Terry McAuliffe

Terry McAuliffe Biography

Governor (1957–)
Terry McAuliffe was elected the Democratic governor of Virginia in 2013.


Born in New York on February 9, 1957, Terry McAuliffe entered politics at the age of 23 as the national finance director for Jimmy Carter. He was named Democratic National Committee chairman in 2000 and served until 2005. He co-chaired President Bill Clinton's 1996 campaign for reelection and was chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2008 Presidential campaign. In 2013, he was elected governor of Virginia.

Early Life

Terence Richard McAuliffe was born on February 9, 1957, in Syracuse, New York. Terry McAuliffe's father was the Onondaga County Democratic Party's treasurer and a real estate salesman. At the age of 8, Terry would accompany his father on door-to-door money collections. At 14 years old, Terry started his own business tarring driveways called McAuliffe Driveway Maintenance.

McAuliffe graduated from Catholic University and later attended Georgetown Law School. Upon graduating from Georgetown, he started a law firm and opened Federal City National Bank.

Political Fundraising

Terry McAuliffe entered politics in 1980, at the age of 23, becoming national finance director for Jimmy Carter. In the position, he broke fundraising records and developed a reputation as a wunderkind fundraiser. In exchange for a $15,000 contribution, McAuliffe once wrestled with an alligator—a stunt that made him famous.

In addition to raising money, McAuliffe invested it. He and his partner, Carl Linder, purchased American Heritage Homes, a Florida-based home building company. American Heritage Homes was on the brink of collapse when it was purchased, but through a plan to build more than 800 homes per year, it was revitalized.

Relationship with the Clintons

McAuliffe worked as chairman on Bill Clinton's presidential campaign, and the two men became very close friends as well as regular golf partners. McAuliffe was Clinton's chief fundraiser, and then the national co-chairman of his re-election campaign. Years later, he served as chairman for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

In 2000, McAuliffe was named Democratic National Committee chairman. He served in that position until 2005, during which time he broke records by raising $578 million. McAuliffe became a rising star within the Democratic Party.

In 2007, McAuliffe published his memoir, What A Party!, which debuted at No. 5 on The New York Times' best-seller list.

Gubernatorial Hopes

McAuliffe ran for public office for the first time in 2009, for the Virginia governorship, but lost in the primary. Afterward, he founded GreenTech Automotive, a green car company designed to create jobs. McAuliffe resigned from GreenTech in April 2013.

McAuliffe joined the gubernatorial race a second time in 2013, this time beating out Tea Party candidate Ken Cuccinelli and claiming victory. The primarily negative race was tight, but ultimately Cuccinelli's unwaveringly conservative position on social issues such as abortion caused voters, specifically women, to choose McAuliffe. His victory marks the first time since 1973 that the party of the state's gubernatorial office is the same as the president's party.

McAuliffe married his wife, Dorothy, in 1988. They have five children.

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