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Does Deeds Play Follow the Leader?

Anita Kumar

Both candidates for governor found themselves talking about kind of an obscure Virginia topic this week -- the spaceport on tiny Wallops Island.


Bob McDonnell's campaign doesn't think so. They say when McDonnell plans to visit a certain part of the state to talk up a certain issue, Creigh Deeds ends up there too.

Virginia is only so big, so both candidates are likely to end up in the same places, talking about the same issues some of the time. But McDonnell and the Republicans have been working hard to try to convince people that Deeds is following his lead. As part of the "Me too! campaign," the state GOP has tweaked Deeds for following McDonnell on several issues -- agency audits, charter schools and ABC privatization, just to name a few.

"Creigh Deeds is playing a grown up version of follow the leader,'' McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said.

Not true, the Deeds campaign says. In fact, they say McDonnell may be following Deeds. Afterall, McDonnell unveiled his rural economic plan as Deeds wrapped up his "Deeds Country" to the rural parts of the state. "I could care less where Bob's taking his campaign,'' Deeds spokesman Mo Elleithee said. "I just want him to be honest about where he's taking Virginia."

Deeds campaign does not release a weekly public schedule, and has refused to release events sometimes even the night before because they either don't want to tip their hand or they are still scrambling to schedule their events. McDonnell has released a schedule each week since well before the general election started in early June.

Today both candidates for governor are on the Eastern Shore. McDonnell announced his plans Friday; Deeds announced his plans yesterday.

After McDonnell said he would tour the spaceport on Wallops Island and talk about his plans to make it the top commercial spaceport in the country, Deeds circulated a letter pledging his support for the spaceport too.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 13, 2009; 3:20 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Virginia Notebook: Where Is McDonnell From?
Next: Shake-up or Not, Deeds Campaign is Changing


That's quite a non-denial from the Deeds campaign. His "me too!" campaign has been well-documented... even Governor Wilder agreed!

On an unrelated note, with Deeds being unforthcoming with his public schedule, doesn't that remind us of a certain sitting Governor who spends much of his time jetting around the country on party business? Do we really need more of that in Virginia?

Posted by: VABlogger | August 13, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

If the choice of governor for our commonwealth depended on which candidate decided to support Wallops Island first, I would be worried more about our citizens than about any particular candidate's chances!

This is a typical, harmless example of campaign workers having fun and tweaking the other campaign to blow off some steam, hardly something that will cause a life-long Republican or Democrat to go into the voting booth and switch their vote.

As a practical matter, if either guy comments strongly on an issue, whether it be swine flu or Wallops Island, I think a voter or reporter's first question would be, okay, now what does the other guy say about that issue? That's how we compare the two, which is the point of any campaign. If Deeds in this little story had failed to comment on Wallops Island, in other words, the narrative would be that McDonnell has a position and Deeds "hasn't even bothered" to respond.

Summertime silliness.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | August 13, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

To (VABLOGGER); " even Gov Wilder agreed", as if even in a million years you would have voted for Wilder. Please don't use his name in vain.McDonnell is a (jr) NEOCON trying to make it to the big leagues. The Republicans are desperately trying to get back in the game so as to give us more of the mess we currantly find ourselves. Not this time!!!

Posted by: idallasj11 | August 13, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Of course I didn't vote for Wilder; I was four years old when he ran for Governor.

Bob McDonnell was elected statewide and currently has a double-digit lead in the polls over a state senator. I'm not exactly sure what you're referring to when you say "the big leagues".

Posted by: VABlogger | August 13, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

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