RICHMOND — Jeb Bush is picking up more support for his presidential campaign from Virginia lawmakers and bold-faced names who previously supported Scott Walker.
A week after the Wisconsin governor ended his White House bid, Del. Terry Kilgore, who was co-chair of Walker’s state operation, and Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle, are among those who have jumped over to Bush, according to the campaign.
The latest round of musical chairs is further proof of Virginia’s importance to Republican presidential hopefuls, many of whom have already visited Old Dominion.
On Friday, Donald Trump will hold an evening rally in Virginia Beach, but he has yet to announce any surrogates here. Del. Scott Taylor (R-Virginia Beach) said he’ll host the billionaire at the Wave Convention Center, but stopped short of endorsing him.
“After being contacted by several presidential campaigns seeking endorsement, I decided the best thing to do was offer to help to facilitate and host town halls in the largest city in Virginia,” Taylor said in a statement.
Virginia lawmakers have also lined up behind Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
In addition to Kilgore and Stolle, a former state senator, Bush on Tuesday added to his campaign roster Republican Delegates Will Morefield (Tazewell), Bobby Orrock (Caroline) and David Yancey (Newport News).
“Supporters of coal want to be good stewards of the environment, but ask that commonsense and not politics be applied when adopting such regulations. Governor Jeb Bush exemplifies the qualities of a practical, sensible leader,” Morefield, whose district is in rural central Appalachia, said in a statement from the campaign.
Also on the list are Chesapeake City councilwoman Debbie Ritter and Stephanie Zemanek, a University of Richmond student who has worked as an intern for GOP campaigns in Virginia.
Last week, the day after Walker dropped out of the 2016 contest, Bush nabbed the support of Jerry Kilgore, a former state attorney general, who was Virginia’s finance chairman, and is the twin brother of Terry Kilgore.
Bush previously named co-chairs of his campaign: former congressman Eric Cantor; Kay Cole James, a former Virginia health secretary; and John Hager, a former lieutenant governor and chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. Hager’s son, Henry, is married to Bush’s niece, Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush.
Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham), who served as chairman of Walker’s campaign in Virginia, remains uncommitted for now.