McAuliffe: “It’s not whether I win or not.”

Terry McAuliffe sums up the trouble with his candidacy for governor:

McAuliffe has not yet decided if he will run, saying he is first visiting all parts of Virginia and listening to residents before making a decision in January.

“It’s not whether I could win or not,” McAuliffe said. “For me, it’s about whether I could get things done.”

And that’s the problem. He might could get the nomination, but he’d sure as shootin’ lose the election.

McAuliffe spoke at the Albemarle County Democratic BBQ a couple of months ago. While he was up on stage, I was talking to a friend about him. My friend, David, was enthusiastic about McAuliffe’s candidacy. He’d talked with McAuliffe at the JJ Dinner, and David was enthusiastic about McAuliffe’s experience and energy. A little surprised, I asked if perhaps McAuliffe’s total lack of involvement with Virginia at any point in his career wasn’t a disqualifier. David looked confused. “Virginia?” he asked. “I thought he was running for governor of New York.”

He won’t be supporting McAuliffe for governor.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

21 replies on “McAuliffe: “It’s not whether I win or not.””

  1. I’ll say this for Terry McAuliffe – he makes even Brian Moran look like a native Virginian.

    This guy has done nothing for the Virginia Democratic Party. While the rest of us and our leaders were out there fighting in the trenches for the last 8 years to make VA blue, McAuliffe was absent. He’s done nothing to earn the nomination for so much as dogcatcher. Guys like Creigh Deeds busted their asses for years to turn Virginia blue and now McAuliffe thinks he gets to waltz in here and sit on the throne.

    If McAuliffe manages to buy the nomination, 8 years of work on the part of Virginia Democrats will instantly go down the crapper. He would drag the whole ticket down in 2009, probably ruining our chances of taking control of the House of Delegates in time for redistricting. The timing here is horrible.

  2. I have bad news for you all: this is going to be an emerging trend in the Democratic Party of Virginia, and Terry McAuliffe is really just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, he didn’t consider Virginia an important state for Democrats, but at least he was always a Democrat. Just wait for the slew of people who would never dream of calling themselves Democrats four years ago to show up and demand your support now that being a Virginia Democrat is cool.

  3. “McAuliffe added that if he is chosen as the Democratic nominee for governor, he would help finance the party’s other 2009 races for lieutenant governor and attorney general, as well as races for the House of Delegates and local office.”

    I guess he thinks that he can buy his way into the Governor’s mansion. If he were to be successful, it would be bad for Virginia and for the in-roads that Gov. Warner made with voters that were traditionally Republican leaning (I’d be part of the bloc).

  4. Good story, Waldo. As the party I usually vote for finds itself in disarray in the Commonwealth as well as nationally, I can only pray the TM gets the Dem nomination. He would get like 46% of the vote against a generic GOP candidate I bet.

    Don’t know much about Moran but don’t like his daddy at all. Creigh Deeds will be another in a long line of quasi-conservative Dems I could live with.

  5. I guess he thinks that he can buy his way into the Governor’s mansion.

    FWIW, Mark Warner bought his way into the governor’s mansion, or so I interpret the data from that election. (He dumped something like $10M of his own money into the race come mid-October, as I recall.) It certainly worked out, as far as I’m concerned, but McAuliffe’s candidacy certainly shows that there’s two sides to that coin.

    Don’t know much about Moran but don’t like his daddy at all.

    Actually, Jim Moran is Brian Moran’s brother, not his father. But with the age difference, it’s certainly an understandable mistake.

  6. Actually Terry did have some involvement with the DPVA (as he pointed out to me last September): he used to be chair of the party. But since then, as best as I can determine, he’s been MIA.

    And Sam – I’m afraid you are correct. Met one of them last night.

  7. Just wait for the slew of people who would never dream of calling themselves Democrats four years ago to show up and demand your support now that being a Virginia Democrat is cool.

    And I think that can be OK—Exhibit A is Jim Webb—but McAuliffe seems like a case where it’s not. The difference (or so I think at first blush) is that Webb brought the party closer to the center than Harris Miller (and thus victory), while McAuliffe does quite the opposite. Also, Webb ran when we needed a candidate. Miller had stepped up to serve as a sacrificial lamb, but I think it’s good to have a primary for an open seat. In the case of the governor’s seat, not only would McAuliffe pull the ticket a great deal to the left, but we’ve already got two good candidates for the seat.

    For the record, McAuliffe has every right to run, and I don’t begrudge him that. I just a) don’t like him b) don’t trust him and c) feel quite certain that his nomination would result in a defeat in the general election.

  8. Actually Terry did have some involvement with the DPVA (as he pointed out to me last September): he used to be chair of the party.

    Wow, I’ve never seen anything about that. Googling around, I’m not finding anything, either. I don’t doubt that it’s true, but do you know anything else, especially when he was chair?

  9. Terry McAuliffe was a TERRIBLE DNC chair. All he did was raise money and generally lose elections. The man did absolutely nothing of substance to build or expand the party. His whole vision of party leadership has been discredited by Howard Dean’s stunning successes which were achieved by doing basically the opposite of what McAuliffe did.

  10. Terry McAuliffe’s time at the DNC can be characterized by saying that his cronies and friends all had jobs at that point. He is a practitioner of patronage, and while some of that might be good, in my opinion he overdid it.

    He is representative of everything that we do not want the reinvigorated Democratic Party to be. Lost elections, big money stench, lobbyist friendliness, cronyism, and all the worst traits of a greedy political operation.

    I would like to think that, even though we have seen no governance yet from the Obama Administration, we have higher ideals to aim for. Who gave whom money, where the influence lies, who’s telling lies; all these things matter in our state elections next year.

    I look forward to a big dollop of truth being slathered over the masses. I can dream, can’t I?

  11. ““It’s not whether I could win or not . . .”

    Oh my…My friend Mike and I are both sitting here wishing to god we were back in VA so we could witness first hand the awesome that this campaign is going to be (Mike and I met in PA, but we worked on four campaigns on opposite sides in VA and never met. Go figure.). Anywho, look- when someone doesn’t care if they win or not, that means they have like, no real stake in the race. They are just in it for the awesome and to stir up attention for themselves. Result? Shameless media whoring and baiting the serious candidates to see who will get fed up and attempt to fight back first. Or cry. Or throw the equivalent of a hissy fit.

    In short, it’s the kind of campaign both Mike and I would adore to work on because really? You’re gonna tell me not to run that ad or whatever because it would result in you losing? You’re going to lose anyways. Man, this is gonna be *awesome*.

    Then again, I might be giving the man too much credit, and he could think he’s actually got a shot at winning. In which case, sucks for you guys, but it should still be an unintentionally hilarious campaign.

  12. One of the points that I failed to address is the “win or not” portion of this.

    If he doesn’t care about that, then what good could he do? Lining the pockets of consultants knowing a gravy train when they see one, there will be little actual dedication to any cause here.

    It is about TerryMac, that is to say, the lifestyle of being ‘on campaign’ appeals to him, and in his own twisted way, he probably feels he is doing US a favor in the process.

  13. True enough Waldo, regarding Warner’s personal contributions to his election. It just seems different putting your own money into a race versus promising to help every other candidate win their races in exchange for support; I’m wondering how many backs TM can scratch, because he seems willing to scratch as many as he has to. I don’t remember Warner making such statements.

  14. Everything about McAulliffe for Governor scares me. Va. politics seems to appreciate genuine people who have put in the time in the state or have strong ties. Warner had these (Dem party official, running against John Warner), Kaine had these (Richmond politics, Lt. Gov.), Webb had them (family in SW VA). What has McAuliffe done for Virginia? Where has he put in the time?

    I’m from Northern Virginia (the “fake” part) and I’d be uneasy with a Brian Moran nomination b/c I’m not sure he’d be able to win the whole state. I’m even more uneasy with McAuliffe. Deeds seems to be the sort of candidate who has the least disadvantages at this point.

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