The Virginia political world reverberated Tuesday with the news that longtime Republican political operative Boyd Marcus is endorsing Democrat Terry McAuliffe for governor.
Marcus, as the stories pointed out, isn’t just any political operative. For decades, he has been THE political operative, the mastermind behind many Republican campaigns.
It’s as if, one political watcher told me, Karl Rove had just endorsed Hillary Clinton.
Marcus isn’t the first Republican to break ranks this year. Others who have backed McAuliffe include former state Sen. John Chichester, former state Sen. Russell Potts and former Del. Vince Callahan (note the “former” in each of those).
There was a time in Virginia when these endorsements would have been a signal — think back to the ’70s and even into the ’80s when each campaign saw the creation of a “Virginians For (Insert Name)” in which the old-guard conservatives of the Byrd era gave their nod to one side or another.
The main difference now is that, Marcus aside, these are generally moderate Republicans who are unhappy with the rightward drift of their party. (Marcus is no moderate, but he has ties with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who got elbowed out of the way by Cuccinelli, so maybe there’s more payback going on here than ideology.)
In any case, I’m wondering: While these are important names in political circles, do they have any influence among the general public?
Anyone care to weigh in?
– Dwayne Yancey, senior editor