Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is headed to New Hampshire as the keynote speaker for the state Democratic Party’s annual meeting on Dec. 14 in Portsmouth. He is expected to deliver a national message emphasizing that Democrats can win in 2016 by focusing on the economy.
McAuliffe, who was elected governor in 2013 and is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will also keynote a fundraising reception for the party at The Portwalk Room, 100 Deer St., Portsmouth, prior to the to the meeting. Tickets range from $100 to $1,000.
McAuliffe, a longtime friend of President Bill and Hillary Clinton, chaired the DNC from 2001 to 2005, chaired Bill Clinton’s presidential reelection campaign in 1996 and chaired Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008.
He made his first attempt at public office with an unsuccessful run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Virginia in 2009, but then won the governor’s seat a year ago over Republican Ken Cuccinelli.
In a story today in Politico, McAuliffe is described now as an emerging elected leader after many years in the party apparatus. He criticized the Democrats for failing nationally in the recent election, he said, to deliver a positive message and give voters a reason to vote Democratic and said he intends to deliver that message throughout campaign.
Granite State Democrats have long been familiar with McAuliffe.
A decade ago, McAuliffe, as DNC chairman, was instrumental in ending a battle over the first-in-the-nation primary between New Hampshire officials and officials in Michigan, led by Sen. Carl Levin and prominent DNC member Debbie Dingell.
Michigan had scheduled it primary for the same day as the New Hampshire Primary in 2004, but McAuliffe stepped in and cut a deal with Levin and Dingell and the New Hampshire side, to set up a commission to study the primary date in return for Michigan backing off on its challenge.
Levin mounted later challenges after McAuliffe had left as DNC chair, but they were thwarted by deft scheduling of the New Hampshire primary by Secretary of State Bill Gardner.