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Some Virginia Democrats downplayed the issue.

“I’m comfortable with the fact that he’s the kind of guy who’s going to try to fix the things in that industry,” said state Sen. Dave Marsden, Fairfax Democrat. “I’d rather have Brian Moran there trying to fix it, rather than a lot of other people.”

One state central committee member, who asked not to be named in order to speak freely on the subject, said that the opposition to Mr. Moran is confined to a very small segment of the party and is a nonissue within the vast majority of the state party structure.

“If you really look at the opposition to Brian Moran, and the ones who are really making the most noise about this is a handful of people that one could describe as ‘limousine liberals,’ who, in fact, are not part of the party structure, and in the last election supported Brian Moran’s opponent,” the member said.

Another member of the party’s state central committee, who also asked not to be named, disagreed and said Mr. Moran’s dual roles “seem to be creating an appearance of conflict — and in politics, that’s all it takes.”

The member added, however, that many people probably aren’t aware of what Mr. Moran does for a living.

“I don’t think most Democrats know, to be honest with you.”