The contentious Democrat gubernatorial primary in Virginia is quickly escalating from “an uncomfortable situation” to an all-out civil war. Appearing on the The John Fredericks Radio Show earlier today, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe openly attacked gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello, suggesting that Perriello doesn’t understand the powers of the Virginia governorship or job creation efforts in the Commonwealth.
John Fredericks: “Tom Perriello yesterday coming out against the Atlantic coast pipeline… you’re candidate, Ralph Northam, hasn’t taken a position on it…”
Governor Terry McAuliffe: “I believe Ralph is with me. Listen, this is a huge job creator, let’s keep the politics out of it….This will give us some of the cheapest gas in the country….It’s a job creator, it will create thousands of jobs….its protecting the environment…but we are in a political season. But let me be very clear: If you are going to run for governor – you should understand the powers of the governorship. I have zero ability to stop this pipeline. If the General Assembly files a permit…I can’t deny that permit. I have no ability to stop this if I wanted to.” (Audio: McAuliffe on the John Fredericks Show, 2/9/2017)
“If you are going to run for governor, you should understand the powers of the governorship.”
Perriello, in direct contrast to McAuliffe, announced in a Facebook post yesterday that, if elected governor, he would fight to prevent construction of the pipelines:
“Virginia deserves better than two pipelines we don’t need, with an $8.5 billion price tag, when there is a better way. As governor, I’ll fight to prevent the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. We should reject these rusty ideas that risk Virginia’s natural heritage and contribute to the threat of climate change. I will demand a better way that creates thousands of good paying clean energy jobs for Virginians. We are a state of innovators. We can’t get stuck in the past.” (Tom Perriello Facebook, Accessed 2/9/2017)
The Washington Post then reported Perriello’s opposition to the two proposed natural gas pipelines, and quoted Perriello stating that the pipeline projects would employ workers from out of state – again, a statement that is in direct contrast to McAuliffe.
“At Richmond’s Libby Hill Park, Perriello laid out his opposition to two natural gas pipelines proposed for Virginia: Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline project and the Mountain Valley Pipeline Project, a joint venture that does not include Dominion. ‘Wasting $8.6 billion on the technologies of the past and the energy sources of the past, on projects that will largely employ people from out of state and not in Virginia, to transport fracked gas from out of state across our beautiful heritage to other areas is not the way that we keep value in the community, he said.” (Laura Vozzella, “Perriello Comes Out Against Pipeline,” Washington Post, 2/8/2017)
With just over 4 months until Virginia’s primary election, Democrats in the state are already admitting publicly that the Northam vs. Perriello fight puts them at a disadvantage, even before McAuliffe – the sitting governor – openly attacked Perriello. This fight will only get more divisive.