The stars are aligning for Terry McAuliffe in his quest for the Democratic nomination for governor in Virginia.
Former Democratic congressman Tom Perriello announced Wednesday he will not run for governor in 2013 and instead backed McAuliffe's bid.
"I do not feel called to serve in elected office at this time, but I do not need to have my name on the ballot to be part of the fight," said Perriello, citing his work as president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Perriello, who defeated former Rep. Virgil Goode in 2008 to capture Virginia's 5th Congressional District but lost his seat two years later to Rep. Robert Hurt, is the second big name to step out of McAuliffe's way. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., decided in November not to seek a second term as governor.
McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman and close friend of former President Bill Clinton, quickly accepted Perriello's endorsement.
"Throughout his life in public service, Tom Perriello has been a courageous and principled fighter for progressive values and one of our party's best spokesmen on issues of economic fairness," McAuliffe said.
Unless someone else enters the race, McAuliffe is likely to face Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli next November. Cuccinelli has been similarly fortunate in his race so far. His leading rival, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, last month ended his highly anticipated bid to succeed Gov. Bob McDonnell.