Bob McDonnell Campaign Manager Under Scrutiny

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Jun 04, 2009 10:56 AM
Yesterday, I wrote about the opportunity for Republicans to elect governors in Virginia and New Jersey. 

... That's a very real possibility -- but things will have to go well for it to happen -- and an old story that is back in the news threatens to derail Republican Bob McDonnell's chances in Virginia. 

In question is a complex tale regarding a web of relationships surrounding McDonnell's campaign manager and strategists.  Essentially, the story can be summed this way: McDonnell's campaign manager, Phil Cox, was apparently behind some extremely vicious and underhanded attacks on now-Minority Whip Eric Cantor

As The Washington Post reported in 2005,
In June 2000, a series of four mailers began appearing in at least 40,000 voters' mailboxes attacking Cantor in his race against Martin. Phone calls also were made describing Martin as "the only Christian" in the race and mentioning that Cantor goes to a synagogue, but Cantor's campaign never determined who ran those attacks, an aide said.
... The mailer in question was sent by a 527 organization, and was apparently approved by Cox, who was involved with the organization at the same time as he was managing the campaign of Cantor's opponent. 

Cantors' primary opponent (the man who Cox was working for) says he had no knowledge of the mailer.  He wasn't the only one left in the dark; one member of the 527 organization responsible for the mailing resigned when he learned of the attacks (ironically, that man was just elected chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia).

Adding more controversy to the story, lobbyist Jack Abramoff was involved with the organization, as well.

The problem, of course, is that this story is back in the news this week, most prominently in The Virginia Pilot.

What is more, reliable sources tell me this is a legitimate threat to McDonnell's nomination -- and that this is merely the tip of the iceberg. 

It seems that Cox has been involved in quite a few shady dealings over the years, and my source predicts that as long as Cox is managing the gubernatorial race, there will surely be more to leak out ...