FAIRFAX — Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe left little to the imagination Saturday about his potential 2013 gubernatorial bid.
"Come 2013, if I run for governor, I'm going to ask a favor from everybody in this room. I'm going to need your help," said McAuliffe, who spoke to a packed house at the 2012 Democratic Party of Virginia State Convention at George Mason University.
"If there's an office open, I want you to run—I don't care if it's for Soil and Water. And I promise you this: If you run, we will have the time of our life next year. We will have the resources to get your message out. And we will run as one," McAuliffe said.
McAuliffe, , jogged onto the stage with music blaring and a standing ovation. His speech was littered with "Run, Terry, Run" chants from the audience.
McAuliffe playfully referenced his unsuccessful 2009 Virginia gubernatorial bid — thanking the "six people in the audience" who voted for him.
McAuliffe criticized Republican-sponsored legislation that requires women to have "trans-vaginal ultrasounds" before abortions. Citing his Irish Catholic faith, he said the Virginia Legislature should have a rule that if the legislation was embarrassing to say, it shouldn't pass.
Virginia is the seventh wealthiest state in the country, McAuliffe said, and he attacked Republicans for keeping it ranked 35th in education spending and last in teacher pay.
McAuliffe also criticized Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, who backed legislation to sell naming rights to roads and bridges. On the other hand, President Barack Obama, he said, built a bridge in Danville. Now, that bridge will feature the sign: "Brought to you by the Koch brothers," he said.
McAuliffe acknowledged his eccentricities. "If you're looking for some politician who goes out and does these focus groups and they tell you what to say: I'm not your guy," he said. "I think it's time in Virginia that we raise heck. We need someone who is loud.
"We need someone in the governor's mansion who is going to fight for you, because we're going to have to fight every single day."
Peter O'Keefe, a friend of McAuliffe's from Washington, was pleased with the reception the potential candidate received.
"He's got the right message," O'Keefe said. "He's such a dynamic individual, he'll motivate the commonwealth."
Rusty Connor, of Alexandria, said McAuliffe had paid his dues. "People know who he is. He's got an awful lot to offer this state."
McAuliffe told Patch that even if he doesn't run for governor in 2013, he will continue to support down-ballot Democratic candidates.