More on Republicans for Deeds (and Other Endorsement News)
Among the seven Republicans who announced their support for Democrat Creigh Deeds for governor yesterday, the two "surprising" endorsements weren't really that surprising after all.
Marty Williams, the longtime Republican state senator from Newport News, and Brandon Bell, the two-term senator from Roanoke, had never before endorsed a Democrat for statewide office. But both faced primary challenges from the right in 2007, and both lost -- without any support from Republican Bob McDonnell.
Sure, there's plenty of precedent for statewide officeholders (McDonnell was attorney general at the time) to stay out of primary battles. But in this case, two prominent Republicans were facing challengers who derived much of their support from the conservative wing of their local parties. (One of them, unknown Tricia Stall of Newport News, went on to lose to Democrat John Miller.)
In other words, Williams and Bell were not conservative enough for some in their districts. If nothing else, Wednesday's endorsements show that they have not forgotten.
The news also shows how fractured the state Republican Party remains. McDonnell is running a campaign from the middle, promising common sense solutions to practical problems such as the transportation mess. The ball is in his court to persuade middle-ground Republicans and independents, people who supported leaders such as Williams and Bell, to believe him.
Meanwhile, McDonnell touted some endorsements of his own today, announcing that 111 law enforcement officials "from from Virginia Beach to Loudoun" and "from Wise to Winchester" have formed a "Law Enforcement for McDonnell" coalition. The list includes sheriffs, prosecutors -- and 40 independents, according to the McDonnell campaign.
McDonnell is a former prosecutor from Virginia Beach. Read the complete list of McDonnell's law enforcement support here.
July 23, 2009; 1:42 PM ET
Categories: Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009
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