November 19th, 2013
12:56 PM ET
4 months ago

Who is Creigh Deeds?

Updated 4:02 p.m. ET, 11/19/2013

(CNN) - The political world in Virginia was rattled Tuesday with the news that longtime state legislator and former gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds was hospitalized after being stabbed by his son at his home.

With more than 20 years in public service and two statewide campaigns under his belt, the Democrat is a known name across the commonwealth.

Deeds famously lost to the current governor, Republican Bob McDonnell, in a 2009 gubernatorial race by a whopping 19-point margin. The race came four years after Deeds narrowly lost to McDonnell in the state Attorney General's race.

In a statement Tuesday morning, McDonnell described Deeds as "an exceptional and committed public servant" and urged Virginians to pray for a full recovery so Deeds can return for "for many more years of his public service."

Deeds currently represents the 25th Senate District that covers a central part of the commonwealth, including Charlottesville, and spreads west to Covington and Lexington. He lives in Bath County with his wife, Siobhan, whom he married in 2012. Deeds was previously married and divorced to another woman, Pam.

In addition to his son Gus, who died Tuesday from gunshot injuries, Deeds' children include three others: Amanda, Rebecca and Susannah.

First elected to the commonwealth's House of Delegates in 1991, Deeds won a special election to the state Senate in 2001. He then ran as the Democratic nominee for state Attorney General in 2005, losing to McDonnell in a narrow recount.

Deeds is also rare political breed, being one of the only rural elected Democrats in a state where they're now concentrated in cities and suburbs.

"Democrats look to him as a senior statesman in the Democratic caucus, they look to him for guidance," said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

As a moderate, he's able to appeal to people on both sides of the aisle, Kidd added, which has helped him stay relevant despite losing two major bids for a top-ballot office.

"There's an earnestness about him, a genuineness about him, and he doesn't burn bridges," he said. "In some ways he speaks to the kind of politics that we ideally want but don't often get."

Virginia was one of two states holding a gubernatorial race in 2009, so the race received outsized attention compared to most contests for governor. Deeds won a three-way contest for the Democratic nomination, beating out Terry McAuliffe, who went on this year to become the nominee and win the gubernatorial contest.

Even though President Barack Obama carried Virginia just a year earlier, in 2008, Deeds struggled in his campaign against McDonnell.

Virginia also had a history of electing gubernatorial candidates whose party wasn't in the White House-that is, until this year when the commonwealth chose Democrat Terry McAuliffe to succeed McDonnell.

Obama campaigned for Deeds at a rally in 2009.

"Creigh Deeds and I both have - let's face it - sort of funny names," he said, drawing laughs. "Still trying to figure out the spelling of Creigh."

Obama praised Deeds for working "tirelessly" for the commonwealth as a prosecutor, delegate and state senator.

While he lost two major statewide election bids, Deeds remained involved in his Senate seat and has continued to be a "real force" in the body, said Carl Tobias, professor of law at the University of Richmond.

"I think everybody respects him, sees him as very principled and works hard for the values he believes," Tobias added.

– CNN's Lesa Jansen contributed to this report.


Filed under: Creigh Deeds • Virginia
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Anon

    Let me guess, some crazed nutjob Fox News watcher that thinks Democrats are causing the end of the world. Since most of the Fox News watching public is mentally unstable, these people act out their fears.

    November 19, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. ram

    Wow. I am so sorry for the death of his son and wish him complete recovery. I hope that they can find out who did this and punish them suitably. No one deserves to die or be attacked that way whether you agree with his politics or not. Best wishes for healing to the family.

    November 19, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. Andres

    This is just awful. I can't imagine what really happened here. What I can say is that I am amazed things like this don't happen more often in a climate where there is so much political hatred coming all the way from the top. I pray for a recovery of Mr. Deeds but there are things you don't recover, like the loss of a loved child. I wish him peace.

    November 19, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I am so sorry to hear of this tragedy.
    I wish Mr. Deeds a complete recovery and I extend my condolences on the tragic death of his son.

    November 19, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  5. Twithers

    This is terrible news, just terrible. Hopefully, they catch the disturbed individual that did this and come down on them with the full weight of the law.

    Of course, the knee jerk reaction is to say this was politically motivated but I'll wait until proof of that comes out before rushing to any snap decisions.

    November 19, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. ST

    Oh! how sad. If it is all about political issues, I think the country has reached at a very, very bad point. Let us all argue, discuss, call each other names any one can find in the world, BUT not reaching at this point of claiming one other's life. It is very scary.

    November 19, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. TedCruz

    sucks that the dude had to shoot his kid...

    November 19, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. SpudIam

    If CNN would report the news (and or people read other sources) ... You might find out the the son may be the stabber and the shooter ...

    November 19, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. Rose

    Virginia Democratic sources are saying that Deeds was stabbed by his 24-year-old son Gus, and that his son then shot himself at their home in Bath County, Virginia.

    November 19, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. my take

    To me this seems personal not political. The authorities are not looking for suspects. Even rich successful people have family problems. My prayers go out to the family and friends.

    November 19, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. Skynrd

    He is stabbed, but the kid is shot! This sounds an awful lot like a personal attack/vendetta against him, if it wasn't ans was only a home robbery or something similar they both would have been shot. You watch, this will be someone he knew or had relations (public, political, business, etc) in past with, or else someone solely against what he was about and believed in.

    November 19, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. KBD

    Umm, such a sad story.........not much info on this yet but with the comments already posted it seems we are jumping to an assumption that this was the act of a politically-motivated assassin. It is important not to overly speculate but does the fact that "the police are not searching for any suspects" (see CNN FULL STORY) imply that it probably involved a domestic dispute?

    November 19, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Mike

    Anon, I think you're the nut job. If you think ANY of the news outlets are on the level, then you need serious help. It's very sad someone died and another seriously injured. Could it be because of politics? Sure. The leaders of our country(and I use that term loosely), have driven many people to a desperate state. I'm just shocked it hasn't happened sooner.

    November 19, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  14. current state of the union

    I bet next time he will let him play his Xbox for a while longer! Oh, there is no next time. Had to be a dramacrat.

    November 19, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Dennis in Los Angeles

    Time for dems to introduce a bill to ban all kids.

    November 19, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. BillyGoat

    Hey Mike why is it so hard for you to acknowledge that Fox News literally does brainwash people with misinformation and that any lunatic pumped with misinformation is capable of some terrible things?

    November 19, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. mary

    The first commenter here about some crazed Fox news watcher , first came to my mind too..
    I was listening to the "news" this morning, and I use that term loosely.. And they were talking about George zimmerman..It was nothing but gossip, the kind you hear people sitting in a group having a few beers , or at the local dive talking about.. Nothing but speculation and "just suppose" kind of banter..
    We CAN'T keep doing this..
    NEWS was always NEWS… Just the facts.. NO speculation..No trying to figure out what or why someone is or did something..
    FOX is a hateful news organization. Stirring people up.. Angering them..
    The agenda is the agenda of their owner ..And maybe the kind of people that they themselves are..
    But most of it is based on speculation, lies and deceit.. All working towards one end.. And thats to get rid of Obama and the Dem's. So the rich can once again get their bought and paid for GOP back in office ..
    But the whack jobs are out there getting angrier and angrier over lies..
    And its going too far..
    FOX should be on notice, told to STOP their ugly agenda.. And people should realize they are just a hares breath away from enciting riots..
    OR worse..

    November 19, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. Peter

    What happened to all the amateur Sherlock Holmes knockoffs who were convinced within seconds of the story breaking that the shooter was:

    Black
    A Muslim
    An angry Republican
    An Hispanic

    All you people are suddenly very quiet.

    November 19, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. Ole Virginnie

    I live in Virginia and this is a result of the underfunded mental health system where there never enough psychiatric hospital beds. This young man was in need of hospitalization but because no beds could be found so he was sent home and almost killed his father, then killed himself. The state is pathetic.

    November 19, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. droffilc

    Obama does not have to worry until he gets to Bush & Cheney's poll numbers......teens and low 20's. And I like the DOW under Obama, 16,000 vs 6547 caused by Bush......

    November 19, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  21. Pfm

    His Son did it.

    November 19, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. Sigh

    Is everyone here stupid? His SON stabbed him and then shot himself. Maybe if he stopped working for 2 seconds and spent some time with his mentally ill son this wouldn't have happened.

    November 19, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. msualum

    can you guys all please read the article. It wasn't a Fox News assasin it was his son that stabbed him. PLEASE READ.

    November 19, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Tad1950

    Reading these comments amaze me...there were only two people involved, Senator Deeds and his son. The son had a history of mental problems and was treated as early as a week ago and was brought home to be looked after. Senator Deeds loved his son and was a caring father. I happen to live in his district...and even though I vote republican, I totally respect and like him, he is a genuinely good and nice man. This has NOTHING to do with politics, it has to do with what some many American family deal with everyday...mental depression and drug use. We definitely need to help those more suffering through these issues. Please be nice here, he is truly a good man.

    November 19, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. You want it when?

    a fellow human being who could use our prayers right now..

    November 19, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
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