- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 4, 2009

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe ended months of speculation Saturday, announcing in a video e-mail to supporters that he will run for governor of Virginia in the party primary.

The move instantly changed the fundraising dynamics of the race given Mr. McAuliffe’s vast donor network and ability to raise, by one estimate, as much as $80 million for the race.

In the video, the national political power broker struck a folksy tone and emphasized his ties to Virginia as well as his business and executive experience, which he compared to that of U.S. Sen.-elect Mark R. Warner and Gov. Tim Kaine

“For nearly 20 years, Virginia has been my home,” said Mr. McAuliffe, 51, of McLean. “… I’ve helped create successful businesses right here in the Commonweath. …

“For the last few months, I’ve traveled all over Virginia … Everywhere I go, folks are worried about jobs, about dependence on foreign oil, about the value of their homes and the state of our economy.”

Mr. McAuliffe has lived in Virginia for about 17 years.

He said he would be setting forth detailed plans on the economy, renewable energy and education, and also cited the need for “long-term transportation solutions.”

“As governor, I’ll make it my job to protect your job,” he said.

His Democratic rivals welcomed Mr. McAuliffe into the primary, with Brian J. Moran again questioning Mr. McAuliffe’s concern for Virginia.

“I am more convinced than ever that Virginians want a Governor with a proven record of fighting for Virginia families and a vision for the Commonwealth,” Mr. Moran said in a statement.

Peter Jackson, spokesman for state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath County said his candidate looked forward to “an open and honest debate about how we get the Virginia economy moving again and capitalize on the historic election of [President-elect] Barack Obama and Mark Warner.”

The reaction from the campaign of Attorny General Bob McDonnell, the sole Republican in the race, was more pointed.

“He’s a career partisan political fundraiser,” said McDonnell campaign manager Phil Cox. “I think Virginia wants problem-solvers, not partisanship. That’s what Bob McDonnell brings.”

Anticipating Mr. McAuliffe’s entry into the race and his fundraising ability, Mr. Moran suggested Friday that the candidates should accept only in-state donations during the primary. Mr. McAuliffe did not agree to the proposition.

In his video, Mr. McAuliffe said he will make his intention to run official Wednesday as part of a weeklong campaign kick-off.

The stops include town-hall meetings in Hampton Roads, Bristol and Richmond.

While praising the “great legacy” of Mr. Warner and Mr. Kaine, Mr. McAuliffe is well to the left of both, who toiled in the state party for years before they were elected governor by pledging bipartisan cooperation and campaigning as moderates.

cThe Associated Press contributed to this story.

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