CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (CNN) – State Sen. Creigh Deeds emerged from a tough and expensive three-way primary battle to capture Virginia's Democratic nomination for governor on Tuesday, a victory that immediately put him in the crosshairs of national Republicans eager to reinvigorate their party with an off-year triumph in the commonwealth this November.
Riding a late burst of momentum, Deeds defeated former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, who raised more than $7 million for his primary bid, and former House delegate Brian Moran, who had positioned himself as the most progressive candidate in the race.
The Democratic nominee will now face Republican Bob McDonnell in the general election.
In his victory speech, standing before a blue and white backdrop bearing a striking resemblance to signage used by the Obama campaign last year, Deeds immediately sought to tie McDonnell to former president George W. Bush, accusing both men of supporting a "disastrous economic and social agenda."
"We all know how those Bush economic policies turned out," he said.