RICHMOND — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has just one issue with his wife’s potential run for Congress.
“The only thing I’ve said [is], ‘Dorothy, I’m the biggest critic of Congress,’ ” McAuliffe (D) said Wednesday. “They do nothing.’”
Despite his dim view of the place, McAuliffe said he has encouraged his wife, Dorothy McAuliffe, to consider seeking the Northern Virginia seat held by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R).
“I think she could be a spectacular member of Congress,” the governor said in his first public comments on his wife’s potential bid. “I think it would be great. … She knows every issue inside and out.”
McAuliffe made the remarks on WTOP radio’s “Ask the Governor” program one day after Dorothy McAuliffe told The Washington Post that she was “very seriously considering” a run.
The governor said his wife had not made a final decision and indicated that the couple’s children factored into the equation. “She’s got to make that ultimate decision. We’ve got five children,” he said, noting that two of them are still at home.
At an event in Arlington later in the day, McAuliffe said of his wife: “She’s a lawyer, so she’s examining all the pros and cons.”
Dorothy McAuliffe, who earned an undergraduate political science degree from Catholic University of America and a law degree from Georgetown University, practiced banking and securities law for several years, according to a biography posted on the state’s website.
In the radio interview, the governor was dismissive when asked if his family’s close ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton — the former president and 2016 Democratic nominee for president — could be a drag on Dorothy McAuliffe’s prospects, given the anti-establishment mood in some corners of the party.
“Bill and Hillary Clinton are our best friends,” he said. “I never, ever walk away from my friends. … They are my friends today, yesterday and forever. …. This is about ideas, who’s got the best ideas.”
He added: “I am proud of my relationship with the Clintons.”
If she decides to run for office, Dorothy McAuliffe would join a crowded Democratic field in the 10th congressional district. Three candidates have filed the paperwork to raise money: state Sen. Jennifer T. Wexton, a former prosecutor from Loudoun County; Lindsey Davis Stover, a former administration official of former president Barack Obama’s administration; and Dan Helmer, an Army veteran and strategic adviser at a consulting firm. Kimberly Adams, president of the Fairfax County Council of PTAs and past president of the Fairfax County teachers union, has also said she will run for the nomination.
Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will face a formidable candidate in Comstock, a former state delegate who won a second term in November even as Clinton carried her district by 10 points.
The governor, prohibited by the state constitution from serving back-to-back terms, leaves office on Jan. 13, 2018.
Patricia Sullivan contributed to this report.