Posts Tagged ‘Jody Wagner’
It was the kind of day you would expect from the two men hoping to be Virginia’s next Governor. Both Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds put together a blistering schedule that took them to all across Virginia. Both pulled out all the stops, with the hopes of grabbing every last second vote until the polls close Tuesday at 7.
McDonnell made 7 stops across Virginia, alongside Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General candidate Ken Cuccinelli. Team McDonnell started near his childhood home in Northern Virginia and finished in Virginia Beach, where he served in the House of Delegates. (McDonnell currently lives in Henrico county)
McDonnell’s second to last stop was here in Richmond where he played to a crowd of a few hundred supporters at a hanger at Richmond International Airport. McDonnell staffers were hoping of a crowd of as many as one thousand people, but it didn’t get quite that big. McDonnell, who still had one more speech to give and will have a speech of some sort to give tomorrow night was starting to sound a bit hoarse. Something to be expected from the amount of speech the candidate has given over the past few weeks.
Creigh Deeds made 4 stops across the Commonwealth, starting in Roanoke and concluding in Northern Virginia, where he hopes he gets a huge turnout tomorrow.
Deeds stop in Richmond was a perfect example of the Democrat’s strategy in the final weeks of the campaign. He rallied a group of college students at VCU, along with his ticketmates Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon. Deeds spoke specifically about how that group of voters played an important role in Tuesday’s election and that an unpredictable surge in turnout could make all the polls taken leading up to tomorrow irrelevant. He repeated his familiar line “The only poll that matters is the one that is taken on Tuesday.”
Now that the closing arguments have been made, the get out the vote effort begins. McDonnell bragged today on the trail that the Republicans have already made hundreds of thousands of phone calls and knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors. Deeds said that they have had a plan in place that just needs to be kicked into gear. All the effort that has been built upon over the 12 plus past months all comes down to tomorrow.
It is a classic line from a politician, and like clockwork, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling found the perfect opportunity to deliver it, as reports emerge that of the three statewide races in Virgina, his might be the most competitive.
During an event today in Richmond with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and his Republican ticketmates, Bolling told our Tara Morgan that the only poll he is concerned about is the “final poll” that will take place on Election Day.
With more and more evidence that the chances that Creigh Deeds will pull off an amazing 11th hour comeback are unlikely, frisky Democrats are looking at their down ballot races hoping that Jody Wagner or Steve Shannon might be able to benefit from Virginia’s history of splitting tickets in statewide races. Their hunger has left them pointing to a little read private poll from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) that shows the race for Lt. Governor between Wagner and Bolling within a couple of points of each other.
Despite that fact that virtually every public poll has shown Bolling with as close to a comfortable lead as McDonnell has at the top of the ticket, many on the left are holding on to hope that voters have not taken the time to closely look at the LG’s race and that perhaps, in an effort to balance the ticket they will choose Wagner. Democrats took heart in a recent transfer of $25,000 from the McDonnell to the Bolling campaign as evidence that Republicans were getting nervous. (McDonnell has since transferred another $10,000 and Bolling has also received more than $130,000 from the RPV and another $54,000 from the Republican Leadership Committee) Bolling told us today that, he is working hard up until the last day, but hasn’t seen this mysterious poll and he wouldn’t put much stock in it anyway.
Here are his remarks:
As for the Democrats, Wagner stated to me emphatically last week that she is not distancing herself from the Deeds campaign, despite the fact that she reached out to a liberal blogger, looking to clarify where she stands on the public option portion of the proposed health care reform plan. (A stance that even now still seems a bit murky) She continues to be advertising heavily on television and spoke at the rally on Tuesday featuring President Obama.
From almost the moment the words came out of Sen. Creigh Deeds‘ mouth last night during the final gubernatorial debate, a cry went out across cyberspace from Democrats angry that their candidate would even consider opting out of the public option, if it were to pass in Washington.
The public option is a very controversial aspect of the Obama administration’s efforts to reform health care, but for some hard core Democrats, who have been waiting for the opportunity to enact what they view as real health care reform, it is an “all or nothing” proposition. Last night, Deeds clearly indicated that he was not among those who view the public option as the only avenue to real health care reform and left open the possibility that if the plan passes and raises costs for Virginians he would consider finding a way for the state to “opt out”.
I spoke today to Jody Wagner, the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor and the wife of a physician. Wagner told me that she did not see Sen. Deeds’ comments and did not have the chance to talk to him about the issue, but she is sure that her views are not far from her ticket-mate. “If the public option passes and the President signs it, I think that we should take part,” said Wagner, but then she added, “as long as it doesn’t result in higher taxes for Virginians and is revenue neutral.”
Wagner said that it is difficult to agree to a “public option only” platform, because there is no clear definition as to what exactly what the public option is. She said though that she couldn’t imagine a scenario where the Barack Obama led Federal Government would pass a health care reform package that included a public option, that wasn’t good for Virginia. However, she left open the possibility that if for some reason they did, Virginia could back out.
“Asking me to say, I categorically under all circumstances, would support it is tough because It depends on whether it is going to cost Virginia taxpayers more, whether it is going to be affordable for the state, whether it accomplishes the goals of increasing access,” said Wagner. “It is sort of theoretical.” Her comments to me, seem a bit different from what she told liberal blogger Ben Tribbett, according to a post on his popular NotLarrySabato blog, where Tribbett claims that she committed “unequivocally that she would fight any attempt to “opt out” of a federal health insurance option.”
Despite the parsing of her exact stance on the public option, Wagner pointed out that where she and Sen. Deeds stand is a far cry from where her opponent Bill Bolling and his ticket-mate Bob McDonnell stand. Wagner accused the incumbent Bolling of being a pawn of the insurance industry, not interested in doing anything to help drive down the cost of health care. (Bolling works in the insurance industry, but is not a licensed to sell health insurance. The position of Lt. Governor is only a part time job.)
“Bill Bolling is a health insurance executive and he comes at this entirely differently than I do, he comes at it from the perspective of protecting insurance companies,” Wagner said. “He spent his legislative career doing that. If you look at his Senate votes he voted against the patient’s bill of rights which meant voting in favor of requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions, against requiring access to a specialist against allowing someone who is very ill having a specialist as their primary care physician and against being able to sue an insurance company for negligence if you know, they cause harm to a patient.”
The Bolling campaign responded to the Wagner charges in this prepared statement from Campaign Manager Matt Wells:
“Lieutenant Governor Bolling disagrees strongly with Ms. Wagner on the so called Public Option. He does not support turning our health care delivery system over to the federal government because he knows this will lead to higher taxes and take health care decisions out of the hands of patients and turn them over to federal bureaucrats. It is unfortunate that Ms. Wagner has chosen to turn her back on the people of Virginia on this very important issue to stand with Nancy Pelosi and other high-tax, big-spending Washington liberals, but that doesn’t surprise us a bit.
As far as Ms. Wagner’s other comments are concerned, they are just more of the same kind of lies that Ms. Wagner has been telling about Lieutenant Governor Bolling throughout this entire campaign. Lieutenant Governor Bolling is not a health insurance executive and he is not employed by a health insurance company. The Lieutenant Governor is not even licensed to sell health insurance. He is an independent insurance agent who sells property and casualty insurance, not health insurance. He represents his clients and protects their interests, not insurance companies. Ms. Wagner just can’t seem to get any of the facts in this campaign right.”
Audio clips from conversation with Jody Wagner can be found below:
While much fodder has been made over a series of polls taken in the race for Governor most of them have been open to skepticism because of their method for gathering the information. Many of these polls were conducted via automated means, which is still widely debated as an appropriate statistical gathering mechanism.
Often times, reputable national mainstream media outlets would report on the polling in the race and would use a caveat when describing the numbers, because of the use of that method. It would lead them back to the last Washington Post poll conducted last month that showed the race as a virtual tie.
That survey will no longer matter, as today the Post released another phone survey, of more than 1,000 Virginia residents that now shows Bob McDonnell and his Republican ticketmates leading by 9 points. In addition to the encouraging news for Republicans in the overall numbers, the insider numbers show McDonnell shrinking the gap he once had with female voters, increasing his lead with independents and running competitively in Northern Virginia. There is very little that could be considered encouraging for the campaign of Creigh Deeds.
This latest poll, now gives McDonnell an 8.5% lead in the new average of public polling data gathered by Real Clear Politics.
However, this by no means indicates the race is over. Deeds, you will recall trailed by similar numbers in the Democratic primary before pulling ahead in the 11th hour and the candidates have two more debates on the docket before the final vote on November 3rd. Deeds officials continue to say that their internal polling numbers show a race far more competitive than the public polling would indicate.
Here is a breakdown in all three statewide races according to the Washington Post poll:
Bob McDonnell (R) 53%
Creigh Deeds (D) 44%
Bill Bolling (R) 49%
Jody Wagner (D) 40%
Ken Cuccinelli (R) 49%
Steve Shannon (D) 40%
Yet another poll released today shows the race for Governor of Virginia has become tight. Public Policy Polling, which at one point had Republican Bob McDonnell with a lead of as much as 7 points, now has his lead shrunk to only 5 points. The survey gives McDonnell an advantage only slightly outside the margin of error.
While this poll confirms a promising trend for Democrat Creigh Deeds, there has yet to be a poll that shows him with a lead. (The Real Clear Politics average shows McDonnell with a lead of little more than 4 points)
According to PPP, Deeds has room to grow. A large pool of undecided voters describe themselves as Democrats and there is evidence that a recently lackluster crowd of Dems are finally starting to warm up to the idea of voting for Deeds in November. On the flip side, McDonnell still enjoys a wide margin of support among Independent voters and female voters do not seemed to be impacted greatly by the revelation of the candidate’s master’s thesis.
The news is not as good for down ballot Democrats. Both Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon trail Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli, respectively by margins consistent with what they have been over the course of the campaign.
Not long after PPP released the results of their poll, did Survey USA, and WDBJ-TV released a separate survey with dramatically different results. This poll shows Bob McDonnell, with a comfortable 14 point lead. Not surprisingly, Republicans are pushing these results and finding problems with the PPP poll.
Here is the breakdown of the numbers of both polls, side by side:
Governor: PPP SURVEY USA
Bob McDonnell (R)- 48% 55%
Creigh Deeds (D)- 43% 41%
Bill Bolling (R)- 43% 54%
Jody Wagner (D)- 35% 41%
Ken Cuccinelli (R)- 43% 53%
Steve Shannon (D)- 34% 42%
See the full results of the PPP Poll here.
See the full results of the Survey USA Poll here.
WDBJ-TV in Roanoke just released a new SurveyUSA poll that is very encouraging for the Republican candidates running statewide in Virginia. According to the results, the GOP holds leads in the race for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General outside of the margin of error.
Here are the results (Republicans all listed first):
Bob McDonnell- 55%
Creigh Deeds- 40%
Bill Bolling- 52%
Jody Wagner- 42%
Ken Cuccinelli- 53%
Steve Shannon- 42%
The results are difficult to argue with, especially in light of the fact that Democrats had appeared to close a gap that had been there throughout their gubernatorial primary. It is also bound to get national attention in light of the fact that some polls show President Barack Obama’s approval ratings have dipped below 50% for the first time and new poll in New Jersey shows that, Chris Christie the Republican challenger to John Corzine has taken a 14 point lead in their race.
For their part the GOP is working hard to sell the story that the Democratic brand is fading fast. The President is in Bristol, VA today for a town hall on Health Care and the RNC released a statement today accusing Creigh Deeds of going out of his way to avoid appearing with the President. The Deeds campaign has repeatedly said that they are not going to politicize White House policy events and of course Deeds will hold a major rally with the President next week in McLean.
While these numbers are encouraging for Republicans and show a very small number of undecided voters, there is still a long way to go before election day and chances are many voters are not paying very close attention quite yet.
Expect it to be a common theme over the next several months. Democrats- building on a legacy of the past, Republicans- obstructionists of the future. Today the new unified Democratic ticket, with their prime-time players took this new strategy out for a spin at a high profile event in Williamsburg.
For the first time, the party’s new nominee Creigh Deeds was flanked by what the party is hoping to hold up as examples of a successful past that continues to move forward. Senator (and former Governor) Mark Warner, Governor Tim Kaine and Senator Jim Webb. Their goal is to convince Virginians that Deeds and his ticket mates, Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon will continue that legacy.
On a side note, despite the fact that the rally was dubbed a “unity” event, Deeds’ primary rivals Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe were not in attendance. (DPV officials report that the two former candidates had family obligations and today’s focus was the first join appearance of the ’09 ticket)
I wasn’t at the event, but its not hard to see the message the Democrats are trying get out. The DPV team provided media, that couldn’t make the Saturday afternoon event, with two video clips that show the strategy being to put to work. (For more in depth coverage of the event, the College of William and Mary student paper has a nice wrap up and Vivian Paige offers her partisan perspective that includes pictures)
((Read more and see video from the event, after the jump))
In the latest PPP poll that is getting so much attention because of what it says about the race for governor, 41% of respondents said they had no idea who they were voting for in the Lt. Governor’s race. That sounds like a big number, but it has actually dropped 22% since the last poll was taken. Regardless, in less than 24 hours voters will head to the polls and many of them don’t know much about either Michael Signer or Jody Wagner.
Yesterday afternoon I sat down with both Signer and Wagner for a lengthy discussion about their race and one thing became clear. Jody Wagner is running as the time-tested experience candidate ready to get to work on day one. Michael Signer is running as a dynamic ideas man, prepared to reshape the office of Lt. Governor. A promise of a great return from a pool of potential.
It offers voters a distinct choice that has provided some insight into the Democratic party in Virginia. While Wagner has locked up the endorsement of virtually every elected official and prominent Democratic leader, Signer has wrapped up support from the netroots advocates and a few progressive leaders who like to shake things up a bit. In a race that is often a stepping stone to greater things (although both candidates reject that notion) it is clear that there are diverging paths as to the future of the left side of the isle.
Of course that is why we hold elections. And while this race won’t get too many headlines, it has the potential to speak volumes about where die-hard democrats see the future of their party. Do they want to continue the tradition built under the success of Warner and Kaine, or are they willing to take that a step further? Both this candidates have their ideas of which is the better alternative. The decision is now left in your hands at the ballot box on Tuesday.
Jon Bowerbank‘s exit from the Democratic race for Lt. Governor, coupled with the ticking clock has really sent the Virginia primary into overdrive. The two remaining candidates, Democratic political staffer Mike Signer and former State Finance Secretary Jody Wagner, have gone overboard to reach out to Bowerbank supporters and separate themselves as the top pick to take on whomever emerges from the Republican side. (Incumbent LG Bill Bolling faces as challenge at the Republican convention from Patrick Muldoon)
Today both Wagner and Signer will announce endorsements from prominent Virginia politicians. In Richmond Mike Signer will appear, with former Congresswoman Leslie Byrne, who narrowly lost the race for Lt. Governor four years ago. On the other side, Congressman Rick Boucher, who hold tremendous Democratic sway in the redest region of Virginia will announce his support for Ms. Wagner. (For the record Boucher is supporting Creigh Deeds for Governor.)
Signer announced plans to appear with Byrne yesterday but asked the media to withhold the information that she was endorsing him at the event. That was of course until the news leaked this morning that Boucher would endorse Wagner on a conference call at Noon, exactly one hour before the Signer event in Richmond.
Signer, who is one of the more active twitter candidates, posted this response after learning the news of the Wagner- Boucher endorsement:
@MikeSigner- Interesting…Wagner scrambling sked this a.m. to try and get ahead of Leslie’s amazing endorsement-glad to drive this race, as always! :) #vagov
Signer, who has worked most of his career for other candidates behind the scenes, clearly still has quite a bit of political strategist percolating through his blood.
The race for Lt. Governor thinned out quite a bit on Friday with the news that Russell County businessman Jon Bowerbank has ended campaign and thrown his support behind former State Finance Secretary Jody Wagner.
Wagner will now face Democratic party operative Mike Signer for the number two position on the Democratic ticket in the June primary.
The news of Bowerbank’s decision brought joy from many Wagner supporters, many of whom are also working for or are supporting gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
McAuliffe and Wagner have not formally endorsed one another but they share many of the same operatives and at least present the appearance of such.
While Wagner’s team must pleased that they have one less opponent to deal with, the argument can be made that Bowerbank dropping out can be helpful for Signer as well. With such a small of potential voters to draw from, in a race that has not gotten much attention, Signer now has a straight head to head match up where all bets are off.
25 days to go until voters pick the nominees. It is just starting to get interesting.
The full release from the Wagner campaign on the Bowerbank withdrawal is after the jump..
**Updated** Mike Signer’s statement on the Bowerbank move is also after the jump…