Less than a year after hosting a rally for Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan, Charlottesville-area businessman Bill Crutchfield on Monday endorsed Democrat Terry McAuliffe for governor.
“I’m confident that Terry McAuliffe is both willing and able to work with Republican leaders in a bipartisan way to move Virginia forward,” Crutchfield said. “Based on this very simple logic, I think Terry McAuliffe is by far … the better candidate, and I’m proud to endorse him for governor.”
McAuliffe faces Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Libertarian Robert Sarvis in the fall.
The former Democratic National Committee chairman and onetime presidential campaign chief for both Bill and Hillary Clinton, McAuliffe on Monday joined Crutchfield on a tour of the company’s new retail location in northern Albemarle County.
Standing in the store’s showroom, McAuliffe said Crutchfield’s success is a good example for all Virginia leaders.
“Compromise is not a bad word,” McAuliffe said. “You have to do it in business and life every single day.”
Crutchfield has supported candidates on both sides of the aisle. He expressed frustration that Congress seems unable to avert a government shutdown.
“That’s ideological leadership, which is wrong,” Crutchfield said. “The right type of leadership is bipartisan leadership. And I don’t think we could have that with Ken Cuccinelli.”
The Cuccinelli campaign called McAuliffe short on substance.
“As we get closer to Election Day, it is becoming increasingly clear Terry McAuliffe doesn’t have a detailed vision to move Virginia forward and cannot pay for the ideas he has,” Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix said in an email. “Unveiling endorsements from people who endorse Democrats and threatening to shut down Virginia’s government over legislative disagreements is not what Virginians are looking for in their next governor.”
Geoff Skelley, a political analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said there appears to be “some internal tension within the Republican ranks regarding support for the party’s nominee.”
“Of course, most Republicans are still supporting Cuccinelli, but in a close race, losing some of your base while the other guy has a stronger hold on his could be fatal.”
Founded in 1974, Crutchfield Corp. employs about 500 people. In addition to Charlottesville-area locations and an online business, the company operates a retail store in Harrisonburg, a research lab in Christiansburg and a call center in Wise County.