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Deeds sits out Senate Democratic caucus

Rosalind Helderman

When the 21-member Democratic caucus of the Virginia Senate met Friday and Saturday for a two-day retreat to strategize for this January's legislative session, one member was not among them: Sen. Creigh Deeds.

We're hearing that the former Democratic gubernatorial nominee did not make the trek to Portsmouth from Bath for the meeting. Which might have made it a bit less awkward for other members of the group to talk through why Deeds was defeated by Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell by almost 18 points. Deeds failed to excite black voters, we're told one senator suggested. Deeds failed to excite white ones either, another senator responded.

There is a lot of speculation about how Deeds plans to approach the senatorial job he had once hoped to put aside in January to enter the governor's mansion. It looks like we'll probably have to wait until next year to learn.

In general, the caucus spent a lot of time talking about their roles as leaders of the one remaining piece of government still in their party's hands. They discussed finding areas of common interest with McDonnell but also how to stand up for core Democratic principles.

"We will become the Democratic brand in Richmond," said Sen. "Chap" Petersen (Fairfax). "Everything we do, everything we say, has implications for Democrats across the state, and we're very cognizant of it."

As for the widespread rumors that McDonnell is trying to woo a Democratic senator into his administration to tip the chamber's balance of power, Petersen said that kind of talk didn't come up. But he said members worked hard at planning for January's session, and no one -- including Sen. Ed Houck (Spotsylvania), who has said he'd be willing to talk to McDonnell -- seemed to approach the event as if they were expecting to leave the body anytime soon.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  November 23, 2009; 3:05 PM ET
Categories:  Creigh Deeds , General Assembly 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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Excellent insights.

More on VA politics at

Posted by: BenjaminHackett | November 23, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

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