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Moran, Wagner Prevail in Fairfax Straw Poll

Tim Craig

Former delegate Brian Moran, a candidate for governor, and Jody Wagner, a candidate for lieutenant governor, came out on top at this weekend's Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee straw poll in Fairfax County.

According to party leaders, Moran won the straw poll with 83 votes. State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) came in second with 43 votes. Terry McAuliffe, also a Democratic candidate for governor, received 33 votes.

Deeds and Moran spoke at the event. McAuliffe was invited to speak, but he did not attend.

In the lieutenant governor's race, Wagner beat her nearest opponent by 18 votes. Wagner received 62 votes compared to Jon Bowerbank's 44 votes. Pat Edmonson, a Virginia Beach school board member, came in third with 18 votes. Attorney Michael Signer received 15 votes. Richmond-based political strategist Rich Savage got 10 votes.

Straw polls are sometimes used to gauge a campaign's organizational skills, but they are often meaningless when it comes to trying to forecast broader public opinion.

Last year, a few days before Virginia's Feb. 12 primary, then Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Mount Vernon District Democratic committee straw poll with 100 votes compared to President Barack Obama's 80 votes.

A few days later, Sen. Linda T. "Toddy" Puller (D-Fairfax) accused the Clinton campaign of skewing the results by sending "young people" from Arlington to cast votes for Clinton.

Obama easily carried Fairfax County in the primary.

But Fairfax County Democratic leaders say there did not appear to be any organized effort by any of the candidates this year to bus in or buy up a bloc of tickets for the dinner.

By Tim Craig  |  February 23, 2009; 2:40 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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I think the shocking thing is that Mount Vernon has Alexandria addresses and yet Brian barely pulled 50% among his core base... Alexandria political activists and insiders. Even though he won, I don't think this is a very good sign for the Moran folks.

Posted by: JamesEMartin | February 23, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Mount Vernon has Alexandria addresses, but they're not in the City of Alexandria. Blame the post office -- I live in the Landmark area, and I also have an Alexandria address, despite the fact that I'm in Fairfax.

Straw poll results may well be meaningless, as Tim says, but if there's any meaning in them, getting over 50% in a three-way race isn't "shocking" even near your home area, and I doubt anyone who isn't a supporter of another candidate would try to make it seem so.

Posted by: jimeh | February 23, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

This poll proves next to nothing, Brian Moran was always expected to win it. The fact that it is a poll almost exclusively of Alexandria "insiders" does nothing to help the Deeds campaign either.
What matters on the June 9th primary isn't who you're friends with, what really matters is whether or not the people of Virginia can trust you.

Posted by: kristinsmith1 | February 23, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The straw polls at Democratic functions indicate early suppport for candidates among those who will later be doing a lot of the organizing, canvassing, and phone calling for the Democratic candidates both in the primary and in the general election. There is nothing scientific or predictive about the polls, but they can show where the grassroots Dems are leaning in a given geographic area.

The next straw poll is at Rep. Gerry Connolly's St. Patrick's Day party on March 17.

Posted by: marypaden | February 23, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

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