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Blog Home Page --> Governor -- Virginia

Gov. McDonnell's GOP Response Excerpts

Here are excerpts from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's offical Republican response, which he will deliver from the Virginia Capitol following President Obama's State of the Union address. The excerpts were distributed by the governor's office.


"Good government policy should spur economic growth, and strengthen the private sector's ability to create new jobs. We must enact policies that promote entrepreneurship and innovation, so America can better compete with the world. What government should not do is pile on more taxation, regulation, and litigation that kill jobs and hurt the middle class."

Continue reading "Gov. McDonnell's GOP Response Excerpts" »

Election Night Live Blog

Head over to the RCP Blog for a live election night thread on the races in New Jersey, Virginia, New York and elsewhere. Mike and I, as well as our RCP colleagues, will be updating it throughout the night.

Mike is in New Jersey and I'm in Virginia.

Enough Sound Checks Already

RICHMOND -- OK, sound checks are part of the process of setting up an election night party, especially one most expect to be of the victorious sort. But there's only so many times you probably need to play the following refrain:

"I gotta feeling, I gotta feeling, I gotta feeling / that tonight's gonna be a good night, that tonight's gonna be a good night, that tonight's gonna be a good good night / I gotta feeling."

And the Deeds campaign just released another turnout report from campaign manager Joe Abbey:

"Our afternoon reports have shown that Charlottesville continues to be a bright spot for Deeds turnout today, with numbers running way ahead of targets. Democratic turnout has surged in Roanoke over the past several hours and we are hitting our targets in Democratic precincts in that market. And turnout continue to look strong in key precincts in Northern Virginia."

Facing daunting polling numbers over the past month, Deeds advisers have continued to say that if they can just get a few hundred thousand Obama surge voters out to the polls they can win this thing. Easier said than done, of course, but it's their one hope and something they pushed pretty hard for the last few days with door knocks and phone banking.

The lack of an energized base in Northern Virginia, as well as the big question mark that is those Obama voters around the state, especially in Hampton Roads, make predicting Deeds' final tally pretty tough.

Live From Bob McDonnell Election Night Headquarters

RICHMOND -- Not much excitement here yet at Bob McDonnell's election night headquarters, downtown in a large hotel ballroom. The Creigh Deeds campaign has set up camp on the outskirts of Richmond -- perhaps analagous to where the candidate will find himself when the polls close at 7 p.m., on the outside looking in.

Hoping for positive, midday media reports, the Deeds campaign released a statement just before 1 p.m. (while this reporter was driving down from D.C.) stating that turnout was looking good in essential counties for statewide Democratic candidates.

"We are seeing encouraging numbers in key parts of the state. Northern and Central Virginia in particular look strong," said Deeds campaign manager Joe Abbey. "The Charlottesville area, which includes areas represented by Creigh Deeds in the state Senate is particularly strong and 10 percent of voters in key Democratic precincts had already voted by 10 AM. Meanwhile, voters in the populous and Democratic precincts of Alexandria and Arlington have been voting at rates well above the average in other parts of the Commonwealth."

Deeds currently trails by 13.4 points in the polls and recent fundraising data shows he's way behind in large donations received over the last two weeks of the campaign.

McDonnell, according to reports compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project, accepted nearly $1.5 million in $5,000+ donations since the last campaign finance filing deadline on Oct. 21. That's three times what Deeds took in, and Deeds started the last two weeks far less dough than McDonnell.

It was evident in Northern Virginia, where McDonnell blanketed the airwaves with ads showing him to be a pragmatic problem solver in Richmond and a candidate for governor -- though it wasn't clear which party he was part of.

Countdown '09: New York-23, New Jersey and Virginia (Today!)

NEW YORK-23 (Latest Polls)

*A local paper writes about the big final rallies.

*Scozzafava talks about her decision to drop out, and back the Democrat.

*What to watch for in the race.

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +1.0)

*On Election Day, Gov. Jon Corzine's schedule is heavy on labor GOTV events. Chris Christie visits some diners and goes to a local GOP headquarters. Chris Daggett also has some retail stops and does some interviews.

*Expecting a recount? And charges of voter fraud. Gear up for what could be a wild day.

*Judges and attorneys will be on hand in courthouses around the state.

*Democrats admitted that they were behind a robocall praising indie Daggett and knocking Republican Christie.

*The suburbs are key in a state that's mostly suburban.

*Corzine thinks he has momentum.

*Look who joined Christie yesterday: former Gov. Christie Whitman. Also, Tom Kean.

*The Seinfeld of races: A "campaign about nothing"?

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +13.4)

*Polls close at 7 p.m. ET.

*Down so far in the polls, Deeds is facing a tougher task of getting out the vote than McDonnell.

*Virginians want "jobs, jobs and more jobs."

*Both candidates swung through Charlottesville yesterday.

*Chuck Todd calls Deeds' campaign "inept."

*Brad Todd says the race came down to the "advertising decisions made by both parties" in Northern Virginia.

*Democratic strategists are preparing to lose all three big races today.

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +18

SurveyUSA's latest poll slams another nail in Virginia Democrats' coffin, as it shows Republicans leading each of the top three races on the ticket by at least 16 points -- including gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell up 18 points. The potential GOP sweep tomorrow would certainly be a blow to Dems, who have enjoyed a run of statewide success in recent years.

McDonnell now leads by 14.0 points in the RCP Average for Virginia. Both candidates will be in Richmond tomorrow night, on opposite sides of the city.

Countdown '09: New York-23, New Jersey and Virginia (1 Day)

NEW YORK-23 (Latest Polls)

*Owens (D) and Scozzafava (R), together on the campaign trail.

*Politico has a tick-tock on Scozzafava's decision to back the Democrat.

*VP Biden will do what he can today as he campaigns for Owens.

*The race could be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the conservative base bucking national GOP leadership.

*The weekend's developments will reverberate beyond the district's boundaries.

*Is it a good sign for the GOP if NY-23 is a bellwether for 2010?

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +1.2)

*New Polls: Is Christie pulling ahead?

*The Times looks at Democratic efforts to score a victory tomorrow.

*Christie says it all comes down to turnout.

*Republicans are unhappy with a late robocall that aims to push Christie voters to Daggett.

*Joe "You Lie" Wilson was in the Garden State boosting his fellow Republican.

*The Post says Obama's butt is on the line for Corzine.

*Property taxes is the big issue, as always.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +13.8)

*New York Times looks at the two governor's races and what they could mean for Obama and Democrats.

*McDonnell appears to be running away with the race.

*Deeds took to criticizing McDonnell for negative campaigning.

*Whoever is elected will likely need to slash the budget, as the state faces a $1 billion shortfall.

*Jim Moran being Jim Moran: He compares McDonnell to Taliban.

*Did GOP's road to victory start with "The Deal"?

*What it's really all about -- this is where the candidates stand on the issues.

*Sarah Palin is robo-calling Virginians, urging them to "vote for Sarah's principles."

VA Gov Polls: McDonnell Running Away With It

Two new polls in Virginia find Bob McDonnell leading by double digits, with Election Day now just 24 hours away. If the polls are even close to accurate, it would appear Creigh Deeds will lose to the Republican for the second election in a row, after losing the 2005 attorney general race by fewer than 400 votes. The margin likely won't be so close this time.

McDonnell leads by 14 points in a PPP survey released this morning (Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 1457 LV, MoE +/- 2.6%). The polling firm has found the GOPer to be up by a similar margin in each of its other two surveys released in the past month.

Yesterday, the latest Richmond Times-Dispatch poll conducted by Mason-Dixon found McDonnell up 12 points, 53%-41% (Oct. 28-29, 625 RV, MoE +/- 4.25%).

As reporter Jeff Schapiro wrote, McDonnell "appears poised to win the governorship and lead a GOP sweep Tuesday, ending nearly a decade of reverses for his party."

McDonnell now leads by 13.8 points in the RCP Average for Virginia.

Gibbs: Election Defeats Would Not Hurt Obama

Press secretary Robert Gibbs took a cautious approach when asked at today's White House briefing what the political repercussions would be for President Obama if Democrats are swept on Tuesday.

"We'll have time to dissect whatever those results are on Tuesday, " he said. "Whatever the results are, I don't think they portend a lot in dealing with the future."

He noted that Democrats won both governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey in 2001, in former President Bush's first year in office. "I don't think anybody thought that when they looked at the election results in 2002, they thought President Bush was significantly hampered by that."

Polls point to a big Republican win in Virginia on Tuesday, while New Jersey's governorship is still a toss up. President Obama campaigns there on Sunday, with stops that will guarantee coverage in both the Philadelphia and New York media markets that reach New Jersey homes.

When asked what he thought the impact would be, Gov. Jon Corzine (D) told RCP last week that a victory "would enhance the credibility of the party."

"What I don't think is going to happen if the opposite would happen, I don't think it hurts them," he added. "People can look at what the polls were in July."

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +10

A new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll finds Bob McDonnell (R) leading Creigh Deeds (D) by 10 points, his smallest margin this week (Oct. 26-28, 600 LV, MoE +/- 4%).

McDonnell 54
Deeds 44
Und 2

McDonnell leads by 14.3 points in the RCP Average for Virginia

With four days left for a comeback in the Virginia gubernatorial race, the Deeds campaign says it's dispersing field volunteers to knock on 175,000 doors this weekend and 200,000 doors Tuesday, as it seeks out those voters who came out for Pres. Obama last year.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (4 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Corzine +1.3)

*Loads of new polls confirm a tight, down-to-the-wire race.

*New York Times interviewed both candidates, who "made no apologies for the ugly tone of the campaign."

*Just how involved is the White House? Very.

*And Obama is on his way back this weekend.

*Bergen County is key, which is why Rudy Giuliani campaigns there with Christie today.

*The Daily Record endorses Christie. The New York Daily News backs Corzine.

*Christie embraced his girth, and urged Corzine to "man up."

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +14.3)

*Republicans are working as if they're behind, despite the polls showing such a large lead for McDonnell.

*Deeds said "polls don't matter" at a tailgate event last night before Virginia Tech lost a heartbreaker to UNC.

*This race is a chance for Republicans to show that Obama's "star is fading."

*Michael Steele says the race is a referendum on Democratic leadership in Virginia.

*It's a stretch to call Tuesday's elections bellwethers -- they're more like preseason games.

*The NJ and VA races are not national referenda.

*A look inside how the two candidates have spent their money.

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +17

Five days to go and another new poll finds Bob McDonnell (R) leading by double digits. The GOP nominee leads Democrat Creigh Deeds by 17 points in the Roanoke College Poll (Oct. 21-27, 569 LV, MoE +/- 4.1%).

"Deeds is facing a steep uphill battle in so far as he has a lot of ground to make up in one week, and the tide is not moving in his direction," said Roanoke pollster Harry Wilson.

McDonnell 53
Deeds 36
Und 11

McDonnell leads by 15.2 points in the RCP Average for Virginia

This is the second poll in two days in whch Deeds has garnered just 36% of the vote. The last time he received at least 45% was in mid-September.

Dear Virginia, Please Vote For Creigh Deeds

Having already appeared at two rallies in the state and currently being featured in TV ads, President Barack Obama has now penned a letter to 330,000 "surge voters" in Virginia in an effort to get out the vote for gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds.

"To move this country forward, I need the support and partnership of good governors who are ready to help lay the foundations of change," Obama writes. "And this November 3rd is your opportunity to help Virginia do just that. Creigh Deeds is the governor we need to continue the progress made by Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and he is the partner I need in Virginia to help put our country back on track."

You can see a copy of the letter here.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (5 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Corzine +2.0)

*Christie predicted victory yesterday as he kicked off a bus tour of the state.

*Chris Daggett has a new ad, again featuring those Corzine and Christie doubles.

*The indie tried to convince voters wary of casting a third-party vote yesterday on the trail.

*Rothenberg gives his latest take on both NJ and VA races.

*Was Christie's urban strategy a risk worth taking?

*AP reports on the concerns from a recent focus group of indies.

*Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is in New Jersey today campaigning with Corzine.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +13.4)

*Two more polls found McDonnell up by double digits.

*Karl Rove writes today that GOP victories in either New Jersey or Virginia "will tell Democrats in red states and districts that support for Obama's policies is risky to their political health."

*Mitt Romney hit the stump with McDonnell and the Lt. Gov. and Atty. Gen. nominees, saying they'll "make Virginia again a shining light for the entire nation."

*Rudy Giuliani dropped by the state as well, campaigning on McDonnell's behalf in Fredericksburg alongside 2005 loser Jerry Kilgore.

*Michael Steele thinks Election Day is going to be "sweet."

*Bad sign for Deeds: The University of Richmond paper says "student interest at [U of R] continues to be sparse."

*Deeds swung through college-town Charlottesville, located in his state Senate district.

*Both participated in a Northern Virginia Halloween parade.

*McDonnell critics think he may have put ideology above the law as attorney general.

The Deeds Looks Done

Two more polls in the Virginia gubernatorial race released today show Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds trailing by 13 and 18 points, making it four straight finding the state senator down double digits. The latest releases came from Rasmussen Reports and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Obama addressed Deeds's poor poll results during his speech at a Deeds rally in Norfolk, Va., yesterday, and attempted to boost the spirits of the supporters and get them to the level of enthusiasm they were at this time last year, just before he ended Republican presidential nominees' 44-year winning streak in the state.

"So now we're ... a week from Creigh Deeds' election, and a lot of people are saying, oh, you know, the polls don't look the way we want them to, and I'm not sure it's going to happen, and folks are just kind of staying home," said Obama. "Listen, let me tell you something. I don't believe in 'can't.' ... Go out and get your cousin, who you had to drag to the polls last November, Cousin Pookie. You go out and get him and you tell him, you got to vote again this time."

Pookie may not be enough for Deeds, who now trails by 13.4 points in the RCP Average.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (6 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Corzine +0.6)

*A new Q poll puts Corzine up 5. He trailed by 1 in the last Q poll two weeks ago.

*The AP looks at how the Phillies-Yankees World Series could impact the race. Chris Christie has raised $11.7 million and spent $8.8 million. Independent Chris Daggett has raised $1.3 million and spent $1.2 million.

*Corzine has spent $23 million of his own money on the race.

*Bill Clinton was again campaigning for Corzine yesterday.

*Christie says Rudy Giuliani and former Govs. Christie Whitman and Tom Kean will be stumping for him in the final days.

*The Gov backtracks somewhat from an alleged attack on Christie's weight.

*Corzine also sells himself to Atlantic City.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +10.8)

*Deeds got a big assist from President Obama.

*But unlike New Jersey, the president won't be back before Election Day.

*Times-Dispatch follows the money.

*Is Deeds hurting the whole Democratic ticket?

*Michael Steele joins Bob McDonnell on the trail later this week.

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +17

A week after it found Bob McDonnell (R) leading by 19 points, SurveyUSA's latest poll hardly offers Creigh Deeds (D) any better news, as McDonnell's lead has dropped just 2 points (Oct. 25-26, 502 LV, MoE +/- 4.4%).

Also crushing to Democrats' hopes is that just 1% remain undecided. Their only hope is to bring more Dems out to the polls a week from today, though there is evidence that the party's base is not excited about the candidate. According to the poll, just 85% of Democrats plan to vote for Deeds, compared with 92% of Republicans planning to vote for McDonnell.

McDonnell 58 (-1 vs. last poll, Oct. 20)
Deeds 41 (+1)
Und 1

McDonnell leads by 10.8 points in the RCP Average for Virginia

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (7 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Corzine +0.2)
*The three candidates are mounting a final push with one week to go.

*Corzine is pushing for Latino voters, including with Spanish-language ad featuring President Obama.

*Christie leads by 3 in a new Rasmussen poll. He's up 4 in a new PPP poll.

*Bill Clinton is back in the state for two events alongside Corzine -- the second Tuesday in a row he's done two events with the governor.

*Corzine thinks using the word "weight" in an ad was not the best choice.

*Most of Corzine's fundraising has come out of his own pocket.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +11.2)
*A new Washington Post poll found McDonnell leading by 11 points with one week to go.

*Obama is headlining a Deeds rally at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, where Deeds needs to boost turnout.

*The Culpeper Star Exponent breaks down Deeds's legislative record.

*Voting for Deeds doesn't send a message to Richmond and Washington that Virginians want a divided government.

*John McCain says the Va. and N.J. governor's races are "usually exaggerated in their importance" since they're "the only game in town."

*McDonnell has raised more money and spent more money than Deeds.

VA Gov: New WaPo Poll May Be Knock Out Punch

On the eve of President Obama's last-ditch trip to the Commonwealth to rally Hampton Roads-area Democrats to get to the polls, Washington Post released a new poll (Oct. 22-25, 1206 LV) finding Republican nominee Bob McDonnell up 11 points with just a week left to go. McDonnell again won more than 50% and scored his largest lead in the Post's polling of the race, and the poll leaves supporters of Creigh Deeds wondering how he can pull off a victory.

McDonnell 55 (+2 vs. last poll, Oct. 8)
Deeds 44 (nc)

With seven days to go, McDonnell leads by 11.2 points in the RCP Average for Virginia.

As a sign of the push the national parties are making for this race, McDonnell spent $6.7 million and Deeds spent nearly $5 million in the first three weeks of October. Deeds took in $3.1 million over that same span and has just under $1 million on hand as of Oct. 21, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. McDonnell raised $4 million and has $1.8 million cash on hand.

Rep. Cao Stumping Tuesday For McDonnell

Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.) will stump for Virginia gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell (R) tomorrow at a Vietnamese shopping center in Northern Virginia. Cao, who knocked off ethically-challenge Bill Jefferson in 2008 in Louisiana's heavily Democratic 2nd District, is the first Vietnamese-American ever elected to Congress.

In the Nov. 3 election, McDonnell is hoping to unsettle the mostly Democratic dominance in Northern Virginia, where nearly one-third of the state's voters reside.

Cao will join McDonnell at the Eden Center in Falls Church, one of the most ethnically-diverse locales in the state. Gov. Tim Kaine (D) campaigned alongside Deeds Oct. 17 at the Eden Center, home to a number of Vietnamese-owned small businesses and restaurants.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (8 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Corzine +0.1)
*Endorsing Christie on Sunday: Atlantic City Press, Cherry Hill Courier-Post, New York Post, and Asbury Park Press.

*Endorsing Corzine on Sunday: Bergen Record and Trenton Times.

*The GOP is worried about independent candidate Chris Daggett's impact on the race.

*NJ Biz takes a pass on endorsing.

*Daggett refused this morning to pledge not to take a position in the Corzine administration.

*As Middlesex County goes, so goes the election.

*All three candidates agree on the importance of Atlantic City.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +10.9)
*Endorsing McDonnell on Sunday: Richmond Times-Dispatch, Waynesboro News Virginian, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, Bristol Herald Courier, and Culpeper Star Exponent.

*Endorsing Deeds on Sunday: Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot and Roanoke Times.

*Deeds supporters see Obama surge voters as key to victory.

*McDonnell is counting on the help of Mitt Romney on Wednesday to counter Obama's visit on Tuesday.

*Ex-Wilder adviser/ex-Va. Dem Party Chair Paul Goldman doesn't like the White House's treatment of Deeds.

*Deeds toured 11 black churches in the Hampton Roads area.

*Gov. Tim Kaine spent Sunday trying to ramp up excitement among volunteers.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (11 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Corzine +0.1)

*Bloomberg leads with the property tax back-and-forth in last night's radio debate.

*Christie sought to capitalize on the conviction of the former Bergen County Democratic chairman. But Corzine's running mate was one of his biggest foes.

*Former Gov. Tom Kean cut an ad for Christie, criticizing Corzine's negative ads.

*The Inquirer profiles Daggett.

*Both sides are sniping about the other's transparency issues.

*More polls, more deadlock.

*WSJ sees New Jersey as a case study of problems with the major parties.

*Tim Pawlenty, RGA vice chair, said victory is likely in Virginia but called New Jersey a dead heat.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +10.9)

*A brutal, tossed under the bus story in the Post as the White House distances itself from Deeds.

*Obama and Clinton aren't the only big names coming to the Commonwealth -- so are Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Haley Barbour, and football hall-of-famers Bruce Smith and Lou Holtz.

*Deeds surrogates are pushing the education argument for why he's their man.

*Loudoun Times-Mirror does a race overview.

*The RGA has taken yet another awkward post-debate gaggle and turned it into a negative ad.

*McDonnell is up with a negative TV ad on Deeds's "job-killing policies."

*McDonnell's only option in the race was "all-out obfuscation," according to The Nation.

*Deeds is airing a second ad on The Washington Post's endorsement of him -- though this one includes all the negative lines about McDonnell.

McDonnell Airs Negative TV Ad

Up nearly 11 points in the polls, Bob McDonnell is launching a new TV ad that hits Deeds for supporting "job-killing policies."

"A billion dollars in new taxes. A new energy tax that would kill up to 56,000 jobs. Deeds pushed a billion dollars in new spending. Creigh Deeds, higher taxes, job-killing policies," the ad narrator states.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (12 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +0.4)

*Loads of coverage of the Obama/Corzine rally yesterday is exactly what the campaign was hoping for. Mike was there, too.

*Christie called the Obama visit a sign of Corzine's weakness.

*Bloomberg looks at Corzine's Beltway surrogate strategy, which also now includes Caroline Kennedy.

*A closer look at the Daggett factor, dominating operatives' attention. Wall Street Journal also profiles him.

*A WSJ columnist says Daggett has risen because Christie has flopped.

*The Inquirer profiles Corzine, and the "learning curve" he faced taking office four years ago. The New York Times Magazine also looks at Corzine's bid.

*Answering GOP calls for transparency, Corzine released info on his charitable donations.

*Tonight there is one final debate, on radio, featuring the three candidates.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +10.9)

*Deeds is taking part in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's forum tonight in Hampton; McDonnell will do so tomorrow.

*Another poll found Deeds down by double digits, but Obama is coming Tuesday to Norfolk and is featured in a new TV ad.

*AP calls the president Deeds's "biggest gun."

*McDonnell touted his socially-conservative principles to a crowd of conservatives yesterday.

*New York Times weighs in on Virginia's gun show loophole.

*National Review editor Rich Lowry calls McDonnell a "conservative pragmatist."

*McDonnell is on a "New Jobs, New Virginia" tour.

*Washington Examiner endorses McDonnell.

*Falls Church News-Press endorses Deeds.

Deeds Down 12, Obama To The Rescue

Yet another new poll finds Virginia gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds (D) trailing his Republican opponent by double digits. This one is from Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm, which finds Deeds down 12 points with less than two weeks to go until the election.

The survey falls in line with other polls released this week in Virginia, including one from SurveyUSA that found Bob McDonnell (R) leading by 19 points. No one expects the margin to be that high, but even Bill Clinton couldn't help but mention Deeds's poor poll positioning while speaking with the Democratic nominee yesterday at a Northern Virginia rally.

On the way to help as well is President Obama, who appears in a new TV ad launched today by the Deeds campaign and will stump for Deeds next week. The campaign announced this morning that Obama's previously-announced Oct. 27 event will take place at Old Dominion University in Norfolk -- home to large numbers of black voters who turned out en masse for Obama last year.

The event is part of an effort by the Deeds campaign and the Democratic National Committee to energize these so-called "surge voters," or "sleeping giants" as the campaign calls them, who so far have proved apathetic -- at least according to polls released this month.

"Last year, Virginia, you helped lead a movement of Americans who believed that their voices could make a difference," Obama says in the ad, which uses a clip of him from an August rally in Northern Virginia. "That's what we need to do in this race. That's what Creigh Deeds is committed to. I need every one of you to get fired up once again so that we can go towards the future, with Creigh Deeds leading the great Commonwealth of Virginia."

Here is the ad:

McDonnell leads by 10.9 points in the RCP Average for Virginia. The PPP poll was not included in the average, as partisan-affiliated polling firms will not be added to the Averages in the last two weeks of the 2009 elections.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (13 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +0.4)

*Appearing with Corzine, Bill Clinton urged New Jerseyans not to vote out of frustration.

*Obama comes to the rescue today.

*Sen. Frank Lautenberg called for a probe of Christie's alleged politicking with the U.S. Attorney's office.

*Christie wants Corzine to open up his checkbook and live up to promises to be transparent.

*The Star-Ledger editorializes on Corzine's hidden spending.

*The Record says both campaigns are exaggerating claims about the mammogram issue.

*Daggett left a loaded gun in a loaner car.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +10.9)

*No game-changing moments last night in the final debate of the campaign.

*Despite the debate's conducive format, neither candidate struck a major blow.

*Earlier in the day, Bill Clinton said to "never underestimate" Deeds, who beat his guy, Terry McAuliffe, in the June primary.

*A SurveyUSA poll released late yesterday found McDonnell leading by his largest margin ever.

*Deeds is going to need "sleeping giants" and game changing moments to win this thing.

*The Washington Times endorsed McDonnell.

*Does Doug Wilder's non-endorsement really matter for Deeds?

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +19

A new poll from SurveyUSA finds Bob McDonnell (R) leading the Virginia gubernatorial race by 19 points with 59% of the vote -- his highest tally in any general election poll (Oct. 17-19, 595 LV, MoE +/- 4%). The standout stat from the survey results is that 71% of independents support McDonnell.

McDonnell 59 (+5 vs. last poll, Oct. 5)
Deeds 40 (-3)
Und 1

McDonnell now leads by 10.9 points in the RCP Average for Virginia

Two other polls released in the last 24 hours found McDonnell's lead to be lower. A Clarus poll released this morning found McDonnell up 8 points, and a Christopher Newport University poll out last night had the Republican up 14 points.

Deeds Needs Sleeping Giants, Game Changers To Win

Here is my story today on Bill Clinton's visit to Northern Virginia on behalf of Deeds, and what the Democratic nominee needs to make a comeback in the polls:

The Commonwealth of Virginia is in the midst of a Democratic victory streak that polls show could come to a halt in two weeks. Bob McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, has led his Democratic opponent in every poll over the last four months, and currently stands ahead by more than 9 points in the RealClearPolitics Average.

For Creigh Deeds, a longtime Democratic state legislator, to win, his campaign knows it must reach the voters that turned Virginia blue in the 2008 presidential election for the first time in 44 years. Deeds will get some help from the man that won that election, President Barack Obama, on Oct. 27, and today he received an assist from the previous Democratic president, Bill Clinton.

Introducing Clinton at a Northern Virginia rally Tuesday was Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton fundraiser who was trounced by Deeds in the June primary. In his brief and energized remarks, McAuliffe acknowledged Deeds' poor poll positioning.

"It's going to be the greatest comeback in the history of American politics," said McAuliffe, overstating the point.

Read the rest here.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (14 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +0.6)

*A new Monmouth poll has the race tied.

*The NY Times questions whether the U.S. Attorney's office was improperly working to help Christie's campaign.

*A pastor who recently endorsed Corzine got big bucks from the governor last year.

*Biden guaranteed a Corzine win if his voters turn out.

*As Corzine campaigns with Democratic stars, Christie says people are focused on taxes.

*The governor called for budget cuts as revenues came in lower than projected.

*Bobby Jindal raised money for Christie last night.

*A Star-Ledger columnist thinks Christie's urban strategy was a loser from the start.

*Stu Rothenberg still thinks there's a path to victory for Christie.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +9.5)

*McDonnell and Deeds will take part tonight in the final debate before the election, held at Roanoke College. Deeds will appear this morning with Bill Clinton and Terry McAuliffe in Northern Virginia.

*Two new polls find McDonnell leading by 8 and 14 points.

*Deeds is making a final push to awaken the Obama voters who so far are unexcited about him.

*Deeds handlers say it's "game over" if they're able to do that.

*Deeds says he'll be the "chief job recruiter" if elected governor.

*Virginia's First Lady is hitting the road for Deeds today to highlight his "strong record of investing in public education."

*The race is a 'snapshot' of the country as a whole.

*Both candidates are courting absentee voters.

McDonnell Up 8, 14 In Latest Polls

With two weeks to go in the election for governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell leads by 8 points in the latest Clarus Research poll (Oct. 18-19, 605 LV, MoE +/- 4%). Despite the Deeds campaign's targeting of women as it focused on McDonnell's 1989 thesis, McDonnell leads among women 45%-44%, and Deeds holds just a 7-point lead in Northern Virginia, where Democrats must win by substantial margins to be victorious statewide.

McDonnell 49 (+7 vs. last poll, Sept. 15)
Deeds 41 (+4)
Und 10 (-10)

Another new survey by Christopher Newport University (Oct. 8-13, 506 LV, MoE +/- 4.4%) finds McDonnell with an even larger lead -- 14 points. However, twice as many voters in this poll remain undecided. Some one-in-five voters remain undecided in Northern Virginia, as are one-in-four women and African Americans.

McDonnell 45
Deeds 31
Und 22

Overall, McDonnell leads by 9.5 points in the RCP Average for Virginia Governor

New Deeds Ad Touts Post Endorsement

Creigh Deeds has moved quickly to promote his endorsement from The Washington Post over the weekend. The Deeds campaign just released a 30-second TV ad that will air in Northern Virginia, most likely until the election, which is just two weeks away.

Still down 8.8 points in the RCP Average, Deeds has had a great few days -- along with the Post endorsement, the campaign announced that both President Obama and Bill Clinton will campaign with Deeds. Clinton is appearing with Deeds tomorrow in Northern Virginia, and Obama will stump for him Oct. 27 at a location that has yet to be released.

The Post's endorsement of Deeds in the primary played an integral role in his winning the June 9 contest over the better-funded and more well-known Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran. The Deeds campaign blanketed Northern Virginia with signs touting the endorsement, and also ran TV and radio ads.

Bill Clinton To Stump For Deeds Tomorrow

Former President Bill Clinton will campaign for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds tomorrow in Northern Virginia, the Deeds campaign announced this morning. Deeds will be joined by both Clinton and Democratic primary rival, Terry McAuliffe, at a 12:30 p.m. event in McLean.

Clinton's appearance means Deeds will have the assistance of two Democratic presidents within a week -- the campaign announced over the weekend that President Obama will return to the state Oct. 27. Obama previously stumped and raised money for Deeds in early August, but some reports said the White House was wary of returning the president to Virginia where Deeds's standing in the polls has deteriorated.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (15 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +0.8)

*Endorsements: Home News Tribune for Chris Christie; Philly Inquirer and New York Times for Jon Corzine.

*Friday's debate: Christie was on the attack; Corzine defended his record; was Daggett the loser?

*Will national Democratic star-power help Corzine this week?

*Walter Shapiro thinks Christie blew a chance to win the race for the GOP.

*Daggett added another hurdle for the Republicans.

*Does Corzine's reticence to boast about himself make for bad politics?

*Republicans are looking for more transparency from Corzine's foundation.

*Restaurateurs back Christie.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +8.8)

*Obama is coming back to campaign with Deeds Oct. 27, and his clout will be tested Nov. 3.

*The Washington Post endorsed R. Creigh Deeds for governor.

*The Newport News Daily Press endorsed Bob McDonnell for governor.

*Dems see a path to victory for Deeds, but it's narrow.

*Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), who faced similar questions in 2006, says McDonnell's 1989 thesis is fair game.

*Deeds is struggling to hold together the Obama voters: blacks, young voters, women and independents.

*It's debatable how telling the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races will be for 2010.

*Terry McAuliffe says Deeds will win by 2 points -- and Jon Corzine will win by 7 in New Jersey.

Corzine: Victories In NJ, VA Could "Enhance" Obama

The Democratic cavalry is descending on New Jersey next week in a major push for Gov. Jon Corzine. Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton and President Obama will all hold rallies with the embattled Democrat on successive days starting Monday, as the party looks to energize supporters for a final 15-day push.

Corzine, speaking to small donors on a conference call with representatives from the Democratic Governors Association, called this support from the party critical as he looks to be the first Democrat re-elected in the state in 32 years. Victories in New Jersey and Virginia would also have national ramifications, he added.

"They will not reflect I think on the success of the president, but they will certainly enhance the president if we are successful," Corzine said on the call. "All elections have local character to them, but it will be an important message back to what is a very, very competitive Republican run, certainly in New Jersey and it sounds like in Virginia."

He cited the statistic that no party that holds the White House has been able to win in New Jersey or Virginia since 1985, and called his situation "ominously parallel" to then-Gov. Jim Florio's in 1993, a year after Clinton's election with a health care debate heating up in Washington.

"We lost that race by 25,000 votes. We are going to do everything possible that we don't have that outcome in 2009," he said.

Continue reading "Corzine: Victories In NJ, VA Could "Enhance" Obama" »

McDonnell Raised $3.8M In September, Deeds $3.5M

Bob McDonnell (R) raised $3.8 million in September and had $4.5 million remaining at the end of the month, according to campaign finance reports due today, per the Virginia Public Access Project. That cash-on-hand total puts McDonnell nearly $2 million ahead of Creigh Deeds (D), who raised $3.5 million last month and has more than $2.7 million in the bank.

McDonnell currently leads Deeds in the Virginia gubernatorial race by 8.8 points in the RCP Average. Both Deeds and McDonnell have been ratcheting up their spending in the final weeks of the campaign, as polling has moved in McDonnell's direction. Deeds spent nearly $4.79 million in September and McDonnell dropped $4.36 million.

Despite the polling and fundraising deficit, the Deeds campaign released a statement citing their competitive month of fundraising.

"We are encouraged by the enthusiasm from grassroots Virginians and the investments of the Democratic National Committee," said Deeds campaign manager Joe Abbey. "Their support will help us as we move to turn out an unprecedented Democratic vote in 19 days."

The McDonnell campaign issued a statement critical of the Deeds camp's union donors and its strategy of highlighting McDonnell's 1989 graduate school thesis.

"Bankrolled by big national labor unions and national Democrats, we know Creigh Deeds will continue to run one of the most negative and divisive campaigns in Virginia political history," McDonnell campaign manager Phil Cox said. "The conduct of his campaign to date gives us no reason to expect him to address the issues Virginians are concerned about."

Through the end of August, Deeds had received a total of $2.2 million from the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Governors Association, as well as at least $1.5 million from national labor unions.

McDonnell has also received substantial financial support from national Republicans, taking in $3.8 million from the Republican National Committee and Republican Governors Association through the end of August. McDonnell is also attending a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., last night hosted by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Sheila Johnson Cuts Ad For McDonnell

Sheila Johnson, co-founder of BET and part owner of the D.C.'s WNBA team, has cut a TV ad for Bob McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor of Virginia. Johnson had endorsed previous Democratic candidates in the state, but she's throwing her name behind McDonnell in this race.

The ad highlights the fact that Johnson is a Democrat, but also focuses on her business acumen. "I know what it takes to start and grow successful businesses, and create jobs," Johnson says in the ad. "That's why I support Bob McDonnell for governor."

The ad is running in Northern Virginia and aims to cut into Deeds' Democratic base of support. Johnson has also campaigned alongside McDonnell in Hampton Roads, where a substantial number of African American voters who supported Barack Obama for president reside.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (19 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +1.0)

*It's getting "increasingly nasty."

*President Obama to campaign in Hackensack with Gov. Jon Corzine (D).

*Just in time. Corzine needs to re-energize those Obama voters.

*Bad news for the incumbent: unemployment up to 9.8% in New Jersey.

*Chris Christie (R) is still talking about spending.

*Chris Daggett (I) fought back against the RGA attacks, saying it was paid for in part by Christie's brother.

*Is Daggett the New Jersey Ventura?

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +8.8)

*After two tough election cycles, nobody imagined the GOP would be leading with three weeks to go.

*House Minority Leader John Boehner is hosting a fundraiser tonight in D.C. for McDonnell.

*Bet you didn't know about the influence of South Dakota on the Virginia gubernatorial race.

*Virginia isn't reliably red or blue, it's "swing-state purple."

*The state Dem Party chair says getting out the vote is key for a Deeds victory.

*The White House announced yesterday a rally with Corzine, but still no word on Deeds.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (20 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +1.0)

*A new Q poll has it down to 1.

*Christie is facing heat for allegedly spending excessively on travel as the U.S. Attorney.

*Meanwhile, Corzine's office urged state agencies "to orchestrate events showcasing job creation -- even if it is 'a stretch.'"

*Daggett again invoked the '73 Mets in an interview with CBS.

*The RGA is going after Daggett.

*On "Morning Joe" today, Christie said Daggett can't win, and chalked up his shrinking lead to Democrats coming home to Corzine.

*Christie and Daggett debated with an empty chair between them; Corzine skipped a Gannett forum.

*Mario Cuomo campaigned with Corzine last night.

*NewsHour looked at both gubernatorial races.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +8.8)

*A Rasmussen poll out yesterday found McDonnell leading by 7 points.

*Both Deeds and McDonnell say they're the one who will bring the jobs.

*Deeds' "Hope and Opportunity Tour" stop in Southside was actually a tour of his campaign surrogates. A dozen confused supporters showed up in Ringgold to see the state Democratic Party chairman.

*Bob Holsworth reports that the Deeds campaign at least knows who they need to get to the polls Nov. 3 to win.

*UVA's paper reports on confusion and apathy in Charlottesville.

*The candidates are now finger-pointing over the state's move to a private IT system.

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +7

A new Rasmussen survey finds Bob McDonnell (R) leading by 7 points with three weeks to go in the Virginia gubernatorial race (Oct. 12, 750 LV, MoE +/- 4%).

McDonnell receives a 59% favorable rating, compared with Deeds' 47% favorable and 47% unfavorable ratings. Asked who they trust to handle transportation, perhaps the most volatile issue in recent gubernatorial elections in the state, 43% said McDonnell and 37% Deeds.

McDonnell 50 (-1 vs. last poll, Sept. 30)
Deeds 43 (+1)
Und 6

McDonnell leads by 8.8 points in the RCP Average.

So far, Pres. Obama has not committed to returning to the state to campaign with Deeds. The poll finds that 23% would be more likely to vote for Deeds if Obama does come, while 43% said they would be less likely and 32% said it would have no impact.

On McDonnell's graduate school thesis, which has taken a central role in the race thanks to Deeds continuing to push the issue, 55% said it was an important factor in determining how they will vote and 39% said it was not.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (21 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +1.8)

*This morning, Corzine announced he'd consider raising the gas tax to fund transportation projects.

*New ads from a 527 group called New Jersey Progress hit Christie on the mammogram issue. It's airing in Philly this week; the DGA is among contributors to the fund.

*Daggett and Christie will meet with the Gannett editorial board this morning.

*More columnist love for the indie candidate.

*Asked if he thought Christie was fat, Corzine replies, "Am I bald?"

*Mitt Romney pitched in for Christie last night.

*Christie is focusing on property taxes.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +9.2)

*At last night's televised debate, Deeds hit McDonnell on women's issues, while McDonnell criticized Deeds's willingness to raise taxes.

*Deeds, though, did not mention McDonnell's grad school thesis, which has been a centerpiece of the Deeds campaign's criticism.

*Not surprisingly, they each prefer the policies of the most recent presidents from their own parties.

*Would Terry McAuliffe have been a better general election candidate than Deeds?

*Can Deeds come back to win with just three weeks left to go, The Fix wonders?

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (22 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +1.8)

*This weekend's big headline: the Star-Ledger endorses indie Chris Daggett.

*The state's biggest paper also profiles Daggett, Corzine and Christie.

*Did the Star-Ledger endorse too early?

*Daggett also gets the New York Times treatment today.

*Going back to the base? Christie vows to block gay marriage.

*Christie's weight continues to be a focus. Politico looks at how his campaign masks it; he tells AP he has no health issues because of it. Even folks across the pond can't resist the topic.

*Unions are back in Corzine's corner.

*The Star-Ledger traces donations from "special interests."

*Democrats have a registration advantage over Republicans, though the biggest block is "unaffiliated."

*Corruption has faded as a campaign issue.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +9.2)

*It's the biggest debate day of the campaign, as both candidates will meet for an hour-long event that will be televised in most Virginia markets.

*A new Mason-Dixon poll finds McDonnell (R) up 8 points.

*Deeds (D) dropped a new TV ad -- this one positive and including a tuition assistance plan.

*Washington Post profiled McDonnell for the Sunday paper.

*McDonnell spent Saturday tailgating at a JMU football game in Harrisonburg.

*The candidates get personal on social issues, laying out their thoughts to the Virginian-Pilot.

*Adam Nagourney looks at the Obama factor in New Jersey and Virginia.

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +8

Here is one more in a series of recent polls showing Bob McDonnell (R) with an expanding lead against Creigh Deeds (D) in the Battle for the Commonwealth, otherwise known as the Virginia gubernatorial campaign. The Richmond Times-Dispatch poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon, finds McDonnell leading by 8 points with just more than three weeks to go in the race (Oct. 6-8, 625 LV, MoE +/- 4%).

McDonnell 48
Deeds 40
Und 12

"The poll suggests that McDonnell is heading into the final three weeks of the race largely unscathed from Deeds' continuing focus on McDonnell's controversial 1989 law-school thesis," T-D's Jeff Schapiro writes.

McDonnell now leads by 9.2 points in the RCP Average

Deeds: McDonnell's Running the Negative Campaign

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds (D) said this morning that his opponent, Bob McDonnell (R), is running a more negative campaign than him, despite recent polling that appeared to show a backlash to Deeds's negative TV ads.

"He's running more negative points than we're running positive and negative points," Deeds said to Mark Plotkin on WTOP, a D.C. radio station. "He's the one running the negative campaign."

The McDonnell campaign and Republican Governors Association have been running ads highlighting a press gaggle with Deeds following a debate last month, in which Deeds appeared unsteady on the issue of raising taxes. Deeds thinks the ads may be having an effect on his polling -- a Washington Post poll found Deeds's lead in Northern Virginia, a key portion of the state, dwindling. "Obviously I've had an erosion because of those ads," Deeds said.

The Post poll has caused many to believe the race may be all but over, but Deeds offers a recent cautionary tale: "25 days from the Democratic primary nobody thought I was going to win." He would go on to win the same number of votes as Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran put together.

Deeds also said President Obama will return to the Commonwealth to campaign or fundraise with Deeds, as he did in August. "I'll take the President as often as I can get him," he said.

A Wall Street Journal story earlier this week reported that the White House would be backing off from the race. However, as Deeds noted, the Democratic National Committee this week cut him a $1 million check and sent more workers to help his campaign, and Vice President Biden appeared at a Deeds fundraiser last night.

"I don't know where those stories come from," said Deeds, but "I run better as the underdog."

Deeds continued to say that McDonnell's 1989 graduate school thesis puts the former state delegate's legislative record in context, noting that he focused on social issues and never introduced a job-creating bill. He also criticized McDonnell's transportation and promised to fix the funding shortfall by next year.

"I've got the only honest approach and the only approach that will work. Bob McDonnell's plan won't work," said Deeds, who says everything is on the table, including the potential to raise taxes. "If Virginia voters want to continue to sit in traffic they'll vote for the other guy."

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (25 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +1.8)

*The lieutenant governor candidates sparred, traded barbs, and all the other usual debate cliches in what is called a "feisty" debate.

*Gov. Corzine was "uncharacteristically blunt" as he explained how he'd close the state's budget deficit.

*A Star-Ledger columnist continues to slam Christie for lacking specifics.

*Two new polls, different results.

*The RGA has helped Christie close the gap in TV advertising.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +8.5)

*A Washington Post poll out yesterday found McDonnell leading by 9 points -- a blow to the Deeds camp.

*Gov. Tim Kaine says Deeds needs to "energize" the 2008 Obama voters.

*McDonnell is spending the day near the North Carolina border with ex-Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.); Deeds is doing a radio interview on D.C.'s WTOP, which most of Northern Virginia can hear.

*A day after the WaPo poll found Deeds's negative advertising may now be detrimental to his chances, the campaign has released two new positive ads, one TV and one radio.

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +9

Bob McDonnell (R) gets great news today, as the Washington Post's latest poll finds the former state attorney general leading his Democratic opponent, Creigh Deeds, by 9 points (Oct. 5-7, 1001 LV, MoE +/- 3%). This is a 5-point margin increase for the GOP nominee since the Post's last survey in mid-September.

McDonnell 53 (+2 vs. last poll, Sept. 17)
Deeds 44 (-3)

McDonnell now leads by 8.5 points in the RCP Average -- his largest lead since mid-September.

The poll is a blow to Deeds and national Democrats who have been pumping McDonnell's 1989 graduate school thesis through the airwaves for more than a month. They have been especially targeting women, though the Post poll finds Deeds with only a 50%-48% lead among females.

Also catastrophic to Deeds's numbers are his standing among independents and in Democrat-rich Northern Virginia. McDonnell leads independents by a 59%-38% margin, and his 17-point lead in NoVa has dwindled to just 5 points.

"Despite a concerted advertising campaign by Deeds about controversial views McDonnell expressed about working women in his thesis -- the one area where the Republican had appeared vulnerable -- the erosion of support among women and Northern Virginians suggests that the line of attack might have run its course," the Post's Helderman and Cohen write.

To carry on the recent trend of Democratic victories in the state, Deeds needs to win the kind of support President Obama received last year en route to a 6-point victory in the state. However, just 84% of those polled who said they voted for Obama now say they will vote for Deeds, while 13% say they support McDonnell. The GOP nominee also gets 91% of McCain voters.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (26 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +2.6)

*New York Times weighs in on the whether Chris Christie's (R) weight is a factor in the race.

*Vice President Biden and labor comes to the aid of Gov. Jon Corzine (D).

*Also helping: Corzine's wallet. He's spent $19 million of his own money this year.

*Daggett is having trouble raising money still.

*Tonight, the lieutenant governor candidates will debate.

*Christie vs. Corzine, The Boss vs. Bon Jovi.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +7.3)

*The race is a battle of style and ideology, Jill Lawrence writes.

*Deeds gets a boost from the president's half-million e-mail list in the state.

*Some well-known Dems are calling on Deeds to push a more positive message during the campaign's final weeks, something many rank-and-filers around the state may be hoping for as well.

*McDonnell talks hunting and fishing with the Free Lance-Star.

*UVA's newspaper chronicled Deeds' event at the school yesterday.

New McDonnell Ad Knocks Deeds On Taxes

The Bob McDonnell campaign has done the calculations, and it turns out Creigh Deeds' tax policies would cost Virginia families $7,800 over four years and result in the killing of 56,000 jobs, as it states in a new TV ad.

These numbers are based on Deeds' support for a 20-cent gas tax increase and the climate legislation bill passed by the House; although according to the National Association of Manufacturers report that the job loss number is based on, this total would not occur until 2030.

The campaign did not immediately return a message regarding the size and location of the ad buy.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (27 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +2.6)
*Rasmussen has Christie's lead down to 3.

*Christie was defensive yesterday, responding to charges he lacks specifics.

*The Republican promised to restore property tax rebates, but said other cuts will come when the economy improves.

*Big donations, some barred through state campaign accounts, are being funneled through the DGA and RGA.

*A big environmental endorsement for Christie means two green groups have now snubbed Corzine.

*Vice President Biden is making his second trip to New Jersey for Corzine.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +7.3)

*Bad sign for Deeds? Wall Street Journal reports the White House is stepping back from the race.

*Still, VP Biden is coming to help Deeds raise money. John McCain will stump with McDonnell this month as well.

*Deeds said yesterday that Washington is making it harder for him to win.

*At a forum yesterday, Deeds and McDonnell showed that they actually share some common ground.

*Deeds did GOTV work in the college town of Harrisonburg.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (28 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +2.5)

*Gov. Jon Corzine (D) has a lead for the first time since January.

*On "Morning Joe" today, Corzine called Obama a "clear, unadulterated plus" in his bid.

*Chris Christie fights back in a TV ad, and says "exactly" what he'll do. Democrats say he still lacks specifics.

*Today, Christie will accept the endorsement of the New Jersey Environmental Foundation.

*The Republican is sticking to his strategy, while arguing that Chris Daggett (I) won't be a factor.

*Daggett has seen a "modest" fundraising boost since his debate performance.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +7.3)

*Both candidates are participating in a forum this morning in Loudoun County, an essential exurb for both parties. The Washington Post is live-blogging the event.

*Both McDonnell and Deeds are targeting "vote-rich" Northern Virginia.

*Sheila Johnson apologizes for mocking Deeds' halting speaking style -- a video of which was circulated by the Deeds camp.

*By most accounts, this race is getting nasty.

*USA Today sums up the race as a referendum on Pres. Obama.

*McDonnell pledges to not raise taxes for transportation funding.

VA Gov Poll: Deeds Gain, Still Trails

In its second poll in the race in the past week, SurveyUSA finds Creigh Deeds (D) gaining 3 points on Bob McDonnell (R) but still trailing by double digits (Oct. 2-4, 608 LV, MoE +/- 4%). The poll found Deeds picking up support among women, whom the campaign has targeted in much of its ads about McDonnell's socially conservative views.

McDonnell 54 (-1 vs. last poll, Sept. 29)
Deeds 43 (+2)
Und 4 (nc)

McDonnell leads by 7.3 points in the RCP Average

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the popular former governor, hit the trail with Deeds this morning in Arlington. It's just Warner's latest foray into the race -- he's previously stumped alongside Deeds and is also featured in a TV ad.

Warner Stumps For Deeds

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) dropped by an Arlington, Va., cafe this morning to stump for gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, who is currently trailing Bob McDonnell in the polls by 7.2 points. The senator, as well as Deeds's former primary rival Brian Moran, pumped up a small crowd of Deeds supporters as the campaign pushes into full gear with less than a month to go.

"As my friend Mark Warner, our great governor and leader, pointed out, we are the best managed state in the country," Deeds said following Warner's introduction. "We are the best state for business in the country; we are the best state to move your business to in the country; we're the best place to raise a child in the country."

Deeds mentioned the 2004 bipartisan, taxes-raising budget deal Warner struck with a Republican-controlled state legislature, which helped move Virginia from a deficit-ridden state to one with an annual surplus. McDonnell voted against that budget plan.

"The reason we are not California is because of leadership like Mark Warner's," Deeds quipped.

Deeds is pushing for voters to view him as someone who will simply carry on the torch first lit by the popular Warner, and carried on by the less popular Tim Kaine, who is simultaneously serving as governor and chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC cut a $1 million check to Deeds today, pushing its total contribution amount to $6 million.

The decision in this election, Deeds said, is "whether we continue the pragmatic, problem-solving, reach-across-the-aisle form of government that Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have exercised, or whether we stop in the middle of the road, abruptly turn around and go in a dramatically different direction. Because that's what's at stake."

Today marks the deadline for voter registration in the state -- one reason Deeds is spending the day in Northern Virginia, which is rich in Democrats. McDonnell's day includes an appearance at a local business in Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, and a tour of the Richmond city jail.

Speaking with reporters following the speeches, Warner criticized McDonnell's transportation plan, saying it would take money away from the state's funding for education.

"You know that's not what made Virginia the best managed state, that's not what made Virginia the best state in the country for business," said Warner. "I think over the next 29 days the campaign has to drive home that we've got a real stark choice here."

New Deeds Ad Targets Opponent in SW Virginia

The Deeds camp released another new TV ad today, on a day the Democratic National Committee is cutting a check to the campaign for another $1 million. The ad targets voters in Deeds' home -- Southwestern Virginia.

"Does Bob McDonnell really stand with us?" the ad's narrator asks, placing Deeds on the side of the region's residents and McDonnell as the outsider.

McDonnell released an ad over the weekend targeting Northern Virginia and the always volatile issue of transportation.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (29 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +3.8)

*A Wall Street resume just ain't what it used to be.

*The debate put the national health care discussion into local focus.

*Dan Balz said the debate exposed weaknesses for Corzine and Christie.

*AP profiles Corzine and Christie.

*Rothenberg says don't buy the Corzine surge yet.

*Daggett's plans get more attention.
*J-Mart says national Democrats are more optimistic about New Jersey, less about Virginia.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +7.2)

*Today On the Trail: Creigh Deeds (D) will campaign in Arlington alongside Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and one of his Democratic primary rivals, Brian Moran. Bob McDonnell (R) will talk business in Charlottesville, then tour the Richmond City Jail.

*Washington Post profiled Deeds yesterday, with his stance on gay marriage as the lede.

*Tim Kaine's DNC is sending an additional $1M to the Deeds campaign.

*McDonnell launched a new TV ad on transportation yesterday -- it ran during the Redskins game, which was likely on in a majority of NoVa homes.

Deeds Again Targets McDonnell's Conservatism

The Deeds campaign just announced a new TV ad that once again pushes the argument that Bob McDonnell (R) is socially conservative and will attempt to make Virginia that way if elected governor. This is the latest in a slew of negative ads aired by Creigh Deeds (D) since early September, after The Washington Post unearthed a graduate thesis McDonnell wrote in which he promotes socially conservative public policy views.

The 30-second ad, airing across the state through the Nov. 3 election, features McDonnell's speech at the 2008 National Right to Life Convention. The ad is most directly aimed at women and liberals in Northern Virginia -- a key voting bloc for any Democratic statewide candidate and one which Deeds has yet to fully win over.

"Just over one year ago, while serving as Attorney General, Bob McDonnell told a gathering of right wing activists that Virginia has elections to determine who has the power and whether the Commonwealth will be Pro-Life," said Deeds spokesman Jared Leopold. "It's clear from what Bob McDonnell wrote, what he has said and how he voted that his priority will be to continue his efforts to move a divisive social agenda on the state."

Here is "Bob McDonnell: Elections Matter":

McDonnell announced the launch of two new TV ads today as well, one which highlights his working relationships with women, and one targeting Deeds for the potential to raise taxes.

McDonnell Launches Latest Statewide Ad Blitz

Currently up 7 points in the polls with a month left to go in the election, Bob McDonnell (R) announced today the latest in a series of statewide TV advertising campaigns. This comes on the same day The Washington Post reported McDonnell and his supporters have spent twice as much on TV ads in the state as Creigh Deeds (D).

The ad blitz features one positive spot and one negative, and both are airing statewide -- including Northern Virginia, which resides in the expensive Washington, D.C., media market.

"Reality TV" features the uncomfortable performance Deeds gave with a scrum of reporters following a debate last month. It's 60 seconds and will run through Election Day, acccording to the McDonnell campaign.

"Trust," a 30-second ad, features women who worked with McDonnell during his time as a prosecutor and state attorney general. It's a defensive move against Deeds's onslaught of ads painting McDonnell as a social conservative opposed to wives and mothers in the workplace, based on a thesis McDonnell wrote in graduate school shortly before running for the House of Delegates.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (32 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +3.8)

*AP, New York Times, Newark Star-Ledger discuss last night's debate.

*Daggett made a splash.

*Joe Biden is heading to Atlantic City to speak at the AFL-CIO with Corzine.

*A tough editorial from the Wall Street Journal about Christie's campaign.

*AP traces the road candidates took to this point.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +7.2)

*McDonnell and Co. are outspending Deeds and Co. two-to-one in advertising dollars.

*Deeds picked up endorsements from Sierra Club and LCV yesterday, while McDonnell got the backing of a high-tech group.

*Both want more degrees awarded at state universities, but neither specified how to raise the money to do it.

*In a pitch to sportsmen, Deeds proposes lifting the Sunday ban on hunting.

*Both candidates are courting the sizable military vote.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (33 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +5.0)

*Yet another poll shows Corzine closing the gap.

*The closing contest could make for "interesting theater" tonight.

*Daggett says he's outflanked Christie on taxes.

*GOP sources want Christie to be more specific on his plan.

*Corzine stressed Obama support as he wooed African Americans.

*The ad wars go on.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +7.2)

*A Rasmussen poll out yesterday found McDonnell leading by 9 points -- the second poll in a row to show McDonnell's lead growing.

*Gov. Tim Kaine thinks this is a tougher and more negative race than his own four years ago.

*Meanwhile, McDonnell was criticizing Kaine for his transportation plan and role as DNC chairman.

*The candidates will speak separately today at a higher education summit.

*Will Doug Wilder's non-endorsement make a difference in this race?

*Perhaps not.

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +9

A new Rasmussen poll finds Bob McDonnell (R) leading Creigh Deeds (D) by 9 points in the race for governor of Virginia (Sept. 29, 500 LV, MoE +/- 4.5%). The result is a 7-point margin increase from two weeks ago, and is the second poll released in the last day to show McDonnell increasing his lead.

McDonnell 51 (+3 vs. last poll, Sept. 17)
Deeds 42 (-4)
Und 7

SurveyUSA released a poll late yesterday showing McDonnell out to a 14-point lead -- a stark contrast to polling over the last month that has shown the race tightening. Still, a PPP poll out yesterday as well showed the race down to just 5 points.

With just over a month remaining in the race, it's hard to tell exactly where the race is at this point with such differing results. McDonnell now leads in the RCP Average by 7.2 points.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (34 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +5.0)

*Corzine is closing the gap, with a Q-poll showing a 4-point race.

*Chris Daggett rolled out a plan to cut property taxes by 25 percent.

*The campaigns are zeroing in on issue attacks, downplaying personal attacks.

*Christie is a HUGE fan of the Boss.

*Sen. Bob Menendez (D) seemed hopeful, but not overly optimistic about Corzine's chances.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +5.8)

*A SurveyUSA poll released last night found McDonnell leading by 14 points, a far cry from other recent polls -- including another yesterday from PPP that had the GOP nominee up 5 points.

*Washington Biz Journal breaks down the candidates' positions on transportation.

*Bill Pascoe thinks Deeds got an endorsement yesterday from the wrong former governor.

*Roanoke Times reports that Deeds was happy to get Linwood Holton's endorsement anyway.

*Deeds will open a new Democratic campaign office in Falls Church tonight, alongside former primary rival Brian Moran.

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +5

With the election for governor of Virginia just 35 days away, Creigh Deeds (D) still has some ground to make up, but he's certainly within range of his Republican opponent. A new survey from Public Policy Polling today finds Bob McDonnell's lead over Deeds down to 5 points, a 2-point margin decrease from nearly a month ago.

McDonnell 48 (-1 vs. last poll, Sept. 1)
Deeds 43 (+1)
Und 8

McDonnell now leads in the RCP Average by 4.4 points.

"The race for Governor looks much more competitive heading into the last five weeks than it has for most of the last couple months," said PPP president Dean Debnam. "Democratic voters are showing more interest in turning out and that has Creigh Deeds within striking range."

McDonnell maintains a sizeable lead among independents, 53% to 37%, and also holds the support of a higher percentage of Republicans (96%) than Deeds does of Democrats (82%). Both candidates' unfavorable ratings increased since the last poll, perhaps due to an increasingly negative tone in the race's second to last month.

The survey was taken Sept. 25-28 of 576 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.1%.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (35 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +6.6)

*Christie fought back on women's issues yesterday.

*A new mailer from the Corzine camp targets seniors.

*Newark Mayor Corey Booker calls Corzine "just the worst communicator." (He meant it in a good way).

*Christie has accepted another radio debate invitation.

*WSJ calls the '09 races Obama vs. Bush, the Sequel.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +4.4)

*Deeds is campaigning at an Arlington Metro stop this morning; also expected to appear to offer his endorsement is former GOP governor Linwood Holton -- Gov. Tim Kaine's father-in-law.

*A new Deeds TV ad airing around the state features ex-Gov./Sen. Mark Warner saying Deeds would continue his pro-business legacy.

*McDonnell got some fundraising help yesterday from Newt Gingrich and Bobby Jindal. Next week, Creigh Deeds will head to Maryland for a monetary boost from Gov. Martin O'Malley.

*A Culpepper columnist writes that "the Deeds' campaign deceits are adding up."

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (36 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +6.6)
*Al Gore played the Bush card as he fired up New Jersey Democrats this weekend.

*Corzine launched another "hug and slug" ad this weekend, pumping his own record on education and then slamming Christie's plans.

*The Star-Ledger notes just how much Corzine is spending.

*With that cash advantage, Walter Shapiro writes that Christie could still be considered the underdog.

*The LG candidates are still sorting out their roles.

*Gannet profiles independent candidate Chris Daggett.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +4.4)

*Creigh Deeds sees the brighter side of a rain-filled weekend

*The economy has supplanted transportation as the top issue of the campaign

*McDonnell appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace

*To increase turnout, college students may now use their dorm address on voter registration forms

*Deeds pledges to continue state's fiscal conservatism

McDonnell Releases Two New TV Ads

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell (R) is launching two new TV ads today -- a negative one that criticizes Creigh Deeds's negative attacks, and a positive spot defending the Deeds attack line.

In "Deceitful," the ad opens with a narrator and faux newspaper headline saying, "Virginia newspapers condemn Creigh Deeds' false attacks on Bob McDonnell," and continues with various newspaper editorial clips from around the state. "Creigh Deeds. No positive ideas, just dishonest attacks."

The ad is airing in Northern Virginia, Richmond, Norfolk, Charlottesville and Harrisonburg media markets,

"Working Woman" aims to combat the image the Deeds campaign wants voters to have of McDonnell -- a social conservative who thinks women belong in the home. The ad features his oldest daughter discussing her time in Iraq as a platoon leader in the Army, and praising her father. It's airing in the same markets as the first ad.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (39 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +6.6)

*While David Paterson is being urged to quit, Team Obama fully backs Corzine.

*The race is personal, even by Jersey standards.

*AP looks at the race for independent voters.

*Corzine today will receive fire and police union endorsements.

*Al Gore is headlining the New Jersey Democrats' dinner this weekend.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +4.4)

*Former Gov. Doug Wilder said he will not endorse Creigh Deeds.

*A new poll finds McDonnell up just 4 points.

*A T-D editorial says Wilder's non-endorsement of Deeds "may prove decisive."

*A Roanoke Times editorial says Deeds is finally on the right track with a transportation plan that "could work."

*Where the candidates stand on the issues.

*A Virginia teachers union is coming after McDonnell.

New Poll Finds Deeds Down 4

A new InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research poll finds Creigh Deeds (D) within 4 points of Bob McDonnell (R) in the race for governor of Virginia, Politico reports (Sept. 23, 602 RV, MoE +/- 3.8%). McDonnell has led since the beginning of the general election campaign, though the race has tightened in the last few weeks.

McDonnell leads by 22 points (55%-33%) among independents, while Deeds wins more loyal support among Democrats (89%) than McDonnell among Republicans (79%).

McDonnell 48
Deeds 44
No Opinion 7

McDonnell leads by 4.4 points in the RCP Average.

The new poll numbers offer some good news for Deeds on a day of some not-so-good news -- former Gov. Doug Wilder refused to endorse him, despite the request of the White House and Gov. Tim Kaine. Wilder went so far as to criticize Deeds's conservative stance on gun control and willingness to raise taxes during a down economy.

Wilder Won't Endorse Deeds

Former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder said today he will not endorse Democrat Creigh Deeds in the race for governor. Wilder held separate meetings with both candidates earlier this week.

"The requests, made of me, have been to endorse Mr. Deeds, the Democratic Candidate, for Governor," Wilder wrote today in a released statement. "I refrain from doing so and will leave that choice to the voters."

Wilder, a strong supporter of gun control, said he disagreed with Deeds's pledge to repeal the one-gun-a-month law currently on the Virginia books.

"This action would allow the truck loads of guns to come back in exchange for drugs from those Northeastern states where gun laws are more stringent. This law was put on the books by Democrats and Republicans because they had seen where those guns go to in our cities and suburban areas where the violence occurs," he wrote. "I do not see how endorsing a proposal to have more handguns brought into our cities and suburban areas qualifies as any type of urban renewal plan."

An endorsement from Wilder, the first African American governor in the country, is the most sought after among statewide candidates of both parties. He's been an independent since serving four years as a Democratic governor in the early 1990s. He also served four years as mayor of Richmond earlier this decade, and teaches a political science course (which this reporter took) at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (40 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +7)

*Chris Christie (R) launched a response ad on the issue of mammograms.

*Christie leads by 8 in the latest Strategic Vision poll.

*Now Christie has an investment to defend, in a real estate company he once investigated as U.S. attorney.

*Well, it is New Jersey: Christie acknowledged a family link with a mobster.

*The RNC will spend $3.3 million in New Jersey.

*Corzine will raise money in Beverly Hills next week.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +4.5)

*McDonnell is in Richmond this morning for a "major Virginia organization" endorsement. The two candidates then meet in Virginia Beach for a 1 p.m. forum.

*Doug Heye writes that the Washington Post's coverage of the race is "a replay of the 2006 Virginia Senate campaign."

*Deeds is touting Virginia's fourth straight "Best State for Business" accolade by Forbes.

*Both candidates have now met with Doug Wilder, whose endorsement is sought in every statewide race by both parties.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (41 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +6.7)

*Christie leads by 7 in a new Rasmussen poll, with debates looming.

*The Republican called Corzine's investment in a hedge fund with ties to casino license holders a "colossal error in judgment."

*It's Obama/Corzine on at least one billboard.

*Rep. Rob Andrews (D) thinks the health care debate helps Corzine.

*Human Events says Corzine is in "disarray."

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +4.5)

*Deeds lays out his transportation plan in a Washington Post op-ed after taking heat from McDonnell for not having a plan. At a debate last week he was unclear whether he would be willing to raise taxes, though it's clear in the op-ed: "I'll sign a bipartisan bill with a dedicated funding mechanism for transportation -- even if it includes new taxes."

*Both candidates were courting the African American vote last night at Virginia Union University in Richmond.

*After hosting a debate last week, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce is set to endorse McDonnell.

*Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and former state Sen. John Chichester (R) defended the 2004 tax package Warner negotiated and pushed through the Legislature with bipartisan support. McDonnell did not vote for it when he was in the General Assembly, and has criticized it on the campaign trail.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (42 Days)

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +4.5)

*Creigh Deeds (D) and Bob McDonnell (R) will meet twice today, as they both address a conference in Williamsburg then appear at a forum tonight in Richmond. The McDonnell camp released a statement this morning stating that the Deeds camp requested the candidates appear separately tonight.

*Deeds released three new TV ads yesterday, which NBC News reports is the "first time" he's aired "a new TV ad explicitly targeting Bob McDonnell's (R) controversial graduate thesis."

*The ads are getting headlines across the state, including the Charlottesville Daily Progress: "Deeds Goes On Offensive As Election Draws Closer."

*Roanoke Times notes that the new ads are a change from just a couple months ago, when Deeds and McDonnell "generally agreed that social issues would not weigh heavily in the campaign."

*The Post reported yesterday that Obama pitched Deeds to the most sought after endorser in statewide campaigns: former Gov. Doug Wilder.

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +7.1)

*Jon Corzine is still defending an investment with a firm that holds casino licenses.

*Independent candidate Chris Daggett lost his court challenge to over ballot placement.

*The Christie camp has some fun with a Corzine gaffe.

*A Corzine mailer promises better days are coming.

*The NFIB endorses Chris Christie.

*Is the GOP dialing back anti-corruption talk?

Deeds Launches 3 TV Ads

Creigh Deeds (D), candidate for governor of Virginia, is launching three new television ads today, including two negative spots that link Bob McDonnell's (R) 1989 graduate school thesis to his legislative career. Both mention that McDonnell sponsored 35 bills in the state legislature aimed at "restricting a woman's right to choose."


"Why Did You":

The positive ad is the only one featuring Deeds himself. It shows him driving a car and talking about moving Virginia forward. Here is "Opportunity":

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (43 Days)

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell (R) +4.5)

*A new Washington Post poll found McDonnell's lead cut to 4 points, down from 15 last month.

*A result of the Post poll is that every headline says Deeds is gaining on McDonnell, providing a potential momentum shift for Deeds.

*McDonnell tailgated yesterday at the Washington Redskins home opener. His wife, Maureen, performed during the halftime show as part of the Redskins "Cheerleader Alumni" program. (Kyle was there as well, but did not spot either McDonnell.)

*Virginia Education Association's Robley Jones knocks the McDonnell education plan.

*McDonnell is getting help (again) from Mitt Romney, as the former Massachusetts governor ends a busy weekend in D.C. by raising an expected $100k at a fundraiser held at the American Gas Association on the Hill.

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +7.1)
*He can't absorb too many more blows. Now, Gov. Jon Corzine (D) is defending an investment in a firm that has interests in casinos in the state.

*Corzine said Sunday the "facts are clear," as he defended the investment.

*Corzine's spokesperson said the Attorney General already cleared it.

*At the NAACP convention, Christie said he's the best candidate on crime and education.

*This will be the first state election with a vote-by-mail option.

*Christie leads 37-30 in southern New Jersey, per a Zogby poll.

Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (46 Days)

NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +7.1)
* Is Obama coming back to New Jersey? Maybe in October, the Star-Ledger hears.

* Al Gore will rally New Jersey Democrats next Friday.

* A new survey from a Republican pollster finds Christie's lead ticking up.

* Corzine launched another contrast ad on health care issues.

* The RGA launched another "failure" spot.

* Christie put out a new Web video about the unemployment rate, and a questionable Corzine remark.

* Christie's reaching out to African-Americans.

VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +6.5)
* Kyle's final wrap up on yesterday's debate.

* A Kos poll finds McDonnell up 7 points.

* The candidates talked the economy in Roanoke.

* Fred Barnes looks at the potential GOP comeback.

* NPR also looks at the race.

* Politico, WJLA, Google and YouTube will sponsor a debate in October.

VA Gov Candidates Debate

Here is my write-up of the Virginia gubernatorial debate yesterday, moderated by "Meet the Press" host David Gregory:

McLEAN, Va. -- In the second of four formal debates, the candidates for governor of Virginia argued over the same issues that the most recent gubernatorial races centered on -- jobs and transportation. While there was plenty of finger pointing at the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce-sponsored debate, one Democratic state legislator told RealClearPolitics that it was the most substantive debate he had seen in his many years in Virginia politics.

To open the event, Bob McDonnell, the Republican nominee, said he was glad to finally be on home turf after the first debate was held in Creigh Deeds's home county. McDonnell spent most of his childhood in Northern Virginia, including here in Fairfax County, though Deeds later criticized him for claiming many parts of the state as his home.

You can read the rest here.

McDonnell +7 in Latest Va. Gov Poll

A new Daily Kos/Research 2000 survey in the Virginia gubernatorial race finds Bob McDonnell (R) leading Creigh Deeds (D) by 7 points, the Republican's largest lead of three separate polls released this week. McDonnell led by 2 points in a Rasmussen poll out yesterday and by 5 points in a Clarus poll out Tuesday.

Kos last surveyed the race in early August, when McDonnell led 51%-43%.

The latest Kos survey (Sept 14-16, 600 LV, MoE +/- 4%) finds McDonnell with a 56%/40% favorable rating and Deeds at 47%/42%. McDonnell has the support of 89% of Republicans, higher than Deeds's 80% take among Democrat. Independents favor McDonnell by a 51%-38% margin.

McDonnell 50
Deeds 43
Und 7

The RCP Average puts McDonnell ahead by 6.5 points.

President Obama has a net negative rating, as 45% view him favorably while 48% see him unfavorably. Sen. Mark Warner (D) holds the highest favorable rating among the statewide officials tested with 63%, followed by Sen. Jim Webb (D) with 53% and Gov. Tim Kaine (D) with 45%

Countdown '09: 47 Days

**VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +6.5)
*A new poll finds McDonnell leading by just 2 points, the smallest margin since mid-June.
*Deeds and McDonnell faced off in Tysons Corner, in the second of four debates.
*The Times-Dispatch called it "testy," which it was.
*Washington Post was live-blogging, including the pre-debate madness in the press room.
*McDonnell released a new TV ad on transportation, which he focused on in the debate.

** NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christie +7.1)
* A switcheroo probably won't work for Democrats.
* Christie touted the endorsement of nine Democrats from the Elizabeth Board of Education.
* Corzine connects the dots in a tough new ad -- but it's online only (for now).
* The governor will skip a radio debate on 101.5 FM -- the first snub in 20 years for a NJ candidate.
* Both candidates will speak to firefighters tomorrow.
* Christie struck a different tone on how he'd deal with a Democratic legislature.

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +2

A new Rasmussen automated survey finds GOP nominee Bob McDonnell leading by just 2 points in the race for governor of Virginia (Sept. 16, 500 LV, MoE +/- 4.5%), a 7-point drop since the beginning of the month.

McDonnell 48 (-3 vs. last poll, Sept. 1)
Deeds 46 (+4)
Und 5

McDonnell leads by 6.5 points in the RCP Average.

The two candidates sparred today at a Northern Virginia debate. Deeds continued to reference McDonnell's graduate thesis as an example of the "social agenda" he said McDonnell has been pushing for nearly 20 years in state politics. McDonnell said he was the only candidate with a firm transportation plan.

The race has tightened since late August, when the Washington Post first uncovered the thesis. Fifty-two percent said the writings are at least somewhat important in deciding how they will vote, up from 36% two weeks ago.

The survey also finds that President Obama gets a 49% favorable rating, while 46% say they support the health care reform proposed by the president and Democrats in Congress. McDonnell is viewed favorably by 54% while 50% have a favorable impression of Deeds.

McDonnell Drops Ad Following Debate

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell released a new TV ad following the second of four debates with his Democratic opponent, Creigh Deeds. The ad, as the debate did, focuses on transportation. Northern Virginia and the entire Washington D.C. region have some of the worst traffic congestion in the country, so road and public transportation expansion is always a top issue in state politics.

To pay for his plan, McDonnell wants to sell off the state-run liquor stores for $500 million, though Deeds said in the debate that this plan has already been denied several times in the state legislature and that the annual revenue from liquor sales provides needed funding for services such as mental health treatment.

Countdown '09: 48 Days

** NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christe +7.1)
* New Jersey's unemployment rate jumped from 9.3 to 9.7 -- never good news for an incumbent.
* This wasn't announced: Jeb Bush attended a Christie fundraiser tonight.
* Corzine brings up health care, telling the story of his son's heart surgery.
* Did Christie borrow Obama's slogan?
* Obama was endorsed by Planned Parenthood.
* The Star-Ledger's Moran is less than enthused with the choices.

** VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +8.2)
* Tomorrow is the debate every Virginia candidate dreads.
* The Times-Dispatch has the pre-debate spin.
* Are Democrats tossing the Bush playbook?
* The AP nationalizes the New Jersey and Virginia races.
* The Post looks at union money being spent on the race.
* AP looks at what's always a big issue: transportation.

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +5

With 49 days to go, a new poll in Virginia finds the race for governor tighter than any poll in the last two months. Bob McDonnell (R) leads with 42% to 37% for Creigh Deeds and 20% undecided, according to Clarus Research Group, a non-partisan polling firm (Sept. 10-14, 600 RV, MoE +/- 4%).

Deeds still needs to solidify his standing in Democratic Northern Virginia, where he leads by just 5 points. McDonnell leads by 15 points along the I-81 corridor in the western and southwestern parts of the state.

Just more than half (52%) said they had heard about the controversy surrounding McDonnell's graduate thesis, which Democrats have used to portray the former attorney general as too socially conservative to represent the entire state. Of those that were aware of it, 63% said it had no effect on their feeling toward McDonnell, while 5% said it made them feel more favorable toward him and 31% said he became less favorable.

"The McDonnell thesis story has not -- so far -- damaged McDonnell as badly as Democrats had hoped, but it hasn't left him unscathed, the way many Republicans had hoped," said Ron Faucheux, president of Clarus Research Group.

Republicans are leading down ballot as well. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who is running for re-election, leads Jody Wagner (D) 38% to 32%, with 31% undecided. State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) leads State Del. Steve Shannon 35% to 30% in the race for attorney general, with 35% undecided.

McDonnell now leads by 8.2 points in the RCP Average.

Countdown '09: 49 Days

** NEW JERSEY (RCP Average: Christe +7.1)
* A new PPP (D) poll showed Christie up by 9, with Daggett pulling some Democratic support from Corzine.
* Wally Edge reports that PPP is also asking voters if they'd prefer a different Democrat on the ballot.
* The DNC is hyping the fact that Corzine leads among registered voters in the Monmouth poll.
* But Amy Walter points out why the likely voter number is a better predictor.
* Corzine announced a new job incentives program.
* Christie called it a "Band-Aid on a hemorrhage."
* Hotline looks at national money in the state.
* AP looks at the candidates' platforms on immigration.

** VIRGINIA (RCP Average: McDonnell +10.2)
* A new poll just out from Clarus Research Group shows McDonnell up 42-37.
* Kyle rounds up the fundraising numbers from McDonnell and Deeds.
* The RNC has committed to spend $7 million on the race.
* The AFL-CIO is paying for a field staffer in the state.
*Downballot, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor outraised the incumbent Republican.
* Both candidates talked budget issues at a debate today.

McDonnell Raises Less, Has More Cash on Hand

The campaign for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell (R) announced this afternoon that he will report raising nearly $3 million in the months of July and August, and leads his opponent Creigh Deeds (D) by $1.5 million in cash on hand.

McDonnell has $5.8 million cash on hand after raising $2.92 million in the last two months. Deeds announced earlier today that he raised $3.5 million and has $4.4 million in the bank as of the end of August.

The McDonnell campaign noted that it raised $350,000 from the Republican National Committee and Republican Governors Association, and questioned how much Deeds had raised from the groups' Democratic counterparts. Deeds did not release that number.

Through June 30, McDonnell had raised a total of $3.5 million from the two national GOP groups, while Deeds had raised a total of $1 million from the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Governors Association.

"With a significant advantage in our cash on hand and nearly 4,000 more donors than our opponent, we have great momentum and are in a strong position for the final 50 days of this campaign," said McDonnell campaign manager Phil Cox. "The fact that we have nearly 4,000 more donors than Creigh Deeds is reflective of the grassroots energy we have seen building throughout our campaign. It is clear that Virginians are rallying behind Bob's positive message of new jobs and more opportunities. They continue to demonstrate this through their continued contributions, phone banking, and door-knocking."

Deeds Raises $3.5M in Last Two Months

The Creigh Deeds campaign announced today that the Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate raised $3.5 million in July and August and spent $1.8 million. Deeds began July with $2.7 million, and as of the end of August he has nearly $4.4 million cash on hand.

Campaign finance reports for July and August are due today; the campaign released the numbers ahead of the report becoming public.

July/August 2009
Raised: $3,483,688.17
Spent: $1,828,070.37

Raised: $9,691,221.77
Spent: $5,314,253.02

Cash on Hand: $4,376,968.75

Deeds reports that 90 percent of the donors came from in-state, with 68 percent giving less than $200. A total of 2,284 were new donors.

"Over the last weeks, we've seen a surge of grassroots support for Creigh Deeds," said campaign manager Joe Abbey. "Every day, we're hearing from new people who want to knock on doors, make phone calls or donate $50 to help get Creigh elected. Thanks to their support, we are in strong financial shape to get our message out over the final 50 days."

Countdown '09: 50 Days

With 50 days left until gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, today we start a daily wrap up of news from both contests.

RCP Average, Christie + 6.8
* The Christie camp launched a new interactive Web site to collect voter feedback.
* While the Corzine camp picked up the backing of Latinos.
* The governor also targeted Christie's driving infractions during a speech in Atlantic City.
* Cillizza looks at a possible Corzine comeback.
* The Corzine camp thinks it has a September surge.
* But Monmouth showed Christie still ahead with likely voters.
* And Public Policy Polling finds an enthusiasm gap among Democrats for Corzine.
* Sen. Bob Menendez (D) jumped on a comment from Christie's running mate about the safety of Newark.

RCP Average: McDonnell +10.2
* Bob McDonnell (R) was endorsed by the NRA today. The NRA backed Creigh Deeds (D) in the '05 AG race.
* Meanwhile, Creigh Deeds (D) won the backing of the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters, which represents some 6,500 firefighters and paramedics in the state.
* McDonnell was in Lynchburg today, and Deeds was in Norfolk. Both candidates will be in Norfolk tomorrow for an 11:30 a.m. debate hosted by the Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association.
* Deeds will get some fundraising help from one of the nation's least popular governors.
*McDonnell's F-bomb is still getting attention.

Deeds Getting Fundraising Boost From Unpopular Neighbor

Perhaps the least popular governor in the country will headline a fundraiser next month for Creigh Deeds, a Democrat running for governor of Virginia. The Raleigh News & Observer reports that North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue (D) is scheduled to appear with Deeds Oct. 1 at the Capital City Club in downtown Raleigh, with suggested campaign contributions of $500 a head.

Perdue, elected governor last year after winning two terms as lieutenant governor, came to office facing a down economy and a dismal state fiscal situation. As a result, the governor has faced three months of job approval ratings in the 20s, according to surveys by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm. Her 26 percent approval rating in September includes just 40 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of independents.

Still, the cash will come in handy for Deeds as he heads into the final month of a competitive campaign against Bob McDonnell, who defeated Deeds by fewer than 400 votes in the 2005 race for attorney general. Deeds currently trails McDonnell by double digits in the polls and trailed by $4 million in cash raised heading into the general election.

The latest campaign finance reports will be released tomorrow. Both have clearly raised tons of money -- as this is one of only two major races this year and both national political parties are heavily invested -- and both are running TV ads in the expensive Washington, D.C., media market, which covers voter-heavy Northern Virginia.

(Last night during "Mad Men" on AMC, commercials from the two candidates ran successively -- one positive spot from McDonnell that featured his family; one negative spot from Deeds that featured McDonnell's 1989 grad school thesis.)

According to the Virgina Public Access Project, McDonnell has received nearly $2 million from the Republican Governors Association and $1.5 million from the Republican National Committee. Deeds has pulled in $500,000 from both the Democratic Governors Association and the Democratic National Committee, as well as $500,000 from the AFSCME and $100,000 from the SEIU.

RGA Launches New VA, NJ Spots

The Republican Governors Association is again ramping up its commitment on the airwaves in this fall's gubernatorial elections, targeting the Democratic candidates' records in Virginia and New Jersey.

The 30-second spot in Virginia claims that Creigh Deeds (D) would be "pumping up" taxes and spending in Richmond, citing his support for gas tax increases.

The 15-second spot in more expensive New Jersey bluntly lays out what the RGA sees as Gov. Jon Corzine's (D) record: "Tax. Waste. Debt. Failure."

Deeds Up With Positive Ad in NoVa

The Creigh Deeds campaign launched a new TV ad in expensive Northern Virginia today that focuses on education. The positive ad offers a reprieve from a recent onslaught of ads tying Bob McDonnell to George W. Bush and discussing the GOP candidate's conservative record.

"My mom sent me off to college with just four 20-dollar bills," Deeds says in the ad. "So I know that education is the best investment Virginia can make for our children and in our future."

The ad comes on the same day President Obama gave a televised speech to students across the country. Obama delivered his remarks from Wakefield High School, located in Northern Virginia.

Here is "September":

McDonnell Fires Back At The Post

Some conservatives are complaining about the Washington Post's effort to "macaca" Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, a reference to the infamous video clip that was heavily covered and contributed to George Allen's defeat in the 2006 Senate race.

Today, speaking with the rival Washington Examiner, McDonnell himself took a shot at the newspaper for what he says is excessive coverage of his infamous thesis.

"What the Washington Post does -- today I think we had three articles and yesterday it was two. I'm thinking maybe we're going to get one more every day until people stop buying the paper. They were at least nice enough to run one story today that actually had someone that was supporting me, instead of the usual five against me and then me with my own quotes."

McDonnell also hits his Democratic rival, saying Creigh Deeds' "whole campaign over the last month has been based on former presidents, former governors, and a 20-year-old thesis." The Examiner has posted audio here.

Meanwhile, after the jump check out a new ad out from McDonnell's campaign that prominently features his daughters; he also notes he was brought up by a "working mom."

Continue reading "McDonnell Fires Back At The Post" »

Deeds Airs Radio Ad in NoVa

The Creigh Deeds campaign continues its assault on Bob McDonnell for a graduate school thesis the Republican wrote shortly before entering elective politics. Today the Democrat's campaign announced it will begin airing a radio ad in Northern Virginia, which is in the priciest media market in the state.

Here is a portion of the script from the ad, which you can listen to here.

Female: You startin' to follow this Governor's race in Virginia ?

Male: You mean Bob McDonnell and his plans to take us back to the dark ages ?

F: That's McDonnell - he opposes a woman's right to choose even in cases of rape and incest.

M: And that Washington Post story about the thesis he wrote at CBN University...

F: ...Pat Robertson's Law School ?

M: Yep, it's Bob McDonnell's "blueprint" to implement HIS OWN social agenda...

The Deeds campaign has also launched a new website that further publicizes McDonnell's thesis, as well as a "significant internet banner and Google search ad campaign."

McDonnell +9 in New Automated Poll

Despite starting the week on tough ground after the Washington Post dug up a socially conservative policy thesis he wrote 20 years ago, Bob McDonnell is so far maintaining his lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds in the race for governor of Virginia.

A Rasmussen survey released today found McDonnell leading by 9 points (Sept. 1, 500 LV, MoE +/- 4.5%), nearly the same as last month.

Asked about the thesis, just 49% said they'd followed the news about it even somewhat closely, and the same percentage said the issue is not important. More than a third (36%) say McDonnell's writings are at least somewhat important, and 55% still hold a favorable impression of him -- higher than Deeds's 48% favorable rating.

McDonnell 51 (+2 vs. last poll, Aug. 11)
Deeds 42 (+1)
Und 6 (-1)

McDonnell leads by 9.8 points in the RCP Average for Virginia Governor

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell's Lead Cut in Half

Virginia gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell's 14-point lead in the Public Policy Polling's survey one month ago has been cut in half. PPP's new survey finds the Republican leading Democrat Creigh Deeds by 7 points (Aug. 28-31, 596 RV, MoE +/- 4.0%).

The survey was conducted over the last four days -- the last two days of the campaign have been filled with discussion about a graduate school thesis McDonnell wrote 20 years ago, which was reported in a front page Washington Post story on Sunday.

McDonnell's favorable rating is unchanged from last month (54% down to 53%), though his unfavorable rating is up 5 points (26% to 31%). Deeds's favorable and unfavorable ratings are both up.

McDonnell 49 (-2 vs. last poll, Aug. 4)
Deeds 42 (+5)
Und 9 (-3)

McDonnell leads by 9.5 points in the RCP Average for Virginia Governor

The Race for Governor of Virginia Has Changed

Virginia Democrats, the Creigh Deeds campaign and the Democratic National Committee want you to know that Bob McDonnell is no moderate Republican, or even simply a fiscally conservative Republican. No, McDonnell is a cultural conservative who would turn back the hands of time, they say.

DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan issued a lacerating statement today in response to a Washington Post A1 story yesterday that looked at a graduate school thesis McDonnell wrote. As Sevugan notes, McDonnell was in his mid-30s when he wrote it -- not his early 20s -- so his points can't be dismissed as those of a young student.

The point, though, is that Democrats are hoping this stirs up some enthusiasm from the more liberal members of Virginia's electorate who up to this point have been less than enamored with either candidate. They think this is a "game changer." And maybe it is.

Continue reading "The Race for Governor of Virginia Has Changed" »

Advertising Frenzy In Virginia

It has been a week of advertising drops in Virginia, beginning last Friday with Creigh Deeds' (D) first TV ad of the general election campaign. Deeds followed that up on Tuesday with a radio ad that featured President Obama, another radio ad Wednesday, and a TV ad on Thursday. Deeds also appeared on local Northern Virginia news programs Wednesday -- allowing him free advertising in an expensive media market.

Bob McDonnell (R), who defeated Deeds in the 2005 attorney general race by less than 400 votes, had new ads on the air this week as well. On Tuesday he released a pro-environment and green jobs TV ad, in which McDonnell said he would be the "jobs Governor" and make the state the "Energy Capital of the East Coast." The following day, a PAC affiliated with the Republican Governors Association launched a TV and radio ad in opposition of Deeds.

The race for governor of Virginia had been fairly tame until Deeds' "major campaign address" and release of his first TV ad last Friday. Those events signaled a new strategy for the Democratic nominee -- tying McDonnell to George W. Bush -- as he attempts to make a comeback in the polls with just more than two months remaining in the race. The unpopular former president's name has been used in each of Deeds' ads except the Obama radio ad.

Here is his latest TV ad:

McDonnell Talks New Energy Jobs in TV Ad

Reaching out to moderate voters in Virginia, GOP nominee Bob McDonnell is launching a new TV ad tomorrow called "New Energy, New Jobs." The gubernatorial candidate's campaign says the ad will run across the state, except for in pricey Northern Virginia.

"New energy means new jobs. We need it all: wind, oil, natural gas, clean coal, nuclear. I will lead a bi-partisan effort to make Virginia the Energy Capital of the East Coast," McDonnell says in the ad. "I'll be a jobs governor, bringing new energy resources and jobs to Virginians."

In response to the ad, the Creigh Deeds campaign e-mailed reporters a Roanoke Times editorial from April, after McDonnell formally announced his campaign.

"If those are genuine ambitions, McDonnell needs to broaden his attention beyond the fossil fuels that have been his focus so far," the editorial states, regarding his new energy intentions. "So far, McDonnell is proposing an energy plan that seems far more suited to the 1950s. Virginia will never be the nation's energy capital with that kind of thinking."

Obama in New Deeds Radio Ad

President Obama trekked across the Potomac River a couple weeks ago to rally Virginia Democrats for their gubernatorial nominee, Creigh Deeds. Today, the Deeds campaign is launching a radio ad that includes excerpts from Obama's speech that day.

"Hello, Virginia! Are you fired up? Are you ready to go? ... now you've got the chance to keep moving forward by electing somebody who is cut from the same cloth, somebody who has that same vision for the commonwealth -- Creigh Deeds. ... This is a man who spent his life working to do right by his family, and the last two decades working to do right by the people of Virginia. As a state senator, he has worked tirelessly to advance this commonwealth. ... He wrote Megan's Law, advocated for the Amber Alert program to protect our children."

The ad will air in Hampton Roads, Richmond and Roanoke -- where a large portion of the African Americans in Virginia reside. You can listen to "Fired Up" here.

Deeds currently trails Republican Bob McDonnell by 12 points in the RCP Average. He released his first TV ad of the general election campaign on Friday, coinciding with a Northern Virginia campaign address that he hopes will help frame the debate going forward.

Bush Enters the Virginia Governor Race

FAIRFAX, Va. -- In a gubernatorial campaign that so far has lacked sparks, Creigh Deeds came out swinging today with a speech and new television ad, arguing that voting for his opponent would mean supporting a backward vision -- one that embraces George W. Bush's economic policies.

With less than three months to go until the election, today's event indicates the former president could play a key role in the Democratic nominee's campaign going forward.

Speaking at George Mason University in Northern Virginia, Deeds defined himself as the moderate with a bipartisan record in the state Legislature and the one who would keep the state moving forward on the back of the economic policies of Mark Warner, the former governor now serving in the U.S. Senate. While tying Bob McDonnell to an unpopular president, Deeds painted the Republican as a candidate with a conservative social agenda, and who would support policies that he says led the country into economic recession.

"Just recently he said he believes President Bush did a good job and he created -- and I'm quoting here -- an economic revival in America," Deeds said. "The fiscal policies of George Bush doubled the national debt and resulted in over 300,000 Virginians losing their jobs and 48,000 Virginia families losing their homes to foreclosure. That's not a revival, and I will not let my opponent take us back to this economic approach."

On social issues, Deeds said McDonnell "sponsored 35 bills in the General Assembly to restrict a woman's right to choose" and "supported legislation allowing a pharmacist to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions."

"He believes that his social agenda should come before sound public policy, and his record, his career in politics, reflects it," said Deeds. "Virginia can't afford to go back to that."

The theme of the speech, billed as a "major campaign address," was that Virginia is already moving in a positive direction -- so why mess with what's working? The new 30-second TV ad, which can be seen below and is airing around the state except in the D.C. media market, carries the same message.

In response, the McDonnell campaign released a statement calling the event a "stunt" and a clear indication that Deeds "has no vision to offer."

"That was the most backwards looking speech ever given by a Virginia gubernatorial nominee," said McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin. "If Creigh Deeds thinks blowing the dust off an old political playbook amounts to a major new announcement, he doesn't get what the voters of Virginia are looking for in their next governor."

McDonnell Seizes On Budget Shortfall

Up 12 points in the Virginia gubernatorial race polls, Republican Bob McDonnell is taking Gov. Tim Kaine's announcement today of an additional $1.2 billion budget shortfall as an opportunity to separate himself further from his Democratic opponent, Creigh Deeds.

Here is an excerpt from a released statement from McDonnell:

"The manner by which we close this shortfall, and budget in the years ahead, will play a determining role in how Virginia emerges from this recession. Some would argue for tax increases to fill the revenue gap. My opponent has repeatedly supported higher taxes on the people of Virginia. Recently he made clear he would support additional tax increases if elected this November. That is the wrong approach to take, both for our citizens and for our government. We must close this shortfall, and craft future budgets, without burdening our citizens with additional taxes that they cannot afford."

Deeds also released a statement today regarding the shortfall, and pledged to tighten the state government's belt. Here is an excerpt:

"As we adjust to these changing economic realities, Virginia must not rest on its laurels as the "best state for business" and the "best managed state" in the nation.

"That is why I have put forth a responsible and comprehensive government efficiency plan that will make sure we economize, audit every agency of state government, and aggressively identify ways to save taxpayer money by streamlining functions while maintaining citizen services and protecting our shared priorities."

McAuliffe's Rolodex Joins the Fight

For the six months that Terry McAuliffe was a gubernatorial candidate in Virginia, he often declared he was more worried about keeping Democrats in power in Virginia than about his own candidacy. As proof, he cited his actions in 2008, when he quickly supported Barack Obama as soon as Hillary Clinton conceded the primary race. He repeated his promise on primary night after losing to State Sen. Creigh Deeds, saying in his concession speech he would throw his muscle behind the party's nominee.

However, little had been heard from Mr. McAuliffe in the two months since the June 9 primary. Until two weeks ago, that is -- when he issued an email blast rallying his national list of supporters and donors against Bob McDonnell, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, whom polls show pulling out to a significant lead. A week later came a second fundraising email from Mr. McAuliffe on behalf of Democrats running for the Virginia House of Delegates: "I'm asking you to join me in helping House Democratic Caucus Chairman Ken Plum raise money to support Democratic House of Delegates candidates throughout the Commonwealth. These candidates need our help."

Mr. McAuliffe's back, apparently, and Mr. Deeds may need him. The Democratic nominee has trailed Mr. McDonnell in all but one poll since the primary. His inability to stir up buzz among voters was always a weak point, given his charisma deficit. A little help from the Democratic fundraising machine that is Terry McAuliffe may be just what the doctor ordered for Mr. Deeds.

Transportation Funding in Va. Gov Race

In what could perhaps become a defining issue of the Virginia gubernatorial race, Democrat Creigh Deeds said that he would sign a bill that included a tax increase to help pay for the state's underfunded transporation needs, but would not take money away from other general fund priorities.

Deeds' comments came yesterday during an online chat with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and they stand in contrast to McDonnell's ideas to pay for transportation.

"My opponent has released a plan that takes $5.4 billion, essentially out of education, over the next 10 years," Deeds said. "You won't see me with that kind of approach. Democrats and Republicans alike have said that kind of approach is dead on arrival."

McDonnell has said he opposes a tax increase to fund transportation, but has proposed "a dozen mechanisms" to fund it including privatizing liquor sales in the state and adding a toll on two major interstates on the North Carolina border, the Times-Dispatch reports.

Transportation funding has long been a geographical issue in Virginia, between Northern Virginia and the rest of the state. The heavy traffic in suburban D.C. forces much of the transporation funding to be funneled to that section of the state, much to the chagrin of residents outside of the area. However, Northern Virginians argue that they provide a disproportionate amount of the tax revenue in the state.

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +8

A new poll in the race for Virginia governor finds Republican Bob McDonnell leading by 8 points. The Rasmussen survey (Aug. 10, 500 LV, MoE +/- 4.5%) is the latest in a string of polling victories for McDonnell.

He last trailed Democrat Creigh Deeds in a mid-June Rasmussen poll, taken one day after the Democratic primary. The previous Rasmussen poll, conducted in mid-July, found McDonnell up 3 points.

McDonnell 49 (+5 vs. last poll, July 14)
Deeds 41 (nc)

McDonnell leads by 11.2 points in the RCP Average.

At Deeds Rally, Obama Knocks GOP Critics

McLEAN, Va. -- President Obama again used a campaign rally to lob some partisan firebombs in defense of his handling of the economy, challenging Republicans to quit complaining about a fiscal situation they helped create.


"I expect to be held responsible for these issues because I'm the president," he said. "But I don't want the folks who created the mess doing a lot of talking. I want them to just get out of the way so we can clean up the mess."

Preaching to the choir at a rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, he repeated: "I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking. Am I wrong, Virginia?"

Obama tied his discussion of fiscal policy to the "prudent" example of Democratic governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, saying Deeds would continue that.

"When I walked in, we had a $1.3 trillion deficit," Obama said within hours of the CBO announcing that the deficit had, in fact, reached $1.3 trillion. He claimed, actually, that "without my policies, we'd have an even higher deficit going forward," though he excepted the stimulus bill which he said "we had to do in order to get this economy moving again."

"You can't go out there and charge up the credit card, go on ... shopping sprees that didn't grow the economy, hand over the bill to us and say why haven't you paid it off yet. I got that bill from you!" he said.

Continue reading "At Deeds Rally, Obama Knocks GOP Critics" »

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +8

A new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll finds Republican Bob McDonnell leading by 8 points in the race for governor of Virginia (Aug. 3-5, 600 LV, MoE +/- 4%). McDonnell, whom 57% have a favorable opinion of and 38% unfavorable, is viewed more favorably than either his Democratic opponent, Creigh Deeds (46%/40%), or President Obama (51%/44%).

Three months out from the general election, McDonnell leads with 51% to 43% for Deeds. McDonnell has the support of 88% of Republicans and 55% of independents, while Deeds is struggling to win over even three-fourths of his own party (77%) and independents (40%).

Tonight, Deeds is receiving a guest appearance from the president at a rally and fundraiser in Tysons Corner -- in suburban D.C. Despite Obama's relatively low favorable numbers in the state, the president should help raise some much-needed dough for Deeds.

McDonnell now leads by 10.0 points in the RCP Average for Virginia Governor

McDonnell Giving Weekly GOP Nat'l Address

In a move that should give the Virginia gubernatorial nominee some more national exposure, Bob McDonnell was chosen to give the weekly Republican national address this Saturday. The speech will air nationally on TV and radio.

According to his campaign, McDonnell will discuss "the need for new jobs and more opportunities in Virginia and nationwide," as well as "proactive policy proposals that will help create the good-paying jobs of tomorrow" and "the importance of preventing the enactment of policies that would endanger the jobs of today and impede American competitiveness in the global economy."

McDonnell is currently up in the polls by more than 10 points against Democrat Creigh Deeds.

VA Gov: McDonnell (R) Leads by 14

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell (R) leads his Democratic counterpart, Creigh Deeds, by 14 points in the latest survey by Public Policy Polling (July 31-Aug. 3, 579 RV, MoE +/- 4.1%). This is an 8-point margin increase for McDonnell since the previous PPP poll last month and the second poll in the last few days to show McDonnell leading by double digits.

McDonnell 51 (+2 vs. last poll, July 7)
Deeds 37 (-6)

McDonnell now leads by 10.7 points in the RCP Average for Virginia Governor

McDonnell's 14-point lead comes on the same day that a Monmouth survey found Republican Chris Christie leading by the same margin in the race for governor of New Jersey. President Obama won both states last year, and in each state Democrats currently hold the two Senate seats and the governor's mansion. These are the two biggest races of the year, and Republicans are banking on wins in both to boost fundraising and momentum going into the 2010 midterm elections.

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +15

A new SurveyUSA poll of the Virginia gubernatorial race finds Republican Bob McDonnell leading by 15 points over his Democratic opponent, Creigh Deeds. This represents the largest margin either candidate has enjoyed in any poll since the June 9 primary.

The GOP candidates for lietenant governor (which is voted on separately from the governor) and attorney general also lead by double digits.

Deeds led in the first poll taken following his darkhorse primary victory, but McDonnell has led in every other head-to-head survey taken over the last seven months. McDonnell defeated Deeds in the 2005 attorney general race by just more than 300 votes.

McDonnell 55
Deeds 40
Und 5

McDonnell now leads by 6.3 points in the RCP Average for Virginia

No Rest For the Weary

After driving back-and-forth on the long, construction-filled Pennsylvania Turnpike this weekend, the news of Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine shuttering 19 highway rest areas tomorrow carries a special significance. Travelers along the overcrowded I-95 and I-81 corridors in Virginia will surely offer their disappointment with the decision soon.

Even more interesting, though, could be its effect on the gubernatorial race, which features Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds facing off November 3. However, both candidates announced today their opposition to the move as well as plans to reopen the facilities once inaugurated.

McDonnell began the day with a forceful press release denouncing the move, and Deeds offered similar opposition in a conference call with reporters.

"If the rest stops do close tomorrow, and remain dark in the months ahead, that will end when I am elected governor," McDonnell said. "I will work with the General Assembly to find a way to fund the operation of these facilities. And within 90 days of my taking office all 19 rest stops will be open again."

Deeds countered, telling reporters he's indicated his position to Kaine and will reopen the rest stops within 60 days -- a full month sooner than McDonnell.

"Here's the bottom line: We've got a law that says truckers can only spend a certain number of hours per day on the road," said Deeds, according to the Roanoke Times. "If we're going to be able to enforce that law, we've got provide rest stops."

The Virginia Department of Transportation detailed its closure plans two weeks ago. While decreasing the number of rest stops in the state by nearly half, VDOT says it will increase the number of truck parking spaces at each facility and loosen restrictions for how long trucks can remain there.

The closures will affect the two major truck and traffic corridors in the state. Four rest stops will be closed on I-95, which runs along the entire eastern seaboard, connecting Florida to Maine. Seven will close along I-81, which runs along the Appalachian Mountains in the western part of the state, from the Pennsylvania border to Tennessee.

Had Deeds and McDonnell taken different sides on this issue, it could have played a decisive role in the November election. In the 2005 race for attorney general, the two were separated by less than 400 votes. The race this year could be just as close.

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +3

GOP nominee Bob McDonnell leads his Democratic opponent by 3 points in the race for governor of Virginia, according to the latest Rasmussen poll (July 14, 500 LV).

State Sen. Creigh Deeds (D) led by 6 points in the last Rasmussen poll, taken the day after the June 9 Democratic primary -- in which Deeds crushed his better-known opponents, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran. However, McDonnell -- who resigned as attorney general earlier this year -- has led every poll since.

McDonnell leads with 44% to 41% for Deeds, and 12% undecided, and McDonnell's favorability rating (50% favorable/27% unfavorable) is slightly better than Deeds's (49% favorable/35% unfavorable).

The candidates released their post-primary fundraising totals earlier this week, which accounted for the amount they raised from May 28 through June 30. Deeds raised $3.4 million in that time span, leaving him with $2.7 million in the bank. McDonnell raised far less, $1.8 million, but has $4.9 million cash on hand.

VA Gov Candidates Release Post-Primary Fundraising

State Sen. Creigh Deeds (D) announced yesterday that he raised $3.4 million in one month, from May 28 to June 30 -- the most recent fundraising period in the Virginia gubernatorial race. Deeds now has $2.7 million cash on hand.

"The key to winning this campaign will be to show who has the best plan to keep Virginia moving forward, and this month has shown that we are well on our way to having the financial resources to do that," Deeds said in a released statement.

Deeds's Republican opponent, former Attorney General Bob McDonnell, announced today that he raised $1.8 million during the same time span and now has $4.92 million cash on hand.

"Our campaign enters the final four months of the race in a strong financial position to carry our positive message of new jobs and more opportunities to every region of the state," said McDonnell campaign manager Phil Cox. "Despite the fact that we were on television for over half of the period, we maintain a nearly 2 to 1 cash on hand advantage over our opponent."

Deeds defeated Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran in the June 9 Democratic primary. McDonnell was unopposed for the GOP nomination, though he began advertising statewide in May.

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell +6

In the tight race for governor of Virginia, a new survey from Public Policy Polling finds GOP nominee Bob McDonnell leading Democrat Creigh Deeds by 6 points (June 30-July 2, 617 LV, +/- 4.0%).

Two other polls conducted since the June 9 primary found Deeds leading by 6 points and McDonnell by 1 point.

One-quarter of voters still don't hold an opinion of Deeds, a state senator who lost the 2005 race for attorney general to McDonnell. Both candidates have similar favorability ratings, with 48%/29% for Deeds and 51%/32% for McDonnell, for whom 17% hold no opinion.

McDonnell now leads by 1.2 points in the RCP Average.

Deeds Announces Backing Of Caps Owner, VA Business Leaders

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds is set to receive the endorsement of close to 50 members of the Virginia business community, including Washington Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis.

Deeds will appear here this morning with Leonsis and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) at the Capitals practice rink. Leonsis is chairing a group called Business Leaders for Deeds -- other than donating money, this is the first time the former America Online executive has stepped forward to prominently endorse a candidate for office, according to a Warner aide.

"I am impressed by Creigh's focus on quality education, technology and innovation as cornerstones of Virginia's economic future," Leonsis will say.

Warner, who made his money in the high-tech field before running for public office, will say, "I have known and worked closely with many of these community and business leaders, and I appreciate their willingness to step up and support Creigh's bipartisan focus on producing real results that move Virginia forward."

As Deeds receives an endorsement from the business community, the Bob McDonnell campaign is highlighting a recent $500,000 donation given to Deeds by the AFSCME, as well as $100,000 from another national labor union, the SEIU.

--Kyle Trygstad

VA Gov: McDonnell Challenges, Deeds Responds

Republican nominee Bob McDonnell challenged his Virginia gubernatorial opponent, Creigh Deeds, to a series of 10 debates leading up to the November election. The Deeds campaign responded today by calling for a debate schedule similar to the 2005 race between Tim Kaine and Jerry Kilgore.

In a letter to Deeds this morning, McDonnell campaign manager Phil Cox proposed the debates begin with the already-scheduled July 25 event in Deeds' home of Bath County and end Oct. 20 on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Other dates proposed incorporate invitations the campaigns have received, including a CNN event in Washington, D.C., and a YouTube/WJLA-TV/Politico event in Arlington.

"I hope Creigh will agree that Virginians deserve to hear from the two candidates for Virginia's highest office directly, and together, as often as is possible," McDonnell said this morning. "I look forward to receiving Creigh's positive reply to this proposal for a formal series of ten gubernatorial debates."

This afternoon Deeds spokesman Jared Leopold responded by saying Deeds is "eager to compare" their records and that he "participated in numerous debates and joint appearances in the primary."

"The Deeds campaign will work with community and news organizations and the McDonnell campaign to schedule a series of debates, so that all Virginians have the opportunity to hear the stark differences between the two candidates," Leopold said. "We expect the number of debates to be in line with precedent from the 2005 Kaine-Kilgore and Deeds-McDonnell debate schedules."

Poll: McDonnell, Deeds Separated by 1 Point

Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds are virtually tied in the race for governor of Virginia, according to a new poll from Daily Kos/Research2000 (June 15-17, 600 LV, MoE +/- 4%).

The survey finds McDonnell leading by just 1 point, 45%-44%, with 11% undecided. McDonnell appears more well-known around the state, with 55% holding a favorable opinion of him, 36% unfavorable and just 9% with no opinion.

Twice as many people have no opinion of Deeds, while 47% view him favorably and 35% unfavorably.

President Obama, who won Virginia in the primary and general election last year, holds a 56%/41% favorability rating.

VA Gov: Deeds Ahead In DGA Poll

The Democratic Governors Association released a poll today showing that Democrat Creigh Deeds holds a slim lead over Republican Bob McDonnell one week after winning the Virginia primary.

General Election Matchup
Deeds 42
McDonnell 38

Fav/Unfav Rating
Deeds 48/14
McDonnell 43/19

A polling memo says that Deeds "has the ability to win votes across the state, including traditionally Republican strongholds." For instance, Deeds leads 51-29 percent in Southwest Virginia. Meanwhile, the memo continues, "McDonnell will have a difficult time making inroads in increasingly Democratic Northern Virginia."

Citing momentum, the memo says incumbent Gov. Tim Kaine (D) has a 66 percent favorability rating, and that 53 percent of voters think the state is on the right track. The DGA clearly is confident to run on the legacy of Kaine and former Gov., now Sen. Mark Warner (D).

The survey of 600 likely voters was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research from June 10-14, and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

VA Gov Poll: Deeds With Early Lead

Less than two days since Creigh Deeds won the Democratic primary in Virginia, Rasmussen released a poll this morning showing him with a lead over Republican Bob McDonnell in the race for governor. The survey was taken June 10 of 500 likely voters.

Deeds 47
McDonnell 41
Und 10

Obama Congratulates Deeds

The White House announces that President Obama did, indeed, speak with Creigh Deeds today "to congratulate him on running a terrific campaign and winning a hard-fought race."

"He told Deeds that he is committed to helping him win this November to bring about the economic recovery that the people of Virginia demand and deserve," a statement reads.

Vice President Biden joined New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) last week as he celebrated renomination, and kicked off the general election race against Chris Christie. The administration will not say yet how involved Obama or Biden will be in the fall races, when Republicans hope victories will signal new momentum for the party.

But history is against the Democrats: as a DGA fundraising e-mail points out today and we noted earlier this year, not since 1977 has the party that controlled the White House won the governorship in Virginia. The same trend holds in New Jersey since 1989.

Outsider Status Did In McAuliffe

Check out my piece today on the Virginia governor Democratic primary, which Deeds won yesterday with 50 percent of the vote.

Just more than five months ago, Terry McAuliffe formally announced he would run for governor of Virginia and completely altered the Democratic primary landscape. What had been a battle between two longtime state legislators became a national show.

In a video e-mail to supporters in January, McAuliffe said he would "travel to every corner of the commonwealth to ask all Virginians to join our campaign to get the economy moving again." He did that -- and then some -- but the former Democratic National Committee chairman was unable to overcome glaring deficiencies in his campaign: his perception as an outsider and lack of a home base.

"It may not have turned out the way we wanted," McAuliffe said last night from the Westin Hotel in Arlington. "But it was quite a ride."

Read the rest here.

Virginia Democratic Primary

ARLINGTON, Va., June 9 -- At the election night event for Terry McAuliffe. I'm live-blogging the results over on the RCP Blog.

Click onto the Virginia Election page for unofficial results.

Where They Are Today

After what seemed like it would be an eternal primary campaign, the three Democrats running for governor of Virginia meet their fate today. Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran all finished off the months-long sprint with marathon campaign routes over the weekend and into today.

Deeds, who all of a sudden appears favored to win thanks to two recent polls, began his day in Millboro, located in Bath County close to the West Virginia border. Deeds voted at 9:25 a.m., alongside his wife and son. Tonight, Deeds will hold what he hopes to be a celebratory event in Charlottesville, where his state Senate office and campaign headquarters are located.

McAuliffe was scheduled to vote at 6:15 a.m. in McLean, then greet voters at a subway station in Falls Church and later in Arlington at Ray's Hell Burger -- where President Obama made an unannounced lunchtime trip a few weeks ago. McAuliffe's event tonight will be at a hotel in Arlington (where RCP will be).

Moran, who has slipped to third in many polls after leading early, was scheduled to vote at 11:00 a.m. in Alexandria. His event tonight will also be in Alexandria.

Voters decide today who will take on former Attorney General Bob McDonnell, whom RCP ran into last night at the Senate-House Republican dinner in Washington. Republicans hope a win in Virginia will give the party some momentum heading into next year's midterm elections.

NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions mentioned McDonnell during his speech, calling him "the next governor of Virginia" and someone who can "bring us a victory that will help fuel our resurgence across this country."

VA Gov Poll: Deeds +40%, Again

In the race for governor of Virginia, a second poll in as many days shows State Sen. Creigh Deeds with more than 40% support in the three-way Democratic primary. The election takes place tomorrow, with Deeds appearing to have all the late-breaking momentum in the race.

Following a PPP poll showing him leading by 14 points, a new SurveyUSA poll (taken of LV, June 5-7) finds Deeds out in front with 42% -- ahead of former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe (30%) and former State Rep. Brian Moran (21%).

Deeds now leads by 8.3 points in the RCP Virginia Average.

VA Gov Poll: Deeds +14

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds has opened up a double-digit lead with just one day to go in the race for the Democratic nomination. A new PPP poll finds Deeds (40%) leading Terry McAuliffe by 14 points, with Brian Moran just 2 points behind McAuliffe. One-tenth of voters remain undecided.

Deeds is the only one of the three Dems to have run statewide, and in the last week his campaign has focused its advertising on the endorsement of The Washington Post. In Arlington, McAuliffe signs once ruled the roadways; now, "The Washington Post endorsed Deeds" signs are everywhere.

On Friday, McAuliffe trotted out the endorsements of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell -- both chairmen of national governors associations. Over the weekend, all three candidates were canvassing for voters, through phone calls and door-to-door outreach.

With one day to go, Deeds leads by 3.7 points in the RCP Virginia Average

VA Gov Poll: Deeds Making Moves

After trailing Terry McAuliffe by 23 points in the previous Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, State Sen. Creigh Deeds now leads both McAuliffe and Brian Moran.

Today's Research 2000 poll finds McAuliffe in third for the first time in months, if not ever. Deeds leads with 30% (+17 from last month), followed by Moran with 27% (+5) and McAuliffe 26% (-10). Still, the candidates are only a few points apart -- a constant among the different polls recently.

For the general election, Moran performs best against Republican Bob McDonnell, trailing by 8 points (43%-35%) -- Deeds trails by 12 points (46%-34%) and McAuliffe by 13 points (46%-33%).

This is the third poll in three days that Deeds has led in the June 9 Democratic primary. He's clearly felt a boost from his Washington Post endorsement and the ensuing ads he's airing around the state touting it. Deeds now leads in the RCP Average by 1.0 point.

VA Gov Poll: Deeds +3

State Sen. Creigh Deeds leads a poll in the Virginia gubernatorial race for the second time this week. The upcoming June 9 Democratic primary pits Deeds, former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe and former state Rep. Brian Moran against each other in what has become an incredibly tight, three-man race.

The Suffolk University poll released today finds Deeds ahead with 29%, followed by McAuliffe with 26% and Moran 23%. Though the election is less than a week away, undecided voters still make up more than one-fifth of the electorate (22%).

"With the remaining undecided at 22 percent, the Deeds lead could be fluid, and the final tally could hinge on last-minute campaign ads, momentum, the weather, and get-out-the-vote efforts from all the candidates," said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk's Political Research Center.

VA Gov Poll: McAuliffe +6

A new SurveyUSA poll in Virginia, released less than a week before the June 9 Democratic primary for governor, finds Terry McAuliffe leading Creigh Deeds by 6 points, with Brian Moran finishing 9 points back.

McAuliffe 35 - Deeds 29 -Moran 26

In potential general election matchups with Republican nominee Bob McDonnell, Deeds performed best -- though all three Dems trail the former attorney general.

McDonnell 44 - Deeds 43
McDonnell 47 - McAuliffe 40
McDonnell 48 - Moran 37

PPP released a poll yesterday showing Deeds with a small lead in the Democratic primary. With turnout expected to be low, as is usual in Virginia gubernatorial primaries, no one is quite sure what will happen Tuesday.

Moran Poll Finds Him Leading

On the same day a PPP poll found Creigh Deeds leading and all three Democratic candidates within 5 points, Brian Moran's campaign released a poll showing him leading the field of three -- all of whom are separated by just 3 points.

The poll was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (May 26 - 27, 400 LV, +/- 4.9%), which concluded "the three candidates are neck-and-neck-and-neck." Moran leads with 29%, followed by Deeds with 27% and Terry McAuliffe with 26%.

The pollster also noted that McAuliffe receives the highest unfavorable rating -- 41% have a favorable opinion of him and 24% negative. Both Deeds (45%/14%) and Moran (44%/12%) have higher favorable and lower negative ratings than McAuliffe.

VA Gov: New Poll Puts Deeds In Front

First, the Washington Post endorses him. Now, Creigh Deeds, the forgotten man in the race for governor of Virginia, finds himself out in front with a week to go until the Democratic primary.

A survey released this morning by PPP finds Deeds leading with 27%, followed by Terry McAuliffe with 24% and Brian Moran 22%. With a quarter of voters still undecided and turnout expected to be extremely low, the race has to be considered even between the three candidates -- but with the amount of money McAuliffe has raised and Moran's years of public service in populous Northern Virginia, that in itself is a feat.

"We've been saying for months this was anyone's game and it's more true now than ever," said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. "All three candidates have a perfectly reasonable chance of coming out on top next Tuesday."

Campaign finance reports turned in last night show McAuliffe with $3 million left in the bank for the last week of the primary campaign after raising $1.8 million in the last two months. Since May 27, though, the last day of fundraising included in the report, McAuliffe has raised at least another $130,000.

Moran raised $844,000 from April 1 to May 27, leaving him just more than $700,000 in cash, while Deeds raised $678,000 and has $522,000 left to spend.

UPDATE: The Deeds camp has put out this statement:

"Once again, we have defied the odds and this poll confirms what we've been saying all along--this nomination is not for sale -- and that Creigh is the one Democrat most prepared to be Governor" said Joe Abbey, campaign manager for Deeds for Virginia.  "But I can assure you, no one on our campaign is taking anything for granted.  It's a sprint to the finish on June 9 and we need everyone's help. And this poll reflects the thousands of Virginians that are joining our grassroots campaign because they know that Creigh is the Democrat most prepared to carry on the Warner-Kaine legacy."


VA Gov: Campaign Finance Reports Due

Pre-primary campaign finance reports in Virginia are due today at 6 p.m., one week before the June 9 primary. The reports will show candidate fundraising and spending totals from April 1 to May 27.

Any donations of $5,000 or more given from May 27 until the June 9 election must be revealed by the following day. By far the biggest contribution given over the last few days has been to Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who collected a $30,600 check from the AFSCME. The 1.6 million-member national labor union has now given a total of $567,000 to McAuliffe, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Republican Bob McDonnell, who accepted his party's nomination over the weekend, announced this afternoon that he raised $3.7 million over the last two months and now has some $4.9 million cash on hand. In a press release, McDonnell campaign manager Phil Cox called his lack of primary competition a "crucial advantage."

"We continue to build the resources we need to win this November," Cox said. "And we are doing this while our potential opponents are waging an expensive and increasingly negative primary race."

McDonnell has been advertising on TV in the expensive Northern Virginia media market for a couple weeks now, something some Democrats believe is a good thing. However, his relatively strong fundraising totals from the 1st quarter and pre-primary reports show how he's been able to do it -- and that the eventual Democratic nominee will need to keep pace.

UPDATE: Brian Moran (D) announced raising $844,000 over the last two months, with $700,000 cash on hand.

"We've far exceeded our goals and have put ourselves in a position to win," Campaign Chair Mame Reiley stated in a press release. "This dramatic spike in contributions ensures that we are fully funded for the homestretch of the campaign."

Deeds Airing 3 TV Ads

With about a week to go until the June 9 Democratic primary, Virginia State Sen. Creigh Deeds is airing three TV ads in hopes of becoming as well known as his gubernatorial opponents Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran. Deeds's latest ad, "Carry On," touts his endorsement by The Washington Post and began airing Friday in Hampton Roads, Richmond, Roanoke and Bristol.

The ad is not up in Northern Virginia, though, which is by far the most expensive of the state's media markets and where the Post is the hometown paper.

The other two 30-second ads, "Education Story" and "Most Qualified" are up in Harrisonburg and Charlottesville -- home to James Madison University and the University of Virginia, respectively.

In recent weeks, McAuliffe and Moran have released dueling TV and radio ads. The radio ads have primarily targeted Richmond and Hampton Roads, and air on hip-hop, R&B and gospel stations.

VA GOP Nominees Hit the Road

In Virginia, where the governor and lieutenant governor candidates run separately (there is currently a Dem governor and Republican lt. gov.), the candidates for the state's top three offices are hitting the road this morning for a one day, six-stop statewide tour.

Former attorney general Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli were all officially nominated -- for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general -- over the weekend at the state GOP convention in Richmond. Today they travel together to Southwest Virginia, Roanoke, the Shenandoah Valley, Northern Virginia, Fredericksburg and Hampton Roads.

In perhaps a remark about Terry McAuliffe's lack of a public service resume, McDonnell said this morning at the group's first stop in Abingdon: "This is a ticket with records that Virginians can trust." All three of the GOP nominees have served in the state legislature.

Moran Slapping McAuliffe for Past Dealings

I noted in a column a couple weeks ago how neither Brian Moran or Terry McAuliffe is being forthright with their personal and fundraising connections. With less than two weeks to go until the June 9 primary, the Moran campaign wants voters to know all about McAuliffe's.

McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and longtime fundraiser for the Clintons, is getting his past thrown in his face in recent days by fellow Virginia gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran.

The Moran campaign released a scathing statement today regarding a direct mail piece McAuliffe distributed comparing the three Democrats and one Republican vying for the state's top slot. And, as this AP piece today details, Moran is hammering him for selling stock in a business that later went into bankruptcy:

McAuliffe's most bitter primary rival is pounding him on it. State House Democratic Caucus leader Brian J. Moran's only television ad, which debuted last week, accuses McAuliffe of "working insider deals for himself."

Moran maintains the jobs lost at Global Crossing counter McAuliffe's claims that he can generate jobs for Virginia.

"It undermines his reason for running for governor," Moran said in an interview.

In reaction to the direct mail piece (which can be seen here), Moran campaign manager Andrew Roos said: "Brian Moran will take no lectures on ethics from the booking agent of the Lincoln bedroom and the architect of the Business Leadership Forum. The last place we would go for a public service lesson is a Wall Street insider. For decades, Mr. McAuliffe traded access for money, ensuring that big companies - not people - were in control, all the while pocketing millions through his proximity to power."

McAuliffe has raised the most money and run a tireless campaign, so the odds are on his side to pull out a win. Running against two longtime state legislators, though, McAuliffe needs to get his voters to the booth in the state's traditionally low-turnout primary.

Outside Group Continues Ad Campaign In Virginia

A left-leaning group is set to air its third TV advertisement against the Republican candidate in Virginia's gubernatorial race. Common Sense Virginia is launching today a 30-second ad titled, "Jobs Governor," which combats former state attorney general Bob McDonnell's campaign mantra -- that he'll create jobs.

"Bob McDonnell has a long record of opposing help for Virginia's unemployed," said Common Sense Virginia press secretary Yoni Cohen. "McDonnell is out of touch and voted again and again to ignore the challenges Virginians face in tough times. When McDonnell claims he'll be a 'Jobs Governor,' he's gotta be kidding."

It appears to be an extensive ad buy, as the spot will air in Northern Virginia, Richmond, Norfolk and Roanoke -- the four largest media markets in the state.

VA Gov Poll: McAuliffe Leads Again

For the third time in two days, a new poll shows Terry McAuliffe leading his Democratic primary opponents -- State Sen. Creigh Deeds and former State Del. Brian Moran -- in the race for governor of Virginia. Today, a new PPP poll shows McAuliffe ahead of both candidates by 9 points, with close to a third of June 9 primary voters still undecided.

Deeds, who was endorsed today by the Washington Post, has jumped ahead to tie Moran for second place and enjoys the highest favorability rating (42%) among the three candidates. More people have an unfavorable opinion of McAuliffe (36%) than Deeds (16%) or Moran (20%).

McAuliffe 29 (-1 vs. last poll, May 5)
Moran 20 (nc)
Deeds 20 (+6)
Und 31 (-5)

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell Leads Three Dems

A second Virginia governor race poll released today, this one by Daily Kos/Research 2000 (May 18-20, 600 LV, MoE +/- 5%), shows Republican Bob McDonnell leading the three Democrats vying for the party nomination. The Daily Kos poll also shows Terry McAuliffe leading Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds by double digits in the Democratic primary race.

Some of the numbers in the SurveyUSA poll released earlier today were significantly different than the Daily Kos survey. Deeds' 13 points in the Dem primary in this poll were half what he got in the SUSA poll, while the McAuliffe and Moran numbers were practically identical.

For the general election, McAuliffe performed the best against McDonnell in the SUSA poll, while Moran performs best in this one.

Dem Primary
McAuliffe 36
Moran 22
Deeds 13

General Election
McDonnell 42 - Moran 35 - Und 23

McDonnell 44 - McAuliffe 34 - Und 22

McDonnell 45 - Deeds 32 - Und 23

VA Gov Poll: McAuliffe +11

Terry McAuliffe leads the Virginia gubernatorial Democratic primary field by double digits, according to the latest poll from SurveyUSA (May 17-20, 502 Dem LV, +/- 4.5%). McAuliffe and Brian Moran's numbers stayed the same since the last poll released at the end of April, but State Sen. Creigh Deeds shot ahead of Moran. The primary takes place June 9.

McAuliffe 37 (-1 vs. last poll, April 28)
Deeds 26 (+4)
Moran 22 (nc)

The survey also looks ahead to the general election and tests each Dem against GOP nominee Bob McDonnell, the former state attorney general. Deeds and McAuliffe both trail McDonnell by 6 points, while Moran trails by 10 points (May 17-20, 1692 RV, +/- 2.4%).

Deeds has faced McDonnell before, losing by 323 votes in the 2005 attorney general race.

McDonnell 46 - Deeds 40 - Und 15

McDonnell 46 - McAuliffe 40 - Und 13

McDonnell 47 - Moran 37 - Und 16

Moran Airs First TV Ad; McAuliffe Responds

Less than a month before the June 9 Democratic primary in the race for governor of Virginia, former State Delegate Brian Moran (D) released his first TV ad of the campaign. The ad criticizes rival candidate Terry McAuliffe's record as a businessman, comparing it to Moran's years as a state legislator and county prosecutor.

"For five months Terry McAuliffe has been on television trying to rewrite history and avoid his record," Moran campaign manager Andrew Roos said. "Our ad uses media reports to set the record straight and show that Brian Moran is the person who will fight for Virginia families."

McAuliffe apparently was ready to go with a response, because he released a TV ad of his own yesterday that reacts to Moran's ad.

"It's very telling that Brian Moran is once again relying on negative and misleading attacks against Terry in his first television ad," said McAuliffe spokeswoman Lis Smith. "Terry is running on his strong record of creating thousands of jobs-a record verified by the Washington Post today. In these troubling economic times, Virginians are looking for a governor with the right experience to create jobs and get our economy back on track - someone with a positive vision for Virginia's future - not someone focused making misleading and negative attacks."

Here is Moran's "Records," which aired for the first time yesterday prior to the Democratic debate:

Here is McAuliffe's "Stepped Up":

McAuliffe also released this week a radio ad in response to a Moran radio ad regarding his support for Barack Obama following the Democratic primary, during which he worked for Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama handily won the Virginia primary.

"I campaigned hard for Hillary Clinton," McAuliffe states in the ad. "But when the primaries ended I campaigned just as hard to help elect Barack Obama."

The 60 second ad "will run on adult urban contemporary, gospel, and religious radio stations in the Norfolk and Richmond media markets," according to the campaign.

Daschle Back In the Game

Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader from South Dakota, has announced his endorsement of Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor race.

Daschle hasn't been heard from much since his unceremonious exit from consideration for Secretary of Health Human Services, amid scrutiny over unpaid taxes. He now becomes the latest in a string of nationally known names to endorse McAuliffe.

The McAuliffe campaign made sure to note that Daschle served as national co-chair of President Obama's campaign, as the candidate continues to attempt to tie himself to that successful bid -- as opposed to Hillary Clinton, for whom he worked.

Here is Daschle's full statement:

"As the national co-chair of Barack Obama's presidential campaign and one of his earliest supporters, I was impressed by the time and energy Terry put into traveling across Virginia and the country on Barack Obama's behalf during the general election.

"From the day Hillary Clinton ended her historic bid for president, Terry worked tirelessly to unify our party around Barack Obama and get him elected President. His energy and enthusiasm were tremendous assets on the campaign trail and we were grateful to have him on our side.

"Terry has decades of experience creating jobs and turning around struggling businesses, including bringing the Democratic National Committee out of debt for the first time in modern history. I believe this experience makes him uniquely qualified to be the next governor of Virginia and I support his candidacy."

McAuliffe Seeks Young Voters in Virginia

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 and Biz Markie., 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 took over the turntables for the last hour or so. During a press gaggle in the basement before appearing on stage, McAuliffe and could hardly hear reporters' questions as the bass boomed from the ceiling.

Calling McAuliffe a "wonderful guy," 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," 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.

VA Gov: McDonnell Releases First TV Ad

Bob McDonnell, the GOP nominee for governor in Virginia, began airing his first TV ad of the campaign today. Unlike the Democrats, who face a competitive three-way primary race, the GOP has no primary race, and McDonnell has been able to sock away his campaign funds and hold off on TV advertising until now.

The positive ad, which can be viewed here, touts McDonnell's resume -- "21 years in the Army and Reserves," "bipartisan actions against internet sexual predators" as state attorney general -- and refers to him as the "jobs governor."

Airing on broadcast and cable channels in Richmond, Norfolk, Roanoke, Tri-Cities, Charlottesville and Harrisonburg, the ad will appear in media markets on the I-81 corridor (which runs along the Appalachian Mountains on the west side of the state) and I-64 corridor, which cuts through the central part of the state. The ad will not air in the expensive Washington, D.C., media market, which includes populous Northern Virginia.

The Democratic primary is June 9.

Polls Find McAuliffe Leading Primary Field

Two recent independent polls have found Terry McAuliffe leading the Democratic primary field by double digits in the Virginia gubernatorial race.

In a PPP poll released today, McAuliffe led with 30% to 20% for Brian Moran and 14% for Creigh Deeds. A SurveyUSA poll out last week found McAuliffe with 38% to 22% for both Moran and Deeds.

"This is the fourth time PPP has polled this contest and the first time one of the candidates has broken away from the pack," said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling.

With about a month until the June 9 primary election and a large chunk of the electorate still undecided, the race is far from over. However, McAuliffe appears to have been hitting the right notes during campaign appearances and in his many TV and radio ads. As voters have gotten to know him, McAuliffe's favorability rating has skyrocked -- at 42% now, it's the highest among the three candidates.

Countering the recent trend, the Moran campaign released today an internal poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, which found McAuliffe leading Moran by just 2 points -- 31% to 29%, with 18% for Deeds and 22% undecided.

"This poll confirms that our message is breaking through and our grassroots campaign is working," said Andrew Roos, campaign manager for the Moran campaign. "We always knew that we would be outspent in this race, but we've held it close because people believe that Brian Moran is the one who will fight for them."

McAuliffe Pulling Out All the Stops

Thanks to Terry McAuliffe's candidacy, the Virginia gubernatorial contest is getting far more attention than normal, including multiple appearances by President Bill Clinton. Now comes the announcement by the McAuliffe campaign that rapper will be appearing with the candidate at several stops around the state next Monday.

The grammy-winning peformer will appear alongside McAuliffe May 11 in Portsmouth, Hampton, Richmond and Arlington.

"Terry is my good friend and my closest political mentor," said, in a statement released by the campaign. "He will be a great governor because of his passion to help people and his understanding of the grassroots community. I look forward to joining him on the campaign trail."

This is's second recent foray into Democratic primary politics, after being a big supporter of Barack Obama -- not McAuliffe's candidate, Hillary Clinton. He may be best remembered for the YouTube video released during the presidential primary campaign last year, titled "Yes We Can," which put a speech by Barack Obama to music and included celebrity guest appearances.

Bill Clinton To Hit VA Gov Trail

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe announced today that Bill Clinton, for whom McAuliffe is a longtime friend and fundraiser, will hit the trail with him in Richmond and Roanoke on Monday April 27.

"We're thrilled to have President Clinton join Terry on the campaign trail," McAuliffe campaign manager Mike Henry stated in a press release. "As a former governor and close friend of Terry's, he'll talk with Virginians about why Terry is best suited to turn Virginia's economy around. And as America's last great job-creating President, he'll help make the case as to why Terry will be Virginia's next great job-creating governor."

According to campaign finance reports due last week, Clinton has donated $10,000 to McAuliffe, and he also attended a high-dollar fundraiser for McAuliffe in New York in January.

Va Gov: McAuliffe Ad, Race Analysis

Terry McAuliffe is up with a new 30-second TV ad in the Richmond and Hampton Roads media markets that will focus on alternative energy and creating new jobs.

Speaking of McAuliffe, Bob Holsworth, a Virginia political analyst and founder of the Virginia Tomorrow blog, broke down his campaign strategy and other topics in an e-mail exchange with RCP yesterday:

"The McAuliffe campaign divides the Democratic electorate into 'proven' voters -- those who always vote in Demcoratic primaries; and 'surge' voters -- those who participate when they have especially inspired and motivated," said Holsworth.

Surge voters certainly emerged in 2008 for Barack Obama, who received almost 628,000 votes in the February presidential primary. Obama bested Hillary Clinton in Richmond by a 4-to-1 margin, and a 2-to-1 margin in Virginia Beach. Statewide, Obama defeated Clinton 64%-35%.

"If the primary electorate consists only of 'proven' Democratic voters, McAuliffe will have a tough time winning," Holsworth said. "He is depending upon expanding electorate considerably beyond the 155,000 voters who participated in the Democratic senatorial primary in 2006. If he can double this number by attacting 'surge' voters, he has a good chance of winning."

McAuliffe's TV advertising ability and targeted strategy is a major piece in completing his primary puzzle. Awaiting the winner of the Democratic primary -- McAuliffe, Brian Moran or Creigh Deeds -- is now-former Atty. Gen. Bob McDonnell.

"McDonnell enters the race in the best position of any Republican since Jim Gilmore won in 1997," Holsworth said. "He does not have an opponent for the nomination; he is generally considered to have done a good job as Attorney General; and his favorability ratings in the polls are quite high."

While a Rasmussen poll yesterday showed McDonnell extending his lead to double digits over all three Democrats, he'll face the same problem in November that Republicans have faced in the last three major elections in Virginia: poor numbers in Northern Virginia, where some one-third of votes are cast.

"His challenge is to find a message that can enable him to run much stronger in Northern Virginia and other metropolitan areas in the state (the Richmond region and Hampton Roads) than Republicans have done recently," Holsworth said.

Shad Planking Kicks Off Virginia Governor Race

Virginia's annual Shad Planking political gathering took place yesterday and RCP was there to capture all its glory. Check out my piece on the event here, and enjoy the pictures below.

Shad_Planking_fish smoking.JPG

Continue reading "Shad Planking Kicks Off Virginia Governor Race" »

VA Gov Poll: McDonnell Leads Dems

Bob McDonnell (R) leads the three potential Democratic nominees in hypothetical general election matchups in the 2009 Virginia gubernatorial race, a new Rasmussen poll finds (April 15, 500 LV, +/- 4.5%). The survey also finds President Obama and Governor Tim Kaine with 56% job approval ratings in the state.

McDonnell and Democrats Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe appeared yesterday at the annual Shad Planking event. Creigh Deeds, the third Dem, skipped the event to campaign alongside Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.). Moran, McAuliffe and Deeds will face off in a June 9 primary.

McDonnell 45 - Deeds 30 - Und 20
McDonnell 44 - Moran 34 - Und 19
McDonnell 45 - McAuliffe 33 - Und 19

Candidates Target Money-Man McAuliffe

mcdonnel.jpg WAKEFIELD, Va. -- Republican Bob McDonnell, answering a question regarding Terry McAuliffe's potential cash advantage in a general election matchup: "He's a professional fundraiser, and I'm a professional public servant."

Moran told RealClearPolitics that, not surprisingly, he likes where he is -- up a few points in the polls, and with mayors and state legislators around Virginia helping him get the word out.

Speaking of Moran and McAuliffe's fundraising abilities, the Moran beer truck booth has the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love" looping on an iPod speaker. His beer cups say: "Money isn't everything. Running for Virginia is."

--Kyle Trygstad

Dispatch From The Shad Planking

tmac2.jpgKyle Trygstad sends this photo along from Wakefield, Virginia, where he's covering the annual Shad Planking political circus. The focus is on the three Democratic candidates for governor, who are now greeting the folks who braved a dreary, rainy day to attend. The speaking program begins at 4 pm.

More from Kyle: "McAuliffe easily won the campaign sign 'contest,' blanketing the sides of the back country road. No Brian Moran or Creigh Deeds signs spotted."

A full story to come. We'll update on any other developments during the day.

VA Gov Dem Primary Poll: Moran +5

Former Delegate Brian Moran leads his two Democratic primary opponents, according to a new Daily Kos/Research2000 poll. Moran leads with 24%, followed by Terry McAuliffe with 19% and Creigh Deeds with 16%.

McAuliffe is the only one of the three Democrats whom more voters hold an unfavorable (36%) opinion of than favorable (35%). Moran has a 36%/33% fav/unfav rating, and Deeds is at 34%/30%.

Moran also performs the best against Republican candidate Bob McDonnell, who resigned as state attorney general to run for governor.

McDonnell 37 - Moran 36 - Und 27
McDonnell 40 - McAuliffe 33 - Und 27
McDonnell 38 - Deeds 31 - Und 31

"Not only are we leading in the primary, but, more importantly, this poll confirms that Brian is the strongest Democrat to take on Bob McDonnell in November," Moran campaign manager Andrew Roos said in a released statement. "Virginia Democrats know that we need a fighter and we need a winner come November, and this poll is further evidence that we are running a campaign that will accomplish exactly that."

With two months before the primary, McAuliffe currently leads in cash-on-hand with $2.5 million, followed by Deeds with $1.2 million and Moran with $825,000.

Va. Gov: Deeds Raises $600k in 1stQ

Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D) waited one day longer than his gubernatorial primary opponents to announce his 1st quarter fundraising total, and his campaign released somewhat surprising numbers.

Deeds raised $600,000 in the first three months of the year, surpassing his total from the previous six months. Deeds was working from a disadvantage, as members of the Legislature are prohibited from raising money during the legislative session, which lasted 46 days this year.

Brian Moran resigned his General Assembly seat so he could keep up with former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, a seasoned fundraiser.

"I am excited to announce that I was able to raise more money in 44 days than the previous 6 months -- and now my campaign has $1.2 million cash-on-hand," Deeds stated in an e-mail announcement.

Deeds's announcement certifies that McAuliffe raised the most money inside Virginia. Although his in-state donations accounted for just 18 percent of his 1st quarter fundraising, McAuliffe raised $760,000 from Virginia donors, while Moran raised $720,000.

Deeds said 97 percent of his 1st quarter donations came from inside Virginia.

With the primary exactly two months away, McAuliffe also leads in cash-on-hand with $2.5 million; Deeds has $1.2 million and Moran has $825,000.

Non-Virginia Donors Fill McAuliffe Coffers

Terry McAuliffe, the longtime fund-raiser for Bill and Hillary Clinton, reported a remarkable $4.2 million in first quarter fundraising for his Virginia gubernatorial campaign. Perhaps under-reported, however, was that just 18 percent -- $760,000 -- of his total take came from in-state donors.

The lack of emphasis on in-state donations in the campaign's report stands in stark contrast to its fundraising announcement in January, when the campaign touted the $1 million it had raised from inside Virginia in the previous two months.

As an example of the out-of-state fundraising advantage he has over rival Democrats Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran, McAuliffe took in nearly half of the amount he raised in Virginia at just one Manhattan event in January -- where Bill Clinton and Democratic bundler Hassan Nemazee helped him raise $350,000.

By comparison, Gov. Tim Kaine never took in more than $200,000 from any out-of-state locality during his entire campaign.

Whether or not McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, raised more in any other one state -- such as New York, Florida or California -- than he did in Virginia won't be known until financial reports are turned in April 15.

Moran, a former state delegate, reported raising 90 percent of his $800,000 first quarter take from in-state donors. Deeds, a state senator, has yet to announce his first quarter numbers.

McAuliffe Outraises Rival Moran

Terry McAuliffe's campaign announced raising $4.2 million in the first quarter this year, and he now has $2.5 million left to spend over the next two months before the June 9 Democratic primary for Virginia governor.

McAuliffe's haul trounces that of rival Democrat Brian Moran, who announced raising $800,000 in the first quarter -- more than his campaign had raised in the entire second half of 2008. State Sen. Creigh Deeds has not yet announced his fundraising numbers.

The Moran campaign touts their numbers as being plenty to win with, and continues to focus on its "grassroots campaign" and local elected official endorsements. The Moran camp also makes sure to note that Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) was easily outraised during the 2006 Democratic primary, but still came out victorious. Webb spoke about his campaign in a February interview with RealClearPolitics. Here is a sample:

"I got out in a 10-year-old Jeep, put 36-, 37,000 miles on this old Jeep with my radio operator from Vietnam as my driver. We hit three town hall meetings a night. And I don't think we spent $100,000 in the whole primary. We didn't have one ad -- radio or TV. Not one. It was all word of mouth. Harris Miller had more than a million dollars and ran ads and did a lot of other things."

Moran Airs First Radio Ad

Former State Delegate Brian Moran (D) is releasing his first radio ad of the primary campaign for Virginia governor. The one-minute ad will begin airing tomorrow in Hampton Roads, where large military and African American populations reside.

The ad features former Delegate Mary T. Christian, who represented Hampton in the State House for close to 20 years. "Known to many as 'Doctor C,' I had the honor of being the first African American elected to the Virginia General Assembly from Hampton in over 100 years," Christian says in the ad. "And I know what it means to stand up for our community. That's why I'm supporting Brian Moran to be the next governor of Virginia."

Moran's campaign has focused largely on winning the endorsements of local leaders. His supporters in the populous Hampton Roads area include the mayors of Norfolk, Newport News, Portsmouth and Hampton.

He also boasts the endorsements of Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Petersburg Mayor Annie Mickens, who -- as with the mayors of the Hampton Roads cities -- are from cities with large African American populations. African Americans made up one-fifth of the Virginia electorate in the 2008 general elections.

With the primary just three months away, a new poll released today showed the Democratic race between Moran, former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe and State Sen. Creigh Deeds still up in the air.

New Jersey, Virginia Dems Staring History In The Face

New polling suggests that New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine faces a difficult challenge for re-election this year. A Monmouth University poll released last week shows that just 34% of Garden State voters approve of the job Corzine is doing, compared to 51% who disapprove. Another recent survey shows that Republican Chris Christie, who as the state's hard-charging U.S. attorney has pursued a number of high-profile corruption cases, is leading the Democrat 44% to 38%.

In Virginia, the only other state holding a gubernatorial election this year, Democrats face an uphill battle against former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell. A Rasmussen survey conducted on Feb. 4 had McDonnell leading each of his three potential rivals, state Sen. Creigh Deeds, former state Delegate Brian Moran and former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe. None is as well known statewide as McDonnell, who will watch from the sidelines until the Democratic primary on June 9.

Circumstances in both states could certainly change by November. But more than the strength of Republican candidates, there's a unique historical pattern that should have Democrats concerned. Since 1989, the party that has controlled the White House has lost gubernatorial elections in each state (the trend goes back further in Virginia, to 1977).

In 1989, George H.W. Bush's first year as president, New Jersey's Jim Florio and Virginia's Doug Wilder won their respective races. Republicans took back the offices in the two following elections, as Democrat Bill Clinton served in the White House. But the pendulum swung again in 2001 and 2005, when George W. Bush served as president.

Strategists in both national parties typically pay additional attention to these contests every four years. With only a handful of elections scheduled in the "off-year," these two key gubernatorial contests are often spun as a measure of the parties' strength heading into midterm election years.

Control of the state offices is considered an even greater priority in the coming years because of the role governors will play in shaping redistricting decisions after the 2010 census.

McAuliffe Airs First TV Ad Of The Campaign

Despite being the last to enter the race for Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe's fundraising pace has put him in position to air the first TV ad of the campaign.

The Washington Post reports that the ad will air in Hampton Roads, where there is a large African American and military population.

While McAuliffe takes aim at Democratic voters in Hampton Roads, rival Democrat Brian Moran has decided "to run as the insurgent, progressive alternative" to McAuliffe and state Sen. Creigh Deeds, writes Bob Holsworth, a Virginia political analyst.

"I've spoken to insiders who believe the strategy will have tremendous appeal to the activist groups in the party most likely to participate in the June primary while others are equally convinced that Democrats don't win in Virginia by outflanking their opponents on the left," Holsworth writes on his indispensable Virginia Tomorrow blog.

The Democratic primary is set for June 9, the winner of which will take on Atty. Gen. Bob McDonnell (R) in the general election.

Moran Offers Joint Fundraising Pledge

Former Virginia Delegate Brian Moran, running for the Democratic nomination in this year's race for governor of Virginia, called on his two opponents to join his pledge to raise money from only in-state donors.

"This election should be about who has a proven record of fighting for Virginia families and a vision for where to take the state," Moran said on a Washington-area radio station this morning. "It should not be an election about who can raise more money from national donors. Virginia Democrats should choose our nominee."

Moran's pledge comes for obvious reasons. Former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, who's raised money for both Bill and Hillary Clinton, has a national donor network that the Washington Post reported could help him take in some $80 million to run for governor.

The McAuliffe camp has denied the accuracy of this number, telling Virginia Commonwealth University professor Robert Holsworth that they expect to raise far less than that. Still, Moran and State Sen. Creigh Deeds, who's also running, will likely struggle to keep pace with McAuliffe's stellar fundraising abilities should he not agree to the pledge.

Moran Resigns State House Seat

State Delegate Brian Moran (D) resigned his Northern Virginia-based seat today, freeing up his winter schedule to run for governor.

From the Washington Post:

By resigning the seat he has held since 1996, Moran will be able to raise money and travel the state this winter instead of being bogged down by the 45-day legislative session. Had he not stepped down, Moran would have been in Richmond in January and February while one of his chief rivals for the nomination, Terry McAuliffe, was free to campaign. Moran will also be able to avoid looming tough votes on budget cuts, as well as possible tax or fee increases, as Virginia grapples with a big budget shortfall.

Four VA Gov Contenders Meet

The four candidates vying for the governorship of Virginia met at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in downtown Richmond yesterday for the annual "Associated Press Day at the Capital." Atty. Gen. Bob McDonnell, the only Republican currently running, met with the three Democrats who will have to battle for the Dem nomination: State Delegate Brian Moran, State Sen. Creigh Deeds and former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe.

From the T-D's write-up of the event:

McAuliffe, who plans to make an announcement on his candidacy early next month, contended that unlike confirmed candidates Deeds and Moran, he represents fresh blood with new ideas.

McAuliffe said that like fellow Democrats Mark R. Warner, who was elected governor in 2001; and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who won in 2005, he does not come from the legislature and isn't wedded to old alliances.

At one point in the nearly two-hour discussion, Deeds and McDonnell were bickering over a 2007 transportation plan that the Virginia Supreme Court deemed partly unconstitutional.

McAuliffe interjected: "If you're tired of all the quarreling, I'm your guy."

VA's Coming Gov Battle

Three well-known, well-funded candidates are heading toward a battle of titanic proportions when Virginia's governor's mansion comes open in 2009, and the race could signal whether the Commonwealth has truly fallen into Democratic hands or if it remains in the toss-up category.

On the Democratic side, Delegate Brian Moran, brother of Rep. Jim Moran, will likely face off with State Senator Creigh Deeds in a contest that pits the heavily-Democratic Northern Virginia region against the rest of the state. Moran, who represents Alexandria, will have to run up a big margin in his backyard to overcome Deeds, who represents a district near the eastern side of the state and has run statewide before.

Both Moran and Deeds had some big accomplishments in the just-concluded legislative session, the Richmond Times-Dispatch writes. But the battle could be fierce: While Moran has raised an impressive amount of money, both for himself and for the Democratic caucus in Richmond, Deeds is probably better-known in the state. In 2005, Deeds lost a race for Attorney General by just 360 votes out of nearly 2 million cast. Deeds has officially declared his candidacy, while Moran is moving toward doing so.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Bob McDonnell, the Republican who beat Deeds for Attorney General three years ago. McDonnell avoided what could have been a bloody primary of his own when Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling told the Associated Press on Monday that he will not run.

Virginia, once a commonwealth taken for granted by Republicans, has trended decidedly away from the GOP in recent years. In 1996, Mark Warner nearly defeated Republican incumbent John Warner for Senate. The wealthy Democratic businessman came back to win the governor's mansion in 2001, and Republicans have not elected a senator or governor since John Warner's 2002 re-election campaign. Thanks to the state's one-term limit on governors, incumbent Democrat Tim Kaine, who served as Mark Warner's Lieutenant Governor, cannot run again until 2013.

After victories by Kaine, in 2005, and Senator Jim Webb, in 2006, national Democrats think the state may even be in play during this year's presidential contests. President Bush won the state by nine points in 2004, though this year nearly twice as many Democrats turned out in the state's February 12 presidential primary as did Republicans. McDonnell will face a well-funded Democrat in next November's governor's race, which will probably be the most closely-watched contest in the country in 2009, as The Fix writes in an excellent backgrounder.

The two governor's mansions up in 2009, New Jersey and Virginia, have voted together in the last three cycles, and that's not good news for Republicans. New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, though not the most popular governor in the nation, will be heavily favored for re-election if he decides to seek a second term next year. But Virginia's choice will offer the biggest storyline of the year in 2009: A Moran or Deeds victory could signal that the GOP has yet to reach rock bottom, while a McDonnell win would offer Republicans hope that their darkest days are behind them.

Allen Will Not Make Gov Bid

Former Senator George Allen will not run for governor in 2009, he told Virginia newspapers this week. Allen, who lost a close re-election race to Jim Webb in 2006, was elected governor in 1993 before winning the Senate seat in 2000. The move leaves the GOP nomination open to either Attorney General Bob McDonnell or Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling.

On the Democratic side, State Senator Creigh Deeds, who narrowly lost a battle for Attorney General in 2005, and State Delegate Brian Moran, brother of U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, have said they will run. Incumbent Governor Tim Kaine is barred from seeking a second term due to the state's unique one term limit.

Virginia, for decades a solidly red state, has been on an inexorably blue march in recent years, beginning with the 2001 governor's race, in which Mark Warner beat a well-known Republican. Warner helped rebuild the state's Democratic Party, leading to Webb's and Kaine's victories. This year, Democrats even took control of the state senate for the first time in decades. Warner himself is running for the Senate seat being vacated this year by longtime Republican Senator John Warner.

His likely opponent, former Governor Jim Gilmore, begins the race as a big underdog. A poll a few months ago showed Warner up by 30 points.