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Leahy: Terry McAuliffe’s Past Becomes a Campaign Issue

The race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination got a slight jolt this week, thanks in part to a tweet from former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (D) on the subject of public corruption.

For Virginia Democrats, it could also be an omen of the campaign to come.

Carroll Foy, who resigned [1] from the state House to run for the nomination full-time, retweeted a letter to the editor that endorsed her promise to clean up [2] Virginia government. Anti-corruption campaigns aren’t regular features of statewide campaigns in the commonwealth. But that doesn’t mean all is above board and squeaky clean.

Corruption allegations have dogged the likes of former governor Robert F. McDonnell (R) on down to an entire county board of supervisors [3]. In a report released in November, the Coalition for Integrity ranked Virginia’s ethics regulations and enforcement 46th [4] in the nation.

That’s good. Wonky fodder for a campaign that wants to make a big point about clean, accountable government.

But Carroll Foy’s tweet wasn’t wonky. It was personal:

There’s a reason why people believe that Virginia politics are corrupt. Even my opponent, Terry McAuliffe, was investigated by the FBI.

As Governor, I will root out the corruption in Richmond.

That left a mark. Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), who has endorsed McAuliffe, responded [5]  with:

Virginia Democrats don’t tear each other down by repeating Republican smears. We build each other UP.

That’s a bit rich coming from Lucas. Back in December, Lucas said [6] Carroll Foy and her fellow gubernatorial candidate Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan (D-Richmond) might make fine choices for the nomination at “the appropriate time.” Meaning not now, and perhaps not ever.

Lucas got back up from Richmond Mayor and former McAuliffe cabinet secretary Levar Stoney (D). Stoney said [7] Carroll Foy’s jab “is not the way we treat fellow Dems.”

Which may come as a surprise to some Democrats who’ve been around long enough to recall the intraparty jabs and much worse thrown in Doug Wilder’s way in 1984 and 1985 when he sought the party’s nomination for lieutenant governor (masterfully chronicled in Dwayne Yancey’s “When Hell Froze Over [8]”).

Continue reading at the Washington Post [9].