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Novelist John Grisham Backs McAuliffe

Tim Craig

Novelist John Grisham, who owns a home near Charlottesville, is backing Terry McAuliffe's bid for the Democratic nomination for governor, according to the Charlottesville Daily Progress.

According to the newspaper, Grisham said he and his wife support McAuliffe because they say he modernized the party when he was chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Grisham also told the newspaper that he thinks McAuliffe is the only Democrat who can defeat Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the GOP nominee, in the fall.

Grisham, who introduced McAuliffe at a town hall in Charlottesville Wednesday, has close political and personal ties to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D). Grisham has contributed about $150,000 to Kaine's political efforts since 2005, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Grisham and his wife were also major supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) during last year's campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. McAuliffe had served as the chairman of Clinton's campaign.

Grisham's decision to back McAuliffe could be another setback for Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath). During his unsuccessful campaign for attorney general in 2005, Grisham was one of Deeds' biggest donors, giving him $52,000. Grisham is now the second major Deeds contributor from 2005 to defect to McAuliffe. Businessman R.J. Kirk, who gave Deeds $120,000 in 2005, has also come out for McAuliffe.

By Tim Craig  |  January 8, 2009; 5:09 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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