R. Creigh Deeds, a longtime state legislator from rural Bath County, won a stunning come-from-behind victory in the Democratic primary for Virginia governor last night, overwhelming a pair of better-funded and better-positioned opponents.So here we have a state that went Democrat in the presidential race for the first time since 1964, but it's not quite gone liberal yet if you consider Deeds is pro-gun and relatively conservative.
Deeds beat Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe in every region of the state, including vote-rich Northern Virginia, despite a pro-gun stance and relatively conservative positions that are out of line with many of the area's voters. His victory was so dominant that he captured 10 of the state's 11 congressional districts, including the one held by Moran's brother, U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr.
All three campaigns and state political experts had agreed that Deeds was coming on strong in the final days of the race, but no one expected him -- or the other candidates -- to come close to winning the 50 percent of the vote that he captured. In an e-mail sent to supporters less than two hours before polls closed, McAuliffe's campaign predicted that "this thing could come down to the wire." McAuliffe came in second, with 26 percent of the vote, followed by Brian Moran with 24 percent.
Deeds, 51, will face Republican Robert F. McDonnell in a general election battle that amounts to a rematch of the race for attorney general four years ago, which McDonnell barely won after a late surge by Deeds.
Or is he?