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First Click -- Virginia

Rosalind Helderman

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009
Good morning! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.

We hope everyone really lurves those campaign ads. For those of us in Northern Virginia, the pace is picking up significantly today, as a big three-week, $1.7 million blitz by the Republican Governors Association for Bob McDonnell hits the airwaves.

McDonnell joins Democrat Creigh Deeds, Gov. Tim Kaine and others today at a forum to discuss higher education organized by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council. Post columnist Bob McCartney thinks neither gubernatorial candidate has said enough about how they would pay for their ambitious higher ed proposals.

Sometime afterward, Deeds heads to North Carolina, where will attend a fundraiser hosted by Gov. Bev Perdue and former longtime Gov. Jim Hunt in downtown Raleigh. McDonnell will tour a charter school in Richmond.

Have we mentioned before our reservations about polls that perform automated robo-calling? Right, they still exist. Another such poll came out yesterday--Rasmussen Reports showed McDonnell up by a wide margin.

Both candidates were pretty quiet yesterday, as they raced to meet the September 30 fundraiser deadline. Deeds got a boost from AFSCME, which donated $400,000 to his effort this week.

At least 75 people also crowded into a newly opened Deeds campaign office in downtown Falls Church Wednesday night, where Deeds was joined by local political luminaries and former rival Brian Moran.

Here's a special First Click report on the event: It was Moran's second appearance with Deeds in as many days, the continuation of his reappearance since his defeat to Deeds in the Democratic primary in June. But after a long summer in Maine with his family, Moran is back.

He was a bit late, but it made for good speechifying in his home territory: He got stuck in traffic. After bounding up onto the dais and grabbing the microphone, Moran led the crowd in a spirited pep talk on why Deeds is the only choice for Virginia, and began with a story about Falls Church's top-rated schools and how Republican Bob McDonnell's plan to improve roads with general fund growth could harm those schools.

"I hear this fellow from Virginia Beach telling me about Northern Virginia traffic," Moran said. "He's coming to Northern Virginia, telling me, 'We have to do something about the roads in Northern Virginia.' You don't have to tell me about the roads in Northern Virginia! It's a frustration. It's a daily frustration. But we in Northern Virginia, especially here in Falls Church, understand that we will not fix our roads at the expense of our school children."

After the event, Moran and Deeds left for a fundraiser hosted by Moran.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 1, 2009; 7:06 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , First Click , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Why not tell what the poll results were? Afraid to discourage Deeds voters? The last three polls were 5pts , 9pts and 14pt leads for McDonnell. Seems like the hate tactics by Deeds is backfiring. Seems like the WPO should encourage him to talk about the issues. Deeds did himself in when he announced support for a huge tax increase - just what we need in bad Obama economic times. Where's was the outrage on Michele Obama racist thesis and our own Senators Webb writings on the role of Women in the military? Where was NOW writers like Amy Gardner then?

Posted by: espnfan | October 1, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"He was a bit late, but it made for good speechifying in his home territory: He got stuck in traffic."


The sad thing is this is almost the standard opening to any appearance by a politician in northern Virginia. Our traffic is so terrible that I have to wonder if the speechwriters assume the politician will be delayed by bad traffic and write in the obligatory joke or comment about it.

I would honestly say this has happened at about 80 percent of the events I've attended over the years in northern Virginia where a politician was speaking. I can't imagine how they start their remarks in other parts of the state where they can just get in a car and arrive on time.

The most extremeexample of this was ex-governor and Senate candidate Jim Gilmore getting stuck for seven hours on the Springfield mixing bowl ramp when it iced over the night of the Potomac presidential primary in February 2008. That's why John McCain, who won the Republican primary, took forever to appear and was surrounded by defeated or retired Republicans from Virginia, who were all they could muster in the absence of Gilmore, their then-current Senate candidate.

Traffic, traffic, can't live with it, can't stand it.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | October 1, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Please report the news, Washington Post.

Today's big story in the Virginia Governor's race is that
McDonnell leads Deeds in three polls conducted in the past week by three different nationally known polling firms.

Rasmussen Reports (9/29; 500 likely voters): McDonnell 51, Deeds 42

SurveyUSA (9/26-29; 631 likely voters):
McDonnell 55, Deeds 41

Public Policy Polling (PPP) (9/25-28; 576 likely voters): McDonnell 48, Deeds 43

To learn more, go to
and click on the "Virginia Governor's Race" chart on the upper left of the home page.

Posted by: coastofutopia | October 1, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

espnfan and coastofutopia, all of those polls were conducted using automated phone messages, a methodology our polling department feels is too unreliable. Regardless of the content of the polls, we would never present them as numbers our readers should put full faith in. See this for more information:

Christopher Dean Hopkins
Deputy Editor, Local Politics and Government

Posted by: Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 1, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"Deeds did himself in when he announced support for a huge tax increase - just what we need in bad Obama economic times."

Please define this "huge" tax increase, and support it with facts, not invective (but I'm not holding my breath that you will).

Oh, and the "bad Obama economic times"? That was inherited from the previous administration. Last time I checked, economic indicators were showing that the economy was leveling out, if not improving (albeit ever so slightly), and that a recovery from the Bush recession is imminent.

Posted by: BigDaddyD | October 1, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Christopher Dean Hopkins:

Thank you for your prompt and courteous response.

Alas, it sums up why the Post and its soul mate The New Times are in such dire straits: You think your readers cannot handle complicated truths.

Do your job. That means reporting the results of polls. By all means include careful explanations of the shortcomings of the methodologies of these polls. You might also include a brief summary of the track records of the various pollsters.

But do not "protect" us from facts that are all over the radio and internet.

Above all, have confidence in the analytic abilities of your readers. Believe it or not, ordinary people understand that polling is a difficult art, and are not about to put "full faith" in a set of number just because some outfit labels it a "poll."

Posted by: coastofutopia | October 1, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

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