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The Courting of Wilder Continues

Anita Kumar

Doug Wilder continues to keep everyone guessing. That's just the way he likes it.

The nation's first elected black governor has said some not-so-nice things about Creigh Deeds in the past and in the 2005 attorney general's race he refused to back Deeds because of his position on guns.

Now Deeds has won the Democratic nomination for governor but the cagey Wilder still won't say whether he will support him on or not.

Wilder said in a recent interview that Deeds has called him a couple times since the June 9 primary, but that the two keep missing each other and have now scheduled a meeting in the coming weeks. But he also said Republican Bob McDonnell has come a-calling too. The two men speak regularly.

Wilder said he wants to know where Deeds and McDonnell stand on issues before he decides to throw his support to anyone. It's unlikely Wilder would support a Republican, but he could decide to stay out of the race. "We'll see what happens,'' he said.

Wilder was courted by all three Democrats in the primary, but refused to endorse any of them. At the time, Wilder told us he was disappointed Deeds had changed his position on some hot-button issues, including same-sex marriage and background checks for gun buyers. "What Creigh is saying now is, 'I've changed my philosophy,' " Wilder said. "Suppose we had elected you before? Would you have changed?"

Wilder has not been shy about breaking ranks with his party in the past.

In 1997, he refused to endorse Democrat Don Beyer in the governor's race, which helped Republican James S. Gilmore. In 2006, he waited to endorse Democrat James Webb in his race against Republican George Allen until a week before Election Day.

By Anita Kumar  |  July 7, 2009; 1:55 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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