Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More and More Questions Surround Terry McAuliffe's Campaign

I wrote a post yesterday about how people from all over the country are having a negative reaction to the fact that Terry McAuliffe is likely to run for governor. It appears as though it isn't just grassroots activists that are questioning the move because now a reporter at the LA Times has written a piece headlined: "Terry McAuliffe gears up to buy the Virginia governor's office." Interestingly enough, the article goes on to discuss how Terry has a history of raising tons of money for the Clinton's even though Hillary's campaign for the presidency failed.

With Terry's campaign continuing to get an enormous amount of negative reactions, the amazing thing is that everyone still assumes he is definitely staying in the race. In other words, nobody actually believes that he's waiting until January 7 to make up his mind. With that in mind, it appears as though Terry's campaign either has no idea how to communicate it's message with the public or is trying to set the bar so low that no matter what Terry says he'll look like a genius.

Since Mike Henry has been working with the McAuliffe campaign, I'm leaning towards the second option simply because he has done a great job with messaging in past Virginia campaigns. If Terry wants to really get his campaign moving in the right direction, however, the team needs to change around his messaging quickly. For instance, sources close to the campaign have tried to reassure some bloggers that McAuliffe will be running a grassroots campaign but there hasn't been much more than a few emails that don't go into real specifics. This tells me that the campaign realizes it needs to address the issue, but hasn't even taken the time to develop specific talking points on the matter.

In the end, the lack of a proactive grassroots strategy simply helps to reinforce the message that they're focusing more on raising money than reaching out to activists. And that is why so matter bloggers and newspapers are picking up on the frustration activists feel in regards to Terry's campaign.


  1. Dude... the guy hasn't even announced his campaign yet. Cut him some slack. Brian and Creigh have been running for 3 and a half years, and neither of them have done anything to demonstrate that they can beat McDonnell. Moran couldn't even stick in there with his HOD seat. Pick your candidate, but please don't do it based on some elitist sense of who the "grassroots" are, and who has kissed the ring enough in DECEMBER, 11 months before election day.

  2. McAuliffe may have the money to win the air war, but McDonnell could easily win on statewide experience and the GOP's desire to prove that the political cycle is stable, and that Virginia will go Republican. I don't like the fact that McAuliffe is aiming that the executive mansion just because he has the money to do it. What has he done for Virginia lately?

    Best case scenario: McAuliffe doesn't run, throws his support behind the state party, and then the nominee, work with the next Democratic governor on Virginia's issues, and show that he really wants to be involved, and doesn't just want to be chief.

    - Joel McDonald
    Virginia Beach Progressives

  3. Joel, first of all I like the fact that you take ownership of your comment unlike the anonymous commenter before you. Secondly, I think you're really onto something. I imagine Terry will have some great ideas about what can be done in Virginia. Unfortunately, it appears as though all we have been hearing about his candidacy is how much money he'll be able to raise. He needs to work on getting some concrete ideas out there.

    After all, to be a good governor you need to be able to promote your point of view and then begin to form good governing coalitions. That can't simply be done by raising a lot of money.