WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democrat Creigh Deeds looked to shake up the Virginia governor's race Friday with a new television advertisement and a speech aimed at rallying independents and Democrats who have so far been less than enthusiastic about the campaign.
A Washington Post poll released last weekend showed Deeds trailing Republican Bob McDonnell by 15 points among likely voters. While the poll showed independents leaning heavily towards McDonnell, it also showed that relatively few voters are familiar with the candidates and their positions at this point in the race.
In an address at George Mason University in Fairfax County - the most populous county in the commonwealth - Deeds tried to define McDonnell as a divisive social conservative who supported the economic policies of former President George W. Bush.
Highlighting McDonnell's positions against stem cell research and abortion rights, Deeds said his opponent makes "division and personal crusades the priority over the common good."
"This is my opponent's record," Deeds said. "This single-minded crusade has been his priority and focus. He believes that his social agenda should come before sound public policy, and his record, his career in politics, reflects it."
McDonnell has tried to appeal to moderates and pro-business interests in Virginia by making the race about federal issues and President Obama's economic agenda, claiming that Deeds supports an energy tax, "socialized medicine" and greater influence for labor unions.
On Friday, Deeds tried to make the race about Virginia issues - particularly transportation, education, and tax credits for small businesses that create jobs. The goal: to remind voters of the successes of the last two Democratic governors, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, who remain relatively popular in the state.
The Deeds campaign also released a new television ad featuring Warner, with a narrator proclaiming that Deeds will "keep Virginia moving forward with the pro-business economic policies Mark Warner put in place, and not go backwards by embracing the failed economic policies of George W. Bush." The ad will run statewide, but not in the expensive northern Virginia media market.
"Creigh is really going to drive this contrast that McDonnell is just an unacceptable alternative, and we can't afford that," said a Deeds adviser. "Right now the dialogue has been focused on this national environment, and this is a way to break through that a discussion, and say there is a lot at stake here in Virginia."
The adviser called it "a re-framing speech." But the Republican Governors Association quickly released a statement with the subject line: "Deeds tries to press reset, misses."
"It's commonly known that the best time to dump bad news is on Fridays during the summer," RGA spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. "Apparently, Creigh Deeds also thinks it's the best time to make no news."
UPDATE: McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said Deeds is "trying to bring back old time wedge politics to tear Virginians apart."
That was the most backwards looking speech ever given by a Virginia gubernatorial nominee," Martin said. "If Creigh Deeds thinks blowing the dust off an old political playbook amounts to a major new announcement, he doesn't get what the voters of Virginia are looking for in their next governor."
Real christians? speak not of what you know nothing about.
Bob McDonnell had a commercial saying how less regulation on banks will make the economy grow. The lax regulations on banks caused the recession. Electing Bob McDonnell would destroy Virginia's economy, and shatter the great things that have been done in VA in the days of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. Whether the republicans want to admit it or not, Warner and Kaine are the best things to happen to VA in a long, long time.
Socialist government...lmao...Medicare, Social Security, Schools, Policeman, Fireman.. city parks, all socialist principles. I know for all you idiots who think a government option is such a horrible idea..let's get rid of it all!!! Teach your own kids, police your own neighborhood, throw water on your house when it's burning, stop the thieves when their looting, rioting, killing, and what have you. When you lose your job while the CEO makes 28 million a year, deal with no unemployment insurance. Let's continue to see big corporations like Insurance companies who do not want a public option make more money hand over fist. Screw all the Americans who are less fortunate.... THIS IS NOW THE AMERICAN WAY!!!
The truth is McDonnell doesn't want the majority of Virginians – who are moderate – to know about his radical religious and social opinions that guide his life and his politics.
He is against religious freedom – except for his religion of choice, he's against women's rights, against public education, against equal rights for all Virginians, he supports the idea that everyone deserves to own a hand gun, he supports corporate only health care, he supports bigotry and hate against gays, etc., etc.,
He votes against N Va getting their fair share of state transportation money. We are just getting over the ruinous Allen and Gillmore regimes.
Now is the time to say NO to the radical right-wing-nut-jobs.
He is too much a "selfish radical" for Virginia.
no more, they have ruined this nation
It is entirely too soon to write an obit for this governor's race. Deeds has a strong chance to win. Virginians are not stupid, and they are not sheep. Ultimately, they will do the right thing at the voting booth and elect Deeds who will best represent their interests. I believe in this so strongly that I have funded Deeds by way of Arizona with a simple click of my mouse. Isn't the internet grand?
You Elected a "Witch Doctor". Which is your problem....
May the best person be heard and voted for.
15 points huh. sounds like change i can believe in!!
Bring it to Jersey too.
DOWN WITH CORZINE and his shady deals with Carla Katz!
Virginia is now billions of dollars in the red thanks to warner and kaine! Virginia now has higher fees and taxes on everything thanks to warner and kaine! Virginia has it's highway rest stops closed thanks to warner and kaine! Unemployment has risen sharply thanks to warner and kaine! Roads and bridges are in deplorable condition thanks to warner and kaine! Crime has greatly increased and public safety has suffered thanks to warner and kaine! In short deeds is done! Virginia is turning red again like it or not!
@ Rebekah........Maybe spend more time reading about the separation of powers between states and the Fed. The Feds are not responsible for police, fire, schools, parks (except National). These are state responsibilities. The problem with brain dead libs (not you, of course) is that you look to the government to solve all your problems (cradle to grave, you know). Like sheep being led to slaughter.
BO = Four and the door (or impeachment)
Bob McDonnell will WIN in November. He has a great amount of experience as attorney general and made VA one of the safest in the nation & he has brought excellent ideas to the table for VA problems like transportation. Contrary to popular opinion Kaine is not popular in the state anymore. McDonnell BEAT Deeds four years ago for AG and he will again in november. McDONNELL 2009!