Less than a month after announcing he won’t run for president in 2020, Politico reports that six sources “close” to former Gov. Terry McAuliffe say he is seriously considering another run in 2021.
The always-energetic McAuliffe, 62, remains tight-lipped about the prospect — he hasn’t told anyone he’s seeking to become the second governor in state history to serve a second term, but he has said he’s considering it.
Virginia limits governors to a single four-year term, but there’s no law preventing a former governor from running again after sticking out their successor’s term.
“He’s contemplating another run because he enjoyed it,” Bill Stanley, a Republican leader in the state Senate who is considering a run for governor, told Politico. “He did it his way.”
McAuliffe is not exactly keeping a low profile. He’s holding strategy sessions with Democratic leaders from his home in McLean, and contemplating the launch of a new political action committee to help funnel money to Virginia General Assembly candidates. McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is also scheduled to headline over 60 events in the coming weeks.
His rolodex of wealthy donors plays to his favor in a state that lacks a clear frontrunner to succeed Gov. Ralph Northam, as does his close ties with the Clintons. McAuliffe is close with President Bill Clinton, and served as Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager in 2008. In the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton handily beat Trump in Virginia, capturing nearly 50 percent of the vote to Trump’s 44.4 percent.
And he’s popular in Virginia. In the final quarter of 2017, his last year as governor, McAuliffe walked away with a 15 percent net approval rating, according to Morning Consult data.
McAuliffe’s run as governor is highlighted by victories on a school anti-hunger initiative, an overhaul of the Port of Virginia, and driving new, technology-driven businesses with high paying jobs to the state.