Terry McAuliffe Will Not Run for President

WASHINGTON — Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia said Wednesday he would not run for president, according to Democrats familiar with his decision, concluding that his moderate profile would have limited appeal when Democratic voters appear to be choosing between younger, progressive contenders and veteran politicians like Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is expected to enter the race next week.

A storied political fund-raiser and close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Mr. McAuliffe had visited the early primary state of South Carolina and made calls to his donor network in hopes of lining up support. His advisers said they thought he may be able to raise $10 million in his first three months as a candidate. And with a record of job expansion during his tenure in Virginia, which he trumpeted at every opportunity, Mr. McAuliffe believed he could be a formidable candidate in a 2020 primary with no dominant front-runner.

But while the exuberant former Democratic National Committee chairman often sounded eager to run, and even tested a centrist message targeting what he called “dishonest populism,” it became clear to him that there was limited space for a 62-year-old political veteran.

[Sign up for our politics newsletter and join the conversation around the 2020 presidential race.]

Part of Mr. McAuliffe’s challenge was that party activists appeared to be gravitating toward candidates who were more liberal than him, such as Mr. Sanders and Senator Kamala Harris, or eying next-generation prospects such as former Representative Beto O’Rourke and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.

Mr. McAuliffe was dissuaded by the early shape of the race and complained to allies in private that many Democratic voters seemed to care little about experience and accomplishments, according to advisers.

But it is the long-anticipated entry of Mr. Biden, who would be the most experienced candidate in the race, that complicated Mr. McAuliffe’s ambitions more than anybody. Mr. McAuliffe would have run on a similar, consensus-oriented platform as the former vice president and would have been pursuing many of the same fund-raisers and donors.

Mr. McAuliffe’s allies expect him to get behind Mr. Biden, though it is unclear if he would do so next week. The two are longtime friends and have talked repeatedly in recent months about their intentions. Mr. Biden has made clear to Mr. McAuliffe that he wanted the former governor to play a prominent role in his campaign, if Mr. McAuliffe did not run himself, according to multiple Democrats familiar with their conversations.

[Check out the Democratic field with our candidate tracker.]

Mr. McAuliffe’s deep connections to his party’s leading donors may have hurt him in a race in which nearly every candidate is shunning super PACs and many are railing against the role of money in politics. But those contacts would make him a valued asset for Mr. Biden.

And he will also be needed in Virginia, where Democrats are hoping to reclaim both chambers of the State Legislature this November but have struggled to raise money because their top three elected leaders are all ensnared in scandal.

After making his name as a hard-charging political operative — in his youth he wrestled an alligator in exchange for a donation — Mr. McAuliffe raised hundreds of millions for Democratic campaigns and was chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid. He campaigned for Democrats across the country last year, stopping in early nominating states and general election battlegrounds alike.

He lost a primary for governor the next year before winning the governorship in 2013. He was a socially liberal but business-friendly chief executive and in early 2017 acknowledged that he would consider a presidential bid.

But after keeping the option open longer than he planned, in part because of Mr. Biden’s hesitation, Mr. McAuliffe recognized this was not his moment.

Source

more recommended stories

  • Trump Administration to Announce Farm Aid to Ease Pain of Trade War

    He reached out to Canadian and.

  • Pentagon to Build Temporary Shelter for 7,500 Migrant Adults Facing Deportation

    WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said on.

  • On Politics: Trump Blows Up Meeting With Democrats

    • New York State lawmakers approved.

  • U.S. Yet to Find Evidence of New Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria

    WASHINGTON — The United States has.

  • Michael Avenatti Is Charged With Stealing Nearly $300,000 From Stormy Daniels

    Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged the.

  • Trump’s Battles: Today’s State of Play

    congress and the presidency As Democrats.

  • Gillibrand Proposes Huge Investments in Maternal Health, Child Care and Education

    Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s presidential campaign on.

  • On Politics: Trump May Impose Limits on Chinese Maker of Surveillance Tech

    Good Wednesday morning. Here are some.

  • Anita Hill Worries Female 2020 Candidates Are ‘Not Being Taken Seriously’

    Mr. Biden spoke with Ms. Hill.

  • U.S. Says Syria’s President May Be Using Chemical Weapons Again

    WASHINGTON — The State Department said.

  • Kentucky Has a Primary Election Today. Here’s What to Watch.

    Voters in Kentucky are choosing their.

  • ‘Our Subpoenas Are Not Optional,’ Nadler Warns McGahn – Video

    By REUTERS | May. 21, 2019.

  • As McGahn Prepares to Defy Subpoena, Democrats’ Anger Swells

    WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee.

  • Lawmakers Break Ramadan Fast on Capitol Hill

    WASHINGTON — As the House’s day.

  • Fox News Welcomes Pete Buttigieg. Trump and ‘Fox & Friends’ Aren’t Pleased.

    Mr. Hume added, “Oh, and covering.

  • Impeachment Appeal Pushes Justin Amash From G.O.P. Gadfly to Insurgent

    Calls to the congressman’s cellphone and.

  • Student Debt Facts: The Average College Senior Owes $29,000

    On Sunday, Robert F. Smith, a.

  • Google Restricts Huawei’s Access to Android After Trump Order

    LONDON — The Chinese technology giant.

  • Google Restricts Huawei’s Access to Android After Trump Order

    LONDON — The Chinese technology giant.

  • On Politics: Trump and Kushner Raised Flags at Deutsche Bank

    • In an analysis, Peter Baker.

  • Social Media Pollution, a Huge Problem in the Last Election, Could Be Worse in 2020

    It’s unlikely you have heard of.

  • Trump and the Four-Letter Presidency

    He has either coarsened the public.

  • Trump to Open Middle East Peace Drive With Economic Conference

    WASHINGTON — The White House announced.

  • Deutsche Bank Staff Saw Suspicious Activity in Trump and Kushner Accounts

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Anti-money laundering specialists.

  • Why Trump Can’t Get Enough of the Rose Garden

    The Rose Garden has been a.

  • Voting Is Ending in India. Here’s What’s to Expect.

    After 39 days of polling involving.

  • Unita Blackwell, 86, Dies; Rights Crusader and Winner of Historic Election

    In Issaquena County — long one.

  • U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Removed Missile Threat From Some Boats

    Even so, the confrontation is far.

  • Conservative Group Wants to Bring ‘Brass Knuckles’ Approach to Judicial Fray

    As the fight over abortion rights.

  • Fact-Checking Joe Biden on the Campaign Trail

    “There was no one cause of.

  • What Does It Really Mean to Be 6 Weeks Pregnant?

    Now that several states have passed.

  • On Politics: The Biggest Stories of the Week

    To contain Iran, the White House.