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GOP Lawmakers Back Deeds

Rosalind Helderman

First Democrat Sheila Johnson endorses Republican Bob McDonnell for governor. Now, Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds had countered with some Republicans of his own.

Deeds announced today he has the backing of eight former senators and delegates, seven of them Republicans and one a former Republican who then ran for the House as an independent. Most are familiar names--Republicans who grew disenchanted with their party's leadership and had previously formed coalitions with Democrats, including former Gov. Mark Warner.

Two--former Sen. Brandon Bell (R-Roanoke) and former Sen. Marty Williams (R-Newport News)--have not before endorsed Democrats in statewide races. Read more about the endorsers and get a full list here.

"I've never in my career supported anything other than a Republican candidate," Williams said. "I thought this race offered an opportunity of such importance that I do this."

Others endorsing Deeds today include the powerful former chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Sen. John Chichester (R-Stafford), who appeared in a television commercial for Warner when he ran for the U.S. Senate and former Republican Sen. H. Russell Potts, who mounted his own independent run for governor in 2005. Both retired from the state senate. Williams and Bell were defeated by Republican challengers in 2007 primary races.

"In a country where we cry out for sincerity and genuineness, he's the real deal," Potts said Deeds.

Williams and Potts both said they backed Deeds because they believed he could work with members of both parties to secure more funding for transportation improvements in Virginia. The two former Senators, who had both backed increased taxes for roads during their time in the legislature, were highly critical of transportation plans advanced Tuesday by McDonnell.

Williams called McDonnell's plan "more of the same."

"It's robbing Peter to pay Paul. It's pitting one interest group against another," he said.

The McDonnell campaign has responded:

"Bob knows these individuals well, and he respects and understands their decisions. They are backing the candidate, Creigh Deeds, who agrees with their support of greater government spending and higher taxes on the people of Virginia. It's a basic philosophical disagreement. Bob believes we will create jobs and grow our economy by keeping taxes on Virginians low and exercising much needed restraint in government spending," said spokeswoman Crystal Cameron.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  July 22, 2009; 1:56 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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There is a reason why they are all former legislators.

Posted by: steveincville | July 22, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

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