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Deeds, McDonnell Court the Black Vote

Anita Kumar

Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell wooed the all-important African-American vote at a candidate's forum tonight at historically black Virginia Union University in Richmond.

Deeds and McDonnell each answered the same 10 questions about felons' voting rights, minority contracting, abortion and urban issues, while avoiding attacking each other as they spoke in front of hundreds of people. Most of those in attendance seemed to have already made up their minds on who to vote for in November. Many waved campaign signs.

The candidates did not appear on stage together due a disagreement about the forum's format. (McDonnell says Deeds refused to stand on stage with him, while Deeds says they never agreed to do that).

Deeds handed out campaign brochures with a "message" from President Obama though he didn't mention him much in his remarks. McDonnell talked about Sheila Johnson, a Democrat and co-founder of Black Entertainment Television who endorsed him, and praised Obama for his support of charter schools and his fatherhood Initiative.

Oh, in case you were wondering, Doug Wilder did not show up to hear Deeds and McDonnell speak as he contemplates who may endorse.

By Anita Kumar  |  September 22, 2009; 10:00 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Too bad Deeds ducks minorities. He ducks Asians too. I went to Deeds' first Asian campaign event at China Garden in Rosslyn some 3 weeks ago to get to know him better. Altogether there were <50 Asians and most were old party guards from Maryland. And what's up with his stiff upper lip preppy staff who wears the bow-tie? Deeds arrived late and was more interested in hearing himself talk. He was not very personable, you don't feel that personal connection as you do with McDonnell. He gave a 25 minute speech! He seems more interested in hearing himself than my input I guess.

McDonnell was a totally different experience, much more positive experience. I read about him in the Chinese American paper all the time about different community events he has attended since he was Attorney General. I have now ran into him 3 times at various community events unrelated to the campaign. McDonnell is personable and HE LISTENS! He and his asian staff also calls people back to answer questions that we raised. McDonnell's crew seems more down to earth, no preppy bow-ties! Although Asian are not as high in population percentage but we account for more than 17% in many counties and a good number of us really appreciates the attention McDonnell has shown us.

Deeds only shows up in street signs. He was a No Show at the all important Asian Festival in Reston and the Korean Festival last week in Annandale.

Posted by: hosanpang | September 23, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I meant to say: Too bad Deeds ducks *SOME* minorities. Like Asians in Virginia.

Posted by: hosanpang | September 23, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Were McDonnell's people there handing out Joe Wilson's support letter for VA Republicans?

NO? Why?

Posted by: jaho | September 23, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

"Were McDonnell's people there handing out Joe Wilson's support letter for VA Republicans?

NO? Why?"

Because he wants it both ways - support from the South Carolina bigot who backs flying the Confederate flag, and support from the group that is most offended by the flying of said flag.

McDonnell is the embodiment of the chameleon politician.

Posted by: BigDaddyD | September 23, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm, hosanpang. I'm certainly seeing a lot of Asian-American support for Deeds and the Democratic slate in northern Virginia. He's pro-business, pro improvements to transportation, and strongly supports protecting funding for public education.

There is lots of outreach going on. I suspect one candidate cannot attend every festival in such a large state, but the Democratic Party's multicultural outreach is extremely strong, sustained, and sincere in Virginia. I've seen it in action myself.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | September 23, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

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