Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said Wednesday that he will not join the crowded field vying to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
The former governor said he will instead focus his efforts on helping the Democratic Party win the majority in the state House and Senate.
“We’ve got issues in Virginia, and I’m concerned about Virginia, and since February we’ve had a lot of problems there,” McAuliffe told CNN host Chris CuomoChristopher (Chris) Charles CuomoTed Cruz mocks CNN over naked Chris Cuomo in wife’s yoga video Minneapolis mayor: No change in position on calls to defund police after being booed Trump says he believes Scarborough ‘got away with murder’ MORE, referencing recent scandals involving the state’s Democratic governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.
“We have the opportunity to pick up both the House and Senate. I invested a lot in that state and I love that state. We’ve got to win the House and the Senate in that state.”
McAuliffe said the state’s elections later this year will have an outsize impact as lawmakers are set to redraw Virginia’s congressional districts.
“The folks that we elect this year, they will be around in 2021 when they redraw all the maps. This election will determine the next 10 years in Virginia,” he said.
McAuliffe was never seen as a leading contender for the nomination, but his decision carries ramifications for the rest of the presidential field because of his deep ties to the Democratic fundraising community.
Throughout his long career in politics, he has established himself as one of the Democratic Party’s leading magnates. He is close to both former President Clinton and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE, and he served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee before entering electoral politics himself.
His absence from the race means dozens of McAuliffe’s longtime friends in the donor and bundler communities are now up for grabs.
McAuliffe had been moving toward a presidential bid for years. As recently as last month, he told friends he was leaning toward entering the race.
He would have been something of a centrist in an increasingly liberal Democratic field, though it was unclear whether there would have been a lane for a centrist, business-friendly, white male Democrat in the race, especially if McAuliffe’s friend former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE joined the field.
McAuliffe, however, seemed to suggest that centrist lane could be successful against Trump next year in the crowded Democratic primary field.
“I think most of them beat Trump. I love Joe Biden … But listen, we’re going to have a good, healthy process,” he said.
Updated 10:05 p.m.
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