News & Politics

Clintons Ride Into Virginia to Prop Up Their Pal McAuliffe

Terry McAuliffe might be the frontrunner in the race for Virginia governor, but he isn't very well-liked. So he's calling on a couple of his popular friends.

No matter how big a lead Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia gets over his Republican opponent Ken Cuccinelli in polls—7.2 percentage points, according to the most recent Real Clear Politics average—voters still aren’t very fond of him. Just last week, 49 percent of likely voters told Politico they have an unfavorable view of McAuliffe.
So this week, McAuliffe is calling in favors from a couple of his popular friends—Bill and Hillary Clinton. A fundraising email sent yesterday by the Democratic National Committee, which McAuliffe chaired in the early 2000s after raising heaps of money for Bill Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 runs, featured the 42nd president’s byline harping on Cuccinelli’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act, and seeks to tie the state attorney general to the shutdown.
On Saturday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gives her official endorsement at an event in Falls Church. (“Official” is a relative term, considering she is already lending her wattage, which at this point outshines her husband’s, to McAuliffe fundraisers, including one tonight in New York.) McAuliffe was a leading spokesman and fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
The hope, of course, is that the Clintons’ popularity will rub off on McAuliffe. A survey taken by Gallup in 2012 reported that 66 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of Bill Clinton, while another poll taken in June gave Hillary Clinton favorability marks of 58 percent. 
The Falls Church event will also mark Hillary Clinton’s return to a public campaign stage, as she reportedly weighs another presidential run. It might be in service of someone else’s political ambitions, but as long as she’s standing next to McAuliffe, she’ll be the most popular one at the podium.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.