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Virginia Firefighters Likely To Endorse McAuliffe

Tim Craig

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.

By Tim Craig  |  February 16, 2009; 3:59 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Bill Turque , Creigh Deeds , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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I would point out that the first major public safety unions to endorse in this race did so over 6 months ago. The International Union of Police Associations (IUPA), AFL-CIO with over 100,000 members endorsed Senator Creigh Deeds. In addition, the Fairfax Coalition of Police, IUPA Local with just over 1,000 members endorsed Senator Deeds, as did the Fairfax Deputy Sheriffs Coalition, IUPA LOcal 5016 with several hundred members endorsed Senator Deeds for Governor.
While we work beside and respect our brother firefighters, they are by no means the first major labor endorsement in this race and Senator Deeds who is still in Richmond making the tough votes got the first major endorsements months ago. Please let the record be straight.
Marshall Thielen
President, Fairfax Coalition of Police

Posted by: marshall6 | February 16, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

My wife and I are NoVA dems, but neither of us will vote for McAuliffe under any circumstances. We both disagree with everything the presumptive Republican nominee stands for, but there is no reason to believe McAuliffe wouldn't be just as bad as governor.

Posted by: Tiki79 | February 16, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I notice that this blog has an awful lot of posts about McAuliffe, but not too many about Sen. Creigh Deeds. Yes, Deeds may not be able to raise money at the time, but this is because he is in Richmond and he didn't quit his service to the public to raise money. There are exciting things going on in the Deeds campaign. For example, the campaign has moved its headquarters.

Posted by: rgshaw | February 17, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

This is great news! McAuliffe's message is actually resonating with those who care to listen. It seems a few people on this blog seem to have cut McAuliffe off without even hearing what he really has to say. It's voter blindness like that which catapaulted "W" into office...

Posted by: UVANick | February 17, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

See, it's the everyday VA citizens that are endorsing McAuliffe. Good for you, Terry. I'm glad you're out there talking to the people that keep the Commonwealth a great place to be on a day-to-day basis. Moran has relied so heavily on endorsements from elected officials, and I have yet to understand why he thinks he has my support because of them.

Posted by: dcgal4 | February 17, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

dcgal4, I'm one native "everyday Virginian" who is not endorsing McAuliffe. I like both Creigh and Jim and would be content with either one of them as my Governor. By primary day I will make my pick.

As an independent,I sincerely hope the Democrats in Virginia come out in enormous numbers to vote for either Deeds or Moran. If McAuliffe somehow succeeds in winning the primary , I truly believe that McDonnell will be elected as the next Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Posted by: VintageLady | February 17, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm not saying that all everyday Virginians are pulling for McAuliffe. My comment was more targeted at BRIAN (not Jim) Moran feeling empowered by endorsements of elected individuals that have no pull with my vote.

Posted by: dcgal4 | February 17, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Terry McAuliffe simply has no business running for Governor--no experience OR KNOWLEDGE about Virginia government. It's ludicrous that anyone who doesn't include McAuliffe for consideration now "blind". If you can't see that he has no business running, perhaps it is you who is blind?

Terry McAuliffe can take his NY & FL money whereever he wants, but he will NEVER receive the vote of this longtime Virginia Democrat and party activist. I don't hate him, not at all, I just don't respect his decision or reasons for running because they're poppycock--the only reason Terry likes the idea of running for VA Gov, in my opinion, is that he is powerhungry and thinks he's going to run for President, and what a better state than one-term VA?

Posted by: DouginMountVernon | February 17, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I did mean Brian....

Posted by: VintageLady | February 17, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

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