Wilder prepared to endorse in Governor’s race
Former Governor of Virginia and Mayor of Richmond L. Douglas Wilder told me this afternoon that he knows who he plans to endorse in the race for his old position and is set to make that announcement “tomorrow or maybe the next day.”
Wilder told me that in this week alone he has had conversations with representatives from both the White House and Governor’s office. Wilder also said that he has met, in person, with both candidates, Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds, as well.
Last night at a forum held at Virginia Union University, which specifically dealt with issues facing the African-American community, McDonnell mentioned his work with Wilder on multiple occasions. After his remarks McDonnell told me that he is still actively courting the former Governor’s support. “I would be honored and delighted to get an endorsement or some sort of support from such a historic figure,” said McDonnell.
While Wilder, in his trademark fashion, has appeared to give McDonnell fainting hope that he may break party ranks, few believe that the nation’s first black governor will not stick with his fellow Democrat. Wilder has often reminded reporters that he has never endorsed a Republican in a race of this magnitude. His former close aide Paul Goldman recently told me that his former boss would not risk alienating his relationship with President Barack Obama, who has made it clear to Wilder who he would like him to support.
Wilder would not tip his hand during our conversation today, but perhaps provided some insight when I asked him if it was realistic to propose a transportation plan that does not include raising taxes. The former Governor, who dealt with his own share of fiscal turmoil during his time in office, laughed and said, “that will be part of what I talk about when I share my endorsement.” The transportation debate took an interesting turn today, when Senator Deeds revealed his plan in an editorial in the Washington Post and the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce endorsed McDonnell, based largely on his plan to deal with the issue.
Wilder did tell me that his announcement will not come in the form of a raucous rally or even a press conference. He said he plans to release a simple statement regarding his support. When I asked if his endorsement will include active campaigning or stumping for his chosen candidate, he simply said, “We will have to see, won’t we?”
Once again perhaps Richmond’s most prolific politician has us all waiting on the edge of our seats.
Below, find Bob McDonnell’s comments from last night’s forum at VUU.