With 60% of precincts reporting, Creigh Deeds (50%) leads Terry McAuliffe (26%) and Brian Moran (24%) in VA’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. That’s a pretty insurmountable lead, even with 40% of precincts outstanding; at the risk of being premature, I’m going to call this one for Deeds (who, in the interest of full disclosure, I voted for).
Deeds had a late surge in the polls to become the strong front-runner. Even though a lot of people had started to consider Deeds an also-ran due to his dismal early polling, primary elections are volatile and Deeds ended up emerging as the safest choice.
McAuliffe had a lot of money and connections but no electoral experience, and his checkered past as head of the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign flack was a major strike against him. Brian Moran portrayed himself as the progressive alternative to McAuliffe’s establishmentarian record, but Moran’s newfound progressiveness always rang somewhat hollow. And all of the sniping between presumed front-runners McAuliffe and Moran left Deeds virtually unblemished.
Deeds was the safest choice, being the only candidate in the race who had run for statewide office before. In fact, he ran against the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate, Bob McDonnell, for Attorney General; Deeds lost by only several hundred votes, the smallest margin in VA history.
A Deeds-McDonnell rematch is both poetic justice and welcome news, since VA is certainly more progressive-friendly than it was in 2005. As The Washington Post said, Creigh Deeds will be a Governor in the successful Warner-Kaine tradition.
UPDATE: File this under things I’ve never seen before–a Twitter concession from Brian Moran:
And make sure to stop on by and show your support for newly-minted Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.