Former Democratic Congressman Tom Perriello reportedly hasn’t ruled out entering the race to become the next Governor of Virginia.
Having grown up in the district that Perriello represented in Congress, and having worked as an organizer on his re-election campaign, I know from personal experience that Tom is the kind of politician everyone says they want. Famous for holding the most town hall meetings of any congressman during his two years in the House, he earned the respect of his political opponents by being willing to seriously engage with just about anyone. He was also not afraid to cast votes that likely cost him re-election in a solidly red district, including votes for the Stimulus, Obamacare and Cap and Trade (you can count on the fingers of one hand the freshmen who voted for all three).
Despite his unapologetic progressivism, Perriello’s dedication and old-school hard work almost earned him a win in the Republican wave of 2010, only a year after Bob McDonnell carried his district by over 20 percent in the 2009 gubernatorial race.
Perriello is also a favorite of the progressive community, and with good reason. Even before his political career, Perriello made a habit of advocating progressive values through the Catholic Church, helping start global advocacy organizations and peacefully removing Liberian dictator Charles Taylor from power. During his time in Congress Perriello authored Rural Star, which helped improve energy efficiency and bring down energy costs in rural communities, opposed Wall Street Reform from the left, and was instrumental in the passage of the Credit Card Holders’ Bill of Rights. Like Howard Dean in New Hampshire, Perriello was able to represent his rural constituency without becoming a Blue Dog, earning the endorsements of both MoveOn and the NRA in the same year.
If he were to run, he’d be taking on two of my least favorite politicians: Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli, respectively.
McAuliffe, with strong ties to the Clintons, is the quintessential buckle of the beltway. A career horse-trader, McAuliffe is unafraid to run damaging, inauthentic and scorched-earth primaries (see Hillary ’08) and is far more a Democrat than he is a Progressive. Cuccinelli, on the other hand, has core convictions and isn’t afraid to stand for them; those convictions just happen to include bullying women, scientists and the LGBT community. If Perriello wasn’t an attractive enough candidate on his own merits, Virginia deserves better than its current slate of declared candidates.
The DailyKos launched a Draft Tom initiative back in June. In light of its new relevance, I’ve copied its info below:
Take the moment to watch DraftTomPerriello’s video, look at our website, read more about Tom, and most importantly sign our petition and voice your support to help draft Tom Perriello into becoming a candidate for Governor of Virginia.
Virginia would be lucky to have Tom as its next Governor. I hope he throws his hat in the ring and shows the rest of the country how to run as a progressive and win.