Terry McAuliffe

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Terry McAuliffe
Virginia Governor Democrats Terry McAuliffe 095 Cropped.jpg
McAuliffe in May 2013
72nd Governor of Virginia
Assumed office
January 11, 2014
LieutenantRalph Northam
Preceded byBob McDonnell
Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
In office
February 3, 2001 – February 12, 2005
Preceded byEd Rendell (General Chairman)
Joe Andrew (National Chairman)
Succeeded byHoward Dean
Personal details
BornTerence Richard McAuliffe
(1957-02-09) February 9, 1957 (age 57)
Syracuse, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Dorothy McAuliffe (1988–present)
ResidenceExecutive Mansion (official)
McLean, Virginia, U.S. (private)
Alma materCatholic University of America
Georgetown University
ReligionRoman Catholicism
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Terry McAuliffe
Virginia Governor Democrats Terry McAuliffe 095 Cropped.jpg
McAuliffe in May 2013
72nd Governor of Virginia
Assumed office
January 11, 2014
LieutenantRalph Northam
Preceded byBob McDonnell
Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
In office
February 3, 2001 – February 12, 2005
Preceded byEd Rendell (General Chairman)
Joe Andrew (National Chairman)
Succeeded byHoward Dean
Personal details
BornTerence Richard McAuliffe
(1957-02-09) February 9, 1957 (age 57)
Syracuse, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Dorothy McAuliffe (1988–present)
ResidenceExecutive Mansion (official)
McLean, Virginia, U.S. (private)
Alma materCatholic University of America
Georgetown University
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Terence Richard "Terry" McAuliffe (/məˈkɔːlɨf/; born February 9, 1957) is an American businessman, Democratic politician and the 72nd Governor of Virginia.[1] He previously served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005, was co-chairman of President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign, and was chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. His first run for office was in the 2009 Virginia gubernatorial election, when he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination. In the 2013 gubernatorial election, he won the Democratic primary unopposed. McAuliffe defeated Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Libertarian Robert Sarvis, in the general election, with 48% of the vote.[1] He assumed his gubernatorial duties on January 11, 2014.

Family and education[edit]

McAuliffe, the son of Millie and Jack McAuliffe, spent his adolescence in Syracuse, New York.[2] His father was a real estate agent and local Democratic politician.[3] He is of an Irish Catholic background.[4][5] He graduated from Bishop Ludden Junior/Senior High School in 1975. In 1979, McAuliffe received a bachelor's degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. After graduating, McAuliffe worked at President Jimmy Carter's re-election campaign; he became the national finance director at twenty-two. Following the campaign, McAuliffe enrolled at the Georgetown University Law Center, and received his Juris Doctor degree in 1984.[6]

Business career[edit]

At age of 14, McAuliffe started his first business,[7] McAuliffe Driveway Maintenance, sealing driveways and parking lots. The Washington Post said McAuliffe has "earned millions as a banker, real estate developer, home builder, hotel owner, and internet venture capitalist."[8]

Federal City National Bank[edit]

In 1985, McAuliffe helped found the Federal City National Bank, a small bank based in Washington, D.C.[9] In January 1988, when he was 30 years old, the bank’s board elected McAuliffe chairman, making him the youngest elected chairman of a federally chartered bank in the history of the United States.[10]

The bank lent $125,000 to Richard Gephardt's presidential campaign.[11] The bank also provided loans to former United States Representative Tony Coelho and the then-Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Jim Wright.[12]

In 1991, McAuliffe negotiated a merger with Credit International Bank, which he called his "greatest business experience".[12] McAuliffe become the vice-chairman of the newly-merged bank. Shareholders questioned if he was given special treatment; Chairman Richard V. Allen denied the allegation.[12][13]

American Pioneer Savings Bank[edit]

In 1979, McAuliffe met Richard Swann, a lawyer who was in charge of fundraising for Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign in Florida. In 1988, McAuliffe married Swann's daughter, Dorothy.

In the late 1980s, Swann's finances collapsed, entangling McAuliffe, who then used his political contacts to help Swann.[12] In 1990, federal regulators seized Swann's American Pioneer Savings Bank, causing Swann to file for bankruptcy, and McAuliffe to lose $800,000 he had invested in American Pioneer.[12] The Resolution Trust Corporation, a federal agency, seized American Pioneer's assets and liabilities.[12] Under the guidance of Swann, McAuliffe partnered with a pension fund controlled by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the National Electrical Contractors Association to buy American Pioneer real estate, valued at $50 million, for $38.7 million from the Resolution Trust Corporation.[12][14] Of the purchase amount, McAuliffe paid $100, while the pension fund paid $38.7 million;[12] McAuliffe still received a 50% equity stake.[14] The deal was arranged by pension fund trustee Jack Moore, who was an acquaintance of McAuliffe from the Gephardt presidential campaign.[12][14] Following the deal, the Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against McAuliffe and Moore, accusing them of imprudent business practices.[12][14]

Global Crossing[edit]

In 1997, McAuliffe invested $100,000 in Global Crossing,[10] a Bermuda-registered telecommunications company providing fiber-optic networking services worldwide.[15] Global Crossing went public in 1998.[16] The following year, McAuliffe sold the majority of his holding for a $8 million profit (he could have earned $18 million if he had sold earlier).[17] McAuliffe sold the rest of his shares in January 2002.[17] The company filed for bankruptcy that same month, causing investors to lose over $54 billion, and 10,000 employees to lose their jobs.[17][18] According to McAuliffe's book, he played no management role in Global Crossing.[10]

GreenTech Automotive[edit]

Main article: GreenTech Automotive

In 2009, McAuliffe founded GreenTech Automotive, a holding company, which purchased Chinese electric car company EU Auto MyCar for $20 million in May 2010.[19][20] Later that year, McAuliffe relocated GreenTech's headquarters to McLean, Virginia. GreenTech subsequently announced plans to manufacture vehicles in Mississippi.[21][22]

In December 2012, McAuliffe was questioned as to why he chose to locate the factory in Mississippi as opposed to Virginia. McAuliffe claimed that he wanted to bring the factory to Virginia but the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), the state's business recruitment agency, chose not to bid on it.[23] However, in January 2013, PolitiFact declared McAuliffe's claim to be false. According to PolitiFact, VEDP and GreenTech formally discussed building the factory in Virginia, and its representatives even toured potential sites with GreenTech representatives.[23] McAuliffe responded that he disagreed with PolitiFact's report, and that other GreenTech executives made the decision about location.[24]

In April 2013, McAuliffe announced his resignation from GreenTech; he actually resigned sometime before December 1, 2013.[25] However, McAuliffe still holds majority ownership in GreenTech.[26][27]

Fundraising career and relationship with the Clintons[edit]

McAuliffe has had a prolific fundraising career within the Democratic Party, and a long personal and political relationship with Bill and Hillary Clinton.[12] McAuliffe and his staff raised about $275 million, then an unprecedented sum, for Clinton's causes while he was in office. Once Bill Clinton's term was served, McAuliffe loaned them $1.35 million to purchase a New York City home, in a deal that raised ethical questions.[28][29] In 2000, McAuliffe chaired a tribute fundraiser to Clinton, which set a fundraising record for a single event, raising $26.3 million.[30]

McAuliffe told The New York Times in 1999, "I've met all of my business contacts through politics. It's all interrelated." When he meets a new business contact, he continued, "then I raise money from them."[12] He acknowledged that success of his business dealings stemmed partly from his relationship with Bill Clinton, saying, "No question, that's a piece of it." He also credited his ties to former congressmen Dick Gephardt and Tony Coelho, his Rolodex of 5,000-plus names, and his ability to personally relate to people.[12] He told New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich in 2012 that his Rolodex held 18,632 names.[31]

Chairman of the Democratic National Committee[edit]

In June 2000, as organizers of the 2000 Democratic National Convention (DNC) were scrambling to raise the last $7 million needed to pay for the convention, McAuliffe was named chairman of the convention.[28]

In February 2001, McAuliffe was elected chairman of the DNC, and served in that role until February 2005.[32] McAuliffe had tried and failed to persuade his top rival, Maynard Jackson, to drop out of the race for chairman, but was still the heavy favorite.[33] During his tenure, the DNC raised $578 million, and emerged from debt for the first time in its history.[34]

In the period between the 2002 elections and the 2004 Democratic convention, the DNC rebuilt operations and intra-party alliances. McAuliffe worked to restructure the Democratic primary schedule so that states such as Arizona, New Mexico, and South Carolina would be allowed to vote earlier, in a move designed to bolster ties to African-American and Hispanic communities. According to The Washington Post, the new schedule gave United States Senator John Kerry enough time to raise more than $200 million for the general election.[35] The DNC also rebuilt its headquarters, and created a computer database of more than 170 million potential voters known as "Demzilla".[36] Five-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader alleged that in 2004, McAuliffe offered him cash to withdraw from certain pivotal states in the 2004 election.[37] McAuliffe's staff admitted that he indeed engaged in a conversation with Nader about his campaign, but denied that he offered any money.[37]

In January 2005, a few weeks before his term ended, McAuliffe earmarked $5 million of the party's cash to assist Tim Kaine and other Virginia Democrats in their upcoming elections. This donation was the largest non-presidential disbursement in DNC history, and was part of McAuliffe's attempt to prove the Democrats' viability in southern states in the wake of the 2004 presidential election.[38] Kaine was successful in his bid, and served as the Governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010.

Post-DNC chairmanship[edit]

McAuliffe served as one of Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign chairmen,[39] and was one of her superdelegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[40]

He was a visiting fellow to Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. In addition to several faculty and student lectures, McAuliffe hosted a study group entitled "The Making of a Candidate: From Running Campaigns to Running on my Own".[41]

McAuliffe was an adviser to the video game company ZeniMax Media.[42][43]

Virginia gubernatorial campaigns[edit]


On November 10, 2008, McAuliffe formed an exploratory committee for Governor of Virginia in the 2009 election.[44] He told reporters that he had planned to spend the next few months traveling to "every corner of Virginia" to measure interest in his possible run.[44] McAuliffe told The Washington Post that he was "best suited to carry the Democratic banner because he [would] campaign as a business leader who can bring jobs to Virginia".[44] He also cited his ability to raise money for down-ticket Democratic candidates.[44]

McAuliffe's political team included campaign manager Mike Henry, senior strategist Mo Elleithee, and communications director Delacey Skinner.[45] McAuliffe raised over $7.5 million over the course of the campaign, and donated an additional $500,000 to himself.[46][47]

In the primary election, McAuliffe faced two other high-profile Democrats, state Senator Creigh Deeds, the 2005 Democratic nominee for Attorney General, and Brian Moran, a former state delegate and former Virginia House Democratic Caucus chairman. In the June 9, 2009 primary, McAuliffe placed second with 26% of the vote to Deeds's 50%.[48][49]


On November 8, 2012, McAuliffe emailed supporters announcing his intention to run for Governor of Virginia in 2013. In his email he stated, "It is absolutely clear to me that Virginians want their next Governor to focus on job creation and common sense fiscal responsibility instead of divisive partisan issues."[50]

On April 2, 2013, The Democratic Party of Virginia certified that McAuliffe was the only candidate to file for the June primary, and was therefore the Democratic nominee.[51] He campaigned against Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli and Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis. He received 47.8% of the vote to Cuccinelli's 45.2% and Sarvis's 6.5%.[1]

Governor of Virginia[edit]

McAuliffe took the oath of office on January 11, 2014. Following the ceremony, McAuliffe signed four executive orders, including one instituting a one-year ban on gifts over $100 to members of the administration,[52] and an order prohibiting discrimination against state employees for sexual orientation and gender identity.[53] The other executive orders dealt with government continuity.[53]

Resignation of State Senator Phillip Puckett[edit]

On June 9, 2014, during a special session of the Virginia General Assembly, State Senator Phillip Puckett (D-Russell) resigned, leading to Republicans taking control of the chamber. Because of the power shift, the move was highly controversial, effectively ending McAuliffe's medicaid expansion - an issue he campaigned on.[54] Reasons for his resignation included a possible position on the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, and an informal policy barring the approval of sitting legislators' family members to appointed positions. Puckett's daughter, Martha P. Ketron, faced difficulty in gaining approval to a judicial appointment.[55] The move triggered an investigation by the United States Department of Justice amid allegations that Republicans "bribed" Puckett to resign; offering "jobs to him and his daughter".[56][57]

Following Puckett's resignation, a voice-mail message was recorded by McAuliffe's chief of staff, Paul Reagan, telling Puckett that his daughter may be considered for an agency appointment if he kept his seat.[57]

Political positions[edit]

McAuliffe was among those who supported the bipartisan transportation bill that passed the General Assembly in 2013. He is also in favor of the Silver Line, which would expand Metrorail services into Northern Virginia.[58]


In 2013, McAuliffe said he supports "keeping existing Virginia laws on when abortions are legal."[59] He opposes new state health and safety regulations on abortion clinics.[60][61]

Education and Healthcare[edit]

McAuliffe has spoken extensively on workforce development, with education proposals being funded through savings from the proposed Medicaid expansion.[62]

McAuliffe supports the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. He supports expanding Medicaid, arguing that Virginia should get back the money it sends to Washington in taxes.[59]

Energy and environmental issues[edit]

McAuliffe has declined to go into detail on his stance on many of his own views on energy and environmental policy, sticking to broad outlines.[63] McAuliffe believes human activity has contributed to global warming, and characterizes clean energy as a national security issue.[64] He supports reducing dependence on foreign oil through investment in technologies such as carbon capture and storage, solar farms, and offshore wind turbines.[64][65] McAuliffe is endorsed by both billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer and the League of Conservation Voters.[63][66]

In his 2009 campaign, McAuliffe said, "I want to move past coal. As governor, I never want another coal plant built."[67] In his 2013 campaign, McAuliffe said he supports tougher safety requirements on coal plants.[59] He also announced his support for the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed reduction in coal plant licensing.[68] However, McAuliffe has expressed his support for exporting coal to countries like China and South Korea.[69]

In his 2009 bid for governor, McAuliffe said he opposed offshore drilling, but in 2013, he changed his position and now supports offshore drilling in Virginia, saying he has "learned more about offshore drilling from experts in Virginia."[70]

Gay rights[edit]

McAuliffe supports same-sex marriage, and supported the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in June 2013, which deemed the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional.[71]

Gun rights[edit]

McAuliffe supports universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, and limiting gun purchases to one a month. In January 2013, he purchased a shotgun for the purpose of skeet shooting.[72]

Taxes and spending[edit]

McAuliffe supports eliminating several business taxes, such as the business professional license tax, and using revenue from local government taxes to make up the difference.[73]

Personal life[edit]

McAuliffe married Dorothy Swann, the daughter of one of his business partners, in 1988. They have five children together, four of whom attend the Potomac School in McLean, Virginia.[74]


Terry McAuliffe's memoir, "What a Party! My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators, and Other Wild Animals", was published in 2007 with Steve Kettmann and made the New York Times Best Seller List, debuting at #5 in February 2007.[75] The Washington Post called it a "A rollicking ride through the world of celebrity, fundraising and politics that certainly entertains” while The Miami Herald said, “Terry McAuliffe delights in this laugh-out-loud look at American politics.”[76]

Among anecdotes told in the memoir was McAuliffe wrestling an eight-foot, 260-pound alligator for three minutes to secure a $15,000 contribution for President Jimmy Carter in 1980.[77] McAuliffe and the alligator would appear on the cover of LIFE magazine.[77] Others included hunting with King Juan Carlos of Spain, golf outings with the President and reviving the Democratic National Convention.[78]

However, the book attracted negative publicity during McAuliffe's 2013 gubernatorial race.[79] In the book, McAuliffe wrote about the September 11 attacks and his experiences in the Democratic National Committee office immediately after.[80] He recalled, "I was one of our party’s most visible spokesmen, and I had to keep a low profile after the attacks. I was like a caged rat. I couldn’t travel. I couldn’t make political calls. I couldn’t make money calls."[81] Even with the negative publicity, McAuliffe has not backed away from it, carrying boxes of it across Virginia in his campaign, in order to introduce himself to voters.[79]

Election history[edit]

Virginia gubernatorial election, 2013[82]
DemocraticTerry McAuliffe1,069,85947.75%+6.49%
RepublicanKen Cuccinelli1,013,35545.23%−13.38%
LibertarianRobert Sarvis146,0846.52%+6.52%
Democratic gain from RepublicanSwing


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