It’s official - Terry McAuliffe and his mountains of cash will not be competing for Virginia’s governorship this November. Instead, the Democratic nominee will be moderate State Senator Creigh Deeds, who crushed both McAuliffe and former Delegate Brian Moran in tonight’s primary. Local TV here in DC just reported that, with 87% of the vote in, Deeds has 49% of the vote compared to just 27 for McAuliffe and 24% for Moran. This is even more impressive when one considers that Deeds had only about half of the money and staff than McAuliffe threw at the race, and lagged behind Moran on those fronts as well.
In fact, Deeds was lagging in third place in the polls until las month - but for some reason he’s been riding a rocket for to the last few weeks. As he surged to the front, he managed to pick up the endorsement of the Washington Post - which is amazing for a rural moderate who was running against two liberals from the DC suburbs. Now, the erstwhile also-ran has seized the nomination and will face of with the GOP’s Bob McDonnell in November. And while I am 100% behind McDonnell, I have to take my hat off to Creigh Deeds tonight. What he pulled off is flat-out amazing.
On the more practical side, Deeds is probably the toughest opponent for McDonnell. He’s pro-gun, and hails from rural Bath County - deep in the heart of red-state Virginia. This is a guy who can eat into the GOP voting base and knows how to win in GOP territory. He has experience against Bob McDonnell, having run against him for Attorney General and lost by just 323 votes. However, he is also the worst-funded of the three Democratic candidates, and he does trail McDonnell in the polls - so there is some good news.
Still, Creigh Deeds proved tonight that he can come from behind and beat better-funded opponents. So, we are definitely going to have to throw the kitchen sink at this guy - or else we will find ourselves thinking what Terry McAuliffe must be thinking right now: “What the hell just happened?”