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First Click -- Virginia

First Click

Friday, Oct. 30, 2009
Good morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.

With just four days until Tuesday's election, we are now at the stage where there is nothing new for the candidates to say. Just many more people for them to say it to, and quickly.

Each have launched their final sweeps through the state, as Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds start multi-day, many stop stumps.

McDonnell's five-day, 25-stop "New Jobs, More Opportunities: It Starts Now!" tour began yesterday, with stops in Glen Allen, Danville, Martinsville and Rocky Mount. Deeds was in Richmond and Roanoke.

Both candidates finished their days Thursday greeting spectators tailgating at the Virginia Tech-UNC football game. The fans surely were eager to discuss issues of importance to the Commonwealth. Or, perhaps they were drunk and excited for the opportunity to hand their cellphones to a candidate, after shouting to their girlfriends/buddies/mothers, "Hey, talk to this guy! He's running for governor!"

Deeds's final tour is a four-day. 20-stop "All in for Virginia" tour, which will focus heavily on get out the vote efforts. The Democrat will hit Northern Virginia today. McDonnell today is in Lynchburg, Waynesboro, Culpeper, Ashland and Virginia Beach.

But first, both men join the notoriously tough Mark Plotkin on his Politics Program on WTOP in the Washington region this morning at 10 a.m.

University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball has been at work on the race. He's measured the contest using 10 metrics he's used in many past election cycles. His upshot? It will be a good night for the Republicans.

Former Bush speechwriter and now columnist Michael Gerson, long a McDonnell fan, declares Deeds' politics "too small" for the governorship.

Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic posts part II of his analysis of why things are where they are in the Virginia race.

And where are things? A new Roanoke College poll released Thursday gave McDonnell a 17-point edge over Deeds. It also showed Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling up 13 over Democratic challenger Jody Wagner. And it indicated Sen. Republican Ken Cuccinelli leading Democratic Del. Steve Shannon by 15 points.

According to VPAP, McDonnell, who has had more money than Deeds forever, has now been taking in a 2 to 1 advantage in late donations of $5,000 or more, including a $25,000 check Thursday from Donald Trump. Trump backed Democrat Terry McAuliffe during the primary.

But Democrats are going about their efforts to drag out surge voters who last year backed President Obama with grim determination. They are convinced the voters are there, if only they will vote. For instance, Young Democrats from outside the state are coming in to help delegate candidate Stevens Miller in Herndon. Two groups that work with immigrants hope to reach 100,000 voters in the next few days. Ethiopians for Change organized a "Know Your Rights" forum last night. Wouldn't you know? One of those rights is to vote in Tuesday's election.

President Obama contributed a bit more help Thursday, as the Democratic Party of Virginia snail mailed a letter signed by Obama to 300,000 Virginians, urging them to vote for Deeds.

Finally, among all the hotly contested races for the House of Delegates, perhaps none has had more drama than between longtime Republican leader Del. Phil Hamilton in Newport News, under federal investigation for steering state money to a university where he then got a part-time job, and Democratic challenger Robin Abbott. Now comes word from the Daily Press that the president of Christopher Newport University, to which Hamilton has also helped send state money, used university letterhead for a fundraising appeal for Hamilton's reelection bid. He has apologized.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 30, 2009; 7:11 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Barack Obama , Bill Bolling , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , First Click , James Webb , Jody Wagner , Ken Cuccinelli , Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Next: Deeds campaign urges Obama backers to send a message


Hey Cree, how's that Compost endorsement workin' out for ya? And that Obama visit?

Posted by: SMWE357 | October 30, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

The Post does itself a tremendous disservice by allowing cretins to post messages without weeding them out. How can readers take your articles on the web seriously if you don't take responses to them seriously, too?

Posted by: tillery_garland | October 30, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

This election should serve as a "teachable moment" for you leftist water carriers at the Compost. Falling back on the "macaca" strategy is a loser, and so are you..

Posted by: SMWE357 | October 30, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

We have a pretty high bar for censoring folks, tillery_garland. Our commenters are allowed to be inane or rude so long as they aren't attacking other commenters or being profane or committing a crime.

If you have concerns about specific comments or commenters, though, feel free to send them to chrisDOThopkinsATwashingtonpost

Christopher Dean Hopkins
Deputy Editor, Local Politics and Government

Posted by: Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 30, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Hopkins,
I guess I expect too much from journalists in this electronic age. The Post certainly has higher standards for it's print edition with regard to opinions.
I thought that the paper was evolving into an electronic form of the print edition. Obviously it is evolving into something very different. I believe that it is headed into the wrong direction by allowing any and all opinions to be presented with equal weight. Some opinions are simply unworthy of a credible journal. One day we will all regret this as I do already. It's simply not worth wading through the detritis to find the occasional pearl.

Posted by: tillery_garland | October 30, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Chris...letting the cretins post their rubbish exposes them for what they are....pathetic. I am not proud of every comment made in haste to any story or other commenter that angered me, but I will stand by what I argue, and try very hard to be substantive. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't, but I can name at least 3-4 on these boards who almost never contribute anything of value.

As far as SMWE357's comments, I'd say that despite what all the polling is indicating, there may be some surprises for Republicans in store for this election as well...800,000 new or re-engaged voters from last year, even 15% of them, will make a big difference in this year's results....I can promise you, they are not being interviewed in the polls.

I will know based on the turnout in my precinct (1,200 voted in the Kaine election and he got 70%) whether or not Deeds has a chance. I think he must win by at least 68% in my precinct, and turnout should be 200 or so more voters, at least. If this happens, I think it will be competitive....if it doesn't, McDonnell will probably win because the lower turnout will be an indication that the new and re-engaged voters are not voting, as the polls are indicating.

But if they come out to vote, it could be an interesting evening. I still don't expect Mr. Deeds to make up an 11% gap, but if he closes it, we could still pick up some delegate seats in NoVA and perhaps avoid losing one or two....

We'll see.

And if as I expect, once Governor McDonnell begins to govern just as he's been trying to legislate for 15 years--backward and not on the biggest concerns of Virginians, a healthy does of buyers remorse will have set in just in time for the Democrats' 2011 Senate majority-building election, and unprecedented House gains....

Posted by: DouginMountVernon | October 30, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

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