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Black Eyed Pea Rocks Virginia Campaign Trail

Black Eyed Pea Rocks Virginia Campaign Trail

By Kyle Trygstad - May 12, 2009

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Seeking "young professionals" and the "young-at-heart," Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe held a fundraiser last night at a Northern Virginia club, featuring hip-hop stars Will.i.am and Biz Markie.

Will.i.am, a member of the Black Eyed Peas, appeared at four campaign stops and did some eight radio interviews yesterday with McAuliffe, who's hoping some star power will boost youth turnout in the June 9 Democratic primary. While an event in Norfolk earlier in the day drew just 30 people, a few hundred attended the event last night -- which charged $20 to get in, and $500 for a VIP reception beforehand.

Biz Markie served as disc jockey for most of the event, until Will.i.am took over the turntables for the last hour or so. During a press gaggle in the basement before appearing on stage, McAuliffe and Will.i.am could hardly hear reporters' questions as the bass boomed from the ceiling.

Calling McAuliffe a "wonderful guy," Will.i.am said he believes McAuliffe "as governor will bring the jobs to Virginia" and that he wished McAuliffe was running in California, where he lives.

After working together for John Kerry's presidential bid in 2004," Will.i.am said he and McAuliffe "went our separate ways since then -- he supported Hillary Clinton, I supported Barack Obama. But that didn't change how I felt about Terry."

Introducing McAuliffe to the stage, Biz sang his classic hit "Just a Friend" but altered the lyrics to fit the moment. "Oh baby you/Got what I need/Because Terry is our friend/Because Terry is our friend/Oh baby you!"

"The Republicans, they're upset," McAuliffe told the crowd, citing the GOP's losses in Virginia last year. "They say, 'This is our chance. If we win, it sets us up for 2010, and that sets us up for 2012.' "

Saying the November 2009 general election will be a tough race that Democrats need to win, McAuliffe touted a campaign volunteer roster of 4,000 and a "campaign no one's seen before."

Prior to that, McAuliffe will need to boost turnout to get through the primary against Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds -- both veterans of state politics. McAuliffe, the ultimate Washington insider who now refers to himself as a Richmond "outsider," is admittedly new to the Virginia political landscape, as well as its voters.

 

Kyle Trygstad is a Washington correspondent for RealClearPolitics. Email him at: kyle@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @KyleTrygstad.

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