Former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello said today that he won’t run for governor next year, but will back fellow Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the 2013 election.
Perriello represented the 5th Congressional District for one term before losing his 2010 re-election bid, and has cultivated strong grassroots support in his party. He considered making a run for statewide office before announcing today that he won’t be candidate next year.
“I won’t be on the ballot in 2013, but I will be in the fight,” Perriello wrote on Twitter.
In a statement posted on the Blue Virginia blog, Perriello said: “I love Virginia, the state that gave my father a chance to move into the middle class after graduating from the University of Virginia, and am confident that we will not turn back. In this spirit, I have considered a run for Governor, and am genuinely touched by the outpouring of support. I do not feel called to serve in elected office at this time, but I do not need to have my name on the ballot to be part of the fight.”
Perriello’s decision appears to leave McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee Chairman, with a clear path to the party’s gubernatorial nomination. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, a former governor, had considered running for his old job before announcing last month that he will remain in the Senate.
“Throughout his life in public service, Tom Perriello has been a courageous and principled fighter for progressive values and one of our party’s best spokesmen on issues of economic fairness,” McAuliffe said. “Virginia is extremely lucky to have a leader of Tom’s character and conviction and I look forward to working with him on mainstream solutions for job creation and common sense fiscal responsibility.”
Perriello, who lives in Albemarle County, defeated Republican incumbent Virgil Goode of Rocky Mount in 2008 to win the 5th District seat. But he lost two years later to Republican Robert Hurt of Chatham. Perriello is now the president and CEO of the liberal advocacy organization Center for American Progress Action.
– Michael Sluss