David Cox | Terry, Don’t

Elections now almost precisely one month behind us can only mean that Virginians will go to the polls again in 11 months.
Next year we get to elect a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and the whole House of Delegates. So, if they must, let the games begin.
Actually, they have already begun. Two legislators, Sen. Creigh Deeds of our own area, and Del. Brian Moran, have been carefully sparring for a year. Now comes Terry McAuliffe, fresh from managing Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, who’s decided he wants to be Virginia’s governor.

In fact, he’s officially announced only that he’s considering running. He’s going around “listening” to what people have to say. Waynesboro was on his way a week ago Monday, so he stopped in to dine with local Dems.

I wasn’t there. If I were, I’d suggest he save himself the trouble.

For one thing, he’s not exactly a household name. OK, neither is “Moran.” At least Creigh Deeds won fame for barely, barely losing the AG race in ’05, though memories quickly fade as to who won, much more as to who lost.

For another, who knew he was from Virginia? Yes, McLean really is part of our state; and for 20 years, that’s where McAuliffe lived. But he’s hardly associated himself with the Old Dominion.

It’s the associations he has that raise the eyebrows. He headed Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, a less-than-well-considered and clearly less-than-successful operation. Plus, our new Secretary-designate of State probably wouldn’t win “Miss Popularity” in Virginia: Remember last year’s primary vote? I truly doubt that Virginia would have gone blue for her as it did for her new boss. Associating with the Clintons won’t help Terry much in Virginia.

Yes, he chaired the national Democratic Party. That’ll help him in Virginia how?

Yes, he’d amassed a bundle in his earlier years, rather like a previous governor who soon inhabits a Capitol Hill office. He wants the state to “run like a business” — like what business, Citigroup? AIG? General Motors? One should specify, these days.

And he wants to propose “big ideas” like growing the economy, resolving transportation, funding education from pre-K through college, and not raising taxes. Sound familiar?

Therein lies the main problem. A month ago tomorrow, the multi-year election campaign of 2008 finally ended. It was historic, and exciting, but also draining. Gearing up for a primary fight that involves three candidates isn’t my idea of fun, at least not now. Not yet. And not for someone who, for all his national experience, has been so little involved in the more immediate life of the state that he wants to lead.

If Terry McAuliffe runs, probably Creigh Deeds would be, shall we say, the primary beneficiary. Two Northern Virginians would split the vote; and that would please local Dems no end: When McAuliffe stopped in at the Lexington Democratic headquarters on election eve, suddenly Deeds bumper stickers magically appeared.

Better, perhaps, for him to stay out altogether.


– Column by David Cox

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