Home Chris Graham: Thinking of Creigh Deeds

Chris Graham: Thinking of Creigh Deeds


A lot has changed since the last time I had coffee with Creigh Deeds at the Starbucks just off the interstate in Waynesboro in December 2008.

deeds-in-wbAt that point, Deeds was running a distant third in a three-way race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, a race that he would eventually win. He’d lose that governor election in the fall of 2009, and now, four years later, Terry McAuliffe, who had gone down in defeat to Deeds in the 2009 Democratic nomination race, is the governor-elect.

Other things have changed. The economy was in a tailspin that day at the Starbucks. It’s not the mid-‘80s or late-‘90s now, but things are better.

Deeds swore to me that day that the gubernatorial campaign was his last one, win or lose. He lost, then ran again for re-election to the state senate in 2011, and won.

That stuck with me, that memory. Maybe he was just down, I decided, because the gubernatorial race wasn’t going that well. Maybe he really did feel in 2011 that there was unfinished business, but in politics there’s always unfinished business.

Another thing that stuck with me was how frank and forthright Deeds was that day, and always has been in interviews with me dating back many years, to his time in the General Assembly representing a House district that went from his home in Bath County all the way to Staunton.

“The things that I talk about aren’t things that people have told me to say, they’re not things that the consultants have … in the political world, there are lots of consultants out there, and they’ve got all kinds of good ideas, and there are lots of good people, and there are bad people. You need to be surrounded by good people, but ultimately, I want to be governor because of things I want to do, ideas I’ve got,” Deeds told me over coffee and gingerbread cake.

If you sit down for coffee with Creigh Deeds, in other words, you get Creigh Deeds. You don’t get a guy programmed by consultants who have convened focus groups and grilled them for what a candidate that they would want to support would have to say.

I remember talking with him later in that 2009 election cycle. Things weren’t going well. The polls in the summer had the race at four to six points, but as summer turned to fall, the gap was widening to double digits.

Deeds’ take, on a walk in Downtown Waynesboro during a campaign stop: “We had a plan, and we’re following our plan. And we’re right where we need to be.”

Notice what wasn’t said there. No throwing anybody under the bus, no second-guessing, not publicly, anyway.

Creigh Deeds is a total team player.

We’ve had him on Virginia’s team since 1991.

As he rests in a hospital bed recovering from his injuries, we pray for him to get back in the game soon.



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