RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Longtime Republican operative Boyd Marcus' appointment to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board likely won't last much longer.
A House panel voted Wednesday to reject his appointment to the $130,000-a-year job, widely viewed as a plum political appointment. Unless the House has an unexpected change of heart before the scheduled Saturday finish of the legislative session, Marcus can't stay in the position.
The appointment has been a sore spot for Republican lawmakers, who view Marcus as a party traitor after he shocked the Virginia political establishment last year and endorsed Democrat Terry McAuliffe over his Republican rival, Ken Cuccinelli. After he took office in January, McAuliffe appointed Marcus to be chairman of the ABC board, touting the move as a symbol of the new governor's bi-partisan approach.
On Wednesday, Marcus said the GOP-dominated panel rejected his appointment for "political" reasons, rather than substantive ones.
"They lost the election but they don't want to acknowledge it," Marcus said.
In addition to the surprise endorsement, Marcus was also one of the highest paid consultants on the McAuliffe campaign. He was paid $40,000 directly from the McAuliffe campaign, and another $100,000 from a super PAC associated with the Democratic Governors Association, which was McAuliffe's biggest donor.
Shortly before joining the McAuliffe campaign, Marcus sent an email to Cuccinelli's campaign adviser Chris LaCivita offering his services on that campaign for $75,000 to $100,000.
The state Republican Party urged both the Virginia attorney general and federal prosecutors to investigate Marcus' appointment, saying the circumstances around the campaign payments and ABC appointment are suspicious.
"The last thing I want is another ethical problem around the governor of Virginia, regardless of whether he's a Republican or Democrat," said Republican Del. Jackson Miller, explaining why he voted against Marcus' appointment.
Marcus said there was nothing improper about his working for McAuliffe and his appointment to the ABC board.
He said that he did not really want to work for the Cuccinelli campaign and quoted the campaign a high price so they would reject the bid. And he said he charged a higher-than-normal rate for helping McAuliffe because he was sure to lose Republican clients.
Marcus said he remains "absolutely confident" that he made the right choice supporting McAuliffe and that his future political consulting prospects are strong.
"I will have other clients if I go back into this business," said Marcus. "There are lots of primaries out there you know."