But it might surprise you to learn that the former Democratic governor also meets regularly with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), a tea party darling who’s running for governor next year.
What do they talk about?
Wilder says policy — after all, the nation’s first elected black governor is well versed on many topics, including higher education — as well as politics. That means Cuccinelli’s race against Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling for the GOP nomination.
But Wilder says he meets with elected officials and candidates all the time. All you have to do is ask, he says.
So has Bolling asked? “Not yet,” he said.
Wilder’s support — and sometimes lack of it — has been known to cause more than a few headaches to members of his own party.
Remember when he famously withheld his endorsement in the 2009 governor’s race despite multiple requests by the White House that he back Creigh Deeds (D) against Robert F. McDonnell (R)?
Wilder, who served from 1990 to 1994, is notoriously unpredictable around endorsement time. He’s also known for saying whatever he thinks — much like Cuccinelli, who has garnered national attention for suing the federal government over health care, advising colleges that they could not adopt policies protecting gay people and subpoenaing climate change documents from the University of Virginia.
Some have questioned his influence, but candidates still keep coming back. Kaine and Wilder are scheduled to have lunch Thursday.
During his final year at the University of Virginia, Cuccinelli had an internship with Wilder — the last Democrat he said he ever voted for — because he liked his fiscal toughness.
“Attorney General Cuccinelli has yet to find someone he agrees with all of the time, but he very much enjoys his opportunities to spend time with Governor Wilder, whom he likes and respects,’’ Cuccinelli spokeswoman Caroline Gibson said.
And Cuccinelli added in a statement: “It is NEVER boring to spend time with Governor Wilder.”
We’d agree with you there, Attorney General Cuccinelli.