Rep. Scott endorses Byrne; labor union backs Connolly
U.S. Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-Va.) said today he has endorsed Leslie L. Byrne in the hotly contested Democratic primary in the 11th Congressional District, while the Mid-Atlantic Laborers Union has backed Byrne rival Gerald E. Connolly.
Scott, who lives in Newport News and represents Virginia's only majority-African-American district, worked alongside Byrne both in the General Assembly and in Congress during her one term in the early 1990s. Like Byrne, he is viewed as one of Virginia's most prominent liberal Democrats.
"She was strong on fiscal responsibility and a progressive voice for health care and housing," Scott said.
Scott is the latest prominent Virginia Democrat to take a stand in the 11th District, where Byrne faces Connolly, the Fairfax County board chairman, and two other candidates, former Navy pilot Douglas Denneny and physical therapist Lori P. Alexander.
Byrne has also received the endorsement of U.S. Sen. James Webb, and Connolly has been endorsed by Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine. The endorsements have provided boosts to both campaigns but have also placed Virginia's Democratic leadership smack in the middle of an increasingly nasty campaign.
With just five days to go until the June 10 primary, Scott said that he instructed the Byrne campaign not to mention Connolly's name when touting his endorsement.
"My endorsement is no comment on Gerry Connolly," Scott said. "I don't want to say anything negative about him."
Connolly campaign manager James Walkinshaw responded that Connolly had picked up new endorsements of his own: the Mid-Atlantic Laborers Union and Laborers Local 11. Walkinshaw said the endorsements show that Byrne's support among progressive voters and advocates of the working class is not as strong as she claims.
June 5, 2008; 1:53 PM ET
Categories: Amy Gardner , Election 2008/Congress , Gerald E. Connolly , Leslie L. Byrne
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