February 8th, 2009
01:00 PM ET
14 years ago

McAuliffe takes heat from rival at Democratic dinner

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/04/art.terryvid0104.yt.jpg caption="McAuliffe is expected to outraise all of his opponents in the Virginia governor's race."](CNN) - Could Terry McAuliffe’s hefty bank account backfire against him in the Virginia’s governor’s race? That’s certainly what one of his Democratic rivals is hoping

At the Democratic Party of Virginia’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner  on Saturday, McAuliffe got an earful from former House member Brian Moran, who implied that the onetime DNC chairman is trying to buy the governor’s mansion by tapping his rolodex of national donors.

“We must decide what our party stands for,” Moran told the audience of activists in Richmond. “Will our party be dominated by big money and those who raise it, or will we be the party of the people?”

Before his remarks, Moran’s campaign played a video outlining his 12 years of experience in state Democratic politics. As the short movie faded to black, the phrase “Money isn’t everything” appeared on the screen, a clear shot at McAuliffe and an indication of how Moran plans to define the primary race.

“Mark [Warner] and Tim [Kaine] didn't just show up when it was easy and the battles had already been won," Moran said of the commonwealth’s two most recent governors. “They were here when it was hard to be a Virginia Democrat."

Though he never mentioned the longtime Bill and Hillary Clinton ally by name, Moran went on, suggesting McAuliffe’s bid is more about “personal gain” than public service.

“Will our party be dominated by big money and those who raise it, or will we be the party of the people?,” he asked.

The tough rhetoric earned Moran the night’s loudest applause, but also some jeers from McAuliffe backers in the building. McAuliffe brought in several busloads of supporters and purchased 39 tables at the dinner, ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 a table, depending on the view.

In his own speech, McAuliffe promised not to say anything negative about his Democratic rivals, Moran and state senator Creigh Deeds. Instead, he focused his remarks on the main plank of his campaign - creating jobs in an ailing economy.

Filed under: Brian Moran • Terry McAuliffe
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. John

    I was at the dinner and I applaud Brian Moran for having the courage of his convictions. Moran has been fighting the good fight as a Virginia Democrat for many years now. McAuliffe has made some impressive efforts in national politics, but he knows little about Virginia issues and elections. He hasn't even voted in every state office primary that he has been eligible to vote in. Brian Moran would make an outstanding Virginia Governor. Mr. McAuliffe is an impressive fundraiser, but he should stick to what he knows best.

    February 8, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. bankrupt USA

    Message to Moran ... the political system as it currently exists will require huge sums of money for the Democratic candidate for Governor to be victorious in November. That is a fact.

    February 8, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. thomas

    Since when has money ever been a disadvantage?

    February 8, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    The arrogance of this little guy in his defense of the vile Hillary is enough evidence for me to _never_ vote for him or his ilk.

    February 8, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. Abraham Lincoln

    Play nice boys...we are all watching.

    February 8, 2009 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |