In an interview with The Washington Post on Thursday Wilder said that the federal government shutdown and increased political tensions in Washington has moved him to support McAuliffe.
"The thing that's going on at the national level —we're so close to it— we could show that we are not affected by it and we are going to move forward," Wilder said according to the Post. "We are not going to separate into enclaves— this group, that grow. It's not a matter of pitting on group against the other group."
McAuliffe hailed the endorsement on Thursday.
"I am honored to have the support of Governor Doug Wilder. Governor Wilder has a long record of responsible budgeting and working with members of both parties to get things done, exactly the opposite of what we are seeing happen in Washington where [Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)] and Ken Cuccinelli's extreme Tea Party allies have held the government hostage to drive their extreme ideological agenda," McAuliffe said in a statement. "As governor, I will work in a bipartisan way to focus on growing and diversifying the Commonwealth's economy and creating more opportunities for all Virginians."