Obamarama? Tom Perriello eyed for Administration post
Nothing's official yet, and the president has even delayed his announcement to the new year, but a report by the influential Politico news service suggests that outgoing Fifth District Congressman Tom Perriello could be in line for job with the Obama Administration.
"The administration is looking for fresh blood and is super-grateful to Congressman Perriello," says Politico's Mike Allen. "So I can see him getting a great offer if he decides to serve in the federal government."
Charlottesville-based pundit Larry Sabato notes the midterm elections created quite a swarm of ousted Democrats. Of the two outgoing governors that Politico depicted along with Perriello to illustrate its story–- Ohio's Ted Strickland and Michigan's Jennifer Granholm (the latter turned out not by voters but by term limits)–- Sabato contends that each would get precedence over Perriello as Barack Obama prepares to hire.
"I'm sure Perriello's on the list," says Sabato, "but there's a long list."
Perriello is a native of the Albemarle County community of Ivy, and his ascent to Congress two years ago included knocking off Virgil Goode, a veteran conservative in a conservative district, a point not lost on national strategists who poured millions into television ads during the most recent election.
Although Republican Robert Hurt of Chatham won the November election, Perriello's high profile and experience in non-profit fund-raising have conspired to make him a hot commodity–- and not just for the White House. A source says Perriello is fielding myriad private sector inquiries as well.
"What would make the most sense for him probably would be something in the State Department because of his background," says Sabato, "He worked in Africa, and he's done non-governmental organization work."
"He hasn't made any decisions yet," says Perriello's deputy press secretary Michael Kelly. "There's plenty of work left to do in this Congress, and that's what he's focused on."
Sabato, who heads UVA's Center for Politics, says that the 36-year-old Perriello has hinted in interviews that he might consider trying to claim his seat in Congress. However, an impending redistricting by Republicans might make that a daunting challenge.
"Any sane person who's not addicted to the roar of the crowd might well do something else," says Sabato. "It's a tough business."