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Deeds' Down-Ballot Drag?



Will Creigh Deeds drag down other downballot Democrats in Virginia? AP Photo by Steve Helber

Amid tumbling poll numbers and signs of major money problems, Democratic strategists have begun privately grousing that state Sen. Creigh Deeds could prove a significant drag on critical downballot races in Virginia next Tuesday.

One senior Democratic strategist who has closely followed the contest in Virginia said that the "chances are somewhere between solid and definite" that Deeds declining performance would hamper the party's chances of winning LG and AG races. Of those downballot contests, the source added: "They pretty much live in the shadow of the top of the ticket."

A look at the recent history of Virginia state elections shows that the governor's race often -- but not always -- serves as a predictor for downballot contests.

In 2005, Tim Kaine (D) was elected governor with 52 percent of the vote but Republicans won the LG and AG races. Both of those contests were extremely close, however, (Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) won by less than a percentage point, Attorney General Bob McDonnell by 323 votes) and most observers attributed the Democratic near-misses to Kaine's strong top-of-the ticket victory.

Four years earlier, Mark Warner (D) swept himself into the governor's office and Kaine into the LG spot but watched as Jerry Kilgore (R) was elected Attorney General with 60 percent of the vote -- albeit it against a very weak Democratic nominee.

Back in 1997, Republicans scored a clean sweep with Jim Gilmore winning the governorship, John Hager taking the lieutenant governorship and Mark Earley winning the AG's race.

It's that sort of Democratic doomsday scenario that is being floated in party circles as Deeds falls further behind McDonnell. "It looks very bleak for everyone," said one senior Democratic source granted anonymity to speak candidly. " [AG candidate Steve] Shannon and [LG candidate Jody] Wagner are down four to six and the Republicans are so fired up [while we have] no energy on our side."

(A recent poll conducted for the Service Employees International Union but not released publicly showed Wagner in a statistical dead heat with Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. But a Survey USA poll released today showed the margin far wider.)

Other Democrats are less willing to blame Deeds role in what could be an across the board defeat next Tuesday, insisting that laying the lack of Democratic enthusiasm entirely at his feet is a mistake, and arguing that the White House bears some responsibility too.

"The White House seems more concern about cutting their losses and blaming Deeds solely for the loss rather than working to increase voter turnout," said one Democratic source, referring to a story in last week's Post on the White House working to make clear that a Deeds loss had little bearing on the president's political standing.

Regardless of who is to blame, a Republican sweep on Nov. 3 could hamstring Democrats for the next eight years. Virginia has a single term limit on its governors, a law that makes the LG and AG jobs coveted as stepping stones to the top job. (Of the eight people who have been the major party nominees for governor since 1997 in Virginia, only two -- Warner and Deeds -- had not served as either attorney general or lieutenant governor.)

If Wagner and Shannon both lose, Democrats won't have a statewide foothold as both sides begin the jockey for the 2013 race. And, that would be a significant blow to Democrats' hopes to hold the ground they have won in the Commonwealth in the last two election cycles.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 27, 2009; 3:10 PM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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Comments

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite
What better way to make Virginia permanently blue than to show what a red governor will do.

__Actually what better way to keep the country red than to have a republican in office who is going to help protect us from the voracious appetite of the liberal spending administration. So is this the trend now? Are you serious... every time a white man gets elected its all about the "desire for white men to stay in power" give me a break, that argument is tired worn out and it carries ZERO weight anymore...its used up. McDonnel offers the best possible solutions to things facing Virginia. Deeds has nothing to offer other than being part of the Obama machine... a yes man. Its ridiculous.
He brings absolutely nothing to the table and thats why he's losing. Heck even in an effort to protect themselves (great leadership by the way)...the administration mentioned that he read a weak campaign...they are throwing him under the bus to avoid collateral damage.

Deeds better be careful or the Obamaites will be blaming him for the status the country is in. Deeds is a fall guy... this is totally a referendum on the Obama administration and their runaway spending.

I can hardly wait for 2010 when the Dems get kicked BACK out. The Republicans aren't a whole lot better anymore but they aren't as bad as the far left libs that are in there now.

Posted by: Ohhowpeopleforget | October 29, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

If purple can turn back to red in Virginia, what about Ohio, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado. Better red than dead.

Posted by: kenpasadena | October 29, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Republicans, other normal Americans, and Democrats with a conscience, should vote against Deeds and anyone else that runs on a platform of support for abortion--tearing little babies limb from limb. (They do have limbs by the third month.) This includes our current proabortion President, who falsely claims to be in sympathy with prolifers.

Posted by: yourstruly1991 | October 29, 2009 4:30 AM | Report abuse

"This is not so much about Deeds as it is the American public being totally disgusted with the spending over the past 10 months."

Ever heard the expression "cutting your nose off to spite your face?"

Posted by: nodebris | October 28, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

If Virginia votes in McDonnell, they will have buyer's remorse. Think of Sandra Day O'Connor, who was determined to leave when a Republican was in office and is now upset with her replacement. Just as John Roberts and Samuel Alito presented themselves as moderate jurists in their hearings only to turn around and vote straight down the ultra conservative line, so will McDonnell shed his makeover costume once he is in office. Those who want to punish the Democrats by touting his fiscal promises and ignoring the rest will have only themselves to blame when he shows his colors as a radical, right wing zealot.

Posted by: Koko3 | October 28, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

MuchAdo1 writes "These people (that went to his university) do not change. There is something in them, that believes that if God calls then the Constitution just goes right out the window. While George Bush was President you lost a great deal of money in the market. Our nation almost collapsed. Now if McDonnell had not attended a fundamentalist college, if he had not believed in the most radical sect of this religion, it would be different. But he did."

What scare tactics this is! Sounds alot like the same old, tired politics of the past that Obama campaigned against to me. McDonnell's focus is on building a strong Virginia by creating jobs, exploring new technologies for energy independence and keeping the values that make Virginia, and America, great. Virginians should think about that before voting.

As for the downballot issue. I do think that the top of the ticket does help or hurt other candidates. I do believe, though, that Bill Bolling would benefit least from McDonnell. Why? Because he is running on his own record. He's winning by pretty good margins. That being said, I think Republicans are in for a sweep over the Democrats in Virginia.

Posted by: reason5 | October 28, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

This is not so much about Deeds as it is the American public being totally disgusted with the spending over the past 10 months. Bailouts and bonuses, graft and corruption-laden stimulus pkg.(that was slipped under the table and no one had time to read the albatross, much less ponder the cost vs. effectiveness), cash for clunkers (temporary fix, aided Japan), and then a Health Care Plan that was almost slipped under the table without bein read or reviewed. We have seen the deficit swell like never before, employment go down the drain, COLA being frozen on the disabled and elderly (yet their Medicare premiums increased). Americans are suffering and going without, yet Congress votes themselves a hefty budget increase and a 5% pay increase to all congressional workers. I am not a Republican, but I am a registered voter and fed up. Please don't use the same old tired, trite, shopworn excuse, "Bush did it".

Posted by: inmanorj | October 28, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Remember when Jim Gilmore ran for governor promising to end the car tax? Remember how the commonwealth couldn't keep DMVs open 5 days a week a few years later?

Posted by: KevFromArlington | October 28, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse


I am so worried for the people of Virginia. I understand that they're leaning toward McDonnell. Many people, unless they really know this crowd, don't understand that this is much like asking your debutante daughter to go to her deb ball with Levi Johnson (of Palin fame). These people (that went to his university) do not change. There is something in them, that believes that if God calls then the Constitution just goes right out the window. While George Bush was President you lost a great deal of money in the market. Our nation almost collapsed. Now if McDonnell had not attended a fundamentalist college, if he had not believed in the most radical sect of this religion, it would be different. But he did. We are now eight years behind China scientifically. Your new Governor will not believe in science or global warming. His friends and advisors will be from his church. They want all YOUR money for them, just as Bush did. Please before you vote for him read "Republican Gomorrah" by Max Blumenthal. Please try to understand their view of the world before you vote. Listen to Michelle Bachmann. Listen to Glenn Beck. Is this who you want to run the great state of Virginia. You are the home to Jefferson. You are the state that our nation is often proudest of. Do you want to be governed by Bobby Jindal? I understand that you are worried about President Obama being a "tax and spend" liberal. But look at Wall Street. They seem pretty happy with him. And the largest deficits in history were left by Bush. Now all the Republicans have left is to scare you about deficits. Every Democrat has inherited a huge deficit from his Republican before him. Bill Clinton paid off huge deficits in no time. I am a Republican. But this has got to go. We are not the party of white trash. Please go to You Tube and watch the "values voter" conference they just had. This governor would bring back the Bush years. It is all he has studied. Is that what you want? I want my Republican Party back. But I want the party of William F. Buckley, Jr back. This is the party of Sarah Palin. She had a pedicure and had rhinestones put in her nail polish. Is this what you want to represent you... they have let the fundamentalists take over the party. The reason that people who identify with the Republicans is under 30% is that all that is left are these fundamentalists. You have PROOF that he went to their college. Check who he was with in 2006 and 2007. Like Palin, do you want to refer to the Governor of the state of Virginia, one of the most American of states, as "first dude". Please read the book Republican Gomorrah before you make such a big decision.

Posted by: MuchAdo1 | October 28, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Virginia doesn't deserve the wreckage that a McDonnell would do.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 27, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

What Chris Cillizza did not mention is that, if it is a Republican sweep, reapportionment will be done by the Republicans. Just like 10 years ago the Republicans reapportioned to give precedence to their favored ones rather than a non partisan approach. The area most underrepresented is NoVa and closely followed by Hampton Roads.

Posted by: Willis3 | October 27, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what a Senator has to do to rise above "zilch" in the eyes of the GOP vestige.

Agitate for invading a country with no potential to harm us?

Call the president a liar?

Play footsies with an undercover cop in a toilet?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 27, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Creigh Deeds has run the most incompetent campaign I think I've ever seen, but don't blame him entirely for the looming Republican victory. Blame Tim Kaine who has done nothing during his term except suck up to President Obama. And blame Jim Webb and Mark Warner who have done zilch in the Senate.

Posted by: InVANotThatVA | October 27, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Barring a total shocker, I would expect a clean sweep. You don't find that many ticket-splitters unless there are fundamentally flawed candidates running on both side.

==

What nonsense.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 27, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

"You don't find that many ticket-splitters unless there are fundamentally flawed candidates running on both side."

Not true. Not in Virginia, anyway.

Posted by: nodebris | October 27, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

"If there is a GOP sweep in November, the only alternative for the Democrats in 2013 would be a comeback attempt by Tim Kaine."

If McDonnell acts on the instincts he's carefully hiding from voters, a three-legged rabid dog could win as a Democrat in 2013. I'm more worried about the damage to the Commonwealth between now and then.

Posted by: nodebris | October 27, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

If there is a GOP sweep in November, the only alternative for the Democrats in 2013 would be a comeback attempt by Tim Kaine.

Posted by: sweetsally69 | October 27, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Barring a total shocker, I would expect a clean sweep. You don't find that many ticket-splitters unless there are fundamentally flawed candidates running on both side.

Posted by: TexasProud1 | October 27, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Cillizza is just another water carrier for the DEM party. Most of his reports are biased. Lets see how he plays the 2010 elections. Every piece in 2008 was the DEMs are taking control and REP party is on the outs - well lets see if he says the same in 2010 - this time about the DEMs and Obama.

Posted by: espnfan | October 27, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

huh huh huh "libs" huh huh huh

idiot

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite

you must realize that the machine signs your name for you. you can't override it.

BTW, the chant is more properly:

Obama barack hussain
Mmmm Mmmmm Mmmmmmm

rinse repeat

Posted by: snowbama | October 27, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

huh huh huh "libs" huh huh huh

idiot

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 27, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

cc - you forgot to mention the 11 VA state seats that are about to tumble out of Dem hands. In fact this is the situation in many, many other states. Maybe you could investigate and report.

the tone for next week is that liberals are going to get a shellacking. the result of finally understanding what they actually intended. Not the moderate lies they floated to get into power. Dems only win in normal states when they pretend to be something they are not. but the truth has a funny way of catching up.

Posted by: snowbama | October 27, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Some lessons alas can only be learned the hard way.

Indeed, like letting libs into your wallet, or laughing at them work the military.

Posted by: snowbama | October 27, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"The White House seems more concern about cutting their losses and blaming Deeds solely for the loss rather than working to increase voter turnout," said one Democratic source, referring to a story in last week's Post on the White House working to make clear that a Deeds loss had little bearing on the president's political standing

the spin begins. Not going to work. even the non fox networks with their limited cadre of viewers will be treated to the analysis that Obaam is sinking fast and doomed to lame duck status in his first year.

Next time we should think long and hard about electing someone with zero experience. In retrospect this looks so predictable.

Posted by: snowbama | October 27, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Some lessons alas can only be learned the hard way. If McDonnell wins he'll do what he's done since he first held elective office .. try to make his abhorrent thesis ideas into law, another Turn Back The Clock Republican who believes with all his soul that God meant white males to run things and everyone else to serve.

What better way to make Virginia permanently blue than to show what a red governor will do.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 27, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

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