While Republicans are squabbling about next year’s primary, Democrats are uniting — or trying to, anyway.
Terry McAuliffe, who at the moment looks to be the only Democrat who will run for governor (unless, of course, Sen. Mark Warner jumps into the race) has quietly met with nearly every other member of his party mulling a run for statewide office, sources tell us.
The former Democratic National Committee chairman and businessman has met with Arlington County lawyer Mike Signer, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2009 and may do so again. And he’s chatted with Sens. Chap Petersen (Fairfax), David Marsden (Fairfax) and Ralph Northam (Norfolk), all of whom have been mentioned as possible replacements for Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R).
McAuliffe has talked with Sen. Mark Herring (Loudoun), who may run for attorney general, and Michael Herring, the commonwealth’s attorney in Richmond, who some would like to run to be the state’s top attorney.
So who’s missing?
Former House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong, who lost his reelection bid in November after Republicans eliminated his largely rural Southside district and who is interested in being the state’s top lawyer, has spoken to McAuliffe recently — but only about business. He bristled that McAuliffe or Democrats may be trying to unite around a ticket. “People make their own decisions,’’ he said.
Perhaps McAuliffe, who lost in a three-way primary for governor in 2009 to Sen. Creigh Deeds (Bath), wants to avoid nasty nomination contests. Republicans are poised to have a few of their own: already two candidates are running for governor, two for attorney general and at least three for lieutenant governor.
But Stoney said McAuliffe isn’t trying to create a ticket — and that the men wanted to speak to him.
“Terry rarely turns down the chance to have a conversation about the future of the commonwealth,’’ Stoney said. “Whether it's sitting down with legislators from both parties, local business leaders or community activists, Terry is very interested in discussing solutions that will make Virginia even more competitive in the global economy.”
Meanwhile, McAuliffe who was greeted by hundreds of supporters wearing blue “Run, Terry, Run” stickers at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner last month, is inching closer to an announcement.
He’s even had drinks with Warner, the popular former governor who relishes the chance to keep everyone guessing about his future.
Bet that was an interesting conversation.