Crusade Endorsement Problems, Part II
A few days ago, we told you how angry state Sen. Henry Marsh was about the Richmond Crusade for Voters endorsement of Terry McAuliffe for governor.
Turns out he is not the only one.
Two other influential African Americans, State Sen. Don McEachin and Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, both longtime members of the storied civil rights group, join Marsh in accusing the Crusade of allowing non-members to vote at last Tuesday's endorsement meeting.
"It is a tainted endorsement,'' McEachin said.
The Crusade's endorsement is much sought-after for politicians running for office in Richmond and statewide. Members who appeared with McAuliffe at a press conference Thursday rejected the accusations of impropriety. They said McAuliffe won overwhelmingly, and that even if the questionable ballots were removed that he still would have won by a wide margin.
"There are some who want to raise controversy about it but that's an old practice done by politicians when their guy doesn't win,'' said Marty Jewell, a member of the Richmond City Council.
Jewell and other Crusade members slammed Marsh, a well known civil rights leader, for stirring up controversy, calling it a "Henry Marsh trick."
"They want to put a stain on the process,'' Jewell said. "I believe Sen. Marsh invented that little ploy."
Marsh backs R. Creigh Deeds for governor while Jones supports Brian Moran. But McEachin isn't publicly backing anyone. All three men attended Tuesday night's endorsement meeting, which Jones described as "chaotic."
McEachin said he is "deeply concerned" and is calling on the Crusade's executive board to reconsider their vote. Jones, who said he has received many calls in the last few days from others upset about the process, said he thinks it's too late to do anything, but said this year's endorsement doesn't mean much.
"It can't be worn as much of a badge of honor,'' Jones said.
For his part, McAuliffe said he knew nothing about the problems. Hard to believe when it has been the subject of much chatter in Richmond's African American community and was reported in the media.
Marsh was the first person to tell The Washington Post on Wednesday that a series of "irregularities" in endorsement voting "reflect poorly on the Crusade and diminish the credibility of this historic organization."
The three Democrats running for Virginia governor -- McAuliffe, Deeds and Moran -- have launched aggressive campaigns to woo the state's African American voters, a key constiuency that will be crucial in the June 9 primary.
May 23, 2009; 6:00 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Terry McAuliffe
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