Deeds Country Comes to Richmond
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds received a warm welcome at the annual Second Street Festival this afternoon in the historically black neighborhood of Jackson Ward in Richmond.
The event -- known by locals as the Two Street Festival or the Deuce -- was truly Deeds Country.
The predominately African American crowd gathered around Deeds, dressed casually in khakis and a polo shirt, to shake his hand, snap his picture, wish him luck. Most were wearing blue Deeds stickers. There were no McDonnell stickers in sight.
"I think you're going to win,'' one man yelled over the crowd.
"Governor! I'm going to call you governor already!" another man said as he reached out to grab his hand.
Deeds was accompanied by Gov. Tim Kaine, a festival regular since 1995, and most of the city's African American leaders, including Mayor Dwight Jones, Del. Jennifer McClellan and Sens. Don McEachin and Henry Marsh. Steve Shannon, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, also worked the crowd.
Jones, a former House member who used to lead the legislative black caucus, said Deeds has momentum. "He's right where he wants to be,'' he said. "We just want to make sure there is no slippage in the black community."
Deeds spend about an hour working the crowd before heading to Hampton Roads.
He defended Kaine, his friend and mentor, who was criticized by a fellow Democrat yesterday for being slow in spending the state's share of federal stimulus money for transportation. "I think the governor has done exactly what he could to get the money out in the field as quickly as possible,'' he said.
Deeds insisted that his transportation plan was the superior one despite a slew of recent endorsements for rival Bob McDonnell citing that issue. "If those guys want statewide transportation money to come out of the general fund then that's up to them," he said.
Thousands of people crammed Second Street, eating "ghetto" burgers and funnel cake, listening to live jazz and browsing at crafts for sale. (You could even register to vote, thanks to the NAACP).
Leighton Powell, a Jackson Ward resident who works for a non-profit environmental group, has been volunteering for Deeds for months. She handed out stickers this afternoon.
"People who meet him fall in love with him,'' Powell said. "He's not your typical politician. When he says something he means it. He's not looking for a sound bite. He's genuine that way. That's how he was raised."
October 3, 2009; 5:01 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Steve Shannon , Timothy M. Kaine
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