Doug Wilder, the first elected black governor in U.S. history, will make no endorsement in the 2009 Virginia governor’s race despite pressure from theWhite House and the Kaine administration to back Democrat Creigh Deeds.
Wilder, who had backed Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine in the 2001 and 2005 gubernatorial races, based his non-endorsement largely on Deeds opposition to the “one-handgun-a-month” rule.
“Mr. Deeds thinks that's not enough and signed a pledge to repeal that law,” Wilder wrote in a statement.
Deeds, too, has said he would support a tax increase to pay for transportation. Said Wilder: “This is not the time in our Commonwealth to talk about any kind of tax increase, especially those that are fundamentally regressive and will hit hardest those who are struggling.”
The decision, while a blow to the Democratic candidate, was not altogether unexpected. Wilder refused to endorse Deeds for much the same reason when he ran for attorney general in 2005 against Republican Bob McDonnell. McDonnell is now the Republican nominee for governor.
Wilder served in the Virginia governor’s mansion in the early 1990’s and ended his term as mayor of Richmond last year.