Ballot petitions and GOP moneymen

The news on the 2009 elections this week was supposed to be related to the first ballot-access petitions to be filed, and there is news there, with three candidates on the Democratic side filing their petitions with the State Board of Elections on Tuesday, the first day they could be filed. But it was something else that went down on Tuesday that is the source of the latest bit of friction between Democratic Party gubernatorial-nomination candidates Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe.

“It’s offensive to see Terry McAuliffe raising money with the likes of Republican operative and lobbyist Ed Rogers,” Moran campaign manager Andrew Roos said in a statement released by the campaign Wednesday morning, in the wake of a report on Politico.com that McAuliffe held a fundraiser Tuesday night at the Washington, D.C., lobbying firm BGR, which was cofounded by Republican pols Ed Rogers and Haley Barbour, the former chair of the Republican National Committee and the current governor of Mississippi.

BGR was all-Republican until it read the writing on the wall in 2008 and started taking on Democratic clients.

“Rogers joined Rush Limbaugh and others in raising racially and religiously charged attacks against then-Sen. Obama,” Roos said in the statement released by the Moran campaign this morning. “It’s sad that in the same week Terry McAuliffe aired a radio ad claiming credit for helping to elect Barack Obama, he’s holding a fundraiser with someone who did everything he could to defeat him. We need people who stand up to partner with President Obama in the White House, not people who condone these kinds of Rove-style attacks.”

According to the Politico.com report, Rogers, a co-chair for the fundraiser, befriended McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chair, in their years of locking horns as TV talking heads in the green rooms offstage, and has said he will “never go against” McAuliffe in his bid to become Virginia’s next governor.

McAuliffe might be finding another unexpected ally toward that end – in the conservative Richmond Times-Dispatch, which today fawned over McAuliffe for “raising the bar” in his campaign of “big ideas,” as he has styled it.

“A well-known aphorism (or perhaps a bromide) contends that small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, and great minds discuss ideas,” the T-D opined on its Wednesday editorial page. “Petty personal attacks and cheap zingers will appear with more frequency as November approaches. But if it is too much to call McAuliffe a great mind, then at least his substantive pitches have raised expectations and pointed the way toward a different, more high-toned campaign.”

Back to the story that we thought was going to be the big news of Tuesday – McAuliffe and Moran and lieutenant-governor nomination candidate Jody Wagner all filed their ballot-access petitions with the State Board of Elections yesterday. McAuliffe was first among the gubernatorial candidates, which should mean that his name would appear first on the ballot for the June 9 primary. And for those keeping score at home, McAuliffe had 315 more signatures on his petitions, 17,243, than Moran with his 16,928.

Both were looking up to Wagner’s signature haul, though. The former Secretary of Finance submitted petitions with 17,858 signatures to the State Board.

 

Story by Chris Graham

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