Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Terry McAuliffe For Governor? We're Skeptical

Former Democratic National Committee chairman and Clintonite Terry McAuliffe has confirmed that he intends to run for governor of Virginia next year. He joins state delegate Brian Moran, from Alexandria, and state Senator Creigh Deeds, from Bath County, in seeking the Democratic nomination to go up against Attorney General Bob McDonnell, the likely GOP nominee.

We'll keep an open mind on McAuliffe, but at the outset we're pretty skeptical. McAuliffe has never served in any elective or other public office in Virginia. He lives in McLean, Virginia, but most residents of the Commonwealth will not view him as a "Virginian."

We certainly want to see Governor Tim Kaine succeeded by another moderate, progressive Democrat, and not by McDonnell, who squeaked out the narrowest of victories over Deeds in 2005 to win the AG post.

Whether McAuliffe is that candidate, we don't know. He certainly has the ability to raise a lot of money; he's politically savvy; and he's energetic. We're reminded that when some obscure businessman named Mark Warner--who also had no experience as an elected official in Virginia--burst on the scene (audaciously running against incumbent Senator John Warner in his first race), many were, to say the least, skeptical of him. Now we know better.

One of the things we wonder about McAuliffe is whether he really wants to be governor of Virginia, and if so, why. In his announcement that he is running, he attacked Richmond for being out of touch, but what does he know about Richmond?

McAuliffe strikes us as someone who sees the Virginia governorship as a stepping stone to larger ambitions.

We'll keep an open mind. We'd like to see McAuliffe demonstrate some real knowledge about Virginia and its politics, and some sensitivity to its real issues. His initial announcement seemed to us shallow in this regard.

In any event, it looks like Democrats will have quite a donnybrook over their next nominee for Governor.

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