The centerpiece of Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s campaign for VA Governor this year is his record as a businessman. This experience, he argues, gives him the experience to be able to create jobs in the commonwealth. New questions about past claims, however, are putting his full business record under closer scrutiny.
This week, National Journal questioned the campaign about a claim McAuliffe made during his 2009 run for Governor. During a Democrat debate, McAuliffe boasted that he “created over 100,000 jobs–good-paying jobs with benefits and good wages. That’s what I’ll do as governor.”
One of his Democrat opponents, Del. Brian Moran, scoffed that this would make McAuliffe a bigger job creator than Bill Gates. McAuliffe went on to finish third in that primary contest.
According to National Journal, McAuliffe hasn’t repeated that claim on the trail this year. He is still, however, touting his record as a job creator. Until recently, he promoted his chairmanship of Green Tech, an electric car manufacturer, boasting that the company would create 900 well-paying jobs.
The company, however, chose to build its first manufacturing plant in Mississippi, instead of Virginia. The decision complicates McAuliffe’s argument that he can create jobs in Virginia. The campaign recently announced that McAuliffe had quietly stepped down as Green Tech chairman in December.
McAuliffe’s true resume is that of something of a political entrepreneur. He has long operated at the highest level of national Democrat politics. A close confidante of former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, he was also the chief fundraising bundler for Bill Clinton. He served a stint as Chair of the DNC. He is the consummate DC insider. He has translated many of these relationships into lucrative business opportunities.
McAuliffe’s focus on his business experience is intended to deflect his political background. Being too close to DC is a political liability this year. As McAuliffe is learning, though, the past is a tough thing to outrun.