WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new poll indicates that Republican Bob McDonnell holds a double-digit lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds in Virginia's gubernatorial battle.
The release of the Washington Post poll Monday evening comes eight days before voters in Virginia head to the polls, and it comes on the eve of a campaign stop by President Barack Obama, who teams up with Deeds at a rally in Norfolk Tuesday.
Fifty-five percent of likely Virginia voters questioned in the survey say they back McDonnell, the state's former attorney general, with 44 percent supporting Deeds, a state senator from the western part of the state. McDonnell's 11-point advantage is up from an 9-point margin last month.
The poll indicates that McDonnell holds double-digit advantages on such issues at the economy, taxes, and transportation - and now leads Deeds for the first time in this campaign on issues of special concern to women.
Washington (CNN) – Even though President Obama is not on the ballot this November, he and the Democrats who control Congress have a lot on the line.
Among the many contests being voted on in a little more than week, two statewide battles for governor are grabbing a lot of national attention.
The president heads back on the campaign trail in Virginia on Tuesday, not for himself but for fellow Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds. Recent polls suggest Deeds, a state senator from the rural western part of Virginia, trails his Republican opponent, former Virginia attorney general Bob McDonnell.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A well-known Democratic strategist in Virginia is blasting the White House for placing anonymous quotes in the Washington Post in a pre-emptive effort to blame Creigh Deeds for what might be a loss in the state's upcoming gubernatorial election.
David "Mudcat" Saunders, who gained political fame helping Democrat Mark Warner reach out to rural voters during Warner's successful 2001 gubernatorial bid, told CNN Friday that trying to blame Deeds is "bulls**t" when Democrats around the country are "just tired of politics."
"The Democrats right now are a real bruised brand right now where I am," Saunders said in a phone interview from his home near Roanoke. "There was so much energy put into last year's race, everybody's just burned out. You can't get anybody fired up."
In a story published Friday, a senior administration official told the Post that the Deeds campaign ignored their advice to embrace the president, which the official claimed would have boosted the Democratic candidate's lackluster support among the African-Americans and young voters who supported Obama in 2008.
Kaine also downplayed anonymous quotes from administration officials about Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds that appeared Friday in The Washington Post. Unnamed administration officials told the paper that if Deeds loses, it will be his own fault for shunning White House advice and not doing enough to embrace President Obama on the campaign trail.
"I tend not to comment on the comments of unnamed sources," Kaine told CNN in a phone interview from Atlanta, where he was meeting with party activists. "We still have more work to do and it's challenging, but I know the president is very interested in the race. The president has been very solicitous."
Kaine said the president, whom he last spoke to about the race on Tuesday night, is "very excited" to make his second appearance for Deeds next week in Norfolk. The Virginia governor, a confidante of Obama since the early day's of his presidential campaign, said he talks to the president "a good bit" about the campaign but said he talks to Deeds more often, "every day, or every other day."
The DNC chair said Deeds' path to victory is clear: "Energizing the president's supporters, energizing those who approve of how Democrats are govering Virginia." Asked if Deeds has done a good enough job doing so in his race against Republican Bob McDonnell, Kaine said Deeds "is working hard to do so" but admitted that Democrats in the state aren't as excited for this election as they were one year ago.
"It is the case that last year was a catharsis for our side," he said. "It was that way nationally and in Virginia. I do think people are seeing stark differences between the two tickets. They are waking up a little late, but they're definitely waking up."
The location of the event in southeast Virginia, a heavily African-American part of the state, signals that Deeds advisers hope the president can boost turnout among supporters who rallied to his side in 2008 but have been largely disinterested in the governor's race so far.
The rally will take place on Tuesday at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, the second largest city in the commonwealth and home to the world's largest naval station. Almost half of Norfolk's residents are African-American; Obama trounced John McCain by a 71-28 margin there last November. During the Democratic gubernatorial primary earlier this year, all three of the men seeking their party's nomination targeted black voters with radio ads and endorsement from key leaders in the community.
But Norfolk in just one of several population centers in Hampton Roads, a broad swath of cities and counties in southeastern Virginia where military voters are also a key part of the electorate. Over the weekend, Republican candidate Bob McDonnell held a veterans rally in nearby Virginia Beach with McCain.
The president first campaigned for Deeds in August in northern Virginia.
(CNN) - With just under two weeks until voters head to the polls in Virginia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds is playing up his support from President Obama.
Deeds is launching a new ad Thursday featuring Obama at a recent campaign rally urging voters to step up their get out the vote efforts.
"Last year, Virginia, you helped lead a movement of Americans who believed that their voices could make a difference," Obama is seen telling an energized crowd in the new 30-second spot. "That's what we need to do in this race."
The ad also comes five days before Obama is set to return to the Virginia campaign trail on behalf of Deeds, a former state senator. While the race between Deeds and former Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell has been a close one, recent polls suggest McDonnell now has a nearly 10-point advantage over Deeds.
Obama won Virginia by 6 points last fall, and currently holds a 53 percent approval rating in the state, according to a recent Washington Post poll.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton played political analyst Tuesday during a campaign appearance in Virginia for Democrat Creigh Deeds, who is trailing Republican Bob McDonnell according to recent polling.
"So are the polls right?" Clinton said during a rally in northern Virginia. "The answer is yes, no and maybe. Yes, the polls are an accurate measurement of the voter groups that they talk to in proportion to each other. So if on election day that profile shows up, you have to change minds."
"The 'no' answer is, that's not close to a profile of the people either who voted in the primary, which was an open primary, or in the general election of 2008."
"And the 'maybe' is the thing that matters," he said. "The maybe is you. The maybe is what you do in the two weeks, whether you're prepared to step into the breach."
Clinton urged the crowd to tell fellow Democrats that jobs, health care, energy, education and "sensible budgets" are all at stake on Election Day.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Will the endorsement of the Washington Post help propel Virginia Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds to victory in November in the same way it did in the June Democratic primary? The Deeds campaign is launching a new ad campaign plan with that goal in mind.
The Post endorsed Deeds for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in May, weeks before Virginians voted in the primary. The Deeds camp eagerly used that stamp of approval in TV ads and yard signs down the stretch, an effort that unquestionably helped the Democrat secure his party's nomination.
The paper gave Deeds its blessing again over the weekend - this time over Republican Bob McDonnell. It wasn't exactly a surprise: No Virginia politico contacted by CNN could recall the last time the paper endorsed a Republican candidate for governor. And once again, the Deeds campaign is using the endorsement in TV ads running in the populous northern Virginia suburbs, where the paper is widely circulated.
The new Deeds ad quotes from the endorsement, which said the Democrat "offers hope for a solution" on the transportation problems plaguing the state. Deeds, as the ad and that paper said, has ideas that "hold the promise of a prosperous future."
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.
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.