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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."

Read the full article on Johnson's endorsement.

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  July 20, 2009; 3:24 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Wow, she's gonna catch some heat for this. Good for her, though.

Posted by: lingering_lead | July 20, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Good for her???? Considering the unbelievably racist comments of the Chair of the VA Republican Party, I find this very strange. Who does she thinks votes R in VA? She should be ashamed of herself.

Posted by: TexasDem2 | July 20, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

TexasDem: Being a Republican doesn't automatically make someone racist. Are you judging a whole class of people and saying they all act the same way...What does that sound like?

Posted by: 1376cma | July 20, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

To TexasDem: to paraphrase a recent joke by Bill is safe to say that there is a higher probability that the person that makes or sympathizes with racist comments is Republican

Posted by: havahart | July 20, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I forgot how many idiots live in DC that do NOT work on Capitol Hill. Being Republican doesn't give somebody an inclination toward racism any more than being a Democrat gives one an inclination toward receiving welfare or liking Hip Hop music. If you stop the stereotyping (and yes- calling Republicans Racist is a trumped up charge not based on historical fact-- Remember Robert Byrd- D-WV was a KKK leader!!!) maybe you will realize that there are good people in both parties who can solve problems when they put their minds to it.

Posted by: jlarranaga | July 20, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the elites in Prince George's County, Maryland (just across the river) are recoiling in horror right about now.

I'm a Democrat, but support Sheila Johnson for stepping outside the racial box.

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | July 20, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Seems like mostly angry, bitter democrats that refuse to move past divisive racial politics.
Kudos to Ms. Johnson for recognizing the better candidate and not just doing what she is "supposed" to do.

Posted by: steveincville | July 20, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. Ted Leonsis chooses Deeds and Sheila Johnson then chooses McDonnell? Sounds like this may be inner business politics as opposed to who's actually best for Virginia.

Posted by: filmjoy | July 20, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Bitter Democrats, huh? Perhaps we've got a right to be sensitive towards racism considering that Nixon made the Southern Strategy the cornerstone of his campaign, Reagan picked up that mantle and championed "states rights" down in Mississippi, and it wasn't 4 years ago that former REPUBLICAN governor Allen Maccacad his way right out of an election.

So no, GOP enthusiats, don't hand me this crap like "We have no idea what you're talking about"

Posted by: SWB2 | July 21, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I guess I can imagine calling her a "co-founder" of BET as per the title of this blog posting, but to call her the "founder" of BET seems like re-writing history, doesn't it? Did her ex-husband, long the only public face of BET's founding management, literally do nothing at all to found the network? This is not strong reporting.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | July 21, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

states rights is racist? I don't think so.

Posted by: trolly_time | July 21, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

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