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Closing Terry McAuliffe’s Inner Circle
The new Virginia governor’s Cabinet picks were highly strategic, bipartisan, and nearly opaque. Whom does he rely on for real advice? Here’s a rundown of his closest associates.
Dorothy McAuliffe: She’ll now split her time between Richmond and the couple’s McLean home. But those close to them say she’ll still be a full partner.
• Aneesh Chopra: The US’s first chief technology officer, he once ran for lieutenant governor. With his ties to Obama and local pols, he’ll be “very helpful,” an insider says.
• • Bill and Hillary Clinton: Bonded to McAuliffe since the early ’90s, they both stumped for him in the governor’s race, which many consider a dry run for Hillary 2016.
• • David Jones: A finance staffer for leading Democrats since the early ’90s, Jones is now a partner with the DC consulting firm Capitol Counsel.
• Hani Masri: McAuliffe has been heavily involved in this generous donor’s Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, which helps families in the Middle East.
• • • Jackson “Jay” Dunn: Their friendship pre-dates the Clinton years. The 2004-cycle DNC finance director was on Hillary’s team in ’08 and may play McAuliffe’s role in a 2016 run.
• John Boland: McAuliffe did business with Boland, a commercial real-estate broker from Chevy Chase, in the 1990s, and the two remain “closest friends,” according to an insider.
• Levar Stoney: An ex-employee of McAuliffe’s electric-car venture, he became deputy campaign manager and has risen to Secretary of the Commonwealth. A favorite of the governor’s.
• • Mark Bowles: A major fundraiser for McAuliffe-for-governor and a partner at the politically connected Richmond law firm McGuireWoods.
• Patrick Hallahan: The thirtysomething political consultant was a senior adviser for the gubernatorial run but stayed out of the administration. Look for him to pop up on another major Dem team for ’16.
• • Peter O’Keefe: A skilled fundraiser, he worked for McAuliffe at the DNC and has remained extremely close, several political veterans say.
• Sean Parker: McAuliffe, who likes to talk business and raise money, will likely keep the wealthy Facebook invest-or and political do-nor (and Herndon native) close.
• • Senator Mark Warner: Former Virginia governor Warner met McAuliffe at the DNC in 1980 and may be his best political resource in the state.
• Suzette Denslow: His deputy chief of staff was a legislative liaison to governors Kaine and Warner and is a line to Richmond mayor Dwight Jones, from whom McAuliffe swiped her after his election.
• John Raffaelli: With Peter Kelly, he was part of McAuliffe’s first law and lobbying firm. The three former partners remain close.
A version of this article appears in the March 2014 issue of Washingtonian.
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