The Campaign Spot

The Unfinished Application of McAuliffe’s Green Car Company

After Democrats spent a presidential campaign cycle demonizing Mitt Romney as a ruthless, profit-obsessed capitalist, they must now turn around and argue that Terry McAuliffe’s experience in the private sector demonstrates why he should be Virginia’s next governor.

This report by Ryan Nobles, a reporter in the Richmond, Va., NBC affiliate, is likely to complicate the McAuliffe narrative:

Yesterday we outlined at length Terry McAuliffe’s explanation as to why he chose to open a manufacturing plant for his Green Car company in Mississippi instead of here in Virginia. The plant opened to great fanfare in July and was helping to establish McAuliffe’s credentials as a businessman willing to invest in green technology as a long term economic solution.

But for McAuliffe, who purchased the Chinese company shortly after losing the democratic primary for governor in 2009, the fact that the plant and its potential one thousand jobs ended up in Mississippi was a mystery. Especially because McAuliffe never really stopped running for governor. He touted this week that he has attended some 2,400 political events in Virginia over the past four years.

On Wednesday McAuliffe claimed that the reason he went to the deep south instead of the Commonwealth was because the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) passed on his company’s incentive application.

“VEDP decided they didn’t want to bid on it,” he said.

According to a spokeswoman from VEDP, the agency never officially was given the opportunity to bid or not bid on his project.

“We did not receive enough information to respond to GreenTech’s business proposal that was received in 2009,” said Suzane West, the Communications Manager for VEDP.

West said VEDP could not give specifics on what information was not provided, but according to Marianne McInerney, the Executive Vice President of sales at GreenTech, the company decided to forgo the final steps of the application process because it was made clear to them in meetings with VEDP that the proposal would be unsuccessful. This was after a significant amount of time and energy was dedicated to the project.