McAuliffe Dodges Question About Which Democrat Should Be Nominated in 2020

• February 12, 2018 7:31 pm


Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe (Va.) on Monday would not say which Democrat has the best chance at helping the party recapture the White House in 2020.

CNN's Jake Tapper listed off several notable Democrats who have been floated as potential 2020 presidential candidates, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and former Vice President Joe Biden. He then asked McAuliffe who best represented the party and could help them take back the White House.

McAuliffe, a former chair of the Democratic National Committee and longtime friend of the Clintons, dodged the question and said that the Democrats have the "biggest election" coming up later this year during the midterm elections.

"We've got the Congress up. We've got many seats in the Senate, and most importantly we have 36 governors up," McAuliffe said. "Redistricting will be done in 2021. We are down to 16 Democratic governors. If we don't win a lot of these governors, we're not going to be able to veto bad redistricting maps. That is the most important thing for the future of the party."

He went on to say that if statehouses don't have Democratic governors going up against Republican legislators, then the progressive values will be "taken away at the state levels."

"It sounds like you are saying governors should be the ones running for president, not senators. Am I reading that wrong?" Tapper asked.

McAuliffe did not say whether he believed senators should not run for president, but he did provide multiples examples of how governors have the executive experience to run for president.

"We create jobs. We run the economy. We build the roads. We fund the schools, so there is a background for a governor in an executive position to be in an executive position as president," McAuliffe said.

Tapper followed up by asking McAuliffe when he would be announcing his intentions for 2020, noting that he has been reaching out to Democratic state parties, prompting McAuliffe to push back, saying that Democrats should not be talking about 2020. He said that Democrats should not be talking about running for president until January or February 2019.

McAuliffe, who left office last month, has previously given coy responses when asked if he's running for president in 2020. He was succeeded as governor of Virginia by his former Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam.