Dorothy McAuliffe, Terry McAuliffe’s Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Terry McAuliffe, Democratic fundraiser and former governor of Virginia, has often hinted that he’d be interested in taking a run at the White House. At the end of December, McAuliffe went on CNN’s “State of the Union” to discuss the ongoing government shutdown. Some commentators said that McAuliffe’s appearance amounted to a “semiofficial presidential audition tape.” McAuliffe denounced the president as “unstable” and called him a “liar.” He also talked about what the Democratic party needs in order to defeat Trump: a “compulsively optimistic and realistic” candidate who doesn’t make sweeping, hard-to-deliver promises but sticks to a practical agenda. To some, McAuliffe seemed to be describing himself, and signalling that he’s going to take a shot at the Democratic nomination for 2020.

On January 3, McAuliffe published an editorial in the Washington Post, again talking about the importance of a “realistic” Democratic candidate. McAuliffe said he was thinking of running himself but that he hasn’t yet made up his mind: “While I haven’t decided whether to be a candidate myself, I will be closely watching our side and working to ensure that the Democratic message is realistic, optimistic and focused on helping all Americans. The stakes are simply too high to lose a race to the bottom.”

Terry McAuliffe married Dorothy Swann in 1988. The couple lives in McLean, Virginia, with their children. Here’s what you need to know about Dorothy McAuliffe:


1. She Considered Running for Congress in the Last Election

McAuliffe with then-candidate Hillary Clinton

In 2017, Dorothy McAuliffe was mulling a run for Barabara Comstock’s seat in Congress. McAuliffe told the Washington Post that she was “very seriously considering” entering the race. Her husband, Terry, was still governor of Virginia at the time, and Dorothy was quick to add that of course she loved the role of governor’s wife. “I currently have the best platform in the world,” she said. “I love my work being part of this administration.” But Dorothy also made calls to Democrats in Congress and in the state senate to see whether they’d support her in the race.

Ultimately, Dorothy decided not to run for Congress. She told the Washington Post that she felt too busy in her current role to make any changes. “I have a lot of people counting on me — children in need, schools that we work with, our school nutrition directors, the works we’ve done across the board with military families — and I am not ready to disengage from that role,” she told the Post, in a phone interview. Terry McAuliffe’s term as governor ended in January 2018.


2. Dorothy & Terry Have Five Children & Two Still Live at Home

Dorothy and Terry have been married for over a quarter of a century. They have five children together. The eldest, Dori, is in her late twenties now. She studied international relations at Colby College in Maine, where she was also a lacrosse star. Their second child, Jack, studied at the US Naval Academy and was a rugby star. And their third child, Mary, studied at Wake Forest. The couple’s youngest children, Sally and Peter, attend Potomac School in McLean, Virginia.

Terry has admitted that his dedication to politics can make for a tricky work-life balance. In his 2007 autobiography, McAuliffe admitted that he dashed out to a press party while Dorothy was in labor with their fourth child, Sally. Terry said that he also stopped off at a fundraising after Peter was born, leaving Dorothy and the baby waiting in the car.


3. Dorothy & Terry Met When Terry Worked with Her Father on Jimmy Carter’s Re-Election Campaign

Dorothy and Terry McAuliffe

In 1980, when Dorothy was just 16 years old, her father was working on President Carter’s re-election campaign. Richard Swan was the Campaign Finance Chairman for the Carter campaign in Florida. Terry McAuliffe, who was 22 at the time, came to stay with the family in their Orlando home while he worked on the campaign. Dorothy’s mother observed the young man and predicted that he and her daughter would get married one day.

The couple started dating while Dorothy attended Catholic University in Washington, DC. They eventually married in 1988 and had five children together.


4. Dorothy Pushed to Expand State Nutrition Programs While Terry Was Governor of Virginia

Dorothy and Terry McAuliffe

Dorothy has a reputation as being “media-shy” and preferring to work behind the scenes. While her husband was governor of Virginia, she focused on improving nutrition programs for children in the state. Dorothy developed a reputation as “persistent” but not necessarily aggressive — she also won praise for getting a lot done.

She pushed the state’s General Assembly to expand its childhood nutrition program and eventually garnered $ 2.7 million in the budget over three years. She also built up a partnership with the No Kid Hungry campaign — a partnership with ended up increasing the number of after-school meals and snacks served by 2 million a year. Dorothy also pushed the state legislature to increase funding to school districts that serve children of military personnel.


5. Dorothy Holds a Law Degree from Georgetown University

Dorothy grew up in Florida, where her father was active in Democratic politics. She first met Terry when she was just 16, when her father, Richard Swan, was the Campaign Finance Chairman for Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign in Florida. Terry stayed with the family in Orlando while he worked on the campaign.

Dorothy and Terry started dating while she was a student at Catholic University in Washington, DC. She went on to get a law degree from Georgetown University. The couple married in 1988.


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