originally posted on kindler's diary yesterday as a comment. Several people requested that I post it as its own diary, so here it is, in slightly modified form.
Let me speak as a Virginian since 1982
which also makes me a carpetbagger, and as someone who knows the author of this diary, and all of the major dems mentioned in the piece by kindler and in the comments on that thread.
1. Jim Webb - is NOT going to run for governor. He had his reasons not to run again for Senate. His background and mien were a far better fit as a Senator than as a governor who has to negotiate with a legislature like our General Assembly.
2. Tom Perriello is a good friend. I think it would be a real mistake for him to run against McAuliffe in a primary. As much as I like Tom, I think he would lose and in the process might destroy Terry's chance of winning the general. Why do I think he would lose? Quite frankly, Terry would have pretty much of a lock on the Arrican-American vote. If you go back to the 2009 gubernatorial primary the only Congressional District Creigh Deeds did NOT win in the 3-way context was the 3rd, Bobby Scott's. Tom would also be challenged severely on his vote for the Stupak Amendment - I have heard this multiple times in exchanges with a number of feminists who point out that Terry, who is also Catholic, has never been anything but openly pro-choice. Although Tom has spent some time helping Dems around the state, he has not come close to what Terry has been doing for four years. Tom MIGHT be able to raise a decent amount of money for a primary race, but Terry could if necessary raise an awesome amount of money. And Terry has the one trump card of his close friendship with Bill Clinton, which matters hugely in the African-American community, but also among some more conservative Dems and Independents.
3. Terry McAuliffe - I agree with Kindler that he has an almost boyish ability and enthusiasm that can be contagious. It can at times also be over the top, but he has spent so much time around the state that he has learned how to temper it. Last time he had Mike Henry and Mo Ellethei helping his campaign. I suspect that Mike Henry will not this time - he had left politics but came back in for Tim Kaine's Senate race. But I know he would really like to get back to his other pursuits. Mo is still in politics. Terry will also have Levar Stoney, who used to run the Virginia Democratic party, helping run his campaign.
(keep reading below the squiggle)
My wife worries that Cuccinelli might win. If Terry is not damaged/weakened in a primary, I do not think so. Cooch has hurt himself with several important constituencies
- pro-choice women
- the University of Virginia community, including alums
He has no chance whatsoever of making inroads into either the Black or Hispanic communities (and the latter is increasing in Virginia).
And as noted before, Terry has the advantage of Bill Clinton as a validator. I might suggest people go back and look at the votes in Virginia in 1996 - Clinton only lost to Dole 47-45 (remember, Perot was in the race). As the last two presidential contests have shown, Virginia is far less conservative than it was then. Yes, in a gubernatorial year the vote does tend to be down, but I think Terry is quite well positioned to defeat Cooch.
What is of even more importance is that Terry knows he needs to do what he can to help on races in the House of Delegates, all 100 seats of which are up at the same time. The Dems will NOT take it back, in part because of gerrymandering. But McAuliffe has the ability to "dominionize" those races - to help talk about the impact of individual districts on the Old Dominion as a whole.
Is Terry a perfect progressive? No, and a perfect progressive might have trouble defeating Cooch. Terry is probably somewhat MORE progressive than Mark Warner, but like Warner would be someone with whom the Richmond business community would feel comfortable. As would the expanding NoVa business community, which is very much into high tech.
I know a lot of conservative types from outside the state would support Cooch - expect the likes of the Koch Brothers to be very active. But Cooch will not be able to swamp Terry with outside money.
Oh, and in Virginia? 1) Corporations can donate directly; 2) all contributions are disclosed. I actually think that works to Terry's advantage, because it will be very easy for his supporters to tie the most extreme of Cuccinnelli's positions around the necks of any corporate type considering contributing to him - we have some experience going after Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh on their positions.
Do not get me wrong. I love Tom Perriello. While I would not quit my teaching job, were he to run for office and ask for my help, I could not decline. But I think it would be s serious mistake for him to challenge McAuliffe in a primary I think he would almost surely lose, and also risk being blamed for weakening the nominee if the primary got too heated.