WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton is wading into Virginia’s Democratic primary for governor on behalf of his friend and long time political ally Terry McAuliffe.
McAuliffe's campaign announced Wednesday that Clinton will campaign alongside the Democratic contender on Monday in Richmond and Roanoke. It will mark the first time that the 42nd president has actively stumped for McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman- turned gubernatorial candidate.
McAuliffe is locked in a contentious three-way primary battle with state Sen. Creigh Deeds and former House member Brian Moran.
The winner of that contest will face Republican Bob McDonnell in the general election.
McAuliffe makes no apologies for the kind of political firepower he’s bringing to the 2009 governor’s race, arguably the most-watched contest in this off-year election cycle. Of the $4.2 million he raised during the first three months of 2009, more than 80 percent of it came from out-of-state donors, many of whom McAuliffe knows from his years of involvement in national Democratic politics.
Clinton himself gave McAuliffe’s campaign a check for $10,000 in January.
Although Clinton headlined the Democratic Party of Virginia’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in February – a forum at which all three candidates appeared - he avoided any public endorsement of McAuliffe at the time.
And in a sign of the times, McAuliffe's campaign made the Clinton announcement Wednesday via text message.
“As a former Governor and good friend of Terry's, we think the President can speak to Terry's experience creating jobs and how that will help Virginia if Terry is in the Governor's office," McAuliffe spokesman Lis Smith said.