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Hoping for a change of address

In two weeks, we'll finally know the answer to Virginia's hottest race: Which political offspring will move into the governor's mansion? The five media-savvy McDonnell children? Or the four lower-profile Deeds kids?

The days when politicians' children stayed under the radar are so ... 2007. Now they Facebook and tweet and overshare in ways that makes covering politics so much more interesting. (Thank you, Meghan McCain.)

The McDonnells are familiar to anyone who has flicked on a television in the past few months: All five kids -- Jeanine, Cailin, Rachel, Bobby and Sean -- appeared in campaign spots this summer and fall; Jeanine, who served as an Army platoon leader in Iraq after graduating from Notre Dame, starred in her own commercial after her dad's thesis got slammed for bias against women. She's campaigning with sister Cailin, who just graduated from Virginia Commonwealth with a master's in criminal justice. Twins Bobby and Sean stump only on weekends, but teamed up with their dad in a YouTube promo for a 3-on-3 March Madness basketball challenge last spring.

The McDonnell family: back, from left: Jeanine, Sean and Bobby; front, from left: Bob, Maureen, Cailin and Rachel. (McDonnell campaign)

But the Deeds kids -- Amanda, Rebecca, Gus and Susannah-- are hardly recognized: Their dad rarely talks about them from the trail and hasn't featured them in advertising, although Amanda and Gus are appearing with him.

The most out-there Deeds kid: Gus, a junior at William & Mary, took the semester off to help his dad. The gregarious 20-year-old made headlines last spring when he was busted for underage drinking; now he's playing banjo and going solo to drum up votes at campuses across the state.

The Deeds family: from left, Gus, Rebecca, Susannah, Creigh and Pam. Not shown: Amanda. (Deeds campaign)

The Deeds kids

  • Amanda: 24, graduated from James Madison University with a double major in anthropology and geography.
  • Rebecca: 22, graduated in June with a English degree from the University of Virginia.
  • Gus: 20, a junior at William & Mary.
  • Susannah: 17, a junior at Bath County High School.

    The McDonnell kids

  • Jeanine: 28, a senior systems analyst for a defense contractor.
  • Cailin: 25, youth coordinator for Virginia's GOP.
  • Rachel: 21, a senior at James Madison University.
  • Bobby and Sean: 18, high school seniors in Richmond and serious soccer players.

  • By The Reliable Source  |  October 21, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
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