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A Non-Endorsement Endorsement

Rosalind Helderman

So has Terry McAuliffe locked up an endorsement from U.S. Rep. Robert C. Scott, Virginia's only African-American congressman?

It would sure seem so from this photo making its way around the blogs, including Blue Virginia. Taken at the opening of McAuliffe's new Virginia Beach office yesterday, it shows McAuliffe with his arm on Scott's back, the two men smiling broadly. Scott is sporting a McAuliffe sticker.

But Joni Ivey, Scott's chief of staff, says not so fast. She said the office opening was one of five events Scott attended yesterday, and insisted the congressman has made no formal endorsement in the race.

"Congressman Scott believes there are three excellent candidates for the Democratic nomination for governor," Ivey said.

A Scott endorsement would be a coup for McAuliffe, given opponent Brian Moran's strategy of racking up support from local officials. It could also help McAuliffe appeal to black voters, always an important Democratic constituency. Anita Kumar wrote about the candidates' appeal to the community this morning.

Showing up at the office opening clearly lends McAuliffe the aura of support even without a formal endorsement. Scott's appearance was apparently unexpected, so it's possible the campaign is merely holding off an announcement of a formal nod until they can organize an event with some news cameras.

Indeed, Ivey said Scott "has not ruled out" the possibility of throwing his support behind one candidate before June 9.

UPDATE: It's worth noting that Ivey, Scott's chief of staff, is listed on the invitation as one of several hosts for the McAullife event the congressman attended yesterday.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 27, 2009; 12:04 PM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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