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How Much Pie Can One Man Eat?

Rosalind Helderman

It's a good question for political candidates on Memorial Day weekend two weeks before an election, as they cram in as many barbecues and parades and festivals and fish fries as they can stomach, engaging in classic retail politics before voters go to the polls.

In the case of Brian Moran this weekend, it was a quite literal question. Moran took part in a pie eating contest at the Strawberry Festival in Virginia Beach on Saturday, where he endeavored to eat as much of a strawberry pie (natch) as he could in 90 seconds. He came in third. Of five.

We caught up with Moran today, a full 48 hours later, at the Viva Vienna festival in Fairfax, where he was still sporting a scrape on his nose from the pie tin.

"I got a little aggressive with it," he explained.

At Viva Vienna, a three-day festival sponsored by the local Rotary Club, complete with carnival rides and funnel cake and booths given over to everyone from some guys selling keepsake barrels that smell like whiskey, to jewelry makers, to political candidates, to the folks still pushing for rail to be built underground to Tyson's, Moran walked the grounds with Fairfax Supervisor Catherine Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill).

It was a small group, including Moran's wife, niece, two of his children and a knot of volunteers and staffers in t-shirts and signs. When he encountered an undecided couple, clad in matching biking outfits, Moran stood chatting about transportation and education for a good 10 minutes to try to sway them. (Afterward, they said they liked what he had to say, but needed more time to study up.)

About an hour in, from far on the other side of an aisle of festival booths, a muffled chanting could be heard. The Terry McAuliffe machine had arrived.

As Moran stopped to do a television interview, McAuliffe and his entourage got closer and closer, McAuliffe practically bounding down the aisle of booths, sticking his hand out to all passer by. He was surrounded on all sides by a large crowd of volunteers, several holding huge stanchions with McAuliffe signs towering above his head. The group included a few reporters as well, including an LA Times journo, working on her big Terry takeout. Their chanting had died down, after Viva Vienna security informed them that such partisan campaigning is frowned on at the event, but both campaigns eyed each other as the inevitable path-crossing approached.

Finally, McAuliffe ducked behind the television camera as Moran continued his interview, shouting a hearty "Hi Bri!" as he did. His expression never changing, his eyes never leaving the camera, Moran lifted his hand in a half wave and said nothing.

Sen. Creigh Deeds, the third candidate in the race, was at the same event Sunday, by the way, accompanied by Sen. Chap Petersen, who represents the area. Petersen said Deeds got a nice reception, particularly from several residents who had seen his recent endorsement by the Post editorial board.

As for pie, we tried our best to instigate--encouraging Moran to challenge McAuliffe to a pie eating contest. But Moran hesitated, and McAuliffe said he'd prefer a more athletic challenge anyway. "Like alligator wrestling," he said.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 25, 2009; 5:05 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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Next: GOP Establishment Endorses Mullins


I'm glad I missed the TMac spectacle because reading about it was plenty painful enough. He is like the town clown and his MO doesn't vary. Of course it didn't occur to him that there might be something inappropriate about bringing his traveling circus to someone else's event because Terry is all about Terry. I don't believe he has a sense of propriety because that requires paying attention to what matters to other people.

My son said a McAuliffe campaigner came to the door on Saturday, despite the 2 Moran signs visible from the street. When my son indicated education was a big issue for him, the volunteer proceeded to tell him Terry has a multi-chapter plan for everything up on his website. I reminded my son the Gettysburg address was 10 sentences long and took three minutes to deliver.

One of my favorite Hugh MacLeod quotes is: "The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props." Voters would do well to remember that when evaluating the candidates.

Posted by: csread | May 25, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

@ csread - The article stated that all three candidates were there. If it was inappropriate for Terry to be there, then why was it appropriate for both Creigh and Brian to show?


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 25, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Also, a political sign outside a house doesn't mean that everyone in the household shares the same political leanings.

And, voters aren't props.

Posted by: farside | May 26, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

The truth is, Terry McAuliffe is hoping for a low turnout election so he can complete the purchase of the Democratic nomination.

The question is, are Democrats prepared to sell their vote to someone with absolutely no history of community involvement in Virginia.

If they are, I'm quite confident that many reliable Democratic voters will stay home in November, ensuring Bob McDonnell will be our next governor.

If we nominate Deeds or Moran, we won't have a nominee with the negatives of McAuliffe, which are higher than 30% in some polls even though not one negative ad has been run in Northern Virginia.

Posted by: fakevirginia | May 26, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Please be cautious when you read Terry McAuliffe's Business Plan for Virginia. It's not the typical pandering nothingness of typical candidate’s promises. It's detailed. It shows great thought about how to get Virginia out of the Bush economic crisis, better educate all Virginians, and create good jobs with good wages and good benefits. You read it and you'll be a dedicated Terry McAuliffe supporter.

The business plan mirrors Terry McAuliffe. It's smart. It's full of energy. It provides a clear framework depicting how Terry McAuliffe will lead Virginia on a continuing upward path as did governors Warner and Kaine.

Going door to door and talking about Terry McAuliffe is such an enjoyment. After speaking with most Virginia voters, they immediately relate to a man who will bring a better tomorrow to their children, their families and their friends.

It's refreshing to see that people who have heard only the false negative comments especially from Brian Moran and his supporters so quickly see that Terry McAuliffe is the positive future for Virginia and he is the only candidate who can make great leaps of progress.

Posted by: Willis3 | May 26, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

@fakevirginia -

Actually, a low turnout will benefit Moran - not McAuliffe. Moran deals with the party establishment throughout the state, while Terry has received the endorsements of several unions, environmental groups, and other non-party establishment types. McAuliffe will do well low or high turnout. I hope all Moran and Deeds supporters come around after June 9th.

Posted by: demfuture2000 | May 26, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

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