Kaine's Biggest Donor Endorses McAuliffe
In a major coup, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's largest financial backer said today he will support Terry McAuliffe's bid for the Democratic nomination for governor of Virginia.
Billionaire Randal J. Kirk has contributed more than $600,000 to Kaine since he took office in 2006. Kirk, an investment and pharmaceutical mogul in Radford, also recently gave the Virginia Democratic Party $100,000.
In an interview today, Kirk said he will support McAuliffe if he officially enters the race. Kirk said McAuliffe, a former businessman and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is best suited to manage Virginia's economy and carry on the policies of Kaine and former governor Mark R. Warner (D).
"I think the main issue for Virginia is the main issue nationally, which is the economy," said Kirk, who also supported President-Elect Barack Obama. "I think Terry McAuliffe can move the dial in a significant way."
Kirk said McAuliffe will be able to use his national ties to lure more business to Virginia. "I think Virginia does have a narrow advantage over many of our competitor states and having a very capable chief executive is very important for us to press our advantage right now."
Kirk has a reputation for writing big checks to candidates and causes he supports. Since 2001, Kirk has given Virginia politicians more than $1.5 million of his money. His decision to publicly back a candidate so early is yet another indication McAuliffe could amass a huge war chest if he decides to take on Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) and state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) in the Democratic primary.
"I will be helpful in whatever way I can," Kirk said.
November 18, 2008; 5:56 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine
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