Democrats speak of a broken "streak" in Virginia
The losing Democratic candidates and their supporters in Virginia had a common theme in their concession speeches moments ago: The party has had a good run in the state, and despite the loss, their work goes on.
"We lose an election but we don't give up," said defeated gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds to a crescendo of applause. "We still have fight, we still have spirit, we still have things to say. There's still people that need a voice!...This chapter is closed but the next chapter is yet to be written."
Former Gov. Mark Warner and Gov. Tim Kaine both played on the theme that Democrats have gotten "used" to winning in a state that was once reliably Republican.
"Eight years ago we started a streak in this state--in a state where Democrats didn't control either house of the legislature, any statewide office, and we turned Virginia around," Warner said.
"Who would have thought this ten years ago but you know, we've gotten used to winning most elections, and so that's a challenge," Kaine said. "Let's just be honest about it. We wish we were here under different circumstances and with a different result."
Lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner cited a list of issues that still need attention, regardless of who is in power.
"Our work is not over, we have too many challenges, we cannot pack up and go home," Wagner said, listing job creation, health care, education, and the "transportation mess" as pressing concerns.
In an interview, Del. Stephen C. Shannon, who lost the race for attorney general, said, "it's hard to analyze history when you're in the moment," but nonetheless offered some hunches as to why the night didn't go the Democrats' way.
"It's a disappointing night," Shannon said, adding that he suspects new voters who voted last year didn't come out in force this year, while older voters may have had a good showing.
"You also have to take a frank look at messaging," Shannon said. "We've been very successful winning seats in Virginia as Democrats by focusing on taking on big issues in a way that brings people together. ...We have had a very successful eight years focused on that centrist bipartisan approach. I think we need to look to see whether we were able to stick with that brand in this election cycle or whether we were unable to
get that message out."
State Democratic Party Chairman C. Richard Cranwell, who has known Deeds for years, said Deeds has likely dreamed of being governor for a long time, and is probably taking the loss hard.
"I think probably Creigh's had a dream for at least when he was in his late 20s to be governor of Virginia and you know, when your dreams...don't come to fruition, and you have a shot at them, it makes it difficult. And I'm sure that Creigh will have a couple of tough nights. But I also know the tough side of Creigh Deeds. ...I know he'll rebound."
-- Jonathan Mummolo
November 3, 2009; 10:25 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Jody Wagner , Steve Shannon
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