FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA (CNN) – Fresh off the announcement that President Barack Obama will stump for him later this month, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds stumped on Saturday throughout the key battleground area of Northern Virginia, in the Washington suburbs.
The suburbs around Washington are considered crucial to the outcome of the contest for governor, and a recent Washington Post poll showed Deeds trailing his Republican opponent Bob McDonnell in this area. Several statewide polls have also shown Deeds behind McDonnell in the race.
"Let me dispel any rumor of my demise," Deeds told an enthusiastic crowd of Hispanic and organized labor supporters at a Spanish restaurant.
Deeds on Saturday was stumping in areas populated by several key ethnic groups, accompanied by incumbent Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, who cannot run for re-election.
After weeks of guessing of whether and when the President would make a return visit to campaign for the Democratic nominee, Deeds' campaign was thrilled when it could announce on Friday a return visit for Oct. 27. The President had attended a fundraiser and rally in August. Obama was the first Democrat to carry Virginia in a presidential election since 1964.
"We registered...almost 600,000 new voters last year. We had 74% turnout, turnout for Barack Obama. I think it is a win-win," Deeds told CNN. Deeds has previously blamed the national economic picture for some of his campaign's problems and said he supports most of the president's policies.
"I think the President's support is going to help me immensely. His support is critical towards energizing the Democratic voters," Deeds said as he and other Democratic leaders acknowledge the Republican base seems more energized so far this year with state GOP officials sensing they may be able to reverse a recent trend of losses.
In the last few weeks Deeds has gotten increased support of prominent national Democrats. Vice President Joe Biden and former vice president Al Gore participated in fundraisers, and former president Bill Clinton is going to appear with Deeds next week in an event.
Deeds said right now the White House has only committed to the one event. Some officials close to the White House have privately tried to distance themselves from Deeds saying the landscape in Virginia is tough this year and have questioned the quality of the campaign he is running.
"The President's got some things to do. He's got some things going on. I...don't know whether we can expect him back more than once or not," Deeds told CNN.