Boyd Marcus, a longtime Republican adviser and strategist in Virginia who has worked for former Gov. James S. Gilmore III and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, threw his support behind Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday.
Mr. Marcus, who will also serve as a consultant to Mr. McAuliffe’s campaign, said in a statement he’s supporting Mr. McAuliffe because he believes the Democrat will work with both parties to advance economic growth.
“Virginia needs an experienced businessman who will put the practical needs of our people ahead of political ideology,” Mr. Marcus said. “I’ve never before supported any Democrat, but this election Terry is the clear choice for mainstream conservatives.”
Mr. Marcus most recently worked on the campaign of Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who ultimately opted against an independent run for governor after Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II took the Republican nomination. Mr. Bolling has not officially given his endorsement in the race, but has been much more magnanimous toward Mr. McAuliffe than Mr. Cuccinelli in his public statements.
The endorsement also means the end of the Republican public affairs firm of Marcus and Allen: Mr. Marcus’s partner, Ray Allen, says he’s buying Mr. Marcus’s shares of the 20-year-old business, the AP reported.
Mr. Cantor quickly re-affirmed his backing for Mr. Cuccinelli Tuesday, saying on Twitter that “I strongly support @KenCuccinelli and look forward to working towards victory in November.” The House Majority Leader had endorsed Mr. Bolling in June 2012 when the lieutenant governor was still battling Mr. Cuccinelli for the GOP nomination.
“Virginians are concerned about each candidate’s vision for the future and how they plan to grow the economy and create jobs, not who their political consultants are,” said Cuccinelli spokesman Richard Cullen. “Ken Cuccinelli has a long and distinguished record of leadership and service in Virginia and has laid out substantive plans that will make the Commonwealth stronger. Terry McAuliffe, meanwhile, has been exposed as a failed job creator who has misled Virginians at every turn about his business record.”