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First Click -- Virginia

Rosalind Helderman

Thurs., Sept. 3, 2009
Good Morning! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.

Back from raising big dollars from California muckety-mucks, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds is working hard to extend discussions of his opponent's 1989 master's thesis. On Wednesday he spoke about the issue for the first time. Not surprisingly, Deeds thinks it's relevant. Today he holds a press conference in Richmond with Women for Deeds, as both campaigns look to capture the female votes.

McDonnell, meanwhile, told the editorial board of the Washington Examiner that Deeds is running backward-looking campaign obsessed with social issues. He continues to face questions about the thesis however. Post local columnist Bob McCartney writes that two of five questions put to McDonnell by Rotarians in Fredericksburg early Wednesday morning were about the document. Today he will greet voters at a cafe in Midlothian.

When does Ms. Magazine get interested in Virginia politics? This year, apparently. The women's magazine posted an item to its blog about the thesis. Former attorney general Mary Sue Terry is getting into the action too.

The Democratic National Committee is about to wade into Virginia, big time, promising to spend $5 million on the campaign and preparing the race's first thesis ads. This race always was expected to bring an avalanche of national money into the state, so it is no surprise. Both the Republican and Democratic Governors' Association already have invested heavily, as has the Republican National Committee.

There is another poll out that does surveys using computers instead of live interviewers. As we have told you many times before, we have doubts about the validity of such polls. But, for what it is worth, Wednesday's Rasmussen poll showed McDonnell's lead over Deeds widening, and its surveys were taken post-thesis publication.

Federal officials continue to prepare for the end of the August Congressional recess and the return to health care work. In preparation, Sen. Mark Warner (D) holds what promises to be a well-attended town hall on health care in Fredericksburg this evening.

And from the localities, there is this cheery news: Hit hard by the economic downturn, once go-go Loudoun County faces a $72.6 million budget shortfall.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 3, 2009; 7:20 AM ET
Categories:  First Click , Rosalind Helderman  
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