Home Kickoff!



The 2009 fall campaign got its unofficial official kickoff down the Blue Ridge Parkway in Buena Vista at the Valley city’s annual Labor Day Parade Monday morning.

“This is home,” Democratic Party gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds answered a Washington Post reporter about why he feels he will do well in the Valley in the elections eight weeks from tomorrow.

The Bath County state senator was joined by ticketmates Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine on the parade route winding through Downtown Buena Vista and across the Maury River.

Republican candidates Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli and Sixth District Congressman Bob Goodlatte also did their best at shaking hands and kissing babies at the annual parade.

A larger-than-usual contingent of local voters were out for this year’s event, on the heels of the historic election of Barack Obama in last year’s presidential race, which saw Virginia go Democratic for the first time in 44 years, and for the time being has the Republican ticket in position to sweep the state races for the first time in a dozen years.

“There’s a history of 32 years of the governor’s office going the opposite of how the White House goes, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. But we broke a 44-year history last year, and we’re going to break a 32-year history this year,” Gov. Kaine told reporters.

That’s the challenge for Democrats, anyway. We got a glimpse after today’s parade how the fall races are going to shape up. Deeds has had McDonnell on the ropes the past week following the publication in the Washington Post of a master’s thesis written by McDonnell 20 years ago in which McDonnell laid out a plan of action for social conservatives to get their narrow agenda limiting reproductive rights and rights for gays and lesbians adopted as mainstream public policy. McDonnell today went back on the offensive, assailing Deeds as a tax-and-spend liberal who would make the politics of Capitol Hill in the form of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid the way in Richmond.

Expect more of the same from now to Nov. 3 – as Deeds has gained traction among undecideds and moderate Republicans in the wake of the release of what the Deeds camp is calling the McDonnell Blueprint, and McDonnell fights back by distracting attention away from social issues to what a few years ago we would have thought of as tried-and-true Republican politicking in the form of name-calling a Democratic opponent as a liberal.

The down-ticket races feature Bolling, the sitting lieutenant governor, against Jody Wagner, a Virginia Beach small-business owner and former state treasurer and Secretary of Finance, running for lieutenant governor; and Republican Ken Cuccinelli, a Northern Virginia state senator, and former Northern Virginia House of Delegates member and state prosecutor Steve Shannon, running for attorney general.

Democrats have won the past two governor’s races, but Republicans have won three of the last four contests for lieutenant governor and the last four for attorney general.


– Story by Chris Graham



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