Gubernatorial candidate

DNC To Pull Plug (And $5 Million) From Deeds?

RedState.com's Moe Lane blogged early this morning that the Democrat National Committee — the organization headed by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine — is going to hold back $5 million from its gubernatorial candidate, Senator Creigh Deeds (see here). Lane based his post on reporting from Jim Geraghty at the campaign spot blog at National Review Online (see here). Geraghty, in turn, took his info from a report in The Augusta Free Press ("The Valley's Progressive News Source") where Chris Graham writes:

The bad poll news comes on the heels of a story circulating in Democratic circles today that the Democratic National Committee is reportedly holding on to its $5 million financial commitment to the Deeds campaign out of concern that the Deeds campaign has focused too much of its attention on the controversial Bob McDonnell 1989 grad-school thesis setting out a hardline social-conservative political agenda for his budding political career and not enough on putting down a framework for what a Deeds administration would do for Virginia.

If true, the irony rivals fantasy — pulling the plug for his obsessive negative ads and hammering Republican Bob McDonnell on "divisive social issues." Looks like it's only dividing the senator from his campaign lifeline. But then again, maybe it's because the DNC saw this and this.

New Rasmussen Poll This Afternoon: McDonnell Up 51-42

We're awash in polls right now and the attending controversy they inevitably entail. But a new poll released a few hours ago may shed light on which polls are more accurate — or not (see Politico.com). Rasmussen Reports today released a poll that shows Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell leading his Democrat opponent, Senator Creigh Deeds, 51-42 (see RasmussenReports.com). Rasmussen's previous poll had the difference at only two percentage points, contributing to the perception of a tightening race. Subsequent polls from the liberal Washington Post (a four-point difference), which has endorsed Deeds, and Public Policy Polling, a Democrat leaning firm, (a five-point difference) confirmed that perception.

Yesterday, however, a SurveyUSA/WDBJ poll had the GOP ticket up by double digits. But it was largely ignored by the Mainstream Media because its results are out of line with the others. Now, the very reputable Rasmussen poll seems as close to the SurveyUSA/WDBJ poll as it does the PPP poll (which one Richmond radio station reported on for a full 24 hours). Furthermore, even the PPP poll has Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and attorney general candidate Senator Ken Cuccinelli up by eight and nine points, respectively, further validating the point of view that the GOP ticket has a significant lead.

Who's right — those who say it's close or those who think the GOP is on its way? We won't know until election day. But Rasmussen does have a track record. According to a testimonial on its Web site, it "produces some of the most accurate and reliable polls in the country today." None other than Virginia politico guru Dr. Larry Sabato said it.

High Ranking Democrat Senator Edd Houck Says No Tax Increase Needed!

In what must be one of the most devastating one-two combinations this side of Mike Tyson in his prime, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds was on the receiving end of former Governor (and Democrat) Doug Wilder's non-endorsement yesterday (in large part because because of Deeds' insistence on new taxes). Now, Democrat Senator Edd Houck — one of the most senior members of the Senate, the second ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and one of only five Senate budget conferees — has released a statement in which he writes that a tax increase is not needed. It's pretty bad when two prominent members of your own party sabotage the rationale for your entire campaign — to raise taxes for transportation and who knows what else. 

Senator Houck (D-17, Spottsylvania) wrote:

Fortunately, Governor Kaine’s proposals contain no tax increases. With salaries remaining stagnant, or worse, individuals losing their jobs, a tax increase is unneeded

Not that this is insurmountable for Senator Deeds. Anything is possible. But with friends like this, and two miserable days of news, we're sure he's glad it's the weekend.

Why You Need To Read This Blog: Wilder Impact, We Had It First

Not to pat ourselves on the back, but we're not bad. Pretty good, in fact. Yesterday, in our almost daily Virginia News Stand we commented that the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and Fraternal Order of Police endorsements, as well as former Governor Doug Wilder's non-endorsement of fellow Democrat Creigh Deeds, had put momentum back on the side of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell Guess who confirms it today? The august editorial page writers at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, whose lead editorial, "Election 2009: Wilder Rules," sees it as we do. 

As the T-D put it:

The only thing better for Republican Bob McDonnell would have been a formal endorsement. There is no way Democrat Creigh Deeds can put a happy face on this. ... his statement implicitly underscored the Republican's electoral strengths and the Democrat's electoral weaknesses. Wilder's criticism of Deeds' willingness — eagerness? — to hike taxes for transportation echoed one of McDonnell's themes. Wilder cited the regressive nature of most of the proposed revenue enhancements — such as higher gasoline taxes or higher sales taxes generally.

In 2006, it was perceived that Mr. Wilder was flirting with endorsing George Allen in his re-election bid to the U.S. Senate. When he endorsed Jim Webb, many thought it wasn't that he preferred Webb over Allen, but interpreted the political tea leaves correctly and wanted to be relevent to the election and his endorsement important. That's our Doug. So could this non-endorsement mean that this historic figure, who has some of the best political radar in the country, thinks Deeds is going down to defeat?

Let's put it another way. The former governor and first strong mayor of Richmond in 60 years is saying this: Creigh, you have no plan. What you do have is a raise-taxes-for-every-problem-approach. Attacking your opponent is not telling us what you would do. He even went so far as to say Deeds is offering no leadership! As anyone who knows Doug Wilder knows, he wants to know what you will do and knows those who don't say are normally doomed to defeat.

Post's McCartney Calls Out Deeds, Says He Stumbled In Debate

You know things aren't going well for a liberal candidate when his Mainstream Media allies call him out. How let down must Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds have felt when he saw this headline from Washington Post lib Robert McCartney?

Plain and Simple, Deeds Stumbles In N.Va. Debate

Ouch!

But true. See for yourself. We can't add much more to what Mr. McCartney wrote. So, we let him speak for himself, with emphasis added to certain points and occasional parenthetical comments of mine because . . . because . . . I still don't know the difference between tax increases and "raise new money"!

. . .  as governor Deeds would be more likely to actually fix the roads than his Republican opponent, former attorney general Robert F. McDonnell. That's because Deeds is willing to raise taxes for transportation, while McDonnell isn't, and some kind of tax increase is the only way to do the job. (Oh, really? The mind of a liberal, and they say conservatives see things only in black and white.)

But Deeds certainly didn't explain that clearly Thursday. When asked directly by moderator David Gregory of NBC News whether he would raise taxes if necessary in the current economic climate, Deeds said: "No, I'm not going to raise taxes. But I am the only person on this dais who will sign a transportation plan that raises new money." (Say, what!?!?!?)

Huh? When I and other reporters pressed him afterward to clarify, he said he meant only that he wouldn't raise taxes for the state's general fund, which pays for a broad range of services, including education and law enforcement. That clearly left open the possibility that he'd raise taxes for the transportation fund, which is separate.

Even then, though, Deeds tried to have it both ways. In one breath he told reporters, "I have no plans to raise taxes." In another he said, "I intend to sign" a bill that "raises new money for transportation." That sounds like a plan to me.

Deeds also got a bit testy with a reporter who pressed him about whether he'd be ready to increase the gasoline tax. He's supported that before — to his great credit, in my view — but he wouldn't say so Thursday.

"I think I made myself clear, young lady. I don't know," Deeds said. ("I don't know" is clear?) The McDonnell campaign immediately began showing the clip to the press corps. Their message: You don't like what our guy wrote in 1989 about working women? (But see what Deeds has said, done and voted for in his 40s and 50s.)

Deeds Going Through Religious Experience

Not exactly. But this week Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds has thrown his fourth Hail Mary by my count. First, his lackluster campaign — a candidate whose idea of a solution to any problem is "to work together with the General Assembly" and who ducks hot issues such as cap-and-trade, card check, FOCA and nationalized health care, richly deserves the "lackluster" moniker — ran the abortion play. Sacked! Then came the "Bob McDonnell is George Bush" play. Sacked! Of course, there's the thesis play, as complicated as Al Groh's three-quarterback-spread-offense and not nearly as effective, especially since Deeds voted for the Marriage Amendment twice and has displayed his own views against (his words) "special rights" for homosexuals. Now, Deeds is running radio ads claiming that McDonnell is a tax increaser, despite the fact that Deeds has voted for almost any bill that would have raised any tax over the last eight years, including the 2004 record $1.4 billion tax increase. He also backed each one of the Tim Kaine/Dick Saslaw tax increase proposals, including a $1.015 billion increase that would have raised gas taxes ever year for five years when gas was near $3.00 a gallon (SB 713/2008).It would have cost Virginia families as much as $624 more per year in year five. 

All hypocrisy aside, if McDonnell is a Bush clone and Bush cut taxes (which ruined the economy, according to Deeds) where is Deeds' logic? According to Deeds, tax increases are good! That's why he's proposing another one if elected! Besides, if Deeds wants to throw federal issues into the race, shouldn't he answer to the above policies his party is pushing in Washington (including cap-and-trade which would shut down the largest employer in his senate district)?

Seems to me that Senator Deeds, instead of throwing Hail Mary's, should be praying them instead.

Washington Post's Ponnuru: "Desperate Deeds"

We don't have a News Stand for you today, but if you take a look yesterday's, you will see a link to a post entitled "Desperate Deeds" from Right Matters, a blog at the Washington Post, by conservative writer Ramesh Ponnuru (here). He concisely explains in six points why Democrat Creigh Deeds' sudden, politically  eccentric attack on Republican Bob McDonnell's pro-life positions won't work. Here it is:

Democrat Creigh Deeds, down in the polls in the race for governor of Virginia, has decided to campaign against Republican Robert McDonnell for having spent too much time during his career trying to restrict abortion. Here are five reasons why this tactic is unlikely to work:

1) Most people don't enjoy discussions of abortion, and react negatively when people bring it up. The people who vote on the issue already know where the candidates stand and aren't going to be swayed by ads.

2) Virginia isn't a strongly pro-choice state. Its current governor, after all, is a nominally pro-life Democrat.

3) A lot of voters know that governors can't ban abortion — and that Democrats have the White House, the House, and the Senate, and have just made an appointment to the Supreme Court.

4) Voters have other things on their minds, such as the economy, and will find it odd for a gubernatorial candidate to be talking about something else.

5) This campaign tactic puts Deeds in an impossible position. He has to persuade the voters that the candidate who isn't talking a lot about abortion is the one who is dangerously obsessed with the issue. Good luck with that.

So what do you think? Is Deeds making a big mistake?

Update: I should have added another one. 6) McDonnell is on the right side of public opinion on the specific legislative issues Deeds is pointing at, such as a ban on late-term abortion and a requirement for parental consent.

One can imagine the Deeds team on a conference call last week, depressed by the poll numbers, frantically searching for in issue with traction. Finding none, someone yells, "I've got it! Abortion!" "Right," the others would say, "the abortion card! Let's play it!" But it's no winning hand, as documented here.

It's funny: Liberals always talk about conservatives "taking us back to bad times." But this demagoguery is the real time warp.

Virginia News Stand: April 7, 2009

It's April so that means three things in Virgilankingnia politics: Veto Session, Shad Planking and campaigns in full swing. They usually coincide to some (or large) degree. But there's something different this year:  Gubernatorial candidate Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25, Bath) is avoiding the Shad Planking. That's almost unheard of for a statewide candidate. Who knows? If he wins the governorship, maybe it'll start a trend. Meanwhile, Governor Tim Kaine faces veto override threats on several bills, including those dealing with the death penalty and accepting strings-attached "stimulus" money for extended unemployment insurance — paid for by tax increases on business, since the fees it pays into that program fund it.

In another state's news that may have national implications, Iowans are fighting back against the edict by its supreme court inventing a "right" to same-sex "marriage." Also, Newt Gingrich talks, albeit briefly, about his conversion to Catholicism. Finally, check out one legal organization's unique avenue to challenge the federal bailout to AIG. 

News:

Kaine's vetoes facing his foes (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Deeds Will Not Speak At Shad Planking (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Big money flows to Virginia race for governor (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Deeds files petitions for Virginia governor's race (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

McDonnell calls for unity after leading ouster of party chairman (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Rejected GOP Chief To Run Again in Va. (Washington Post)

Battle over bingo laws in Va. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News:

Conservative Iowans fight to preserve traditional (OneNewsNow.com)

Does AIG Bailout Violate Establishment Cause? (OneNewsNow.com)

Gingrich tight-lipped on Catholic conversion (OneNewsNow.com)