Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bob's "blue" ads

Earlier I posted that Bob McDonnell's early summer run of TV ads is evidence he is (1) worried about Creigh Deeds and (2) running from his own "raised on Pat Robertson's knee" past.
His overly slick ads been running heavily on Shenandoah Valley stations. Now that alone says something - if Taliban Bob is worried about hanging on to this Republican stronghold, he does have major problems.
After seeing the ad, it is becoming obvious that McDonnell is trying to morph into... hard to believe... a Democrat. And its not just the blue shirt. He, one of the most extreme partisan hacks in Virginia politics, talks about working in a bipartisan fashion and not caring who gets credit. Excuse me, was that ever part of his political persona? McDonnell is the most transparent blue when he talks about making Virginia a good place for business. Democrats have been there, done that, and keep on doing it. Governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have led the Commonwealth to #1 rankings as a great state to do business. Most recently Forbes, CNBC, and Pollina Corporate Real Estate all praised the business climate in Virginia. More here and here.
I suppose McDonnell has little choice. Virginia is changing but most Republicans haven't. He has to find some way to leverage independent voters who are increasingly voting Democratic. So, his ad guys are hustling to create a new, and patently false, image. I'm sure those ad guys are smart, but I think they underestimate Virginia voters - who won't buy the lie. The truth about the real Bob McDonnell is too damning to cover up with sound bites.
Virginians know they've had seven years of responsible leadership in the Governor's Mansion. Leadership that has been recognized for running efficient and effective government and creating a good environment for business and job creation. Voters know Creigh Deeds will continue moving Virginia forward with that same brand of common sense leadership.

Jumping Cow

For Father's Day, my daughter picked up a six-pack of Jumping Cow Amber Ale from Trader Joe's. Now, I hear Trader Joe's is a great store with good prices and interesting products, however I've never been to one. I'd never heard of Jumping Cow Amber Ale made by Steinhaus Brewing Co. From a little Google investigation, it looks like Steinhaus makes a selection of modest priced brews sold mostly at the grocery. The bottle says it was brewed in New Ulm, Minnesota and is 5.5% alcohol by volume. Other sources say Steinhaus is in California.
So, what about Jumping Cow? It is a nice pale orange/amber color that kicks up a decent but light textured cream colored head which dissipates quickly leaving only a hint of lace on the glass. Mostly malt aroma with faint fruity hops. Medium to light bodied. Slightly sweet with very faint hops bitterness. In short, Jumping Cow Amber Ale goes down easily on a warm day. I'd give it one thumb up - not quite enough body or bitterness to be what I anticipate from an ale, but very nice light summer brew. My rating may have been a little lower if consumed on a crisp fall night. From what I understand, Jumping Cow costs about $5 a six-pack, so it a pretty good value for your money.
A nice Father's Day gift - thank you!

Friday, June 26, 2009


Yesterday (today too) was one of those lazy, hazy summer days just right for being on a river. We didn't have a full day, but my son and I found time for a lazy 4 hour kayak trip from Bridgewater to east of Mt. Crawford on North River. Some of the streams that I've cited for bacteria and sediment - Mossy Creek and Long Glade Run - flow into North River near Bridgewater. North River is part of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River watershed. So, I was naturally interested in conditions along the river. My impressions are not in any way scientific observations.
The water was green and cool at the put-in and, because of rains a few weeks ago, was up a little more than typical for the first days of summer. We were in sit-on-top kayaks so our butts were basically in the water and we dipped our feet and arms in frequently. The flow rate was good and the riffles fun. Oops - an early set of riffles went through a stainer - low branches in the water - and my son lost his fishing pole. Oh well, it was a cheap one. Lesson learned - tie it on.
I was interested in fish and wildlife that we'd observe and the general quality of the water and the banks:
  • Fish - we saw no fish of any significant size either darting underwater or breaking surface. Only a few fingerlings jumping.
  • Turtles - we only saw two turtles sunning themselves.
  • Birds - lots of smaller birds such as Kingfishers and your typical backyard and farmland birds in the Shenandoah Valley. At the beginning of the trip we observed several small flocks of ducks. Just before reaching the bridge at Mt. Crawford we played tag with a Heron until it backtracked and returned upstream. Not many birds were spotted as we passed under Rt. 11 and I-81 - guess the traffic noise keeps them away. As we put some distance between us and the roads, we spotted a Bald Eagle who circled back over us and wasn't seen again. Near the take-out we trailed behind a dozen Canadian Geese.
  • Water quality - the water was clear with a slightly greenish tint. Little suspended sediment observed. In some areas there was considerable plant growth. This is a sign of nutrients in the water along with the warmth of summer and sun overhead. But, I have no comparison with the same time in previous years.
We had the river mostly to ourselves. There were some folks heading out on tubes when we left a vehicle at the take-out, but we never saw them again. About halfway into the float, some teenage Mennonite girls were using a rope swing and dropping into a deep hole of cool water. No bathing suits for them - they were all in their long dresses. Quite a contrast from the young babe in a tiny thong I saw at Daytona Beach a couple weeks ago - America, with all its diversity, is a great country!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Early summer political grist

Bob McDonnell will start a 10 day blitz of TV ads across the state, hitting most areas with the exception of northern Virginia. The fact that he is spending $300,000 to improve his image during the early summer political lull, shows just how worried he is about Creigh Deeds. Taliban Bob is trying to spin out of his own past and distance himself from his political mentor, Pat Robertson.
Complicating the Democrats quest for a House majority, Delegate Kristen Amundson announced she will not seek a 6th term. Admundson, a reliable progressive from Mt. Vernon, cited financial reasons as the key factor in her decision. The district has a strong record of voting Democratic, but her withdrawal means Democrats will have to move quickly to nominate a candidate. Scott Surovell, Democratic chair in Fairfax Co., announced he will run. Republican Jay McConville and perpetual independent candidate Gail Parker are already in the race. The seat will remain Democratic, but now the party will have to shift some resources to a race that should have been on cruise control.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Worth a 1000 words

Cartoon from The News Leader.

As if to confirm

As if to confirm my prior post about water quality, The Roanoke Times reports that the Virginia Department of Health has posted a swimming advisory at the Ponderosa Campground on the Blackwater River section of Smith Mountain Lake due to high bacteria levels. No, the streams I mentioned in that post don't flow into Smith Mountain Lake - the problems of water quality are found all over the Commonwealth.
The other day a fellow told me he'd never seen anyone swimming in Long Glade Run, a tributary of North River that regularly experiences very high bacteria levels. In doing so, he dismissed the need for riparian buffers and other programs to reduce runoff and bacteria. I pointed out that water from Long Glade eventually ends up in North River and the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. The South Fork is a popular fishing (a troubled industry) and canoeing river.
Tomorrow my son and I will kayak a few miles of North River, passing Long Glade along the way. WE ALL LIVE DOWNSTREAM.

We all live downstream

Water quality is increasing becoming an issue for the Shenandoah Valley. Sediment, bacteria, and other pollutants are clogging many of our small streams and creeks. Since we are upstream of most of Virginia, these problems get passed on to the great rivers - the James and Shenandoah - and eventually to the Chesapeake Bay. Of course, these problems impact us right here too, affecting sports fishing and other recreational uses of our waterways and posing health risks to humans and livestock.
Want to learn more about the issues? Think government has a role through grants to assist farmers with best management practices to reduce runoff? Should developers have strict regulations to reduce pollution flowing into our streams? What is the role of private organizations, such as Friends of the Shenandoah River? Two upcoming events will inform you about water quality issues and give you a chance to express your opinion.
Public hearing on new stormwater regulations for developers
July 1 at 7:00 PM
Augusta County Government Center in Verona.
Three years in the making, the draft regulations had input from all stakeholders, including developers. Now the homebuilders lobby is proposing to gut much of the plan and to shift costs to farmers. Can't attend but want to comment and/or want to see the draft - go here.
Public Forum on Middle River Water Quality Improvement Plan
July 16 at 7:00 PM
Churchville Elementary School in Churchville.
Hosted by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
This forum will kick off development of a water quality improvement plan for Middle River, Moffett Creek, and Polecat Draft. Following a brief presentation, it will break into focus groups to review data and to solicit ideas about how to proceed. For more information contact Nesha Mizel or call 540.332.9238.

Monday, June 22, 2009

In case you missed it

You may have missed the recent issue of The Hook and its excellent article about Creigh Deeds' victory in the Democratic Primary. The Hook's Lindsay Barnes was at the Omni Hotel for Deeds victory party as the early results came in. Barnes watched as Bob Gibson, executive director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, followed early returns on a laptop. Deeds was beating McAuliffe and Moran in Northern Virginia - their home turf. "It is over," said Gibson.
Deeds placed much of the credit for his victory on popular Democratic governors and their successes in Richmond:
Whether it was cast in Abingdon or Arlington, Highland or Henrico, or right here in Thomas Jefferson's hometown, Charlottesville, it was a vote to continue the progress we've made under Democratic governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.
A companion article at the same link examines the role of the Washington Post endorsement of Deeds, something that drew previous CCC attention.
Anyone who followed his political career, or who has read about Deeds' victory, knows Creigh is a winner and his opponents take him lightly at their own risk. Creigh won elections to the House of Delegates in areas where Republicans have an edge, He survived, even prospered, when the GOP gerrymandered his Senate district. Now he humbled two well-known and well-funded opponents in the primary.
Taliban Bob better be afraid... very afraid.

Stoney joins Deeds campaign

Levar Stoney has joined the gubernatorial campaign of Creigh Deeds as political director. He will be taking a leave of absence as executive director of the Democratic Party of Virginia.
While this news is now about a week old, CCC wants to congratulate Creigh and Levar - this seems like a great matchup. It is also worth noting Levar's Valley connections. Yes, he's been here for many events such as the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Labor Day Banquet and last summer's Paint the Valley Blue celebration at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton (pic). Levar is also a JMU grad so he is familiar with the area from his Young Dem days.
Levar credited Virginia Democrats for helping him at DPVA and he looked forward to a Deeds victory in November:
I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for all the help and support you've given me over the last three years with the DPVA. I have learned so much since early 2006 when I came to the Party and it's definitely due to the great Virginia Democrats I get a chance to work with each and every day. This isn't a goodbye because you'll see and hear from me a lot in my new role as Political Director over at Deeds for Virginia. However, since I expect we will elect Creigh the next Governor of Virginia, this is likely my final DPVA correspondence.
I'm sure we'll be seeing more of Levar in Staunton, Harrisonburg, Roanoke, and all across the Valley between now and Election Day. We'll also find him taking an important role in shaping a Deeds administration!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What Repubs do when they got nothing

When they have no issues, no leadership, no vision... Virginia Republicans turn to creating issues through vague innuendo, distortions, and empty rhetoric. Consider the recent demands that Governor Tim Kaine release his travel expenses as chair of the Democratic National Committee. Delegate Chris Saxman (R-Staunton), who has no facts, can only throw out tantalizing tidbits of make believe designed to be red meat for wingnuts and to gin up campaign contributions:
"Where is the governor at any given moment? How did he get there? Did he fly commercial or use someone's private jet? These are legitimate questions that we believe should be answered."
Perhaps Mr. Saxman should look in a mirror. Last fall, as the General Assembly was moving toward its session and constituents likely had much on their minds about the falling economy and the impact on state services, where was the delegate? Out on the campaign trail for McCain and putting out Frederick's fires. During the 2008 session, he even skipped votes to campaign for McCain during the Republican primary.
Truth is, most folks in public office fill various roles - those clearly connected to the office, and others related to politics, family, and charities. Del. Saxman understands this. That's why this demand of Governor Kaine is so transparently a case of cheap political posturing for partisan gain.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blue Tide Risin' III

A few years back, Democratic candidates in the 6th District were few and far between. Changing demographics, the failures of the Bush presidency and right wing Republican policies, and the foolishness of Virginia Republicans led by Jeff Frederick, Morgan Griffith, Bill Howell, Chris Saxman, and Bob McDonnell have sprouted a bunch of good Democratic candidates. Wherever you live there is a great campaign to volunteer with or donate a few bucks to.
If you are satisfied with the same old, same old... sit on your hands. Otherwise, get out and work for the candidate in your area.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Extreme Makeover

Actually an extreme political makeover that Bob McDonnell is trying to perform. In announcing a group called "Virginians for McDonnell," Taliban Bob is trying to shed his right wing scales and put forth a more warm and fuzzy moderate feel. He's picked up support from a couple of Mark Warner Republicans and says people who join his group are free to support Democrats for other offices. How do you spell "SELLOUT" Bill Bolling, Ken Cuccinelli, and House candidates?
Virginians will see through Bob McDonnell's caked on makeup dollar store makeup - underneath they'll find Pat Robertson, the Christian Coalition, the 700 Club, and Regent University. Extreme makeover trying to cover up extreme right. It won't fly, Bob.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What's brewing

A coupon promotion encouraged me to pick up some Budweiser American Ale. I'm not a big Bud fan... there are better lagers and better light and watery beers for summer drinking. I do like ales like Sierra Nevada. Hops. More hops! Could Budweiser make a good ale? I gotten one of those Michelob multi-packs as a gift and enjoyed a couple of those brews, so I thought "maybe." Anyhow, the promo is for a $14 rebate for buying three 12-packs which are about $12.50 each. I bought one... no sense going overboard until I'm sure, but the promo basically means three for the price of two. Gotta buy 'em (or other Bud products) by July 12 to seal the deal.
Okay, so what's the verdict? I'll give it a thumb and a half up. Beautiful amber color. Ditto for the foamy head and lace on the glass. Aroma is malty with pronounced hops. Fairly strong hop aftertaste... maybe lingers a bit too long. Mouthfeel is a bit light for an ale (but not thin like Bud). All in all, good taste and aroma. Fair mouthfeel.
Will I buy it again... yeah, I'll probably buy enough to get the $14. May buy it again in the fall (amber ales go with cool nights) if I hit a sale. Very good (not great) brew from a major brewer. Couple bucks less for a 12-pack and this would be right on. Kudos to A-B. Double kudos to the craft brews who are forcing the hands of the big boys.
Beer humor - Q: how is sex in a canoe similar to Coors Light? A: both are f*cking close to water.
Time for another of my favorite cheap beer. It ain't Bud. What is it?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mike's Primary Wisdom

Although I supported Jody, I thought Mike Signer ran a good campaign, based on ideas, with a long range view to the future. I noted that he ran well in several Valley localities - a fact that I attributed to him making some visits to the area and a dedicated group of GOTV volunteers who made the calls and knocked on doors, posted on blogs, and handed out the literature. Mike also ran well in other rural/small town pockets mostly west of Richmond.
Because he got in the race late and raised only about 1/3 of the dollars that Jody did, Mike was less competitive in the suburban/urban areas where money buys TV, direct mail, staff, and other components of a modern statewide race.
Mike sent out the following email, thanking folks who worked for him and looking at lessons from the campaign. Some of Mike's wisdom:
Now, a few words about our campaign. I began this race as an activist and an advocate, whether on electoral reform, the environment, racial reconciliation, or national security issues. The power of activism and advocacy, of an individual or a group, applying themselves to effect change, motivated this entire campaign.
On the strength of this idea, this campaign received over 60,000 votes. To put this in perspective, four years ago, Leslie Byrne—the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor and someone for whose endorsement I was incredibly grateful—received about 38,000 votes. Turnout was over twice as high this year as in 2005, to be sure, but the fact remains that we must have been offering voters something that excited them to receive such a large number of base votes.
I want to call your attention to those 60,000 votes. I grew up in Arlington, and you might therefore expect that I would have difficulty connecting in rural Virginia. But in fact, some of the most stunning victories we had were spread throughout rural Virginia. In the end, this little, scrappy campaign, which was outspent three to one, won the cities of Bristol (in the 9th Congressional District, at the far corner of Southwest Virginia), Harrisonburg (in the 6th Congressional District, in the Shenandoah Valley), and Martinsville—by over 60% (in the 5th Congressional District, in deep Southside Virginia). Along the way, we also picked up a number of counties, including Halifax, Henry, Lunenburg, and Pittsylvania, and received 40% of the vote in the 5th Congressional District.
These are real victories, and there is a lesson in them.
I believe that what unifies the very different cities of Bristol, Harrisonburg, and Martinsville, and the others areas where we did well, is that they all need something far different from government, and from public officials, than they are getting. Everywhere we won, there was a hunger for a restless, creative spirit from public officials. And this has something to do with the “progressive” campaign we ran.
The idea of progressivism goes back to last century, and it has to do with rooting a philosophy of government in the experience of people’s everyday lives—so it’s immensely practical and focused on working people and their families. Yet progressivism also aims for ideals that are achievable. Barack Obama told the crowd who had nominated him in Denver, citing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” What he meant was that we are all part of a greater cause, which is to make the world—and Virginia, and our community—a better place.
That’s why I think our campaign, with its focus on the economy and green jobs, the environment/energy connection, veterans’ issues, and strengthening our democracy, including through the restoration of rights, received so many votes despite being outspent by so much. Our message resonated. We had young people and unions, farmers and social justice activists, and rural, suburban, and urban voters excited about a new candidate with a message of taking Virginia to the next level.
For an underdog campaign running against a candidate who very capably secured the support of the vast majority of our Democratic elected officials, I was also gratified, in a few short months, to receive so much “institutional” support. This included the endorsements of dozens of elected officials from across the Commonwealth, five newspapers, over 1,300 donors, including some of Virginia’s major Democratic donors, and almost every Democratic blogger in Virginia.
Jody Wagner, to her great credit, raised over $1.2 million and was able to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on television ads, by far the most powerful medium in political campaigns. By contrast, with a little over $400,000 raised, we were only able to rely on radio and a single piece of direct mail. As one political consultant told me, our campaign was like “bringing a butter knife to a gunfight.” We watched as candidate after candidate withdrew when faced with the impressive force of Jody Wagner’s campaign.
Yet I decided to stay in the race because I thought the fight was worth fighting and the ideas worth pursuing. And the fact remains that in the areas where our message was able to compete through the mediums we chose and through public events and “earned media,” we saw our message connect.
We didn’t win this time around, but I believe we did influence the field to be more substantive about ideas, to focus more on economic fairness and social justice, and to provide for voters a stronger account of how the Lieutenant Governor could serve the public, rather than just future elections. Along the way, we also saw our nimble, creative campaign influence others—our YouTube “Coffee Breaks,” our policy plans, our emphasis on veterans, and our press statements were all replicated by other statewide campaigns.
A few words about Creigh Deeds, our nominee. Many of you know that I once worked as Creigh’s Legislative Aide. I first met him in December 1996. I had never heard of Bath County before, much less Creigh Deeds. Creigh met me in the morning at a Shoney’s on Broad Street in Richmond. Over a terrific mess of buffet brunch food, I was deeply impressed by the contagious excitement of the young lawmaker and realized that he was someone I’d be proud to work for.
Working for Creigh made a profound impact on me. In the years since, he’s been a mentor and friend and a leader I have watched with great admiration, as he has achieved great results in the House and Senate for thousands of Virginians, whether on jobs, the environment, education, or health care. I also realized then how important it is for Virginia Democrats to have a statewide approach and to focus on the issues and challenges of underserved areas, whether in rural or urban Virginia. I do not think we could have had such a connection throughout rural Virginia had I not worked for Creigh at such a young age.
I think that we are incredibly blessed to have Creigh as our nominee. He will run an incredible campaign focused on bringing the promise of the Warner/Kaine years to all of Virginia and will be a tremendous governor. I’ll do whatever I can to help him throughout this year, and urge you to do the same.
I also want to congratulate Jody again. She'll be a terrific nominee and an even better Lieutenant Governor, and it was an honor to compete with her. I told Jody on Election Night that I’d be very happy to help her in any way I could, and I mean it. I look forward to campaigning with and for her in the weeks and months to come.
I’d like to close with a thought about our democracy. We have a democracy, and it takes the courage, spirit, and dedication of each of us to take care of it. After years of experience in activism and public policy, it was a humbling and exhilarating experience to dive into the electoral side of things.
Elections are rough and tumble affairs. Democratic primary voters take their responsibility to select our leaders seriously, as they should. It was no coincidence that Barack Obama often referred to them “kicking the tires.” I often felt, over the last several months, that I was such a tire. But it was an extraordinary experience to be put through the electoral wringer. Think about what free elections produce—leaders who hopefully have judgment and wisdom, who will ethically and capably bear the people's trust in their responsibility for carrying us through our challenges. As I tweeted on election night, “Watching folks run to vote, soaking wet, through a thunderstorm, I'm humbled yet again by the power of the American idea."
As we turn our attention to the fall, it is clear that Deeds/Wagner/Shannon and all our HoD candidates can learn from the primary. Yep, as the old saying goes, "money is the mother's milk of politics." Money is necessary for all the components of a modern campaign. It was evident in the gubernatorial primary that you don't need the most money, but a candidate does need sufficient money to get the message out.
But, it is equally clear that people power can take a candidate a long way. Folks to knock on doors, to make the calls, to write letters to the editor, to blog, to work at county fairs and town parades, to host candidate meet/greets, to handout literature on Election Day. All these grassroots GOTV activities can make a big difference - in small towns as well as in the sprawling suburbs.
Money + people power = victory. Anything less will mean Taliban Bob in the Executive Mansion and falling short of 51. How will YOU help?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Primary lessons

Academics, pundits, bloggers, and everybody's brother will be analyzing Virginia's gubernatorial primary for the lessons of June 9. So, I may as well throw out a little cracked corn myself.
Money can't buy ya love. Terry McAuliffe had plenty of it. Brian Moran raised a bunch, too. Creigh told me way back in January, when McAuliffe jumped in, that now money would be less of a factor for him. Creigh predicted that McAuliffe and Moran would use their money mostly against each other, saying, "I'll have enough to get my message out and that's all I need...." McAuliffe's money raising prowess got him in the game, but in the end I think it hurt more than helped - Virginia Democrats didn't like the notion that big out-of-state money could buy the nomination.
Ya gotta stand for something. With his long record of service to the Commonwealth, Democrats knew where Creigh was coming from and where he wants to go. We got the sense that with Creigh was all about Virginia's future. With McAuliffe the message was more muddled - there was always the suspicion it was more about Terry's future and the Governor's Mansion was a stepping stone to somewhere else.
Sometimes endorsements matter. I generally don't think newspaper endorsements move that many voters. But, the Washington Post's endorsement of Deeds seems to have been a turning point in this race. NOVA voters, who are often more focused on D.C. than on Richmond, have an interesting connection with the Post - many seem to rely on it for good advice on what's happening down state. The endorsement, back by solid reasoning, explained Deeds to them terms that made it clear he wasn't some hillbilly from the backwoods and why he was the best choice for Fairfax, et al. As the news about the Post's endorsement rippled across the state, it reinforced every part of Deeds' message.
Its the Old Dominion, after all. Steeped in political tradition, there is a Virginia way of doing things. It is virtually impossible to imagine someone moving to the Commonwealth just to run for statewide office. That may fly for New York, but not here. Yes, I know McAuliffe has a home in Virginia, but until he showed interest in running for Governor, nobody except his next door neighbor knew that. I guess that old bumper sticker about Virginia not being just a place but a state of mind, sort of sums it up. McAuliffe never sold us on being a Virginian. Creigh's Virginia roots, nourished in Bath County and honed in Charlottesville, run deeper than either of his opponents.
Sound and fury vs slow and steady. Creigh has been in Virginia public life for two decades. He's steadily moved from local office to the House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia. Not flashy, but constant progress on issues, on finding solutions, on serving constituents. McAuliffe entered the race with all kind of flash - I recall one blogger/online news writing something like "...when did I know I'd support Terry McAuliffe? From the moment he walked into the room...." I'll admit McAuliffe can work a crowd and capture the attention of a room - I've seen it firsthand and he is impressive. Most, but not all, Virginia Democrats got over the initial infatuation and came back to Creigh, who they knew and trusted.
Virginia Democrats like hard work. All three candidates are hard working guys, but I think Creigh helped himself by keeping his seat in the Virginia Senate. Yes, he gave up two months of fundraising, but staying in the legislature reinforced his reputation of being a guy who works hard for constituents and the state - traits we want in the governor. Hey, didn't right wing Bob resign as attorney general??
Virginia Democrats like winning. The last few years have been like the wonder years for Virginia Democrats. Winning is so much more fun than losing. And the government works better too. As June 9 approached many Democrats asked the question - who can win in November? Most answered Creigh Deeds - he'd have the best chance to unite the party after a primary battle and, come November, he'd pull in independents and perhaps some moderate Republicans turned off by right wing Bob. Moran never made that sale. McAuliffe, with the Clinton connection, was his own negative advertising on this one.
Deeds river runs wide and deep. Creigh's victory is impressive not just because of his 50% win over two well-known and well-funded opponents, it is astonishing that he won every congressional district except the 3rd (Richmond through parts of Hampton Roads) where McAuliffe beat him by 2%. His biggest percentage was in his own 6th District (70%) but he did very well in many others, often besting his nearest opponent by double digits. Creigh won big where expected, but also beat Moran and McAuliffe on their home turf.
What primary? With statewide turnout of 319,000 or about 6.3% (best was 11.7% in the 8th District), it is clear that the idea of a primary hasn't quite caught on in the Old Dominion. Just not part of our tradition - yet. That's too bad, because it is clearly the more democratic process. But, 2009 is better turnout than the June 2005 primary that was a dual primary - the GOP had a primary for governor and attorney general while the Dems had one for lieutenant governor (there were also House primaries). Another way to look at it - turnout for the Democratic nominating process topped the turnout for the Republican nominating process by over 309,000. So, which party is more connected to the people?
Don't give up your day job. I fully expect Moran and McAuliffe to work pretty hard for Creigh. Yeah they are smarting from the shellacking, but it is also in their interests for Deeds and Democrats to be successful this November. McAuliffe's life is all about politics and he'll reemerge on the national stage (doubt he'll test Virginia waters again) and a McAuliffe-aided win will restore some polish. Moran, who I think has much to offer Virginia, is in a different situation. Brian gave up his day job in the House of Delegates to concentrate on the campaign, so now he has no natural base from which to launch a comeback. I have no doubt he'll find a way, and the starting point is being a good soldier for Deeds and the other Democratic campaigns.
Okay, enough of this for now. Was going to make a comment or two about the lieutenant governor race (like how did Signer do so well in a few Valley localities) but that will have to wait or not happen at all. Just had to get a neighbor's spooked cow out of the yard (soft soil = deep divots) and back with her calf. Need to brew some iced tea and cool off after the exercise. A big load of recycling to take before the storms gear up this afternoon. Cluck.

Deeds Interview

Since he represents the area in the Virginia Senate, Creigh Deeds is no stranger to the folks at NBC29. He joined them for a live interview the evening after his big win in the Democratic primary. I'm having a little trouble with the embed, so here is the link to the pop up video. It is a good one!

Monday, June 8, 2009


Tomorrow is primary day  in the Commonwealth. Virginia is a state with many traditions, but voting in a primary isn't one of them. Although it is an open primary - meaning anyone of any party affiliation or none at all can vote - turnout will probably be in single digits in most areas of the state. Not so good, but it does mean that every single vote is even more important. Which is why I voted early-absentee since I'll be returning home tomorrow and one delay could mean I'd be too late to vote.
So, get up with the chickens tomorrow and do your duty - VOTE. And while you are at it, vote for CCC's endorsed candidates:
Creigh Deeds for Governor. While I don't always agree with the News Leader, they have an excellent editorial endorsing Senator Deeds.
Jody Wagner for Lt. Governor.
Greg Marrow for District 25 House of Delegates.
To learn more about the CCC endorsements, check out the most recent posts.
Yep, tomorrow's primary will likely have pitiful turnout. Still, the primary will totally blow out of the barnyard the number of participants the GOP had at their recent convention, a gathering that selected the most right wing ticket possible. So while many, myself included, bemoan the lack of participation in primaries, they encourage more public debate of candidates and issues, they hone the eventual nominee's skills and organization, and they are fundamentally more democratic - both small "d" and big "D."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

From a distance

As you can tell from the photo, I'm watching the closing week of the campaign from a distance. No, not vacationing although the location is certainly famous for that and many other things. Actually, the 8:00 - 5:00 days are all work, grading AP exams for ETS. But the evenings are fine. Missed a photo opportunity this evening as the jumbo jet with the shuttle riding piggyback cruised at low altitude right down the coast. 
Even while I'm in the state that Bushwhacked us, I'm keeping a close eye online and on my inbox for news about Virginia's Democratic primary. Today's big news came from Public Policy Polling - new numbers are in that show Creigh Deeds pulling ahead in the last weeks of the campaign. According to the poll Creigh Deeds is at 27%, followed by Terry McAuliffe at 24%, and Brian Moran at 22%. The previous poll had McAuliffe at 29% while Deeds and Moran were trailing at 20% each.
Now this is certainly great news, but with six days to go, it is still a jump ball. For one thing, the poll's MoE is ±4.1%. For another thing, there are still a lot of undecideds. 
The poll cites a couple of developments - notably the Washington Post's endorsement of Creigh Deeds and a decline in McAuliffe's support in regions where Moran has run ads attacking him. 
Now the poll doesn't say this, but from where I roost, I'd say there is another factor at play - Democrats are coming back to the Virginia flock. Democrats know Creigh Deeds. He is one of them and has carried the party banner through lean years and the recent blue years. He's steady. He is true blue. At the end of the day, Democrats want a candidate who will be a winner in November and that candidate is Creigh Deeds. One opponent hasn't quite made the sale. The other talks big but we know he is a roll of the dice, and Virginians aren't big on gambling.
The poll also found Jody Wagner leading Mike Signer 27% to 11%. Lots of undecideds there too!
With the race so close, and the future of the Democratic Party and Virginia at stake, it is critical to get out the Deeds vote. Since I've flown the coop, I've already cast my vote for Creigh and Jody and have been reminding family and friends to make voting a priority on June 9. That's your job too - be sure you vote and get others to do the same. If Virginia Democrats turn out, Creigh Deeds will be our nominee and Bob McDonnell will be worried... very worried.