Updated: 5:30 p.m.
It’s Primary Day in Virginia – with voters flocking, ahem, to the polls to select Democratic Party nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and the House of Delegates. Join the AFP Live Blog today for news updates from the polls in the Valley and Central Virginia and statewide and to share your thoughts, observations, predictions, pictures and more.
Update: 5:30 p.m.
I had a hard time getting the call-in information for the Terry McAuliffe conference call, as did my friend Bob Stuart at The News Virginian. We both finally got the digits. Speaking for me, I never did get the Creigh Deeds call-in info.
So I had a few minutes with Mike Henry, McAuliffe’s campaign manager, who told us on the scheduled 4:45 p.m. call (which got under way about 10 minutes late, incidentally) that the campaign is feeling a bit vindicated for its strategy to reach out to people who weren’t traditional Democratic Party primary voters.
A followup e-mail from the McAuliffe campaign is projecting that 40 percent of the primary electorate today will be what the McAuliffe camp is calling “surge voters,” people who voted in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary but had never before voted in a Democratic primary in Virginia.
If those numbers are anywhere near accurate, you’d have to think that it would be to McAuliffe’s benefit, since his campaign was the one who targeted that voter subgroup.
There’s nothing independent to verify this assertion, of course, though we can say generally that it is looking like turnout is going to be a good bit above the early projections of 3-4 percent of the state’s 5.2 million registered voters. And the McAuliffe people have been saying for a few weeks that they’d modeled their victory scenarios on turnout in the 7 percent range, while the Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran camps had been thinking using the conventional wisdom that turnout would be 3-4 percent.
Henry acknowledged the Deeds surge that had the two final pre-election public polls giving Deeds a double-digit lead heading into the primary. “We saw it in our own poll as well, to the point that where Terry’s support maintained throughout the campaign, his level of support never really dipped in our data, and his favorables kept growing up until the very last day, we did see some movement for Sen. Deeds to the point where in the last week or so in our polling he took the lead,” Henry said.
“We put the petal to the medal over the weekend,” Henry said of the campaign’s GOTV efforts, and in the last 48 hours the lead that Deeds had started to build in the last week had started to collapse in the McAuliffe internal polling, according to Henry.
“We believe that going into today’s vote that it could go either way, and it was going to come down to whoever was able to get their voters out,” Henry said.
Updated: 4:35 p.m.
Turnout numbers in the Central Shenandoah Valley have me a bit dazed and confused.
First off, yeah, I know, it’s hard to get into too much a lather over turnout that looks like it’s going to be in the range of 5 percent locally, but that would just about double turnout in the 2006 Democratic primary and be four or five times what we saw in the 2005 lieutenant-governor primary.
Based on the relative lack of interest that I had been sensing here in Waynesboro, I had projected turnout closer to 1 percent in the 25th District House of Delegates primary, which would translate to about 500 votes. Based on a report on the News Virginian website this afternoon, Waynesboro alone is going to see somewhere in that area of votes cast by the end of the day today.
The high turnout has to benefit Greg Marrow in his two-way race with Jim Noel, based on Marrow’s level of organization. He has simply been in touch, literally, through canvassing and phone banking, with a lot more voters.
I’m hearing that turnout is approaching 10 percent in NoVa. I’m still struggling with who that benefits. The McAuliffe people will think it’s their side that will benefit, since they have been projecting a turnout in the 350,000 range statewide, or 7 percent of the state’s 5.2 million registered voters, and the Deeds and Moran camps have been thinking that turnout was going to be closer to 3 or 4 percent statewide, between 150,000 and 200,000 voters.
The McAuliffe projections had seem almost fanciful. Now they seem realistic. But does it benefit T-Mac?
Update: 1:50 p.m.
Not a good sign here for the McAuliffe boosters.
Just got an e-mail from Mo Elleithee, the McAuliffe camp’s communications guy.
“We conducted a poll over the last three nights – with 200 interviews a night. We never base decisions on one night’s worth of interviews because the sample is too small. But throughout this campaign our night-by-night numbers have been reliable and have picked up trends such as the recent increase in support for Deeds. I am encouraged that last night’s interviews have us tied with Deeds,” the e-mail read.
Um … hmmm … so the interviews done by the McAuliffe folks have it a tie race, 33 percent for McAuliffe, 33 percent for Deeds, 21 percent for Moran.
You want to think they’re being honest, or trying to be. I mean, they’re not claiming to be up 10 points or anything.
But still …
If this is the best you have, you don’t have much.
Update: 11:30 a.m.
This morning, at approximately 9:25 a.m., Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds voted with his wife Pam and his son Gus at his polling precinct at the Millboro Ruritan Club in Millboro.
Bath County has a population of less than 5,000 and there are eight polling precincts in the county. At 9:25 a.m., Deeds was the 39th person to vote at his precinct, Gus was the 40th, and Pam was the 41st.
Update: 10:55 a.m.
The Greg Marrow for Delegate campaign is holding an Election Watch Party tonight beginning at 7 p.m. at South River Grill, 23 Windigrove Drive, Waynesboro.
More details on Facebook.
Update: 10:15 a.m.
I voted at the Ward B precinct in Waynesboro at the Waynesboro Library at 9:35 a.m. I was the 42nd voter of the day at the precinct.
The number surprised me a bit. The pace is for about 12 voters an hour, which would put us at about 150 for the day if the pace were to keep up.
Considering that there is normally an early-morning rush, a lunch rush and then a late-afternoon rush, it’s more likely that we’d see around 100 votes cast at the B precinct for the day. In Waynesboro, the B and D wards tend to get a similar number of voters, and usually outpace wards A and C by a ratio of 2-1. That puts Waynesboro at around 400 votes for the day, for turnout close to 4 percent.
That’s much higher than I was projecting as far as turnout in the 25th. Based on turnout from the past two primaries, in 2005 and 2006, I was thinking that we’d see closer to 1 or 1.5 percent turnout locally.
The conventional wisdom is that higher local turnout in the Valley benefits Creigh Deeds because he has represented parts of the Valley in the General Assembly for nearly 20 years.
Photos from the polls: 10:15 a.m.