A former Virginia governor may be on the verge of announcing for president.
The name of the alligator was Jumper: eight feet long and 260 pounds. That was the opponent of a famous wrestling match in Broward County, Florida, back in 1980, when a 23-year-old Terry McAuliffe was working on the Jimmy Carter reelection campaign. McAuliffe held Jumper’s mouth shut for three minutes, securing a $15,000 campaign contribution from the Seminole Tribe for Carter and a bottle of whiskey for himself.
“This is one of McAuliffe’s favorite stump stories, and it’s pretty obvious why," says Rachel Bitecofer at Christopher Newport University.
— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) April 11, 2019
She says McAuliffe’s recent cryptic tweet about an alligator was a brilliant PR move.
“The national media had no idea what his tweet meant. They saw a picture of a giant alligator and the word Trump on it and they started to share it amongst themselves,” says Bitecofer.
Jeremy Mayer at George Mason University says McAuliffe is telegraphing a sense he’s got what it takes to take on Donald Trump.
“It’s an interesting example of a politician flexing his machismo in direct opposition to Trump, who has this raw physicality and kind of a counter-puncher reputation,” he says.
So far McAuliffe hasn’t announced. But the recent talk about alligator wrestling has created a new sense of buzz around the former Virginia governor.