Monday, September 09, 2013

Boyd, Mudcat ... 2013's odd political climate in Virginia

The political climate in Virginia continues to get curiouser and curiouser on an almost daily basis and, today, it clouded yet again.

Two weeks ago, that ground shift you felt under your feet was the GOP reacting as longtime veteran Republican strategist Boyd Marcus endorsed and moved over to work for Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe for governor. Conservative to the core, Boyd's move had some calling him a RINO, a moderate, and excoriating him for daring to step over the political line even as the Washington Post noted, "Democrats and even some Republicans see Marcus’s move as emblematic of a deep rift within the party: Marcus had been aligned with pragmatic establishment figures and repelled by the resolute tea party style...."

Interesting, then, that in another twist of this continuing drama, the Washington Post reported today that longtime Democratic strategist Mudcat Saunders had sorta-kinda joined the Cuccinelli campaign even though he didn't formally endorse him. Mudcat's reason? He doesn't agree with "corporate" types. That made me wonder if he meant he doesn't agree with capitalism. He was all over the map with thoughts about the campaign but seemed to zero in on southwestern Virginia and the coal industry, something Democrats and liberal environmentalists seem determined to destroy: “Once my party starts caring for the people at the bottom of the mountain as much as they care for the trees at the top of the mountain, I’ll join the conversation."

So was Mudcat piqued that McAuliffe didn't turn to him to consult his campaign, perhaps ticked that a Republican was hired instead? Or did the Cuccinelli campaign begin overtures to Mudcat after Boyd went to McAuliffe? Or could it be that the rural-leaning Mudcat just didn't like the globe-trotting McAuliffe who is closely associated with the Clintons?

There's no knowing for sure but it certainly adds to the mystique and entertainment of those watching this eclectic campaign season play out. With six weeks left until election day, it will be interesting to see who may next trip over party lines.

Cross-posted at Virginia Politics On Demand

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