WEST PALM BEACH — Yes, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote over Donald Trump in 2016 and would be president if not for a sliver of votes in previously Democratic Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, said Virginia Gov. and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe on Saturday night.
But McAuliffe, headlining the Palm Beach County Democratic Party’s annual fundraising dinner, spent minimal time on the rehash and said his party needs to move on from 2016.
“I’ve got zero tolerance for the whiners in our party. We have got to move forward. I cannot relive yesterday’s election but I can tell you this, we have got to move forward. Florida’s an important piece of the puzzle,” McAuliffe said.
McAuliffe is co-chairman of the 2020 Redistricting Fund, a Democratic effort to win governorships in key states to influence the redrawing of congressional and state legislative maps after the 2020 census.
“We’ve got to get off the mat. We’ve got to start winning. I think our party for too long has focused on the presidential. We raise billions of dollars and then we go dormant for a couple years after that and not focus on state and local races. We’ve got to get in and win at the local level,” McAuliffe said.
Winning governorships is crucial for Democrats to prevent Republican gerrymandering, McAuliffe said.
Republicans have held the Florida governor’s mansion since 1999. With Republican Gov. Rick Scott facing term limits next year, Democrats hope to break their losing streak in the open race to replace him.
“Goodness gracious, we need a governor here in 2018 because in 2021 when those lines are drawn, one person can stop a Republican legislature’s map, and that is the governor,” said McAuliffe.