Former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder, a Democrat who supported Barack Obama in 2008, has essentially abandoned him in 2012 by failing to endorse him this time around.
Indeed, a careful reading of his high praise for Mitt Romney and tough criticism of Obama suggests that Wilder has all but endorsed Obama’s Republican rival this election.
The news of Wilder’s non-endorsement is huge in the key swing state of Virginia, where polls already show Romney surging into a slight, but reliable lead.
As the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on Sunday:
Former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, who backed Democrat Barack Obama for president in 2008, did not endorse Obama or Republican Mitt Romney in an opinion column released days before the election.
Wilder does not expressly back Romney, but he says the Republican has met the test to be president.
Will it be effective enough? We’ll find out on Tuesday.”
Wilder, who served as governor from 1990-94 and as mayor of Richmond from 2005-09 has a long history of breaking with fellow Democrats.
The first African-American governor of a southern state since Reconstruction, Wilder is highly respected by Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike throughout all geographical areas of Virginia.