Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, is allegedly “seriously” thinking about running in the 2020 presidential race.
A friend of the governor said, “He’s given me every indication that he’s taking it seriously,” the friend continued, “I don’t think he’s 100 percent decided that this is something he’s planning to do but it is something he’s seriously considering.”
“Whether he pulls the trigger or not, that remains to be seen,” he or she added.
McAuliffe could successfully talk about his track record as governor of Virginia, a purple state, former aides and associates say. But should he decide to run, the governor would face some obstacles.
For starters — his close ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton.
On the heels of a disappointing loss in 2016, political observers say Democrats might want someone from outside of Clinton World in 2020.
And McAuliffe, who served as co-chairman of Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign and chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, would be labeled by rivals as a major part of the Clinton inner circle.
“I think that’s his biggest problem,” his friend added, “It will be so hard for him to thread the needle. Bill Clinton is his best friend and anyone who knows Terry knows he is a very, very loyal person. He would walk over coals for Bill Clinton, so I don’t think it’s a politically tenable position.”
Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, agreed that his Clinton ties are problematic.
“I don’t think he is the way to go for the Democrats,” Zelizer continued, “There is too much Clinton in him, and he doesn’t have the kind of fire power on the campaign trail people will need to really rally the base.”
Mo Elleithee, a former McAuliffe aide now serving as the director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Policy, said he did not believe the Clinton ties would be a problem for McAuliffe.
“I don’t know anyone who actually votes that way,” Elleithee said.
“Do I think anyone is going to look at these candidates and make a decision on their previous affiliations? I don’t think it helps or hurts. I don’t think anyone is going to factor that in one way or another,” Elleithee concluded.