Former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe's unveiled his second round of campaign co-chairs in his gubernatorial run from prominent Democrats across the state Monday, sending a signal to former Rep. Tom Perriello (D) that he is taking in significant establishment support.
McAuliffe on Nov. 30 announced backing from, among others, Rep. Gerry Connolly, state Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw, and state Sen. Donald McEachin, the state Senate Democratic caucus chair who was the party's 2001 nominee for attorney general.
His latest additions include state House Minority Leader David Toscano and state House Democratic Caucus chairman Mark Sickles. Also in McAuliffe's corner is the chairman of the most populous county in the commonwealth, Sharon Bulova of Fairfax, the outgoing state party chairman Brian Moran (who bitterly opposed McAuliffe during the Democratic primary in 2009), and Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim.
What is also notable so far is who has not immediately signed up for McAuliffe.
So far, Connolly is the only one of the state's congressional Democrats backing him. Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb, Sen.-elect Tim Kaine, and Reps. Bobby Scott and Jim Moran have not plugged the party's presumed nominee yet. Neither have former Reps. Rick Boucher and Glenn Nye, who lost along with Perriello during the GOP wave in 2010.
Also absent are any former congressmen and governors. This suggests that such Democrats either plan to stay neutral prior to the 2013 primary or are sending a message that there is still room for another candidate to enter the race.
One state senator on the watch-list for an endorsement is the party's 2009 nominee, Creigh Deeds. State Sen. Chap Petersen, who previously ran for lieutenant governor in 2005 and endorsed Deeds in the 2009 primary, signed a letter earlier this year urging McAuliffe to enter the race if Warner declined to run.
If McAuliffe can focus on wrapping up the primary now by cutting out Perriello, who has not yet announced whether he will run, then he can concentrate his fire on GOP Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the presumed GOP nominee in the wake of Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling dropping out of the race last week.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post stated that Petersen had not yet made an endorsement.
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