Decision 2009 Begins While Decision 2008 Lingers
I hope you didn’t think I was kidding when I said that Decision 2009 is already underway. We have a governor’s race on tap in the state of Virginia and already the battle lines are being drawn. But while candidates are lining up for 2009 and beyond, there are still quite a few lingering questions still out there from 2008 yet to be decided.
The biggest lingering issue in Virginia politics is the congressional race in the 5th District. Democratic challenger Tom Perriello declared victory in his race against Republican incumbent Virgil Goode. The race had it’s share of mud-slinging but has yet to identify a winner. The final tally had Perriello ahead by just about 750 votes. Goode, however has said that he is not ready to concede and this race appears to be headed to a recount. Goode can’t even ask for a recount until the vote is certified on Nov. 24th. If Perriello hangs on, it will cap an historic turnaround for Democrats in Virginia that not only saw them win the Presidential race for the first time in over 40 years, but also a U.S. Senate race and pick up three seats in Congress. (Rep. Thelma Drake lost her seat and the seat vacated by Rep. Tom Davis also went to a Democrat).
The current democratic domination of Virginia politics looms large over the 2009 gubernatorial race, but could the democratic brand be too popular? Three heavyweight candidates, Del. Brian Moran, Sen. Creigh Deeds and former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe, are already committed to running for Governor as democrats. It is still very early, but if their problems are not resolved, the primary could turn into a slugfest which leaves the victor wobbly and wounded waiting for the anointed Republican Bob McDonnell to knock them out. (yes I was going for a record of boxing metaphors there)
McAuliffe has become a ubiquitous figure at Virginia Democratic events. He was all over the Democratic Victory party in McLean and even was the guest of honor for a Barack Obama debate watching party here in Richmond. (Where we asked him about running for Governor) McAuliffe’s early testing of the water has been met with some harsh reaction from editorial page writers and his potential opponents. Brian Moran’s communications director Jesse Ferguson said that “Given Mr. McAuliffe’s previous ambitions to run for Governor of Florida, he needs to explain to the people of Virginia if he’s doing this for the right reasons.”
However, he remains a formidable figure with a vast amount of resources. Moran and Deeds certainly have local connections with their distinct bases, but could McAuliffe just outspend and out-chat the other two to death? It is clear that this could be a tense winter for Democrats, hungry to be the first to hold on to the Governor’s mansion, for three consecutive terms.
McAuliffe will appear along side a cadre of politicos at an election postmortem organized by UVA sage Larry Sabato.
Bob McDonnell makes the rounds at a heavily watched Republican Governor’s Association meeting, hoping to become one of them.
Tonight at 11, I will have a special Reality Check about how the demands of the struggling economy is forcing many people make difficult choices about how they spend their money. We put a local woman to the test. She agreed to live on only $20 for an entire week. We will show you just how difficult it was and give you the chance to read all about her experience tonight on NBC12 news.