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.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Donald is backing The Macker.
Donald Trump is just one of many big name donors funding Terry McAuliffe's campaign to win the Virginia governor's mansion this fall, according to newly released financial disclosure reports - and he isn't even among the most generous givers.
The New York real estate magnate cut McAuliffe a check for a whopping $25,000 in late March, but that's just a drop in the bucket compared to the largest single donation in McAuliffe's report - a $251,000 gift from billionaire media tycoon Haim Saban in January. That check narrowly bested a $250,000 contribution the following month from Steve Bing, another big fish in the entertainment industry.
McAuliffe raised $4.2 million in the first quarter of 2009, and thanks to Virginia's permissive fundraising laws, more than 80 percent of his cash came from donors who live outside the state.
In all, McAuliffe listed 87 donations of $10,000 or higher. By comparison, his Democratic rivals Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran reported 15 and 12 donations of $10,000 or higher, respectively. The Republican candidate, Bob McDonnell, reported 25.
Like many of McAuliffe's contributors listed in the quarterly filing, Saban and Bing are longtime friends and financial patrons of Bill and Hillary Clinton. McAuliffe aggressively tapped into the Clinton network over the last three months, even hitting up the former president himself for a donation of $10,000 in January.
Seven McAuliffe donors who gave $5,000 or more to his campaign actually stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom during the Clinton administration, including Alan Patricof, who was a finance chairman for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
WAKEFIELD, Virginia (CNN) – The crowds weren’t drinking tea on Tax Day in southeast Virginia.
At the Shad Planking - Virginia’s annual backwoods carnival of fish and politics - bourbon and beer were the cocktails of choice. And although the candidates for governor who showed up at this year’s event didn’t actually booze, they were definitely taking some shots.
Their main target, as expected, was Terry McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee who decided last year to seek the governorship.
McAuliffe arrived at the Shad Planking making no apologies for the amount of money he’s spending in the 2009 race.
Drivers making their way into Wakefield were overwhelmed by nearly 25,000 “McAuliffe for Governor” signs planted along the roadside, put there by 60 full-time campaign staffers and 40 more volunteers. Circling the skies above the event was a plane towing a sign reading “New Energy, New Jobs: Vote Terry.” McAuliffe even brought along a man dressed in a chicken suit wearing a diaper, meant to demonstrate the candidate’s enthusiasm for turning chicken waste into re-usable energy.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds just fired a warning shot across the bow of local politicos who regard him as something of a third wheel in the state's crowded Democratic primary race.
Deeds, a state senator from Bath County, announced Thursday that his campaign raised $600,000 in the first three months of 2009. That might not seem like a large number - until you consider that Deeds was unable to raise money for roughly half that time, because Virginia law prevents state legislators from collecting checks during legislative sessions.
More importantly, Deeds now has $1.2 million in the bank. That's more than rival Brian Moran, a former House delegate who has $824,000 on hand, and it's about $1 million less than the third candidate, Terry McAuliffe, a deep-pocketed millionaire with a healthy rolodex of donors from around the country. McAuliffe announced Wednesday that he entered April with $2.5 million in his war chest.
"My opponents had twice as much time to fundraise," Deeds said in an e-mail to supporters. "Brian Moran even resigned his seat so he could raise money full-time for his campaign, but it didn't pay off. I now have 41 percent more cash on-hand than Brian."
Deeds also raised 97 percent of his funds in the first quarter from inside the state of Virginia, a greater percentage than both of his Democratic rivals. Moran raised 90 percent of his money from Virginians, while McAuliffe raised less than 20 percent from donors inside the commonwealth.
Deeds will surely play that figure up as he tries to sell himself as the Democrat with the best chance of beating Republican Bob McDonnell in the fall.
McDonnell has not yet announced his first quarter fundraising total.
UPDATE: Deeds' cash on hand total includes an $80,000 transfer from his senate account.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe has raised $4.2 million for his Virginia gubernatorial bid in the first quarter of 2009, his campaign announced today - an eye-popping figure for a first-time political candidate in a statewide race.
By comparison, current Virginia governor Tim Kaine raised $2.6 million in the first quarter of 2005 as the lone Democrat in that year's gubernatorial campaign - and more than half of that total came in the form of a $1.5 million gift from the DNC. Former governor Mark Warner raised $1.4 million in the first quarter of of his 2001 campaign.
But unlike Kaine, who was unopposed for his party's nomination, McAuliffe is spending roughly half of what he's taking in. Kaine entered April 2005 with $5 million on hand, while McAuliffe began the month with around $2.5 million in the bank out of the $5.2 million he has raised in total, going back to last year. That means he has burned through about half of his donations so far while building a campaign operation and doing battle with his Democratic rivals.
McAuliffe is competing in a three-way primary against former House delegate Brian Moran and state senator Creigh Deeds. The winner of that June vote will face Republican Bob McDonnell, who is also expected to announce a sizeable cash haul of his own thanks, in part, to frequent fundraising help from prominent national GOP figures.
All of McAuliffe's rivals have conceded that they expect the well-connected ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton to outraise everyone else in the race.
Along with keeping a relentless campaign schedule, McAuliffe has been jetting around the country collecting checks from donors in places like New York, California, Florida and Arizona. The campaign did not announce how many donations came from voters inside Virginia, saying only that they have raised money from over 3,440 contributors since last fall.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Virginia Democrats are eagerly pouncing on Mike Huckabee for telling an audience in Appalachia that voters in northern Virginia "aren't necessarily thinking the same way folks like you and me think."
Huckabee made the remarks in southwest Virginia's Tazewell County on Monday while campaigning with Bob McDonnell, the Republican candidate for governor. His appearance was recorded and posted on YouTube by a state Democratic operative.
"They have never fully understood how hard it is for a lot of people to put a paycheck together, be able to feed a family," Huckabee said. "Some folks up there near the Beltway," he claimed, have "never fully understood how hard it is for a lot of people to put a paycheck together, be able to feed a family."
The comments were reminiscent of a gaffe made last October by Nancy Pfotenhauer, a campaign adviser to John McCain, who went on cable television and contrasted the strongly Democratic Washington suburbs with the rest of state, which she called 'real Virginia.' The Obama campaign, eager to shore up support in vote-heavy northern Virginia, seized on the comment.
Virginia Democratic Party chairman Richard C. Cranwell called Huckabee's remarks "divisive" and demanded that McDonnell condemn them. "It's the same thing they tried to do last year with the 'real Virginia,'" Cranwell said. "I expect we won't be seeing Mike Huckabee back in Virginia again."
State senator Creigh Deeds, one of three Democrats seeking his party's nomination for governor this year, said Huckabee's comments were "hurtful" and asked McDonnell supporters to "pick up a newspaper to find out that Virginians are hurting across the commonwealth."
(CNN) – Mike Huckabee shot back at Terry McAuliffe late Thursday after the former DNC chairman and Virginia gubernatorial candidate accused Huckabee of encouraging voter suppression.
"As someone who served as a Governor for 10 years, I can say if these are the type of things Terry McAuliffe worries about and make him break down and cry, then he won't last 10 days as Governor much less four years and he doesn't deserve the people of Virginia's vote," Huckabee said in a statement to CNN.
At issue is a joke Huckabee made during a recent appearance on behalf of Bob McDonnell, the Republican candidate for governor.
Huckabee cracked that if McDonnell's supporters bump into someone who isn't planning on voting for the Republican, they should "let the air out of their tires and do not let them out of their driveway on election day."
The joke, a familiar one to those who followed Huckabee's presidential campaign, drew chuckles from the crowd.
McAuliffe, one of three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, sought to make the remark an issue on Thursday.
"There are no jokes to be made about denying people the right to vote in this country," he said in a statement. "It's not a laughing matter. This is a right that people fought and died for, so as public figures, we must be sure that we are setting the standard."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Terry McAuliffe, the jovial former chairman of the Democratic National Committee now running for governor in Virginia, is not laughing at one of Mike Huckabee's jokes.
During a recent appearance on behalf of Bob McDonnell - the Republican candidate for governor - Huckabee wisecracked that if McDonnell's supporters bump into someone who isn't planning on voting for the Republican, they should "let the air out of their tires and do not let them out of their driveway on election day."
The joke is a Huckabee favorite: he recited it countless times at campaign stops nationwide during his failed bid to win the Republican nomination in 2007 and 2008.
Nevertheless, McAuliffe - who made more than a few surrogate appearances of his own on behalf of Bill and Hillary Clinton - is accusing of Huckabee of inciting "voter suppression."
"Let's be clear," he said in a statement. "There are no jokes to be made about denying people the right to vote in this country. It's not a laughing matter. This is a right that people fought and died for, so as public figures, we must be sure that we are setting the standard."
McAuliffe, who has made a point of highlighting his creation of a voting rights institute when he led the DNC, accused McDonnell of "standing by silently as Mike Huckabee encourages his supporters to suppress the vote."
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin brushed off the McAuliffe criticism.
"Virginians are losing their jobs, unemployment is at its highest point in 17 years, and Chairman McAuliffe spends his afternoon feigning outrage over a lighthearted political joke by somebody not even on the ballot in Virginia," Martin said. "This attack demonstrates a complete lack of perspective and seriousness. Chairman McAuliffe clearly has no clue what Virginians are going through, and how tough times are."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is taking flack from one of his Democratic rivals for attending a campaign fundraiser co-hosted by a prominent Republican lobbyist who publicly opposed Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign.
The event was held Tuesday night at the Washington office of the BGR Group, a top government affairs and public relations firm founded by three Republicans including lobbyist Ed Rogers, a friend of McAuliffe's who co-hosted the fundraiser.
The campaign of former House member Brian Moran - who is seeking the Democratic nomination along with McAuliffe and state senator Creigh Deeds - called the fundraiser "offensive" and accused Rogers of joining with "Rush Limbaugh and others in raising racially and religiously charged attacks against then Sen. Obama."
"It's sad that in the same week Terry McAuliffe aired a radio ad claiming credit for helping to elect Barack Obama, he's holding a fundraiser with someone who did everything he could to defeat him," said Moran campaign manager Andrew Roos.
The McAuliffe campaign hit back, arguing that the eventual Democratic nominee will need a thick wallet to defeat Republican candidate Bob McDonnell and accusing the Moran team of being the only campaign in the Democratic race "actively attacking other Democrats."
They called the BGR group "bipartisan" and said the fundraiser demonstrates that McAuliffe will bring an ability to work with both parties to the governor's mansion.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – For those who might doubt that bashing AIG equals good politics, look no further than the commonwealth of Virginia.
In the span of just one hour on Thursday, all three of Virginia's Democratic candidates for governor released harshly-worded online petitions demanding that the insurance giant return $146 million in bonuses to the federal government.
"It's time we fight back," read an e-mail to supporters from former House member Brian Moran, whose campaign has already adopted a populist pitch. "Tell AIG executives that this is wrong. Tell them to return the money."
A similar e-mail from Creigh Deeds hit inboxes minutes later. The state senator took the step of attacking AIG CEO Edward Liddy directly, urging supporters to sign a petition that tells Liddy: "I don't think you get it."
"Where I'm from, your boss gives you a bonus when you work hard and your business succeeds," said the Deeds e-mail.
The third Democratic hopeful, former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, followed suit with an outraged missive of his own, entitled "Nonsense."
"I supported this administration's plan to inject capital into the marketplace, but like the president, I believe that there needs to be accountability," he said.