April 18, 2019 / 2:11 AM / 2 months ago

Former Virginia Governor McAuliffe decides to not enter 2020 presidential race

FILE PHOTO: Former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe speaks at the North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) 2019 legislative conference in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who has deep ties to Democratic icons Bill and Hillary Clinton, said on Wednesday he would not seek his party’s 2020 U.S. presidential nomination.

“I have listened to Virginians and I’m going to help Virginians for the next six months,” McAuliffe said in an interview with CNN, adding that he would help coordinate campaigns of Democratic candidates running for office in the state.

McAuliffe had not been a factor in early public opinion polls for the 2020 race, which features the largest Democratic field in the modern political era, vying to challenge Republican President Donald Trump.

Prior to serving his one term as governor, McAuliffe, 62, was largely viewed as a party kingpin and fund-raising dynamo who ran the Democratic National Committee in the early 2000s.

In 2008, McAuliffe chaired Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, when she lost to Barack Obama in the party primary.

While McAuliffe never held a White House position during Bill Clinton’s two terms as president, he was a close confidant of Clinton.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is not a candidate yet, and Senator Bernie Sanders lead among the nearly 20 declared candidates and possible contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to RealClearPolitics national polling averages.

Reporting by James Oliphant and Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Leslie Adler

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