Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe endorsed the ONE Casino + Resort proposal that Richmond voters are currently considering.
“I mean, think about what’s going to happen here in Richmond,” McAuliffe said in a Twitter video Thursday. “Construction: 3,000 jobs. 15,000 permanent jobs. $50 million in revenue that will help schools, hospitals, everything else. I’m so excited.”
In the video, he told Urban One CEO Al Liggins, “Listen, I want you to do me a favor, I want you to invite me down, I’m going to be the first one to throw those dice on that table, Al.”
ONE is honored to have the support of former Governor @TerryMcAuliffe!
— ONE Casino + Resort (@OneCasinoResort) October 14, 2021
With the endorsement, McAuliffe joins several Richmond figures who support the project including Mayor Levar Stoney, who McAuliffe appointed as Secretary of the Commonwealth, Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond), and Richmond City Council Member Reva Trammell.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin also supports the proposal, according to campaign staff.
Proponents say the project will bring financial benefits for the city and its impoverished Southside region, but opponents say profits will come at the expense of Richmond residents, not outside tourists.
Richmond Democrats aren’t unified around the proposal.
Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) recently voted against the proposal, and Democratic activist and attorney Paul Goldman highlighted Kaine’s vote in a press release opposing the casino.
The casino proposal has drawn opposition from progressive activist organization Richmond for All, which came to prominence while opposing a Stoney-supported coliseum project in the city.
“Naturally, this is a good catch by the Stoney/Morrissey/Trammell pro Casino forces,” Goldman said in a Friday email.
He continued, “Terry will get a big vote in RVA. I always figured McAuliffe would back Mr. Liggins (owner of the proposed Casino), who is a donor and player nationally, especially given Stoney’s and Morrissey’s support. Terry has many friends and contributors in the gambling industry. But I was hoping he would keep it private.”
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