Virginia Firefighters Likely To Endorse McAuliffe
The Virginia Professional Firefighters Association, an influential labor organization, will apparently endorse Terry McAuliffe in the Democratic primary for governor, according to sources familiar with the decision.
In recent days, the leadership of the VPFF has been sending signals to Brian Moran and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, also candidates for the nomination, that the firefighters union was going to get behind McAuliffe.
Now, the Henrico Professional Firefighters Union has a statement on its website saying the state association will make its endorsement of McAuliffe official on Wednesday at the State Capitol.
"President Mohler has notified the other candidates that we are endorsing Terry McAuliffe ...We need as many members there as possible," the announcement states. "We have a goal of assembling 200 people (please bring friends, family or anyone else willing to come.) We will have the yellow and gold trademark t-shirts for people to wear. I understand that Terry will be filming this event as part of a television ad that he will be running throughout his campaign."
An official with the Henrico Firefighters Association confirms the announcement will take place Wednesday morning. Mohler was unavailable to comment. Delacey Skinner, a McAuliffe spokeswoman, declined to comment.
If it takes place, the firefighters endorsement could be a huge boost for McAuliffe's campaign.
In past races, the firefighters' union have provide valuable grassroots support to political candidates, including President Barack Obama last year. In 2006, the firefighters appeared to be an major assett to Sen. James Webb (D-Va) in his race against former senator George Allen (R).
The firefighters could help McAuliffe neutralize concerns about whether he has enough experience to oversee a major crisis. They could also serve as an important validator in rural Virginia.
In apparent effort to get ahead of Wednesday's event, Moran announced on Friday that the local firefighters union in his hometown of Alexandria was breaking away from the state union to support him.
Still, the state firefighters association is one of the first major labor organization to wade into the nomination fight, which could help McAuliffe counteract the support Moran and Deeds are getting from local elected officials.
Last summer, the International Union of Police Associations, The Fairfax Coalition of Police and the Fairfax Deputy Sheriff's Coalition endorsed Deeds.
February 16, 2009; 3:59 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Bill Turque , Creigh Deeds , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig
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