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Post Ed Board Endorses Deeds

Rosalind Helderman

It's got to be a particularly sunny day in Charlottesville at the headquarters of Creigh Deeds. That's because our colleagues on the editorial board of the Washington Post endorsed Deeds this morning for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Just to be clear, the ed board operates entirely separately from those of us on the news side. We provided no input for their decision; we got our first look at the editorial, like everyone else, over our morning coffee. (Or, rather, on our laptops last night just after midnight.)

But this still seems a potentially important development in the race worth examining.

To be fair, our friends in editorial have a long history of backing the wrong horse in endorsements. (Kerry over Bush in 2004; Harris Miller over Jim Webb in the 2006 primary.)

Still, the endorsement of the state's largest newspaper could be a huge boost for Deeds, especially in a race with so many undecided voters, in a region that is not his natural base. His campaign has been arguing for a couple weeks that Deeds has momentum and should not be counted out of this thing. This helps, big time.

The endorsement could also pull votes from Brian Moran in the part of the state where he is strongest and needs high turnout to pull off victory. It could particularly siphon votes from the group of people Moran needs most--committed Democratic activists, looking to back a state pol with a long history of working in the state, and not that excited about Terry McAuliffe.

On the other hand, Moran supporters are going to argue that he has a committed base on NoVA and that the endorsement will only peel votes from McAuliffe.

It's not clear how significant this endorsement will be--as noted, history is littered with candidates who won the Post ed board's backing but lost on Election Day. But this editorial comes early--more than two weeks out. It may be a sign the board is hoping to sway some undecided minds.

We're starting to get reactions from the campaigns on this. Both McAuliffe and Moran have sent over some thoughts. Only campaign to not yet to respond as if 11 a.m., beyond a simple forward of the editorial, is...Deeds. A sign the nod took them by surprise?
No, No, Deeds folks say they got out an email to supporters about the endorsement at 10 a.m.. After including a couple of choice quotes from the editorial, the campaign told supporters, "This is a huge moment for our campaign as we continue to build momentum. And today, the Washington Post confirmed what we have known all along - that Creigh Deeds 'is the best choice' in June for all Virginians."

Lis Smith, with McAuliffe, gave us this on the endorsement:
We agree with the Post that all three Democrats running are well-qualified to be Governor. In these troubling economic times, virginians are looking for a governor with the experience and vision to get the economy back on track. Terry is the only candidate in this race who has created thousands of jobs and turned around struggling businesses. We will continue to communicate that message over the next 18 days.

Jesse Ferguson, with Moran, issued this statement:
We're entirely confident that Brian Moran's progressive vision will receive overwhelming support in Northern Virginia. He is standing firm against a new coal mega-plant, opposing guns in bars and fighting for equality. Those are stands that differentiate him from his opponents. Brian has the strongest base of support in Northern Virginia including the endorsement of nearly every Northern Virginian in the House of Delegates, almost every elected Democrat from Arlington, Loudoun, Falls Church and Prince William, every local elected Democrat from Alexandria and a majority of the Board of Supervisors and others from Fairfax.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 22, 2009; 8:02 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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Congratulations to Senator Creigh Deeds. He seems to be the only candidate in this race who has avoided the mud-slinging and run clearly on his record. He deserves the nomination of his party.

Posted by: dsaz1 | May 22, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I saw the WP online discussions with Moran and McAuliffe. Was there one with Deeds? If yes, when? If no, will there be one? Thanks.

Posted by: reglsg | May 22, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

reglsg: State Sen. Deeds will take readers' questions on May 29 (a week from today) at noon. Here's the link:

Posted by: Christopher Dean Hopkins | May 22, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

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