BET Co-Founder Backs McDonnell
Sheila Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television and the former chairwoman of Democratic Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's inaugural committee, crossed party lines today to endorse Republican Bob McDonnell as Kaine's successor, arguing that McDonnell would do a better job of spurring economic development in Virginia.
Her nod comes as McDonnell and Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds compete furiously to capture support from Virginia's moderate business community. It is a constituency that was lured from the GOP by former Gov. Mark Warner, who persuaded executives that he would bring his business acumen -- honed in Virginia's telecommunications industry -- to efficiently manage state government.
Johnson, who has been Kaine's second largest individual donor and has contributed more than $600,000 to Kaine since 2000 (Adding Feathers to Her Cap -- Post, January 2006), said her decision came after meeting with both Deeds and McDonnell and coming to the conclusion that McDonnell would be more likely to right Virginia's ailing economy.
"I know them both well, and I just want to say from the very beginning, Bob McDonnell has had his pulse on the state of the economy that's facing Virginia right now. He understands that we need jobs, jobs, jobs," Johnson said. "I have been a life-long Democrat -- I will always be a Democrat -- but as a Democrat, I am really impressed with this Republican candidate."
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