WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama called former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder about making an endorsement in the state’s closely watched governor’s race, Wilder confirmed to CNN on Monday.
Wilder wouldn’t reveal what exactly was discussed on the call, which occurred “two or three weeks ago.” But he said of the President: “Obviously he was interested in making sure certain Democrats win.”
“It was a good talk, it was a nice talk,” he said. “It’s always good to talk to the president.”
Wilder, a Democrat who became the nation’s first African-American governor in 1990, campaigned actively for Obama in Virginia during last year’s presidential race.
But Wilder – who also served as mayor of Richmond from 2004 to 2008 - has been reluctant to endorse the Democrat in this year's governor's race, state Sen. Creigh Deeds, and has criticized Deeds for not defining himself in the campaign. At the same time, Wilder has spoken warmly about Deeds’ Republican rival, Bob McDonnell, sparking chatter that he might buck his own party and endorse McDonnell.
The White House dispatched a top political aide to meet with Wilder about the race in July, he told Politico at the time, but the former governor said he wasn’t ready to make an endorsement.
However, Wilder said Monday he plans to meet with Deeds either today or Tuesday, and will then make a statement “as to what the results are.”
The Deeds campaign has said they would welcome Wilder’s support, but his advisers have been careful to remind reporters about the former governor’s unpredictable nature.
“Anyone that has ever followed governor Wilder knows that the only person who knows what governor Wilder is going to do is governor Wilder,” Deeds adviser Mo Elleithee said earlier this month.
The phone call was first reported by The Washington Times.