Archive for June 8th, 2009
VA Tech victims Colin Goddard and Omar Samaha just released a statement encouraging voters not to support Sen. Creigh Deeds in the race for the Democratic gubernatorial primary. The language in the e-mail and its late timing had raised suspicions that the statement was encouraged by the campaigns of one or both of Deeds’ opponents, Brian Moran or Terry McAuliffe.
I just spoke to Colin Goddard and his father Andy. Goddard told me that he and Samaha and many other Virginia Tech families had watched a recent debate and had decided that Creigh Deeds was unacceptable in their eyes. He said that the families were split between Moran and McAuliffe.
However, when I asked Goddard directly about the involvement of either campaigns, he confirmed that he had received assistance from Terry McAuliffe’s campaign. Specifically he said the campaign provided he and Samaha with a press e-mail list to distribute their statement. He said the e-mail was supposed to go out Sunday, but an error was made in the sending process delaying it until today.
He denied that the campaign encouraged their efforts, and emphatically stated that the decision to release the statement was his and Samah’s idea, but he said the McAuliffe campaign was helpful in getting the information out.
When I asked Goddard who he would be voting for tomorrow, he said he had waited too long to register for an absentee ballot and was not going to be able to get to his home voting location in Richmond, so therefore would not be casting a ballot.
Goddard went further and told me that if Deeds were to be nominated tomorrow, that he and other VA Tech family members would have to have a serious conversation with the candidate. He said they would need specific assurances before they could give their support to Deeds in a race against Bob McDonnell.
McAuliffe Press Secretary Lis Smith confirmed their campaign’s involvement:
“Omar and Colin had a letter they wanted to send to the press about the primary. They asked us for a list of reporter emails and we provided the list.”
Brian Moran’s campaign said they had nothing to do with the statement. Campaign spokesperson Jesse Ferguson would only say the following:
“These folks have earned the right to have their opinion known and have their opinion stand on its own.”
I just received a statement from Creigh Deeds himself, reacting to the statement from the Colin Goddard and Omar Samaha:
“My heart has gone out to all of the victims and the families of the Virginia Tech tragedy. There are certain events that happen in our lifetime that are above politics. And I’m not going to comment on any campaign that would exploit this tragedy.”
More evidence that people are coming around to the idea that Creigh Deeds might actually win this thing. Two victims of the Virginia Tech shootings just sent out a lengthy e-mail encouraging voters not to support Deeds in Tuesday’s primary. This is the first political advocacy I have come across from the families connected to the shooting during this primary.
The two victims, Omar Samaha and Colin Goddard spoke only for themselves and did not claim to take up the mantle of the all the VA Tech families, but their recommendation speaks volumes, particularly for gun control advocates.
In the e-mail Samaha and Goddard said that while Deeds is a “good person” who they agree with on “many issues”, his repeated votes against closing the so called gun-show loophole (he ultimately came around to supporting it) and his overall stance on gun control issues makes them worried. Here is a portion of their statement:
“But Senator Deeds has a record on guns that worries us. Senator Deeds opposes our one-gun-a-month law – and even Bob McDonnell supported that. And earlier this year, he voted to change the law to allow people to carry concealed weapons into bars. Governor Kaine vetoed the bill, and Senator Deeds voted to override his veto. The veto survived, and so it is still illegal to carry a concealed weapon into a bar. But if Senator Deeds is elected, that won’t be the case for long.”
What is interesting about this statement is that it is only in opposition to Senator Deeds, it does not advocate the support of anyone else.
While the statement is powerful, and lends credence to the McAuliffe and Moran attack line regarding Deeds’ position on guns, it may have come too late. Conventional political wisdom dictates that most voters have made up their mind at this point in the election.
Senator Henry Marsh has just sent out the following statement in defense of Creigh Deeds:
“Senator Deeds’ record on guns is just like Jim Webb’s and Mark Warner’s – two successful Democrats who have won primary and statewide elections . And no one has worked more closely with the Virginia Tech families to close the gun-show loophole than Senator Deeds. I respect the students’ opinion, but Senator Deeds’ record of working with Governor Kaine and myself to close the gun-show loophole is un-matched.”
The full statement from Omar Samaha and Colin Goddard can be found after the jump..
Influential local Senator Donald McEachin, a onetime candidate for statewide office himself, just announced his support of Senator Creigh Deeds in the Democratic primary. Deeds has been parsing out endorsements from his colleagues in the Senate and timed this announcement from McEachin on the day before the primary vote. (Local Senator Henry Marsh has already endorsed Senator Deeds)
The announcement provides Deeds the opportunity to reach out to voters in the Richmond area and the black community. McEachin is a well respected African-American figure and he is the 5th member of the Virginia Black Caucus to get behind Deeds.
Is this a sign that prominent Democrats are now jumping on the bandwagon, or was Deeds just waiting to announce that someone he works with everyday is now on board?
The full release is after the jump..
After weeks of touting Terry McAuliffe as “the” candidate to take on Bob McDonnell in November, two polls that seem to indicate that Creigh Deeds is running away with the primary have sharply turned the moods of independent bloggers behind the Macker’s candidacy.
Perhaps McAuliffe’s biggest backer Lowell Feld, the creator of the netroots sensation “Raising Kaine” and now the author of the popular “Blue Virginia” posted a melancholy entry today entitled “The Only Poll that Matters“. The post in part says the following:
“The SurveyUSA poll results (Deeds 42%, McAuliffe 30%, Moran 21%) that just came out doesn’t look good for Terry supporters like me. On the other hand, cliches are sometimes true, so let’s hope that “the only poll that matters is the one on election day” cliche holds up tomorrow.”
While Feld hasn’t given up quite yet and is encouraging his readers to work hard to get McAuliffe supporters to the polls, relying on the idea of a “cliche” holding up does not emote confidence.
But Feld isn’t the only one. Ben Tribbett, of the famous “NotLarrySabato” blog who got quite a bit of publicity when his endorsement of McAuliffe led to the candidate appearing in a YouTube video accepting the nomination, tweeted the following yesterday:
@notlarrysabato “There’s a fairly good chance none of my endorsements will win Tuesday. I don’t endorse to pick a winner, I endorse the best person.”
Tribett followed up his tweet with a blog post last night that told everyone interested in the election to not worry about the polls.
“The Creigh surge is real. My thoughts…Ignore the polls. Go fight for your candidate for another day and a half, and let’s pick a winner tomorrow night instead of today.”
Their changing moods show how the support of independent bloggers can be good and bad. While Feld and Tribbett have provided McAuliffe an excellent opportunity to spread his message, they are not employed by the campaign. They can say whatever they want and while they often regurgitate talking points, both have a reputation to protect. Their readers expect an honest assessment of their view of the race.
Right now, that is exactly what they are giving them.
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.