VA-Gov: How Deeds Won

Well, it looks like we get to take a jenga break a bit early tonight. We thought we’d open up the floor to what surely is topic #1: how did Creigh Deeds win? And looking forward, what does he need to do to win again in the fall? Please share your thoughts in comments.

UPDATE: In some not-so-great news, it looks like Democrats have decisively lost the race to hold on to Rep. Parker Griffith’s state Senate seat in Alabama.

69 thoughts on “VA-Gov: How Deeds Won”

  1. and then getting a key endorsement works very well. It’s what happened with Michael Nutter in the Philly mayoral primary in ’07.

    To win in the fall, Deeds needs to make as much of this Mo as he can. Appear with the President TOMORROW if possible.

  2. was always how many undecideds there were, and how few people were even paying enough attention to commit themselves to Moran or McAuliffe. The Post endorsement, and lack of negative ads against Deeds until the end, sealed the deal. It also seems he had either shockingly good GOTV in NoVA, or won all the suburban undecideds up there.

    In the fall, obviously, he’ll need to hold his rural support and pick up both the Alexandria-area folks who chose Moran and the Hampton Roads McAuliffe supporters. But having won this primary in a landslide, there’s little to suggest he’ll have trouble achieving party unity in the next five months. My guess is fundraising will be the problem, since McDonnell’s had the field to himself.

  3. to define McConnell.  He had a good game plan in 2005, getting very close, so with a bit of tweaking, he should be able to make a good run.

  4. I think Deeds needs to do exactly what he’s been doing in the rural areas, and raise the money to get on TV and hammer McDonnell in Northern Virginia.  This is not in any way a moderate Republican (he went to school at Pat Robertson’s Regents University!).

  5. He wasn’t TMac… He’s one of those people that no one really likes, but the settle because he has the money, and they know his name… But then, an opportunity comes about to vote for someone that isn’t a total douche-bag, and people jump ship.  

  6. I can’t say that I have a good explanation of why Deeds won, but I wanted to say that this is probably my favorite SSP post ever.

    Ah, Jenga. Heh.

  7. Because what I find oddest in all this were all the reports about who had the best organization to mobilize today, and how Moran would round up lots of votes in Northern Virginia from that.

    How Deeds won, and won so big, is surely the story of the night. But Moran’s loss in NoVa, and the scale of that loss, would seem to be story #2. Were reporters taken in by the Moran campaign’s claims? Or what?

  8. and Deeds needs to make sure that message is clear to NoVa while at the same time maintaining his strong appeal among rural southern Virginia voters. He works hard though, he’s the only one who could say they campaign as hard as McDonnell and he certainly won’t be left for dead this time like he was in teh AG race four years ago, the one he lost by 300 votes. Since then Northern Virginia has really become much strong for Dems so the geography looks good for Deeds at this moment.

    Plus, with such a crushing primary victory, (what I was really hoping for all along), he gets the post-primary bounce, I’m actually willing to stick my neck out here and very confidently predict he’ll be narrowly ahead of McDonnell, (if only temporarily), in the next set of polling.

  9. The few people in VA who would live, breathe, and die by their chosen candidate were Creigh supporters in rural Virginia. They turned out better than more urban Democrats who would theoretically be more supportive of McAuliffe or Moran.

    Additionally, because McAuliffe and Moran both sucked (really all three candidates were underwhelming, but seeing as Creigh is now the nominee, let’s not dwell on that), Deeds managed to become the flavor of the week at exactly the right time. I think there were a lot of people who weren’t necessarily predisposed to him and his politics, but new it was important to vote and came out for Deeds because he was getting the god buzz.

    Finally, while I think it’s hypocritical and, in the long term, fatalistic to our chances in Virginia, McAuliffe could never shake the perception that he was a total foreigner to the state, even though he’s lived there for 20 years. His money should have bought this thing, but at the end of the day, the people just did not want to sell (so to speak) their vote to a “New Yorker.”

  10. not a peep on redstate, but then again I’ve seen from past experience they completely ignore any polling or up-to date information on political races that isn’t favorable to them, so there’s always this faux outrage and disapointment when they lose.

  11. without a strong ground game. So the reporters and prognosticators who were proclaiming Deeds’ GOTV as nonexistent really didn’t know squat.  

  12. I hate to say this, but was it the best idea to nominate a black woman to try to hold this district? I can’t imagine it’s that liberal, considering Parker Griffith is a pretty conservative Democrat.

  13. Not sure what the rules are in Alabama about changing leadership mid-session, but we could have another New York style coup brewing, since Republicans may now have effective control by 1 vote.

  14.  Well, Deeds won. At first he seemed weak but now he seems strong. He already ran a statewide race, losing by only a few hundread votes in 2005 when Virginia was less blue. That race was against Bob McDonnel however, the Republican running for the Governorship. Deeds won in Northern Virginia where Moran and Mcauliffe should have won. He probably won there because Mcauliffe was not a native Virginian and Brian Moran’s relation to Jim Moran may not have been enough.

    If someone can beat strong candidates in their home area, the winner will win the general election. Deeds is moderate so he can appeal to Rural Virginia where he is from. He lost the 6th district by nine points in rural Virginia in 2005 which Bush won by 27 points in 2004. Deeds even ran better than Kerry in Northern Virginia. I believe that Deeds’s weakness is the Hampton Roads which he lost to McDonnel and won by a small margin in the primary. If Deeds wants to win, he has to make sure that McDonnel does not do well enough in the Hampton Roads to win. Still, I believe that the rural part of the state is pivotal and that Deeds can be moderate enough to win there.

  15. While I’ve been disappointed with the WaPo in the past, it seems ironic that a Post endorsement would motivate rural voters to come out for a relatively conservative D candidate.

    Of course, I can’t prove the causation, but that’s how it looks to me at first glance.

  16. McAulife had all the firepower. He ruled the paid media early and late and Deeds still blew past him like A Vette passing a Prius.

    Seems to me there is something vital here we can learn but I haven’t figured it out yet.

    As for Deeds, he is simply likeable. And he seems to have some guts. That’s a good combo. He can draw votes at a higher clip in areas Moron and McAulife would get buried. The lower the margin the GOP comes out of the Valley and Southwest, the harder it is for them to get around the NoVA math.

    Terry Mac did all the button-punching consultant tricks and utterly stalled. So, the question is: was the failing personal or methodological?

    Are voters shifting in their response to both traditional and non-tradition campaign tactics? In their discontent with the way things are do they reject anyone who seems like a regular pol?

    Is the scale of Deeds victory actually a slap at Washington, DC? Terry Mac is the personification of the institutional Democratic permanent campaign developed by Clinton and perfected by Obama. Moran is the personfication of the effete urban/inner suburb Beltway liberal, the People’s Republic of Alexandria incarnate

    Is the summary rejection of these two candidates who went into this race far better funded and organized than the rural-based Deeds a reflection of an electorate turning on anything Washingtonian?


    Was Terry Mac just bad at retail politics? And Brian Moran too liberal to sell outside Alexandria (Hell, he lost Arlington to Deeds)? Did Deeds win by default.

    Are voters tuning out paid media or are they actively rejecting it and siding with the preceived other?

    Just spitballing here and interested if anyone has a take on this.

    In the end I lean to Deeds is formidable. A guy who can roll in the rural areas then beat Moran in Arlington County? Impressive.

  17. this is a key window of time with deeds getting all the limelight.  what’s his message and how is he getting it out.  he needs to introduce himself in a victory tour around the state for the next 3 days, whether with obama or kaine or warner.

    then he needs to raise piles of money (and the out of state stuffs works just fine:)

    he did a great job up to this point (a little of the feingold/kerry in IA formula), and that post editorial was perfect.

  18. As a Fairfax County resident (and until recently a Fairfax City denizen) the voters flocking to Deeds wasn’t all that surprising.  NoVa can be split into two regions: the Arlington/Alexandria inner suburbs that are heavily Democratic and are often stereotyped as “elitist” liberal (think Georgetown types that sip lattes on the waterfront); and the Fairfax/Loudoun/Prince William areas that are suburb/exurbs of Washington.  These folks have been trending Democratic, but are really concerned about bread-and-butter issues like education, transportation (esp. fixing traffic), and economic growth.  Deeds’ opponents never reached these people and assumed that they would win simply because of their geography.

    Yet, Moran could never shake the image that he was just another “Alexandria liberal” in the mold of his brother, and Terry’s resume was too thin to convince those voters that he was qualified to handle major economic issues.  Also, McAuliffe’s attacks on Deeds for his willingness to raise the gas tax to pay for transportation backfired; outer NoVa voters have dealt with murderous traffic for years and are open to a candidate who is willing to take the issue head-on and be honest about it rather than bullshit voters like most NoVa politicos do.  Plus, both TMac and Moran were obsessed with the endorsement derby, something that most registered Dems in Fairfax don’t give a crap about.  Plus, the WaPo’s endorsement made Deeds seem like a “legitimate” candidate again, and voters felt comfortable supporting him.

    To win this fall, Deeds needs to continue his strategy of getting the casual Dems in outer NoVa to vote for him first and foremost.  Attacking McDonnell on his ties to Robertson may work in Arlington or inner Richmond, but he has to define McDonnell as someone who doesn’t have any clue or plans to keep Virginia’s economy strong.  Hammer the hell out of him for not having a tax plan or a plan to create jobs, hammer the hell out of him for his partisan games he played while a state legislator with the the budget.  Deeds doesn’t need to out-conservative McDonnell or try to paint McDonnell as an “extremist” – that’s not what voters want.  It’s all about the economy and assuaging the fears of suburban voters, and if Deeds can win that than he will win NoVa and Hampton Roads while peeling away enough rural votes to undercut McDonnell.  But if he lets McDonnell get too much of a root in NoVa like he did last time it will be the same result as it was in 2005 – a heartbreaking loss.  

  19. Just looking at the results from the Virginia SBoE site by congressional district, and Deeds carried with massive landslides the districts that mostly rural Democrats live, particulary the 9th and the 5th (the latter Tom Perrillo’s district).

    My opinion is that Democrats feel that they have enough of an organizational structure to GOTV in Northern Virginia; they now needed a candidate that can appeal to those “Clinton Democrats” in the rural areas. Deeds, based on the results of the primary, apparently fits that mold.

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