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The Right Note: Does One Endorsement Matter?

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Mark KellyLate last week, Terry McAuliffe lost the endorsement of a pro-business technology PAC here in Northern Virginia. After state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32) and others tried unsuccessfully to intervene on his behalf, with what amounted to threats of retaliation, the truth came about about the rationale behind the endorsement.

According to a Washington Post report, “. . . Cuccinelli had detailed responses to questions in candidate interviews, three board members said, while McAuliffe was uninformed and superficial . . .”

The Post story continued,

“He (McAuliffe) didn’t want to get pinned down to any details. He didn’t give any details.”


Two people present said that in response to a question about how he’d accomplish his goals as governor, McAuliffe told the PAC board that as an Irish Catholic he’d be adept at taking people out for drinks and doing whatever it takes to get things done.“


Cuccinelli, by contrast, the person said, “was precise. He was thoughtful. He thought through all the issues. He had a clear position on all those issues, and he didn’t agree with the council on all the issues.”

To top it off, McAuliffe said, “I am not going to read every bill when I’m governor. I’m going to hire people to read them for me.”

So, to be clear, McAuliffe walked into an important interview with only vague ideas for what he wanted to do as governor. He had no clearly thought out positions on the issues that mattered to the people he was meeting with. He had no desire to read or understand legislation that would be up for his consideration. And, his fall back position was to invite people over for drinks.

Yet, his campaign was apparently shocked that he would not receive the endorsement. So much so in fact, that they made a desperate attempt to strong arm the organization to change its mind by saying they would be unwelcome in Democrat offices in Richmond.

It is fairly well established that McAuliffe’s claims about his business success with Franklin Pellets and GreenTech Automotive have little basis in reality. GreenTech is particularly egregious since McAuliffe claimed to have done so much, but when asked about why they were under SEC investigation seemed to know so little.

The bottom line is that McAuliffe’s qualifications as a “pro-business Democrat” were threatened by losing this endorsement. While one endorsement may not matter in the ultimate outcome on election day, it shows Terry McAuliffe’s “I’m not Ken Cuccinelli” campaign is starting to wear thin.

Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

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