Terry McAuliffe gets three GOP endorsements

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Three former Republican state legislators who've had differences with the GOP endorsed former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe for governor. But two Republican Virginia congressmen also endorsed Cuccinelli.

McAuliffe's campaign on Wednesday announced endorsements of retired Dels. Jim Dillard and Vince Callahan of Fairfax County and Katherine Waddell of Richmond and Vince Callahan of McLean in McAuliffe's race against Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Dillard and Waddell were known for differences with the conservative wing of the GOP in their days in the House of Delegates. Waddell later became an independent.

Cuccinelli, however, was endorsed Tuesday by U.S. Rep Bob Goodlatte, and by U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt on Wednesday.

Callahan headed the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee. He incurred the GOP's ire in 2004 when he was among 17 Republicans who sided with minority House Democrats to pass a budget-balancing tax increase after a 115-day legislative standoff.

McAuliffe's GOP endorsements came a day after Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling announced that he would not run as an "independent Republican" appealing to centrists in both parties, particularly moderate, pro-business Republicans.

Bolling sought the GOP nomination until November when he withdrew, conceding that pro-Cuccinelli conservatives who had taken control of the state party had blocked his chances of becoming the Republican nominee.

Callahan called for a departure from "partisan bickering and ideological brinksmanship" and a governor who will "promote a mainstream agenda that focuses on the economy and making Virginia better for business."

Dillard said he made up his mind when McAuliffe backed Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell's bipartisan transportation funding plan last month - a package Cuccinelli opposed because of its tax increases.

Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix responded that "it isn't news that former House of Delegates members who demanded we raise taxes and grow the size of state government are supporting a candidate who shares their belief that middle class Virginians need to pay more in taxes."