Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he is not running for president

Posted at 5:58 PM, Apr 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-17 23:14:51-04

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that he will not run for president in 2020 on Wednesday during an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo at 9 p.m.

His decision ends months of speculation around whether the Virginia Democrat would enter the 2020 field.

McAuliffe had been considering a bid for months, and Democrats close to the former governor told CNN in March that he was leaning toward running for president.

McAuliffe also teased a possible run earlier this month when he told a union audience in Washington that he was "very close" to making a decision.

"I will make my decision in a couple weeks," McAuliffe said.

At another point in his speech, he said, "If I were president of the United States," when speaking about an issue.

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With the exception of Vice President Joe Biden, few in the field of potential Democratic candidates are more familiar than McAuliffe with the rigors of a presidential race. For nearly a quarter-century, he campaigned extensively in each race for Bill and Hillary Clinton and is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

He also has a stable of Democratic donors ready to help fund a primary campaign, should he officially jump into the race.

But his campaign would also come with baggage: Democrats and Republicans alike could use his deep ties to the Clintons as a knock against him and his brand of liberalism, which is more pro-business and moderate than the base of the party.

McAuliffe believes, according to people close to him, that he could win in this Democratic environment and has made clear to people he has talked to that he feels the best person to beat Trump is someone who can attack his business record.

The former governor showed that earlier this month when, at the same union speech, he needled Trump's toughness.

"If I can wrestle an alligator, I can certainly wrestle Donald Trump," McAuliffe boasted, retelling a story about how he once wrestled an alligator for a politician contribution."