Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe said this weekend he is “interested” in a second gubernatorial bid in Virginia.
“I’m interested in it, but I got a year and a half,” McAuliffe said in an interview at a reception preceding the .
“For me, the issue is, ‘How can I really make a difference?’ If I can get in as governor and do what I think is important, and I’ve got a willing Legislature that’s willing to work with me to get it done, great. That’s the important thing.”
He continued: “So, we’re looking at it, but if you know anything about my career, trying to predict what I’m going to do next week is hard. Of course we’re interested. But if I could get in and really turbo charge what I talked about – our renewable energy standard and moving Virginia forward and all these different issues – clearly I’d be interested.”
Because of McAuliffe’s travel plans, political observers have speculated he has his eye on Richmond. He mentioned several times Saturday night that the Arlington dinner was his 265th event since his first run for governor in 2009.
Combined, those factors seem to indicate McAuliffe will be a staple on this and next year’s campaign trail. He and other Democrats will spend the next few months trying to maintain or grow a slim majority in the state Senate and working to win back seats in the GOP-controlled House of Delegates – or, at least, not lose any more. He also plans to campaign for Tim Kaine’s 2012 Senate bid and the re-election of President Barack Obama.
During his keynote address, McAuliffe laughed at his 2009 defeat, reminding Arlington Democrats numerous times that “none of you voted for me,” often as footnotes to potshots at Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell.
McAuliffe placed second in the ’09 primary, winning about 26 percent of the vote statewide in a three-way contest. In Democrat-friendly Arlington County, he placed third with only about 16 percent of the vote.
“He’s running again,” said Alfonso Lopez, a former administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration who is running for state delegate. “He’s doing everything right.”
In the meantime, McAuliffe remains the pitchman that made him party boss and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman.
He talks about his McLean-based business, GreenTech Automotive, which builds hybrid and electric cars – and says he had to put the manufacturing plant in Mississippi because the commonwealth didn’t make a competitive bid for it. He’s also taking over an abandoned International Paper plant in Isle of Wight County to make wood pellets to export to Europe.
“What I’m doing, I’m being very honest. I’m a very straight shooter,” McAuliffe said. “I ran on a big platform with big ideas. A lot of politicians make promises and then leave. I’m doing what I said I’d do.”
Levar Stoney, a McAuliffe aide and GreenTech’s director of public and governmental affairs, said the immediate focus was on helping Democrats win in 2011.
When asked about a second gubernatorial bid, Stoney said, “That’s still undecided. But we’re working as hard as we can.”