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Former DNC Chair McAuliffe Announces Virginia Governor Run

RICHMOND, Va.- Former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe said on Saturday he intends to run for governor of Virginia.

After months of speculation over his plans, McAuliffe announced his intentions in a video posted on his Web site.

 In the video, McAuliffe said he will make his intention to run official on Wednesday as part of a week-long campaign kickoff.

The stops include town hall meetings in Hampton Roads, Bristol, Richmond and others, where McAuliffe will unveil plans for job creation, education and renewable energy.

"Over the coming months we will travel to every corner of the commonwealth to ask all Virginians to join our campaign to get the economy moving again," McAuliffe said in the video.

In November, the 51-year-old established his campaign committee, Friends of Terry McAuliffe, with the State Board of Elections, secured the services of strategist Mike Henry and began touring Virginia, but had not made his candidacy certain.

McAuliffe faces two other Democrats who have been active for nearly a year in an already contentious nomination fight to succeed Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kaine.

State Sen. Creigh Deeds narrowly lost the attorney general's race in 2005, and former House Democratic Caucus chairman Brian Moran is also in the race.

"We welcome Terry McAuliffe to the race and we're looking forward to an open and honest discussion of how we keep Virginia moving forward," said Peter Jackson, a spokesman for Deeds.

In a statement, Moran also welcomed McAuliffe to the campaign.

"I am more convinced than ever that Virginians want a governor with a proven record of fighting for Virginia families and a vision for the commonwealth," Moran said.

The Democratic nominee will face Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell, who is unchallenged for his party's nomination, in the Nov. 3 election.

Phil Cox, a spokesman for McDonnell also welcomed McAuliffe into the race, saying he has a "tough primary fight ahead of him." But Cox said there will be plenty of time during the campaign to compare and contrast records.

A native of upstate New York, McAuliffe has lived in Virginia for about 17 years. He lives in the Washington, D.C., suburb of McLean.

McAuliffe brings to the race a national fundraising base and profile that neither of his potential primary rivals could match. As chairman of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, McAuliffe helped her raise tens of millions of dollars. And as DNC chairman, he helped restore the fiscal health of a party that was broke and dispirited after Al Gore's wrenching 2000 presidential loss.

But McAuliffe also brings a political portfolio well to the left of Democrats Mark R. Warner and Kaine, who toiled in the state party for years before they were elected governor by pledging bipartisan cooperation and campaigning as moderates.

McAuliffe, however, does ride a crest of success the Democratic Party has not known in Virginia for generations.

President-elect Barack Obama became the first Democrat to carry Virginia in a presidential race in 44 years. The party claimed both of the state's U.S. Senate seats for the first time since 1970, and it controls six of the state's 11 U.S. House seats in the wake of newcomer Tom Perriello's victory over Republican Rep. Virgil Goode after a recount.

Only two states - Virginia and New Jersey - elect governors this year.