The reasoning behind the NVTC TechPAC’s nod — Cuccinelli had detailed responses to questions in candidate interviews, three board members said, while McAuliffe was uninformed and superficial — bolsters the view that the Democrat’s breezy style doesn’t sit well with some Virginians. Two of the people said they were leaning toward Cuccinelli before the interviews; one disliked both candidates.
Cuccinelli impressed the board’s majority as a serious, detail-oriented candidate while McAuliffe seemed to wing it, according to three board members present for the interviews who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly.
“Terry was his normal, flamboyant self,” said a board member present for both interviews. “He didn’t want to get pinned down to any details. He didn’t give any details. He was all about jobs, jobs, jobs — ‘I’m just going to take care of the situation when the time comes. I’m just going to do it.’ It was all [expletive].”
Cuccinelli, by contrast, the person said, “was precise. He was thoughtful. He thought through all the issues. He had a clear position on all those issues, and he didn’t agree with the council on all the issues.”
Two people present said that in response to a question about how he’d accomplish his goals as governor, McAuliffe told the PAC board that as an Irish Catholic he’d be adept at taking people out for drinks and doing whatever it takes to get things done. McAuliffe is well known as a schmoozer, but he seemed to badly misread his methodical audience with that answer, several of those present said.
On a question about whether Virginia should stay in something called the “open-trade-secrets pact,” Cuccinelli gave a thoroughly researched response, the person said.
But McAuliffe answered, according to the source: “ ‘I don’t know what that is. I’ll have to look it up later.’ And then he turns back to the guy [who asked] and said ‘Well, what do you think we should do?’ And the guy says, ‘We want Virginia to stay in it.’ And then Terry says, ‘Okay, we will.’ ” (source)
So after McAuliffe bombed his interview with the Northern Virginia Technology Council, a few State Senators, and even our out-going Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling made calls on behalf of Terry McAuliffe.
“The pressure is hot and heavy,” Dendy Young, TechPAC chairman and chief executive of McLean Capital, wrote in an e-mail to TechPAC members Sunday morning. Young wrote that he received calls Saturday from Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Lt. Governor Bill Bolling (R) and Aneesh Chopra, the former U.S. chief technology officer and Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. Young also said that, on the other side of the issue, Cuccinelli called him, too.
“I urge you to stop any endorsement of Cuccinelli,” state Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax), told PAC leaders Friday in an e-mail. “The ramifications of his being endorsed will be huge within the Senate Democratic caucus. . . . The response [from legislators] will be frigid and doors will be closed [when the council seeks help with its legislative agenda]. Achieving the goals of NVTC will be difficult to impossible.”
Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) and Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) seconded those sentiments in their e-mails. In interviews, the senators said the messages should not be perceived as threats but as expressions of their frustration, given Cuccinelli’s opposition this year to the council’s top legislative priority: passage of a transportation funding overhaul. McAuliffe publicly supported the $1.4 billion-a-year plan; Cuccinelli opposed it as a “massive tax increase” but has said on the campaign trail that he would not seek its repeal as governor.
At least 3 State Senators effectively tried to threaten NVTC Tech-PAC into not endorsing Cuccinelli. Fun times.