News & Politics

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.

Photograph of the McAuliffes by Ron Sachs/Newscom.

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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.