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Rep. Scott endorses Byrne; labor union backs Connolly

Amy Gardner

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.

By Amy Gardner  |  June 5, 2008; 1:53 PM ET
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2008/Congress , Gerald E. Connolly , Leslie L. Byrne  
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This makes sense. Byrne worked with Scott in Congress, so his endorsement shouldn't come as any real suprise.

I think it is a classy move on his part to simply endorse her without bashing her opponent.

Posted by: Ind Voter | June 5, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Five more days.

I wonder what will be in the mail this weekend?

Posted by: Tick-Tock | June 5, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Lelsie Byrne's record of her ties with the tobacco lobbyist have surprised her staff and supporters.

It is enough to bring up Leslie's smoker's cough, that you often hear from her in the debates.

Posted by: Byrne gets smoked | June 5, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

What? A Southern Congresswoman had ties with a tobacco lobbyist? Why... that's like a Texas Congresswoman having ties with an oil lobbyist!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Rumor has it the Warner campaign was not at all pleased about Byrne's recent mailer that implied an endorsement.

Will the WaPo check on this?

The Byrne campaign is desperate. Larry Byrne apparently raised a fit when Leslie's own words on calling Mark a "rat" came to light. He begged Mame to intervene, and once again sicced Ben Tribbet's blog on Connolly.

Then the tobacco lobbyist & Leslie, the former chain-smoker, connection on working for a "Smokers Bill of Rights" came out, so Larry decided to go with the old Warner quote to fake the endorsement.

Negative swiftboating campaigning, false polling reports, and now fake endorsements from the Byrne campaign. What could be next?

Posted by: Warner's staff ticked at Byrne's False Endorsement | June 6, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

The Laborers endorsement will be big for Connolly. They turned out far more members than any other union -- over 100 --each Saturday and on election day for their candidates last November.

Posted by: Jim Elliot | June 7, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I was really surprised to see the Mark Warner "endorsement" in the mail, not having heard anything about it in the press.

I guess that it's anything goes time.

Wouldn't it be nice if somebody had the time and ability to start a Not Ben Tribbett website someday.

Posted by: Sleight of Hand | June 7, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

union thugs are awesome

Posted by: Anonymous | June 7, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Larry Byrne is really the biggest story of this race that hasn't been covered. From his position on the Fairfax Democratic Committee and through his shady consulting firm, he has been the consumate back room player, twisting arms, making threats and flirting with the law.

Someone should ask George Burke about his opinion on Larry Byrne.

Posted by: Not Richard Simmons | June 8, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I think you are Richard Simmons, you homosexual whiner.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 10, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

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