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The Endorsement that Wasn’t

Bob McDonnell nabbed another endorsement in the Virginia gubernatorial race, picking up the Fraternal Order of Police. Considering that his opponent gave conflicting answers to the group last week, that comes as no surprise. The shocker, however, was the endorsement that wasn’t:

Former Virginia governor Douglas Wilder announced Thursday that he will not be endorsing a candidate in the Virginia gubernatorial race, while mounting some sharp criticism at Democrat Creigh Deeds over his stance on taxes and guns.

“The requests, made of me, have been to endorse Mr. Deeds, the Democratic Candidate, for Governor. I refrain from doing so and will leave that choice to the voters,” Wilder said in a statement . . . Wilder’s announcement is a significant blow to the Deeds campaign, which had been aggressively courting his support in recent weeks. Even President Obama got involved in the lobbying campaign, making a personal call to Wilder earlier this month asking him to endorse Deeds.

And for good measure, Wilder whacked Deeds on his position on taxes, declaring: “This is not the time in our Commonwealth to talk about any kind of tax increase, especially those that are fundamentally regressive and will hit hardest those who are struggling.” This now becomes campaign-ad material for McDonnell.

This development is further evidence that something is amiss in the already lackluster Deeds campaign. A horrid debate outing in which he gets hammered on taxes, two important endorsements for his opponent, and now this move—one that seems to have blindsided Deeds and his entire campaign. Since June, when Deeds won the primary, he has run one of the worst campaigns in recent memory in Virginia. Democrats in Virginia will certainly be wondering why his campaign—despite Herculean efforts by the Washington Post to cheer for him—has not done much of anything right since upsetting Terry McAuliffe.



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