Virginia Democrats, you’re now stuck with him: Terry McAuliffe is now certifiable — er, certified as the Democrats’ candidate for governor of Virginia.
Undoubtedly, McAuliffe brings some advantages to the race; as perhaps the single biggest fundraiser in Democratic-party history, he will probably raise somewhere between $10 million and ∞ for his campaign this year. With the New Jersey governor’s race not looking competitive, McAuliffe is the only Democrat running statewide this year with a shot, and as a result, he’ll get plenty of support from the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Governors Association, and Organizing for America. Oh, and he’s telling donors and potential supporters that helping him is “a way to get in on the ground floor of Hillary Clinton 2016.”
Pete Snyder, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, is already hitting Terry McAuliffe for his company GreenTech’s October 2009 decision to build a plant in Mississippi instead of Virginia. McAuliffe contended that the state of Virginia’s business recruitment agency wasn’t interested in helping the company. PolitiFact looked at the paperwork and rated that assertion false.
“It’s political garbage and double talk like this that made me get off the sidelines and get into the arena to change things,” Snyder says. (It says something about McAuliffe that even the GOP’s lieutenant gubernatorial candidates are citing him as the poster boy for what’s wrong with politics.)
Late last week, Politico reported that McAuliffe formally left GreenTech back in December, a comment McAuliffe didn’t mention even as he discussed the firm for the past few months, including quite recently.
Make no mistake, Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli will have a tough challenge ahead. But four months into his second bid for governor of Virginia, McAuliffe has surprisingly low name ID and a favorable rating of only 20 percent (Quinnipiac) or perhaps as low as 10 percent (Roanoke).
One good statewide ad campaign could define McAuliffe before this race even starts.