Terry McAuliffe may not have officially announced his run for Virginia governor in 2013, but that doesn’t seem to faze his supporters — some 400 of whom affixed their names to a mass email announced their backing of his all-but-assured gubernatorial bid.
The demonstration of political muscle comes the day before McAuliffe and hundreds of other Democrats are scheduled to convene at George Mason University in Fairfax to select delegates to the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
The list marks a substantial swath of political territory across the commonwealth for the energetic Northern Virginian — a former Democratic National Committee chair and personal friend of Bill Clinton — who lost a three-way bid for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2009.
McAuliffe has spent the last three years laying the foundation for a run in 2013, reinventing himself as a green energy entrepreneur committed to growing the commonwealth’s economy. His money and cross-state networking appear to have scared off any other possible Democratic challengers for the party nomination, though McAuliffe said he would back down if popular former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, a current U.S. Senator, decided to enter the race and run for a second term as governor.
The email announcing McAuliffe’s backers was sent out by Susan Swecker, a Democratic National Committeewoman and party activist.
“We believe Terry will be a strong nominee who will take back the Governor’s Mansion and help candidates up and down the ballot next year,” said Swecker.
“Over the last four years, Terry has traveled and participated in over 2,300 events across the Commonwealth. From Southwest Virginia to Northern Virginia he has listened and heard the concerns of everyday Virginians.”
The list compiled by McAuliffe backers reflects those travel, with current and former lawmakers and local party officials from across the commonwealth declaring their support. Among them:
· Hon. C. Richard Cranwell, Former Majority Leader, Virgina House of Delegates & Former Chair, Democratic Party of Virginia (Roanoke Co.)
· Hon. Michael Herring, Richmond Commonwealth Attorney (Richmond)
· Henry Howell, III, Former Chair, Virginia Beach Democratic Committee (Virginia Beach)
· Hon. Nancy Rodrigues, Former Secretary of Virginia State Board of Elections (Surry)
· Hon. Richard Saslaw, Democratic Leader, Virginia Senate (Fairfax Co.)
McAuliffe is scheduled to speak at this weekend’s gathering. While Democrats would appear to have few obstacles in deciding on a gubernatorial candidate, Republicans face a much more contentious environment when party faithful convene in Richmond in two weeks.
Both Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli have announced plans to run for the GOP nomination. State Central Committee members will decide on June 16 whether that selection process will change from an open primary to a party convention.
A convention is said to favor Cuccinelli, while Bolling is expected to fare better in a primary.