October 17th, 2009
10:00 AM ET
4 years ago

Political stars descend on Virginia campaigns

Sen. John McCain is holding a rally with Bob McDonnell on Saturday.
Sen. John McCain is holding a rally with Bob McDonnell on Saturday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – As one of only two statewide campaigns in the 2009 election cycle, the Virginia governor's race has seen a parade of national political stars make the trip to the Old Dominion.

Late Friday, Creigh Deeds' campaign announced that President Obama would join the Democratic candidate on the trail at the end of the month. Obama's 2008 presidential rival will get there first: On Saturday, Sen. John McCain will make his second trip to Virginia on behalf of Republican candidate Bob McDonnell. McCain, a decorated Navy hero, will help McDonnell make a closing pitch to veterans at a rally in Hampton Roads, a region of the state with a heavy military population.

McCain isn't the only high-profile Republican who has stumped for the former Virginia Attorney General: Two other former presidential candidates - former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee - have twice visited the state twice to campaign. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani also raised money for McDonnell.

Along with Romney and Huckabee, McDonnell has welcomed a number of top Republicans who may run for president in 2012. That list includes Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele campaigned with McDonnell in May.

Creigh Deeds, who spent the first half of the year in a three-way fight for the Democratic nomination, hasn't had an army of national figures campaign with him. But several prominent Democrats have chipped in to help.

On Friday, former Vice President Al Gore held a fundraiser for Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds. And next week, former President Bill Clinton will appear at a rally for Deeds along with longtime Clinton friend Terry McAuliffe, who sought the Democratic nomination before losing to Deeds in June.

The party's leader, President Obama, will make his second trip to Virginia to lend a hand, the Deeds campaign announced Friday. The visit will be Obama's second on the trail for the gubernatorial candidate: he campaigned for Deeds and hosted a fundraiser for him in August Vice President Joe Biden and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, have both stumped for Deeds.

For a campaign thought by many to be a referendum of the Obama presidency, the election will largely turn by local issues - specifically transportation and the economy. Deeds has also tried to make the race about women's issues by highlighting a conservative thesis written by McDonnell in which he called working women "detrimental" to families.

Entering October, McDonnell held a significant cash advantage, with $4.5 million on hand to Deeds' $2.7 million.

– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby contributed to this report

soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. mesa mattress

    virignia is a very important state, because of its proximity to washington d.c. i went to school there, and what i learned about state politics was the following: whoever is the governor decides what kind of benefits businesses get during their administration. so, defense contracts, washington insider deals are made based on who is the governor. this is a very important race, and it has broad implications for the defense industry.

    October 17, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. LacrosseMom

    WHY will Virginia elect a Republican? After EIGHT years of a GOP president and SEVEN years of a GOP controlled Congress........ how did that work for you, Virginia?

    BLUE VIRGINIA!

    October 17, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. annie against biased news

    Who were the stars? Certainly not obama or mccain. McDonnell would have done much better to have had Gov. Palin.

    October 17, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. We Won Get Over It

    Lordy lordy if I lived in Virginia and all those two faced, greedy, lying crap spewing republicans descended on my state I'd head for the mountains til they slithered their way out...

    October 17, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Hammerer

    What is our congress doing? 17% unemployment, $1.4 trillion deficit because of bailouts to Wall Street, GM & the unions,the AIG's of the banking industry, pay offs for political favors to the ALCORNS, and all they can think of is get elected and pass a $2 trillion hand out to the lazy for free healthcare.

    October 17, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. harold

    Hey..Mr. McConnell... What kiind of 12 proposals did you say you had to make?.... Reference your statement on radio about your 12 ..".....".....Proposals.......And you want to be Virginia's Governor and a Chistian one at that...After that foul language you used on radio?..... Kinda funny is it not?

    October 17, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. JonDie

    Where is McDonnell's main mentor, Pat Robertson?

    Pat Robertson said the people who were murdered on 9-11 deserved it.

    Does McDonnell repudiate the vile comments of his mentor Pat Robertson?

    October 17, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. buckwheat

    I think everyone in the country should change their registration to the Democrat Party and screw up their polls. I have been registered Republican all of my life and have never been polled because they probably figured I had enough sense to make up my own mind about issues without having ACCORN Democrats telling me how to do it. Besides, being polled does not sound very comfortable since we have paid most of the bills all our working life and know what getting the shaft means.

    October 17, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. buckwheat

    If we want to change our government ,limit Senators to 1 term with no retirement and 2 years for House members with notbenefits except for the health plan they are about to pass. These jobs were not mean't to become what they have. These crooks are entrenched for life and they are deciding what your life will be. Google in Senate and House Perks if you want to know the truth of what your taxes are giving these leeches and the free ride they will do anything for.

    October 17, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. S M R

    What is Bob McDonnell thinking? All these supporters like McCain, Huckabee,Romney and Giuliani voted for the Bush/Cheney failed policies 100% of the time and You think Voters will vote GOP. I THINK NOT!!!

    October 17, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. S M R

    Our Great Country needs to keep Democrats in the Majority of the House and Senate if we will ever recover from the FAILED POLICIES of the Bush/Cheney Administration

    October 17, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. S M R

    The GOP is HARMFUL TO AMERICA's future

    October 17, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. JIlli

    John McCain draws crowds? Since when?

    October 17, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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