Wilder and McDonnell
No one would argue that former Richmond Mayor and Virginia Governor Doug Wilder is unpredictable. But is he unpredictable enough to cross party lines to endorse Bob McDonnell for governor?
The elusive Wilder has made himself almost impossible to reach for those of us who used to cover him every day in Richmond, but from time to time he makes himself available to a well-placed national journalist. This time around it was Politico’s Jonathan Martin and the topic was Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. Wilder told Martin that McAuliffe is trouble for the Democrats and if he wins the nomination, “there will be a formation of Virginians For McDonnell,”
Wilder’s disdain for McAuliffe – who most believe is the odds-on favorite come June 9th – coupled with a well-publicized lunch meeting between the two, have many wondering if Wilder would take the risky step of getting behind the Republican nominee.
If Wilder does decide to get involved, don’t expect it to happen until much closer to the election. The savvy politician has a flare for the dramatic and is known to wait until the right moment before offering his support. Despite the connection the former governor had with Barack Obama, Wilder waited until after Obama had handily won the Iowa caucus to get behind the future president. He even went as far to clear the record a month before, when a magazine incorrectly stated that he had already endorsed Obama.
One thing is for sure, according to people close to Wilder, he will not provide an 11th hour endorsement in the Democratic primary.
As for Bob McDonnell, the Republican nominee told me he is very close with Wilder and the two had an excellent working relationship when he was the attorney general and Wilder was in the Mayor’s office. He said he can’t handicap the odds of a Wilder endorsement, but if it comes, he will be happy to accept.
Hear what McDonnell had to say about Wilder after the jump..
Bob McDonnell - “I think, Governor Wilder being in public service for the 35 years, he appreciates people who get results and who are straight shooters and that is the kind of relationship I have with him.”
Ryan Nobles - “But do you think he could possibly support your campaign?”
Bob McDonnell – “I don’t know if it is possible or not. We did have lunch recently. I have great respect for what he has accomplished over his historic career. And I am asking a lot of independents and Democrats to support me. And because of my support for free enterprise and reducing the reach of government into private lives, I think there is a chance that a lot of people will come my way. I would be honored to have his support as well as the support of any Democrats and independents that would want to come my way. It would be terrific.”