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Beltway Confidential

Terry McAuliffe's endorsement strategy: Peddle access to business lobbies

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Beltway Confidential,Virginia,Timothy P. Carney,Terry McAuliffe,Ken Cuccinelli

Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic governor candidate in Virginia, has based his campaign largely on his being the real "pro-business" candidate. That's probably why his campaign freaked out when the PAC for the Northern Virginia Technology Council endorsed Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

Why did NVTC PAC endorse Cuccinelli?

"Cuccinelli had detailed responses to questions in candidate interviews, three board members said, while McAuliffe was uninformed and superficial," the Washington Post reports.

So how has McAuliffe been pitching himself as good for business if not through knowledge of business? By offering these business lobby groups goodies, it seems.

McAuliffe has made his money by blending business with corporate welfare and political connections. He has shifted his policy proposals in seeming concert with the interests of his donors.

McAuliffe has made it clear he plans to govern by parcelling out special favors. He said "shame on Virginia" for not trying to pay GreenTech automotive to come to the state. McAuliffe explained, "It's a lot easier to raise money for a governor. They have all kinds of business to hand out, road contracts, construction jobs, you name it."

And the NVTC PAC incident confirms that peddling access to government goodies is how McAuliffe woos the business lobby. From the Post report:

“I urge you to stop any endorsement of Cuccinelli,” state Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax), told PAC leaders Friday in an email. “The ramifications of his being endorsed will be huge within the Senate Democratic caucus. ... The response [from legislators] will be frigid and doors will be closed [when the council seeks help with its legislative agenda]. Achieving the goals of NVTC will be difficult to impossible.”

Rarely has a candidate so clearly campaigned on crony capitalism.

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