Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe filed papers Monday setting up a campaign committee to explore a possible 2009 run to succeed term-limited Democrat Tim Kaine as governor of Virginia.
McAuliffe, who served as chairman to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, has been rumored to be eyeing a potential run in the state for months. The Democrat campaigned extensively for Barack Obama throughout Virginia and has linked himself to newly elected Sen. Mark Warner (D), a popular former governor.
McAuliffe hired veteran communications aide Mo Elleithee, Warner’s former press secretary, in September. Elleithee had spent the previous year working with McAuliffe as a spokesman for the Clinton campaign.
The former DNC chairman intends to spend the next 60 days touring the state before officially announcing whether he will run.
If he runs, McAuliffe will face at least two other Democrats in the primary. Both state Sen. Creigh Deeds and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Brian Moran have already jumped into the race.
Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell is running for the Republican nomination for governor.
In an interview with the Associated Press, McAuliffe said, “I think I can make a difference. I think I can go out and fight for people. I think I can create jobs. I think I can take this state in a new direction, and the thing I’d like to do, too, is to come out with some big, bold ideas. I think that’s what this state has to hear.”