2009 gubernatorial primary, Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran.

Susan Swecker, a one-time campaign manager for Deeds, has hosted events for McAuliffe in Richmond and Highland County. Pixie Bell, a longtime Northern Virginia activist who strongly backed Moran, has been talking up McAuliffe.

Both women praise McAuliffe for quietly traveling the state to meet people and build support among Democrats and Republicans -- something he did not do the last time around. (That's in addition to the speaking engagements you can find on a map of McAuliffe's travels on his Web site.)

In 2009, McAuliffe, a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, jumped into the race with unprecedented money, staff and offices but was criticized for failing to lay a solid foundation for his run for governor. He seems eager not to make the same mistake again.

Swecker, who has served on the Democratic National Committee for more than a decade, was the second person to back McAuliffe to become DNC chairman in 2001. He later appointed her to the committee that chose Boston for the national convention in 2004. She later encouraged him to run for a second term.

In recent weeks, Swecker hosted a dinner party at her Richmond home for him that included about a dozen people, including supporters of Deeds and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She hosted a second event -- a reception for him with about 15 business people in Monterey.

"If he were to run, I would be supportive of his candidacy,'' Swecker said.

Bell, who has served on the Democratic State Central Committee since 1971 and was the state party's secretary, said she got on board with McAuliffe after she realized that he is building up support much like Mark Warner did before he ran for governor in 2001.

"He should have done this the first time,'' she said. "He's doing all the right things."

Other Democrats who are mulling a run for governor include Sen. Don McEachin of Richmond and House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong of Henry. Some are trying to recruit U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, who lost his reelection bid last week, to consider jumping into the race, too.

By Anita Kumar  | November 10, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Anita Kumar, Brian J. Moran, Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe  
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Comments

Great.

This guy running at the top of the Dem ticket will assure Cuccinelli the Governorship.

Yuck.

Posted by: HumbleGovWorker | November 10, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

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