A prominent Republican strategist who backed Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has been blocked by the House of Delegates from a plum appointment in the new administration.
McAuliffe nominated Boyd Marcus to the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, a position that pays more than $100,000 a year. Republicans allege that the nomination amounted to a quid pro quo for Marcus’s support in 2013 and have asked for both state and federal investigations. Democrats argue that the opposition is simply sour grapes over losing last fall.
“It’s a shame that House Republicans voted against a qualified nominee for purely partisan reasons,” said McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy.
The nomination failed on a vote of 74 to 22, although several Democrats said later that they accidentally voted no on the confusing parliamentary procedure that stripped Marcus from a block of uncontroversial appointments.
House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville) abstained, saying the vote “violates the general comity and civility of the chamber.”
The Democratic-led Senate has already voted to confirm Marcus’s appointment to the board. Now the upper chamber can request a conference committee, but the House can refuse to participate.
Marcus has been serving in his post unconfirmed but will have to step down. McAuliffe can appoint a new member to the three-person board, without confirmation, after the General Assembly session ends. But under the state law the appointee cannot be someone previously rejected by the legislature.
Marcus, who worked early in the gubernatorial race for Republican Bill Bolling, was paid $140,000 to consult on the McAuliffe campaign. E-mails show that Marcus also approached the campaign of Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli II, offering his services for a $75,000 to $100,000 salary, before joining McAuliffe.