Virginia Lt. Gov. L. Douglas Wilder claims that former governor Charles S. Robb and the Democratic Leadership Council are trying to weaken the influence of the national party's basic constituency groups.
The leadership council and Robb, its chairman, seem to be using Virginia's November election results as the rationale for taking control of the national party's nominating process, Wilder said in a newspaper interview.
Wilder said his election -- along with that of Gov. Gerald L. Baliles and Virginia Attorney General Mary Sue Terry -- was not the doing of the leadership council. "And I think that ought to be said rather abundantly," Wilder told the Roanoke Times & World-News. "They had absolutely nothing to do with it."
Initially, the leadership council was viewed by most political observers as a Sun Belt organization of moderate-conservatives from Southern and Western states. Some believe that its prime interest is to assure that a moderate-conservative Sun Belt candidate is on the Democratic presidential ticket in 1988.
Wilder said he has not joined the council because of what he calls its exclusionary policy.
In a telephone interview Friday from his Northern Virginia law office, Robb said he has been extremely supportive of Wilder, and "I don't want to do anything to jeopardize the effectiveness that Doug can have and the role that he can play."
Robb said there is nothing exclusive about the leadership council. "To the contrary, we've gone out of our way to ensure that it is inclusive," he said.