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Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.

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Democrats start lining up behind McAuliffe for governor

Terry McAuliffe hasn’t been coy about his political aspirations. After losing the Democratic nomination for governor in 2009, he’s working toward a run for governor in 2013– provided Sen. Mark Warner doesn’t want to return to the governor’s mansion — and he’s a frequent attendee at Democratic or political events large and small.

Today Democrats put out a list of 400 supporters for McAuliffe’s gubernatorial bid.

Sent out by Susan Swecker, a member of the Democratic National Committee from Virginia, the list includes a number of Democratic state lawmakers and local party activists. State Sen. Chap Petersen is on the list — Petersen had mulled a run for governor himself, but said a few weeks ago that he will not run.

Swecker said the compilation of 400 endorsements for McAuliffe is “a strong showing that our party is uniting behind Terry for Governor in 2013. We believe Terry will be a strong nominee who will take back the Governor’s Mansion and help candidates up and down the ballot next year. His strong business background and big bold ideas will enable him to hit the ground running.”

Locally, the list includes former Spotsylvania County supervisor Hap Connors, former Stafford Democratic chairmen Marc Broklawski and Dan Smolen, former Stafford supervisors Harry Crisp and Kandy Hilliard, 1st congressional district Democrats Bobby Crisp and Carlos Del Toro of Stafford, Opal Stroup of Spotsylvania and Shawn O’Donnell of Fredericksburg, Culpeper Democratic committee chair Traci Dippert, and King George Democratic chair Pearl Smith.

On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli have both declared plans to run for governor next year, fostering a rather tense rivalry. In a few weeks, Republicans are expected to revisit their previous plan of nominating a gubernatorial candidate in 2013 by primary; Bolling backs a primary but it’s believed that Cuccinelli might fare better in a convention.

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