Democrat Billionaire Endorses McDonnell
Shelia Johnson is a billionaire co-founder of the Black Entertainment Television network and an influential Democratic donor , and on Monday she endorsed Republican Bob McDonnell for governor. Johnson was the second-largest individual donor to Gov. Kaine , with 600k, and a benefactor of prominent Democrats including Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb, appeared with McDonnell in Richmond.
Johnson said she favors McDonnell over his Democratic opponent, Deeds, because she thinks the Republican can turn around the state's ailing economy.
"From the beginning, Bob McDonnell has been very concerned about the economy," she said. "He has really laid out a roadmap for solving these problems."
With no limits in Virginia on how much donors can give or candidates can spend in state elections, Johnson's backing potentially puts a rich source of funding at McDonnell's disposal, sending a signal to black voters that was already a concern for Deeds and his backers. This endorsement brings good news to the McDonnell Campaign as his opponent Deeds had the weakest showings in largely black communities in the primary.
Along with Johnson endorsement former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, said in an interview Monday that political operatives for President Barack Obama are urging him to get behind Deeds.
"I told them, `You need to tell me why,"' said Wilder, the nation's first elected black governor and author of Virginia's one-gun-a-month law, which Deeds opposed as a legislator.