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Saunders, a former top adviser for Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Dem lawmaker wants briefing on major chip vulnerabilities Week ahead: Tech giants to testify on extremist content MORE (D-Va.), former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and John Edwards's presidential campaign, rips McAuliffe as a "corporatist" and says he can't back his party's nominee.

"I can’t support a corporatist. I just can't. This guy is not my kind of Democrat," Saunders tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "I just can't sit here anymore and watch this coin-operated government continue. Wouldn't I be a hypocrite if I came to Richmond last year and jumped on Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorEric Cantor: Moore ‘deserves to lose’ If we want to make immigration great again, let's make it bipartisan Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns MORE for it and then came back and supported Terry McAuliffe?"

Saunders also worked for Cantor's opponent last election cycle.

The populist-leaning strategist's support mirrors a recent endorsement from longtime GOP strategist Boyd Marcus, a former Cantor adviser who is working for his campaign.