Former — and likely future — gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe said Thursday that he has spoken to Gov. Bob McDonnell and Lt. Bill
Bolling, the chief jobs creation officer, several times in recent weeks about opening a car plant in Virginia.
“We are actively looking at sites,’’ McAuliffe said. “This is economics. This is a major company...I have to go where it makes the most economic sense.”
McAuliffe, chairman of GreenTech Auto, paid $20 million in May for Hong Kong-based EuAuto Technology, which builds an electric vehicle called the MyCar. He secured a package of incentives from then Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) to build a facility in that state, which is now in operation.
McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was at the state Capitol Thursday to speak to the Senate and House Democratic caucuses. He was introduced as he sat in the House gallery, receiving hearty applause from Democrats and a more muted greeting from Republicans.
McAuliffe said he told Democrats — who have lost both chambers in the General Assembly — to keep their chins up.
“We have to use this session to build toward the future,’’ he said. “We have to look forward. There are great opportunities You know you’ve already seen them try to overreach on the other side -- some of the legislation they are talking about on the other side, personhood and trying to deny voters and those type of issues...We have to stay focused on issues, job creation, all the things I’ve always talked about and we’ll be successful.
McAuliffe said he will also visit Sen. Mark Warner (D), who was in town Thursday.
He said he and Bolling, who is running for governor, have not talked about next year’s race. But the two will be speaking Thursday night at the Sierra Club’s 2nd Annual Renewable Energy Business Lobby Day Reception.
“Nice guy,’’ McAuliffe said. “I like him.”