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Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson

Posted: November 11, 2008 10:40 AM

Terry McAuliffe Running for VA-Gov, Dodging Questions About Energy


Originally posted at The Seminal.

Terry McAuliffe filed papers in Virginia today. He called a few Virginia bloggers to talk about his potential candidacy.

On Not Larry Sabato, I was able to ask him a question.

Josh Nelson from The Seminal asks: "Would you support a renewable electricity standard in Virginia"?


Terry said: "Yes, I support renewable energy. We can make Virginia the #1 state in this area. We ought to be what the internet was a few years ago with renewable energy." Terry added it would be "one of our top, top missions" if he was elected. He has "invested personally in windfarms and solar" and thinks it is a "great opportunity to create jobs". Terry finished by saying we have great resources in Virginia "from the ocean and mountains" to our "excellent higher education system" that could be tapped to make us #1 in this area.

He either intentionally sidestepped my question or doesn't understand what renewable electricity standard means. Either way it is a bad sign. Speaking with Lowell Feld of Raising Kaine, McAuliffe employed the same strategy when confronted with a question about Dominion, a massive electric utility in the state. Here is the exchange:

Question: If elected governor of Virginia, would you be willing to stand up to powerful corporate interests like Dominion and Bechtel on behalf of the environment and the public good?


Answer: I have a history of standing up. I have never shied away from a good fight. When I'm elected, I will not be beholden to any special interest. Neither will the people I help to elect in the House of Delegates, I will have helped them so they can fight for my agenda.

We need to prepare the state for the next 25 years. I have a very challenging, exciting, entrepreneurial plan. We need to shake the roots in Richmond. We will build this campaign from the grassroots up and run a positive campaign. I've already talked to people about bringing business and jobs to Virginia. I have ideas for Virginia that nobody else in this country has. I can bring thousands of jobs to this state. I know what Terry McAuliffe can do!

On top of the creepy resemblance to John McCain's odd assertion that he "knows how" to catch Bin Laden, McAuliffe also fails to address Dominion, Bechtel or the environment in a question about all three. His answers weren't necessary bad, just incomplete.

McAuliffe also makes it clear that his strategy is based on outspending his primary opponents by a wide margin:

McAuliffe has been telling Democrats he believes he can win the June primary by overpowering Deeds and Moran with paid advertisements.
To offset his relative lack of roots in Virginia politics, he has already hired Mike Henry, a well known Virginia strategist, to run his campaign. House Democratic Caucus Chairman, Brian Moran, who is likely to be McAuliffe's strongest opposition, came out swinging:
Moran spokesman Jesse Ferguson responded to the news by taking a swipe at the Democrat who had previously weighed running for governor of Florida.


"Given Mr. McAuliffe's previous ambitions to run for governor of Florida, he needs to explain to the people of Virginia if he's doing this for the right reasons," Ferguson said.

Regardless of all else, this will be a race to watch. It will be much more interesting, at least from my perspective, if Mr. McAuliffe is straightforward with the people of Virginia on where he stands. On the issue of energy at least, that has not been the case so far.

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