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First Click -- Virginia

Amy Gardner

Friday, Sept. 25, 2009

Happy Friday, Virginia politicos! Only 39 days to go, but who's counting?

The big news Thursday was the long-awaited answer to this question: WWWD (What Will Wilder Do?) Nothing, it turns out; after many weeks of playing footsie with Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell, former governor Doug Wilder decided he will endorse no one in the race. It's a blow for Deeds, particularly because of the energy that both Deeds and President Obama have given to courting Wilder, who was the first elected African-American governor in the nation. The news even made The New York Times, thanks in part to the intervention of the president. Bearing Drift provides some analysis from a former state Democratic Party chair, who finds Wilder's statement more troubling than his nonendorsement.

Whether it will affect how black voters cast their ballots Nov. 3 and in what numbers they turn out are separate questions. McDonnell is taking advantage of the news with a campaign swing today featuring Sheila Johnson, a Democrat and perhaps the most prominent African-American businesswoman who has endorsed the Republican this year.

McDonnell also will continue his endorsement momentum with an announcement this morning from a "major Hampton Roads organization." The event will take place at Kitco Fiber Optics in Virginia Beach. It's been a good week for McDonnell with the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police endorsing the Republican.

Deeds, meanwhile, begins his day in Roanoke and then swings east across Southside Virginia, through Martinsville, Danville, Halifax and South Boston, for a series of meet-and-greets with voters.

Is Deeds running away from President Obama? That's what Kim Strassel posits in The Wall Street Journal this morning. Strassel says Obama's approval rating has dropped to 40 percent in Virginia. Our poll showed a 53 percent approval rating last weekend; Rasmussen reported 49 percent and Public Policy Polling reported 47 percent earlier this month. Not sure where Strassel's number comes from.

The ad wars continue. McDonnell is about to debut two new ads, "Working Woman" and "Deceitful," that have been posted to his campaign Web page but don't seem to play yet. Both ads seem to be responses to Deeds's attacks regarding McDonnell's graduate school thesis. The Virginia Education Association began airing an ad against McDonnell. And Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's got two new pieces up.

And finally, a bit of happy economic news for Northern Virginia Thursday, with an announcement from Gov. Tim Kaine (D) that contracting giant Science Applications International Corp. will relocate its corporate headquarters from San Diego to Tysons Corner. On the heels of Wednesday's news that Virginia once again had been ranked by Forbes Magazine the nation's best place to do business, Deeds didn't waste any time to make the case that leadership under Democrats this decade hasn't been so bad for Virginia.

By Amy Gardner  |  September 25, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , First Click  
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