Former Virginia Governor and longtime Clinton associate Terry McAuliffe has filed papers for a 2021 re-run for his former seat, though he says he won’t be making a final decision until Democrats “defeat Donald Trump and his hateful ideology” this November.
While Virginia’s Governors are barred from serving consecutive terms, they may serve non-consecutive terms, though only one Governor, Mills Godwin has done so, leading the Commonwealth from 1966 to 1970 and again from 1974 to 1978.
McAuliffe, a native New Yorker who once served as DNC chair spent years mulling over gubernatorial runs in both New York and Florida before settling on the Old Dominion. First testing the waters in the state in 2009 and eventually receiving his party’s nomination for Governor in 2013, McAuliffe defeated then-Attorney General Ken Cucinelli in a neck and neck race in which many observers credit Robert Sarvis, a Libertarian who placed in a distant third, with shaving off enough Republican votes to propel McAuliffe to victory.
After raising his national profile to all-time highs, using his own narrative of the events of the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville as a source of “woke” political hay, McAuliffe was the subject of much speculation ahead of 2020’s presidential primary season, having flirted with a potential run for the DNC nomination.
Though McAuliffe stepped aside after Joe Biden entered the race, throwing his support behind the now-nominee, his impact on the race has already been felt, going viral online after telling fellow Democrats that Biden is “fine in the basement” where just “two people see him a day.”
Were McAuliffe to officially enter the race for his party’s nomination today, he would represent candidate number 5 in a growing field that includes Attorney General Mark Herring, who has served as Virginia’s top prosecutor under both McAuliffe and his successor Ralph Northam, as well as Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, who was once considered to be Governor Northam’s heir apparent, before multiple credible rape allegations left his political future in question.