ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN) - Terry McAuliffe conceded a tough loss in an unusually hard-fought Virginia Democratic primary Tuesday night, urging supporters to rally behind the party’s nominee, state senator Creigh Deeds.
McAuliffe, who campaigned in Virginia last year as Hillary Clinton’s finance chair, had run with the backing of national party leaders like Democratic Governor Association chair Brian Schweitzer, but was overtaken in the race’s final weeks by Deeds.
“It may not have turned out the way we wanted, but it was quite a ride,” McAuliffe told supporters at a hotel an Arlington hotel. “…I told Creigh I will give it my 100 percent to help him do what ever it takes to become governor.”
ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN) - Longtime Clinton ally and former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe has conceded to state senator Creigh Deeds in the party's gubernatorial primary, calling on his supporters to back Deeds in his general election battle against Republican Bob McDonnell.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds is looking to project an air of momentum in the closing days of the Democratic primary race by launching a new TV ad in the costly northern Virginia media market.
When the ad starts running Wednesday night, Deeds and fellow Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe will both be on the air in every corner of the commonwealth with just five days left until next Tuesday's Democratic primary. The third candidate in the race, former House delegate Brian Moran, has spent considerably less on television ads - but he maintains a strong base of support in the Washington suburbs where most of the state's Democratic voters reside.
The 30-second ad asks the question: "On June 9, which Democrat has the most experience to carry on the policies of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine?" The spot then touts Deeds' recent - and somewhat surprising - endorsement by the Washington Post. "The Washington Post says it's Creigh Deeds," a narrator says. "Deeds 'would make transportation his first priority.'"
The ad also points out that Deeds is pro-choice, a message that might help allay fears among northern Virginia liberals that the state senator from rural Bath County is too conservative to lead the party.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – In the battle for Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination, a race with many uncertainties, a major question has bubbled to the surface in the closing days of the campaign: How many African-American voters will actually show up?
If they do come to the polls in large numbers during next Tuesday's primary, former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe could very well be the beneficiary and move on to face Republican Bob McDonnell in the general election, a race that will be fraught with national implications. But if many of those voters stay home, McAuliffe’s lively and unconventional bid for the governorship might come to an end.
“At the end of the day, the African-American vote will be the decisive factor in this race,” said Bob Holsworth, the Richmond-based political analyst.
Although Virginia’s Democratic drift in recent years has arisen in large part from the population growth in left-leaning northern Virginia, next week’s three-way primary race may ultimately hinge on a very different part of the state - the stretch from Richmond to Hampton Roads along the southeast coast.
If the three candidates manage to divvy up the votes in northern Virginia - a growing possibility now that Creigh Deeds, a state senator from a rural district, is riding a burst of momentum following a key endorsement form the Washington Post - then the candidate who can best marshal voters downstate may have an edge.
It’s there where McAuliffe has been aggressively organizing in predominantly black neighborhoods, flooding urban radio stations with ads, and even campaigning alongside hip-hop performers like will.i.am and Biz Markie. As of Tuesday, McAuliffe had spent about $1 million on television advertising, with most of his ads purchased in downstate media markets.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - James Carville is offering some last minute help to his longtime friend Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor's race.
With just over a week until the Democratic primary, Bill Clinton's former strategist sent out a fundraising e-mail on Monday on behalf of Bill Clinton's former money man, telling supporters that McAuliffe is "the strongest possible nominee" out of the three Democrats seeking the nomination. Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran are also on the Democratic ballot.
The winner of next Tuesday's vote will face Republican Bob McDonnell, and both candidates will see a flood of national money as both parties seek to put their stamp on the newly-christened swing state.
"Republicans are desperate to end their losing streak, and they're bettin' the farm on the Old Dominion," Carville wrote in the e-mail. Carville noted that he knows "thing or two about electing Democrats in Southern states."
Carville also promised that McAuliffe, who has 14 offices throughout Virginia and more paid staffers than any of his rivals, "will have the biggest, baddest Get-Out-the-Vote operation a Virginia governor's race has ever seen."
Clinton himself has campaigned several times for McAuliffe across the commonwealth.
(CNN) - Virginia gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran is hammering his Democratic primary rival Terry McAuliffe for backing Hillary Clinton instead of Barack Obama throughout much of the presidential race.
The Moran campaign is hoping a new 60-second radio ad running on black radio stations in Virginia will remind African-American voters - likely to be a crucial voting block in the June 9 Democratic primary - of McAuliffe's full-throated support for Clinton and his past criticisms of Obama.
"Terry McAuliffe may have a lot of big money for his campaign, but don't let that hide the truth," the ad's narrator says. "The truth is, Terry McAuliffe led the campaign that ran the '3 a.m.' attack ad against Barack Obama. McAuliffe worked to put up the ads that questioned Obama's ability to be president."
The new attack is especially pointed because McAuliffe has gone to great lengths to model elements of his gubernatorial campaign after Obama's, which won Virginia in both the Democratic primary and the general election. In March, McAuliffe's campaign ran an ad on black radio stations proclaiming: "In 2008, our voices were heard when we elected our president, Barack Obama."
But Moran's new ad claims that, "if Terry McAuliffe had his way, Barack Obama wouldn't be our president today." Referring to a light-hearted appearance by McAuliffe on The Daily Show last June, the ad says that "McAuliffe even went on national TV and joked Barack Obama could, quote, 'kiss my ass.'"
The McAuliffe campaign called the ad "false and misleading" and accused Moran of "trying to divide Democrats again, especially at a time when we all need to come together to help President Obama get the economy back on track." The campaign said McAuliffe "fought tirelessly" for Obama after the primaries ended.
Moran and McAuliffe are competing against Creigh Deeds for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. The winner of that contest will face Republican Bob McDonnell in the general election.
UPDATE: The McAuliffe campaign responded again Monday by rolling out the endorsement of Tom Daschle, who co-chaired Obama's campaign.
"From the day Hillary Clinton ended her historic bid for president, Terry worked tirelessly to unify our party around Barack Obama and get him elected President," Daschle said in a statement. "His energy and enthusiasm were tremendous assets on the campaign trail and we were grateful to have him on our side."
HERNDON, Virginia (CNN) – Bill Clinton jokingly laughed off a question Wednesday about former Vice President Dick Cheney and his recent claims that the country is less safe under the Obama administration.
"I wish him well," Clinton told CNN while greeting voters after a campaign stop with Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. "It's over," he added, apparently a reference to the Bush administration.
"But I do hope he gets some more target practice before he goes out again," Clinton said with a grin before moving along the ropeline.
The former president was alluding, of course, to Cheney's infamous 2006 hunting accident in which he mistakenly fired birdshot into the face of a campaign contributor during a South Texas quail hunt.
HERNDON, Virginia (CNN) – To hear Bill Clinton tell it, Terry McAuliffe is destined to become the 71st governor of the commonwealth of Virginia.
“He was born to lead at this moment,” Clinton said of McAuliffe at a campaign rally in northern Virginia on Wednesday. It was the former president’s third appearance on behalf of his friend and longtime political ally, who is now in the final weeks of a tough three-way primary battle for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
The winner of that contest will face Republican Bob McDonnell, the state’s former attorney general, in the general election.
Clinton praised McAuliffe from all angles, making sure to plug the former Democratic National Committee chairman’s apparent mastery of Virginia issues. McAuliffe has struggled with the perception that he’s a newcomer to Virginia politics, while his two Democratic rivals have labored in the trenches of state government for more than a decade.
The former president even said that if every child were raised as McAuliffe’s five children were, “this country would have about half the problems it’s got.”
Clinton and McAuliffe made their pitch to about 200 voters at a park in the northern Virginia town of Herndon, standing on a stage just downwind of a ripe-smelling pig sty. They held a second, larger rally later in the day a few miles away in the Washington suburb of Annandale.
"Bob McDonnell," the ad's narrator says, over images of the Republican with his wife and family. "Character. Experience. A husband. A father. Principles molded growing up in a middle class suburban neighborhood."
The campaign purchased over $200,000 worth of airtime for the ad, which is running in nearly every major media market in Virginia except in the sprawling and expensive northern Virginia market, which encompasses the greater Washington area. However, the campaign noted that they launched a "positive new online media campaign" on Monday "with a heavy focus on northern Virginia."
Two of McDonnell's Democratic rivals - Terry McAuliffe and Creigh Deeds - have already been running television ads as they ramp up for the Democratic primary, which is less than a month away. The third Democrat in the race, Brian Moran, has not aired a TV spot.
UPDATE: The Democratic Party of Virginia responded to the ad, accusing McDonnell of failing to offer a plan to create jobs.
"When it comes to Virginia's economy, Bob McDonnell's ad is all hat and no cattle," said Democratic party spokesman Jared Leopold. "McDonnell's newest ad - like his campaign - lacks the substance that Virginians want in a governor."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Virginia's gubernatorial candidates are a spoiled bunch. With their election taking place in that odd year after a presidential election, the candidates are happily preparing for - even boasting about - the financial windfall from the national parties that awaits them once the general election kicks off in June.
As Joe Abbey, the campaign manager for Democrat Creigh Deeds, put it: "We're typically the only game in town."
There's also a governor's race in New Jersey, of course, where poll numbers show that the Republican frontrunner, Chris Christie, has a good shot at knocking off incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine. But the stakes are seen as higher in Virginia, a newly-christened swing state with shifting demographic patterns that have emboldened Democrats and forced the state GOP to do some serious soul-searching.
"Many have said that the road for the resurgence of the Republican party and the conservative cause goes through Virginia," said Bob McDonnell, the Republican candidate for governor, who is framing his candidacy around job creation rather than focusing on wedge issues that have fueled past GOP campaigns in the commonwealth.