Former Gov. Holton Endorses Deeds
Former Virginia Gov. Linwood Holton, who in the 1960s became the first Republican elected to statewide office since Reconstruction, endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds this morning.
The nod was not exactly a surprise -- Holton is Gov. Tim Kaine's father-in-law and has been backing Democrats for office for a while now. Holton lives in Richmond, but the campaign chose the Clarendon Metro stop as the location for a press conference on the announcement -- all the better to get on D.C. area television to talk about, what else, transportation.
Indeed, the D.C. media turned out to hear Holton praise Deeds's everything-is-on-the-table (including a possible tax increase) plan as the "most realistic" approach to boosting transportation funding.
By contrast, Holton said Republican Bob McDonnell's transportation proposals rely on "false promises": a promise to use oil revenue that is not currently legally available under federal law, a proposal to shift general funding money now used to support other state needs, a pledge to privatize state-run ABC liquor stores.
"There will be no sale of the ABC system system in Virginia as long as the General Assembly exists," Holton said.
Holton called Deeds a "straight-talking, honest, clean leader."
Deeds said he'd spent the past couple of days in Northern Virginia, observing traffic and talking to commuters on the Metro, and the experience had reinforced for him the importance of improving transportation. He assured the small crowd of reporters and supporters twice that this was not his first time riding Metro.
"I learned a long time ago when you want to do something in D.C., it's smarter when you're coming from Bath County, park at Vienna," he joked, a reminder that he is nevertheless, not exactly exactly a SmarTrip card holder.
The Arlington location also meant urban traffic, airplanes flying overhead, sirens, construction clangs and a Republican who showed up with a sign that read "What About Taxes?" (The protester, 22-year old Matthew Hurtt, works for The Leadership Institute, a group that trains young conservatives and has its offices about a block away from the Deeds event.)
UPDATE: On a call with reporters this morning, McDonnell responded: "Well, listen, Gov. Holton is a fine man.But he's the father in law of our current governor and the head of the Democratic National Committee. So I fully understand, I think everybody does, why Gov. Holton has made that endorsement....I think the bigger question is why Gov. Wilder is not endorsing Sen. Deeds?"
September 29, 2009; 10:51 AM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman
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