How Much Pie Can One Man Eat?
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.
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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