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Democrats Get Unified

Anita Kumar

Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds launched his general election campaign today at a solidarity rally with his two vanquished opponents and Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Terry McAuliffe, former DNC chairman, former delegate Brian Moran, and their senior campaign staff, milled around the state Democratic headquarters, many wearing blue Deeds stickers. Members of the exuberant crowd held massive blue letters spelling their new standard-bearer's name: D E E D S.

"They both committed to help me anyway they can,'' Deeds said of his former rivals. "I'm going to hold them to that."

Kaine met briefly with the three men behind closed doors. (Wouldn't you have loved to be a fly on that wall?)

"I want to begin by saying how proud I am of Virginia Democrats,'' Kaine said. "That our three great candidates would all get up and shelp down to Richmond for this and stand together and to pledge that we are going to keep Virginia moving forward in a good direction is a wonderful tribute to all of them."

Kaine told the enthusiastic crowd that when he first got involved in state politics in 2000 that Democrats were not able to win statewide elections in Virginia. But that this year's primary showed how much that has changed.

"It's one of the things that happens when a party becomes competitive and starts winning races,'' he said. "In the past we had difficulty getting one Democrat to run. Now that we are a strong party we are seeing vigorous contest for nominations and that's a sign of a strong party."

Kaine introduced the three men, praising each one. The former rivals in a campaign that ended with bitter flashes pledged to help Deeds and ribbed one another -- just a little.

Moran -- who promised to stay involved in public life -- praised McAuliffe for bringing energy to the race. "Are you a renewable energy source?" he quipped. "Never mind the windmills. We just need to plug Terry McAuliffe into the grid."

McAuliffe jokingly inrtoduced Deeds to McDonnell's tracker, who was of course at the event. "Paul. I will miss you, but I know you will miss me more,'' he said to laughter.

McAuliffe pleaded with Deeds to keep talking about chicken waste -- one of his favorite topics. "I love chicken waste, as you all know,'' he said. "Creigh keep talking about chicken waste."

McAuliffe said he emailed a list of 10,000 supporters last night encouraging them to voluteer and donate to Deeds campaign. "This is about all of us coming together. I believe in unity,'' he said. "A good competitive primary is good for the Democratic party. It bring people together."

By Anita Kumar  |  June 10, 2009; 6:26 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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