March 25th, 2009
02:16 PM ET
13 years ago

McAuliffe takes heat for fundraiser at lobbying firm

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A fundraiser for McAuliffe was co-chaired by GOP lobbyist Ed Rogers."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is taking flack from one of his Democratic rivals for attending a campaign fundraiser co-hosted by a prominent Republican lobbyist who publicly opposed Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign.

The event was held Tuesday night at the Washington office of the BGR Group, a top government affairs and public relations firm founded by three Republicans including lobbyist Ed Rogers, a friend of McAuliffe's who co-hosted the fundraiser.

The campaign of former House member Brian Moran - who is seeking the Democratic nomination along with McAuliffe and state senator Creigh Deeds - called the fundraiser "offensive" and accused Rogers of joining with "Rush Limbaugh and others in raising racially and religiously charged attacks against then Sen. Obama."

"It's sad that in the same week Terry McAuliffe aired a radio ad claiming credit for helping to elect Barack Obama, he's holding a fundraiser with someone who did everything he could to defeat him," said Moran campaign manager Andrew Roos.

The McAuliffe campaign hit back, arguing that the eventual Democratic nominee will need a thick wallet to defeat Republican candidate Bob McDonnell and accusing the Moran team of being the only campaign in the Democratic race "actively attacking other Democrats."

They called the BGR group "bipartisan" and said the fundraiser demonstrates that McAuliffe will bring an ability to work with both parties to the governor's mansion.

"Terry knows that the race for governor is going to be very competitive, which is why he is working hard to ensure that he has the resources he needs to build a large grassroots campaign," McAuliffe spokeswoman Lis Smith said of the fundraiser.

Though the Moran campaign has Rogers in the crosshairs, McAuliffe's staff was quick to point out that the host of Tuesday's fundraiser was Jonathan Mantz, a BGR employee and a Democrat who was the finance director for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, which McAuliffe chaired.

UPDATE: Brooke Borkenhagen, communications director for the Deeds campaign, said in a statement that "Democrats should be focused on our plans to keep Virginia moving forward."

"The stakes are too high in this election," she said. "Bob McDonnell wants to roll back all of the progress we have made for Virginia’s working families under Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. That’s why Creigh Deeds is running a grassroots campaign and talking with people all across the Commonwealth about his plan to create hope and opportunity in every corner of Virginia."

Filed under: Brian Moran • Terry McAuliffe
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. suzy

    i had no idea there was a "gubernatorial candidate"

    March 25, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. Brian Crooks

    Terry McAuliffe is nothing but a paid shill in the first place. He was despicable in the presidential primary, came off extremely disingenuous and now is raising money from people who wanted Barack Obama to lose the election. He should be ashamed of himself.

    March 25, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. Lynn

    I have watched Mr. McAuliffe for years and read his wonderful book. The people of Virginia are lucky to have him running for Governor. I wish I lived in Virginia so I could vote for him.

    March 25, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. Dave

    This is the same guy who walked through the Republican Convention in 2004 with a police retinue, waving and smiling to everybody in the audience (who were all scowling at him) while he was Democratic National Committee Chairman. Terry can be friends with anybody, including his political opponents. That doesn't mean he won't fight tooth and nail for the little guy.

    March 25, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. Willy Brown

    This guy want to only advance the Clinton ideology in VA. He’s a New York Yankee trying to pollute the Great State of VA. Besides we already had to loser democrat governors. Go away Terry, stay in NY.

    March 25, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. KR

    As republicans shreik about it be reminded that reconcilation in its current form was largely the creation of the sainted Ronald Regan.

    March 25, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. Joe Anoka, Minn.

    Racial and religiously charged attacks? I doubt it, but still preferential to the sexist, personal attacks that the Liberals leveled at SP. Head moron Obermann still manages to take a shot at her on an almost daily basis and Letterman's shot at her daughter is typical of liberal fare. Race and religion are hardly the basis for attacks but , in my mind, preferable to mindless ideologial attacks.

    March 25, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. Richard A. Spomer, Alexandria, VA

    "Just tell him NO!" President OBAMA

    Those whom are part of the general voting public:

    Think first then, talk with others, ponder the issues especially those which concern the economical situations surrounding the budget and that will directly affect or impact this big beautiful country for the rest of its natural life. President Obama is just saying NO to responsibility! Then to some one who is realistic thinking, what would the country look like if we looked at social responsibility for solving the issues; because, President Obama believes in a socialistic approach to all those ills that are the problems with-in the United States of America. If we throw enough money at the problems, it will vanish, or just go away where as he is living in a fantasy world.

    He is standing by Timothy Geithner and Obama when in-fact he new of the AIG problems way before news broke, the same with Senator Chris Dodd

    March 25, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |