McDonnell draws support from former Warner/Kaine backers
The fight for the middle continued as today Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell announced a lengthy list of supporters who in the past have publicly gotten behind Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. While the list contains mostly Republicans, it is filled with politicians who seem to sway back and forth along the middle of the political spectrum and for whatever reason have decided to get behind Bob McDonnell in 2009.
Democrats aren’t buying it. Party spokesman Jared Leopold released a statement today calling the endorsements just another example of McDonnell’s “political makeover” and then reminded reporters that Mark Warner himself said that McDonnell played the role of obstructionist during Warner’s time in the executive branch.
Regardless of the argument that Democrats are making, one simple fact is difficult to argue with. These are individuals with a certain degree of political independence (including cabinet Secretaries that swore an oath of an allegiance to a Democratic administration) who have decided that in this particular election McDonnell is their guy. Many of these same officials are people the Democrats embraced when they pledged their support for Democratic candidates. They could be described as soldiers in the Warner/Kaine movement who have decided that McDonnell is the man best prepared to move that agenda forward.
However, for the most part, many of these endoresees are anything but household names. They are politicial insiders that the average voter wouldn’t know if they ran in to. How big of an impact they can have in turning the tide of an election could turn out to be marginal at best. Furthermore, voters could wonder why a Republican (McDonnell) who has not “endorsed” the Warner/Kaine legacy is in search of individuals who have. After all Creigh Deeds has already been endorsed by Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, the authors of said legacy.
It also has the potential to cause McDonnell problems with the more conservative wing of the party that probably rejected many of these turncoat Republicans already. Many of these Republicans are supporters of former Chairman Jeff Frederick.
Overall, this shows the continued effort to fight for the middle of electorate. It is still early, but as the nation looks for a “mandate” on the Obama administration a case is being made that moderate politics and policy is the early winner.
Releases from both sides can be found after the jump…
Bipartisan Group of Virginia Leaders Endorse Bob McDonnell for Governor
–“Virginians for McDonnell” Leadership Announced–
Group Includes: Leaders of “Virginians for Mark Warner”; Former Warner Cabinet Secretaries; Former Democratic Delegate; Prominent Supporters of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine from across Virginia
(RICHMOND)- Just days after the general election gubernatorial matchup was set, a broad group of Democrats, Independents and Republicans announced their endorsements of Bob McDonnell for Governor, and the formation of “Virginians for McDonnell.” The group will be led by Judy Ford Wason, who headed “Virginians for Mark Warner” in 2001 and was a member of the group in 2008, and Wyatt Durrette, former candidate for Attorney General and Governor, who endorsed Tim Kaine for Governor in 2005. Joining the two in the leadership of the bipartisan group are two former cabinet secretaries in the Mark Warner administration; a former Democratic delegate from Chesterfield County; a former Virginia Attorney General who served as Chief Deputy Attorney General under Attorney General Mary Sue Terry (D); the Director of “Virginians for Mark Warner” in 2008 and a host of other leaders from across the Commonwealth.
Regarding the formation of “Virginians for McDonnell” Judy Ford Wason remarked, “Virginians look for strong leaders they can trust and depend on to bring people together to forge consensus on tough issues and advance positive solutions. Bob McDonnell is this type of leader. He has a background in business management, a qualification that is especially important in these tough economic times. As Attorney General Bob worked consistently across party lines on pressing public safety issues and I am confident that is how he will lead as Virginia’s next governor. We face great challenges in Virginia. We need elected officials who have demonstrated their ability to lead and their experience in achieving positive results. Bob McDonnell has demonstrated these qualities as Attorney General and they will serve him well as governor.”
She added, “In each election I, like so many other Virginians, look at the ability of the candidate, not the party label and I have made the decision to strongly endorse Bob McDonnell for governor. I encourage all Virginians, regardless of party, to look at Bob’s record, study his bold policy proposals, and join us in the ‘Virginians for McDonnell’ effort.”
Speaking about the group Wyatt Durette noted, “This group of Virginians is composed of men and women who have not consistently supported candidates of a single party. Rather we are individuals who have chosen to support candidates belonging to both parties, when we believed that was in the best interest of Virginia and the country. This year we have united behind Bob McDonnell because we strongly believe he is best suited to lead Virginia and meet the very significant challenges facing our Commonwealth during the next four years.”
Durette continued, “As Attorney General he has established his ability to work across partisan lines to solve problems, a quality we highly value. While we recognize the role of partisanship in the service of ones principles, we hold equally high the ability to work together and to seek consensus in pursuit of solutions to extremely complex problems. The task of leading Virginia through these challenging times requires a person who knows where the partisan line stops and the governing line begins and Bob McDonnell has demonstrated that he does. Virginians for McDonnell is the vehicle in this election to support a candidate for Governor while maintaining the independence to choose candidates from either party for other offices. Where Virginia’s next Governor is concerned this is not a time to sit on the sidelines. It is time to choose. We have made our choice and we invite all like-minded Virginians to join us.”
Bob McDonnell noted, “Virginia faces many challenges. To create the new jobs and more opportunities that our citizens need we must come together across partisan lines for the common good. As Attorney General I worked across partisan lines to dramatically toughen penalties for sex offenders, combat online crime, reduce burdensome and unnecessary government regulations, and make Virginia safer and stronger. 92 of my 105 legislative proposals passed the General Assembly, with strong bipartisan support. I was particularly pleased that my opponent in this gubernatorial campaign voted for 98% of my successful proposals. That is the record of bipartisan success and cooperation I bring to this campaign and it is the model for how I will lead as Virginia’s next Governor. I am honored to receive the support of so many accomplished leaders. We are running a positive campaign dedicated to reaching out to all voters with policies that will make this a better Commonwealth for all Virginians. Our message is resonating, and I am honored that Virginians are coming together from all regions and parties to support our campaign.”
“Virginians for McDonnell” Leadership List
Judy Ford Wason- Williamsburg
Wason was the Director of “Virginians for Warner” in 2001 and a member in 2008.
The Honorable Wyatt Durrette-Richmond
Durrette endorsed Tim Kaine for Governor. He was the Republican candidate for Attorney General in 1981 and Governor in 1985.
The Honorable Donald Farley- Dayton
Sheriff of Rockingham County (Independent). Supported Mark Warner for Senate and appeared in Warner’s first campaign commercial.
Supported Mark Warner for Senate in 2008. Introduced Warner at Campaign Kickoff event in Roanoke in 2008
The Honorable Alex McMurtrie-Chesterfield
Former Democratic Delegate. Represented the 36th District (Chesterfield, Colonial Heights) from 1972-1981
The Honorable George C. Newstrom-Fairfax
Secretary of Technology in Mark Warner administration
The Honorable Vincent Callahan-Fairfax
Callahan served as Republican member of the House of Delegates for 40 years from 1968 to 2008. He was Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He endorsed Mark Warner for Senate in 2008.
Will Payne-Virginia Beach
Director of “Virginians for Warner” in 2008 Senate Campaign
The Honorable Steve Rosenthal-Chesterfield
Attorney General of Virginia 1993-1994. Chief Deputy Attorney General under Attorney General Mary Sue Terry (D)
Todd Stottlemyer-Oak Hill
Former President and CEO National Federation of Independent Businesses
Garth Wheeler-Virginia Beach
Former President Virginia Fraternal Order of Police. Member of “Virginians for Warner”
Candidate for Republican nomination for Governor in 1993. Member of “Virginians for Warner”
The Honorable Jane Woods-Fairfax
Secretary of Health and Human Resources in Mark Warner Administration. Former State Senator and State Delegate
Robert L. Freeman, Sr.-Newport News
Edward L. Hamm-Virginia Beach
John Lawson-Newport News
C. Daniel Clemente-Vienna
DPVA: ‘McDonnell Trying to Perform a Political Makeover’
Sen. Warner: McDonnell ‘Part of No Camp that Didn’t Move Virginia Forward’
RICHMOND – Democratic Party of Virginia spokesman Jared Leopold released the following statement Monday regarding Bob McDonnell’s endorsement press conference:
“Bob McDonnell has spent his whole campaign trying to perform a political makeover from his record of extreme positions. While Bob tries to build a bridge to moderates in his own party, Creigh Deeds has a long record of working across party lines to deliver results for Virginians.
“The facts are clear: Bob McDonnell has spent the last decade trying to block the progress that Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have made for Virginia. McDonnell voted against Gov. Warner’s bipartisan budget, which made Virginia the best state for business and saved our AAA bond rating. McDonnell said no to $125 million in federal funds to put unemployed Virginians back to work. And McDonnell continues to run from his far-right social agenda of opposing stem cell research and blocking a woman’s right to choose, even in the case of rape and incest.
“As Senator Warner said last week, McDonnell ‘was part of that no camp that didn’t move Virginia forward.’ [WSLS-TV,]
“Creigh Deeds is what he always has been: an authentic, common-sense leader with a long record of working across party lines to get things done,” Leopold continued. “Unlike Bob, Creigh doesn’t need a political makeover to be a common-sense Virginia leader.”