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McKelvey still won't endorse Hurt in 5th district contest

Ben Pershing

Updated 4:30 p.m.
Property developer Jim McKelvey made clear Wednesday that he still has no plans to endorse state Sen. Robert Hurt, eight days after McKelvey finished second to Hurt in the 5th congressional district Republican primary.

Hurt bested McKelvey and five other Republicans and is now set to take on freshman Rep. Tom Perriello (D) in November. Though the entire field ganged up on Hurt during the primary, accusing him of being insufficiently conservative, most of the other candidates have since fallen into line behind the nominee. But McKelvey has drawn the most attention, because he came in second, poured more than $250,000 of his own money into the campaign and has a close relationship with Jeffrey Clark, who has now qualified to appear on the ballot as an independent candidate..

McKelvey announced last week that he was forming a political action committee, but wouldn't comment on his endorsement plans. On Wednesday, McKelvey elaborated a bit in an e-mail to supporters: "At this time, neither I, nor the PAC, will be making any endorsements of any political candidate in the Commonwealth. But, in the near future, we will evaluate all candidates to see if they adhere to the principles and values that are the original foundations of our constitution, and that are generally accepted by true conservatives across the country."

Democrats have sought to exploit the seeming disunity in the 5th district, arguing that Republicans may not coalesce behind Hurt enough to beat Perriello, one of the GOP's top targets in the country. But Republican officials counter that Hurt did remarkably well in the primary -- earning 48 percent of the vote -- given the number of opponents he faced. And they question whether McKelvey, a political novice with no previous base of support, can really command enough influence to change the course of the race.

Republicans also note that while McKelvey said Wednesday he wouldn't be endorsing Hurt anytime soon, he also didn't endorse Clark. (Isaac Wood of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics Tweeted the same point.)

By Ben Pershing  |  June 16, 2010; 1:40 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Ben Pershing , Election 2010 , Jim McKelvey , Robert Hurt , Tom Perriello  
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