Terry McAuliffe

Terence Richard McAuliffe (born February 9, 1957) is an American politician and former entrepreneur who served as the 72nd Governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018.[1] He was chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005, was co-chair of President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign and 1997 Presidential inauguration [2] and was chair of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.

Terry McAuliffe
Virginia Governor Democrats Terry McAuliffe 095 (cropped).jpg
72nd Governor of Virginia
In office
January 11, 2014 – January 13, 2018
LieutenantRalph Northam
Preceded byBob McDonnell
Succeeded byRalph Northam
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
July 17, 2016 – July 16, 2017
DeputyBrian Sandoval
Preceded byGary Herbert
Succeeded byBrian Sandoval
Chair of the Democratic National Committee
In office
February 3, 2001 – February 12, 2005
Preceded byEd Rendell (General Chair)
Joe Andrew (National Chair)
Succeeded byHoward Dean
Personal details
Terence Richard McAuliffe

(1957-02-09) February 9, 1957 (age 63)
Syracuse, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
(m. 1988)
EducationCatholic University (BA)
Georgetown University (JD)
WebsiteOfficial website

McAuliffe was previously an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2009 gubernatorial election. In the 2013 gubernatorial election, he ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. He defeated Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Libertarian Robert Sarvis in the general election, collecting nearly 48% of the vote. Cuccinelli garnered 45.2% and Sarvis received 6.5%. [1] McAuliffe assumed office on January 11, 2014, and his term ended on January 13, 2018.

Family and educationEdit

McAuliffe was born and raised in Syracuse, New York, the son of Mildred Katherine (Lonergan) and Jack McAuliffe.[3][4] His father was a real estate agent and local Democratic politician. The family is of Irish descent.[5][6][7]

He graduated from Bishop Ludden Junior/Senior High School in 1975. In 1979, he earned a bachelor's degree from The Catholic University of America, where he served as a resident adviser. [8] After graduating, McAuliffe worked for President Jimmy Carter's reelection campaign, becoming the national finance director at age 22. Following the campaign, McAuliffe attended the Georgetown University Law Center, where he obtained his Juris Doctor degree in 1984.[9]

Business careerEdit

At the age of 14, McAuliffe started his first business,[10] McAuliffe Driveway Maintenance, sealing driveways and parking lots. According to The Washington Post, McAuliffe has "earned millions as a banker, real estate developer, home builder, hotel owner, and internet venture capitalist."[11]

In 1985, McAuliffe helped found the Federal City National Bank, a Washington, D.C.-based local bank.[12] In January 1988, when McAuliffe was thirty years old, the bank's board elected McAuliffe as chairman, making him the youngest chairman in the United States Federal Reserve Bank's charter association.[13]:75–76 In 1991, McAuliffe negotiated a merger with Credit International Bank, which he called his "greatest business experience."[14] McAuliffe became the vice-chairman of the newly merged bank.[14][15]

In 1979, McAuliffe had 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 1991, the Resolution Trust Corporation, a federal agency, took over the assets and liabilities of Swann's American Pioneer Savings Bank.[14] Under Swann's guidance, McAuliffe purchased some of American Pioneer's real estate from the Resolution Trust Corporation. McAuliffe's equal partner in the deal was a pension fund controlled by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). They purchased real estate valued at $50 million for $38.7 million;[14][16] McAuliffe received a 50% equity stake.[16] In 1996, McAuliffe acquired a distressed house-building company, American Heritage Homes, which was on the brink of bankruptcy.[14][17] McAuliffe served as chairman of American Heritage.[18] By 1998, McAuliffe had built American Heritage Homes into one of Central Florida's biggest homebuilding companies.[19] By 1999, the company was building more than 1,000 single family homes per year.[20] In late 2002, American Heritage Homes was sold to KB Home for $74 million.[21]

In 1997, McAuliffe invested $100,000 as an angel investor in Global Crossing,[13] a Bermuda-registered telecommunications company.[22] Global Crossing went public in 1998.[23] In 1999, McAuliffe sold the majority of his holding for $8.1 million.[24]

In 2009, McAuliffe joined GreenTech Automotive, a holding company, which purchased Chinese electric car company EU Auto MyCar for $20 million in May 2010.[25] Later that year, McAuliffe relocated GreenTech's headquarters to McLean, Virginia, and the manufacturing plant was later based in Mississippi.[26][27][28] In December 2012, McAuliffe announced his resignation from GreenTech to focus on his run for governor of Virginia.[29][30][31]

Fundraising career and relationship with the ClintonsEdit

McAuliffe had a prolific fundraising career within the Democratic Party and a personal and political relationship with Bill and Hillary Clinton.[14] McAuliffe and his staff raised $275 million, then an unprecedented sum, for Clinton's causes while president. After Bill Clinton's tenure ended, McAuliffe guaranteed the Clintons' $1.35 million mortgage for their home in Chappaqua, New York. The deal raised ethical questions.[32][33] In 1999, he served as chairman of America's Millennium Celebration under Clinton.[34] In 2000, McAuliffe chaired a fundraiser with the Clintons to benefit Vice President Al Gore, setting a fundraising record of $26.3 million.[35]

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."[14] 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.[14] In 2004, he was one of the five-member board of directors of the Clinton Foundation.[36] He told New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich in 2012 that his Rolodex held 18,632 names.[37]

McAuliffe served as chair of the 2000 Democratic National Convention.[38]

Chair of the Democratic National Committee and 2000 Democratic National ConventionEdit

In June 2000, as organizers of the 2000 Democratic National Convention were scrambling to raise $7 million, convention chairman Roy Romer resigned to become superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. McAuliffe immediately accepted appointment as Romer's replacement when asked on a phone call by presumptive presidential nominee Al Gore. Already in the news for a record $26 million fundraiser with Bill Clinton the month prior, McAuliffe promised that money would be a "non-issue" for the convention, and that the outstanding $7 million would be raised "very quickly".[32] The selection of McAuliffe was praised by many in the party, and was widely seen to represent the growth in his influence, with James Carville telling the New York Times that "his stock is trading at an all-time high".[39]

In February 2001, McAuliffe was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and served until February 2005.[40] During his tenure, the DNC raised $578 million and emerged from debt for the first time in its history.[41] Prior to serving as chairman of the DNC, McAuliffe served as chairman of the DNC Business Leadership Forum in 1993 and as the DNC National Finance Chairman in 1994.[42][13]:88,210

In 2001, McAuliffe founded the Voting Rights Institute.[43] In June 2001, McAuliffe announced the founding of the Hispanic Voter Outreach Project to reach more Hispanic voters.[13]:296–297 The same year, he founded the Women's Vote Center to educate, engage and mobilize women at the local level to run for office.[44][13]:297

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, allowing Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan and South Carolina to vote earlier; the move provided African-American and Hispanic communities and labor unions greater inclusion in presidential primaries. According to The Washington Post, the move bolstered United States Senator John Kerry's fundraising efforts.[45] The DNC rebuilt its headquarters and McAuliffe built the Democratic Party's first National Voter File, a computer database of more than 175 million names known as "Demzilla."[46][47] During the 2004 election cycle, the DNC hosted six presidential debates for the first time.[48]

As chairman, McAuliffe was a champion of direct mail and Internet small giving and built a small donor base that eliminated the party's debt and, according to the Washington Post, “could potentially power the party for years”.[49] Under his leadership, the DNC raised a total of $248 million from donors giving $25,000 or less during the 2003-2004 election cycle.[50]

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 nonpresidential disbursement in DNC history, and was part of McAuliffe's attempt to prove Democratic viability in Southern states in the wake of the 2004 presidential election.[51] Kaine was successful in his bid, and served as the Governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010.


McAuliffe was co-chair of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign[52] and one of her superdelegates at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[53]

In 2012, he was a visiting fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. In addition to several faculty and student lectures, McAuliffe hosted a segment entitled "The Making of a Candidate: From Running Campaigns to Running on my Own."[54]

In February 2018, he began serving as the state engagement chair of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.[55]

Virginia gubernatorial campaignsEdit


On November 10, 2008, McAuliffe formed an exploratory committee aimed at the Virginia gubernatorial election in 2009.[56] According to The Washington Post, McAuliffe believed he would prevail "because he [could] campaign as a business leader who can bring jobs to Virginia."[56] He also cited his ability to raise money for down-ticket Democratic candidates.[56] McAuliffe raised over $7.5 million during the campaign and donated an additional $500,000 to himself.[57][58]

In the primary election, McAuliffe faced two high-profile Democrats, State Senator Creigh Deeds, the 2005 Democratic nominee for Attorney General of Virginia, and Brian Moran, a former Virginia House of Delegates Minority Leader. On June 9, 2009, McAuliffe placed second with 26% of the vote; Deeds received 50% and Moran garnered 24%.[59][60]


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."[61]

On April 2, 2013, McAuliffe became the Democratic nominee, as he ran unopposed.[62] In the general, McAuliffe campaigned against Republican nominee (and sitting Attorney General) Ken Cuccinelli, and Libertarian Robert Sarvis. McAuliffe pulled off an upset win, as Republicans had dominated recent state elections and Cuccinelli was seen as the outgoing Republican governor's hand-picked successor. McAuliffe won 47.8% of the vote; Cuccinelli collected 45.2%, and Sarvis garnered 6.5%.[1] McAuliffe broke a 40-year trend and was the first candidate of the sitting president's party to be elected governor of Virginia since 1973.[63]

Governor of VirginiaEdit

As Governor of Virginia, McAuliffe issued a record 120 vetoes.[64] He vetoed bills mainly concerning social legislation, including women's rights, LGBTQ rights, the environment and voting rights.[65][64][66] No vetoes issued by McAuliffe during his term were overturned by the state legislature.[67][68] During his time in office, Virginia brought in more than $20 billion in new capital investment, $7 billion more than any previous governor.[69][70] He participated in more than 35 trade and marketing missions to five continents, more than any other preceding governor, to promote state tourism and other products.[71][72][73] In 2017, McAuliffe was named “Public Official of the Year” by Governing magazine in recognition of his economic development work, including the creation of 200,000 new jobs in the state and a drop in unemployment.[72] During his term, unemployment fell from 5.4% to 3.6% and personal income rose by 12.3%.[74][75][72][73]

First actionsEdit

McAuliffe took the oath of office on January 11, 2014. Following the ceremony, McAuliffe signed four executive orders, including one instituting a ban on gifts over $100 to members of the administration,[76] and an order prohibiting discrimination against state employees for sexual orientation and gender identity.[77] The other executive orders dealt with government continuity.[77]

Healthcare reformEdit

After his plans to expand Medicaid were blocked by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, McAuliffe unveiled his own plan titled "A Healthy Virginia." He authorized four emergency regulations and issued one executive order allowing for use of federal funds (made available by the Affordable Care Act to any state seeking to expand its Medicaid program to increase the number of poor citizens who had access to health insurance).[78] McAuliffe's last hope for full Medicaid expansion ended when a Democratic state senator, Phillip Puckett (D-Russell), resigned. As a result, Virginia Democrats' razor-thin majority in the state senate flipped in favor of the Republicans, giving them control of both halves of the state's legislature.[79]

Economic developmentEdit

Terry McAuliffe, CEO of Dominion Resources Inc. Thomas F. Farrell II, and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, after signing a ceremonial solar panel, August 2, 2016

In addition to healthcare reform, a major initiative of the McAuliffe's administration over the first year was economic development, with McAuliffe using his business and political contacts to close deals for the commonwealth.[80] He helped close a deal to bring Stone Brewing to Richmond[81] and landed a $2 billion paper plant in the Richmond suburbs. McAuliffe also helped broker a deal with the Corporate Executive Board to locate its global headquarters in Arlington which created 800 new jobs.[82] McAuliffe also worked deals to restore service in Norfolk from Carnival Cruise Lines and Air China service to Dulles International Airport.[83] In February 2016, McAuliffe announced that Virginia was the first state to functionally end veteran homelessness.[84] In 2017, McAuliffe announced that Nestle USA was moving its headquarters from California to Virginia. He had worked with the company for more than a year to secure the move.[85][86]


McAuliffe and the inaugural VSP Capital Campout, 2015

McAuliffe was elected as vice chair of the National Governors Association in July 2015 and became chair of the organization in July 2016.[87][88] In 2014, he was appointed by President Obama to the White House Council of Governors,[89][90] and was named chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Program's Executive Council.[91]

Voting rightsEdit

On April 22, 2016, McAuliffe signed an executive order restoring voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons in Virginia.[92] The order was initially overturned by the Supreme Court of Virginia as a violation of the Constitution of Virginia, ruling that the Governor does not have the authority to grant blanket pardons and restorations of rights.[93] On August 22, 2016, McAuliffe announced that he had restored the voting rights to almost 13,000 felons individually using an autopen.[94][95][96] Republican leadership in the state filed a contempt-of-court motion against McAuliffe for the action, but it was turned down by Virginia's Supreme Court.[97][98] By the end of his term, McAuliffe had restored voting rights for 173,000 released felons, more than any governor in U.S. history.[99][100]

FBI investigationEdit

On May 23, 2016 it was reported that McAuliffe was being probed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation "over whether donations to his gubernatorial campaign violated the law." One example cited was a donation of $120,000 from Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang. According to CNN, Wang's status as a legal permanent resident of the United States could make the donation legal under U.S. election law.[101]


On January 31, 2017, McAuliffe appeared with Attorney General Mark Herring to announce that Virginia was joining the lawsuit Aziz v. Trump, challenging President Donald Trump's immigration executive order.[102]

Potential 2020 presidential runEdit

After the 2016 presidential election, McAuliffe was speculated by the media to be a potential candidate for president in the 2020 election.[103] Speculation intensified after Democrat Ralph Northam won the 2017 Virginia gubernatorial election by a wider than expected margin, which media reports suggested strengthened his credibility.[104]

On November 30, 2017, McAuliffe's confidantes told The Hill he was "seriously considering a 2020 presidential run".[105]

On April 17, 2019, McAuliffe announced that he would not pursue the Presidency in 2020. Instead, he said that he would support Virginia Democrats in the 2019 election cycle.[106]

Political positionsEdit

McAuliffe was among those who supported the bipartisan transportation bill that passed the General Assembly in 2013. He is in favor of the Silver Line, which would expand Metrorail services into Northern Virginia.[107]


In 2013, McAuliffe said he supports "keeping existing Virginia laws on when abortions are legal."[108] He opposes new state health and safety regulations on abortion clinics.[109][110]

Education and healthcareEdit

McAuliffe has spoken extensively on workforce development, with education proposals being funded through savings from the proposed Medicaid expansion.[111]

McAuliffe supports the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. He supports expanding Medicaid, arguing that taxes Virginians pay would return to Virginia.[108]

On February 21, 2017, Governor McAuliffe vetoed a bill that would have defunded Planned Parenthood in Virginia.[112]

Energy and environmental issuesEdit

McAuliffe believes human activity has contributed to global warming, and characterizes clean energy as a national security issue.[113] He supports reducing dependence on foreign oil through investment in technologies such as carbon capture and storage, solar farms, and offshore wind turbines.[113][114] McAuliffe was endorsed by billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer and the League of Conservation Voters.[115][116]

In his 2009 campaign, McAuliffe said, "I want to move past coal. As governor, I never want another coal plant built."[117] In his 2013 campaign, McAuliffe claimed to support tougher safety requirements on coal plants.[108] He also announced his support for the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, which would limit the amount of carbon dioxide that could be emitted by power plants and therefore make it difficult for new coal-fired plants to be built and for old ones to remain in operation.[118]

In 2017, McAuliffe filed a request with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to request that Virginia's coastal areas be excluded from a program to open up the East Coast to offshore drilling.[119][120]

In May 2017, McAuliffe issued an executive order for Virginia to become a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to cut greenhouse gases from power plants. It was the first southern state to join.[121][72]

LGBT rightsEdit

McAuliffe supports same-sex marriage and supported the United States Supreme Court ruling in June 2015 that deemed the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.[122]

In 2013 during his gubernatorial candidacy, McAuliffe declared his support for same-sex marriage and was the first candidate to do so.[123][124]

Gun politicsEdit

McAuliffe is a hunter and owns several shotguns.[125] McAuliffe supports universal background checks for gun sales,[126][127] as well as "a renewal of the state's one-a-month limit on handgun purchases,... a ban on anyone subject to a protection-from-abuse order from having a gun and the revoking of concealed-handgun permits for parents who are behind on child-support payments."[127] McAuliffe has also called for an assault weapons ban in Virginia.[128]

In January 2016, McAuliffe reached a compromise with Republicans, allowing interstate holders of concealed carry permits in Virginia, nullifying Attorney General Mark Herring's previous ruling, effective February 1, 2016. The deal will also take guns from domestic abusers and will require state police to attend gun shows to provide background checks upon request from private sellers.[129]


In August 2018, McAuliffe stated "that's something we ought to look at", referring to the impeachment of president Trump. He argued that if "President Obama had gone to Helsinki and done what President Trump had done, you would already have impeachment hearings going on".[130]

Personal lifeEdit

Terry McAuliffe and his family at Twin Lakes State Park, 2015

McAuliffe married Dorothy Swann on October 8, 1988.[131] They have five children together.[132] Their son Jack attended the U.S. Naval Academy and became a U.S. Marine.[132][133]

In March 2018, McAuliffe was appointed as a visiting professor at George Mason University.[134]

McAuliffe resides in McLean, Virginia.


McAuliffe authored two books that both appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list.[135][136]

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.[136]

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.[137] McAuliffe and the alligator would appear on the cover of Life magazine.[137] Others included hunting with King Juan Carlos of Spain, golf outings with the President and reviving the Democratic National Convention.[138] McAuliffe also wrote about the September 11 attacks and his experiences in the Democratic National Committee office immediately after.[139]

In 2019, McAuliffe wrote a second book, entitled Beyond Charlottesville, Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism.[140][141]

Election historyEdit

Virginia gubernatorial Democratic primary election, 2009
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Creigh Deeds 158,845 49.8
Democratic Terry McAuliffe 84,387 26.4
Democratic Brian Moran 75,936 23.8
Virginia gubernatorial election, 2013[142]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Terry McAuliffe 1,069,859 47.75%
Republican Ken Cuccinelli 1,013,355 45.23%
Libertarian Robert Sarvis 146,084 6.52%
Write-ins 11,091 0.50%
Plurality 56,504 2.52%


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