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First Click -- Virginia

First Click

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009
Good morning, Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.

Virginia voters go to the polls one week from today. Which makes news that Republican Bob McDonnell now leads Democrat Creigh Deeds in the race for governor by 11 points in a new Post poll all the more exciting for Republicans and worrying for Democrats. Though Deeds often talks about past races where he overcame a deficit in the polls, the numbers this year have all been moving towards McDonnell in the last few weeks and time is running out.

Plus, McDonnell has already been outspending Deeds and he will continue to do so through Nov. 3--as new reports from the Virginia Public Access Project show he raised more than Deeds in the first three weeks of October.

The big news today will take place at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, where Deeds rallies with President Obama. If anything could still scramble the race's dynamics in the last few days, it would be the engagement of so-called Obama surge voters, non-regular voters who came out for the president last year. Can a splashy, though brief, rally help? (Obama will be in Virginia for just a couple hours, total.)

Monday, Deeds expanded on comments from last week about anonymous leaks from White House aides suggesting he spurned their advice in running his campaign, telling Politico, "I didn't push the president away."

McDonnell continues a savvy campaign today to embrace Northern Virginia and its minority communities, with a campaign stop at the majority-Vietnamese Eden Center in Falls Church with U.S. Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, a Republican from Louisiana and the nation's first Vietnamese-American member of Congress.

Though we're not crazy about polls that don't include live interviews with voters, the political world will anxiously await the release today of a new such survey by Public Policy Polling. They'll be looking not just for what it says about the top of the ticket (a hint from the group's blog: it's more good news for McDonnell) but for what it might indicate about down ticket races. Democrats increasingly seem to believe their lieutenant governor and attorney general candidates, particularly LG nominee Jody Wagner, might outperform Deeds.

Today is also the deadline for mailing an absentee ballot ahead of Tuesday's election. If that's your plan, get out your stamps!

Meanwhile, here's just a taste of the kind of complicated issues that await whoever is elected next week. International Paper confirms it will close it's Franklin plant and put 1,100 Virginians out of works, despite entreaties by U.S. Sen. Mark Warner. One of two reactors at the North Anna nuclear power station has been shut down due to unusual leaks (officials insist there is no danger.)

And the U.S. Congress seems to be progressing on a health care reform bill that would include a public health insurance option but give states the right to opt out. If that proposal passed it would surely ignite a vigorous local debate in Virginia and elsewhere over whether to opt in or out.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 27, 2009; 7:12 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Barack Obama , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , First Click , Robert F. McDonnell  
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