Progressives take exception to “Deeds Country”
Democratic nominee for governor Creigh Deeds, launched an aggressive tour of Southside and Southwest Virginia on Sunday aimed to build support in rural parts of Virginia for the candidate who hails from the smallest county in the Commonwealth.
Team Deeds will hold rallies in several sections of the traditionally conservative part of the state, hoping to show that Deeds’ rural roots will help them if he gets to the governor’s mansion. The effort has a decidedly down home theme. It is called “Deeds Country” and was launched with a polished web video that could easily double as a country music video.
But while it would seem that Deeds’ authentic country roots coupled with his socially liberal positions on the issues would make him the perfect candidate, the way he is embracing this side of his personality is turning off his more liberal Northern Virginia supporters.
Ben Tribbett, author of the popular, but controversial, “NotLarrySabato” blog tweeted “Can someone please tell @CreighDeeds he is running for Governor of an urban/suburban state- not Sheriff of Mayberry.” Tribbett who supported Terry McAuliffe during the primary, later posted the video on his blog and called it the “collapse of the Deeds campaign“.
But while Tribbett is known as a flame thrower, he is not alone in his disappointment with the turn Deeds has taken. Miles Grant who currently contributes to Blue Virginia built the case that video and the “Deeds Country” concept is not what democrats need to excite the same type of voters that came to the polls last November. “But as July turns to August,” wrote Grant, “how many Obama voters are going to be fired up (ready to go) when they see Deeds driving a gas-guzzler down dusty rural roads aw-shucksing it up with a decidedly non-diverse crowd?”
And a blogger who goes by “Elaine from Roanoke”, who recently wrote a blistering post about the state of Deeds campaign, echoed Tribbett and Grants comments on Blue Virginia as well. ” I don’t know exactly what Joe Abbey and Creigh are thinking,” she said. “but they won’t get the votes to win this election in Southwest Virginia.”
((The “Deeds Country” video and more after the jump..))
If you haven’t seen the “Deeds Country” video yet, here it is:
The discussion is not lost on Deeds staffers who, just like me, are watching the debate go back and forth on twitter and blogs. Campaign manager Joe Abbey tweeted that there is a method to their efforts. “..lock down rural VA (25% of vote) – then get Obama surge vote out!”
This discussion is a perfect example of the delicate balance that exists in Virginia politics. Two different parts of the state, (geographically and ideologically) that are both very important to the final vote. Is it possible that Democrats, who were excited about the benefits that came with a Deeds nomination, may now be concerned that their candidate isn’t quite what they bargained for? You may recall that in the closing days of the primary, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran attacked Deeds for positions that they felt were outside of the democratic mainstream. Their characterization of him, in essence, moved him to the middle.
The day after his primary win, I asked the new nominee about the way his opponents painted him. What would he now say to progressive voters looking for someone to support in the general election? His response is below:
“I am a middle of the road guy, I’ve always been a middle of the road guy, that didn’t change in the primary and it’s not going to change in the general election.”
Is the Deeds’ position on the political road far enough to the right to attract Southwest and Southside Virginia voters, while at the same time not alienating Northern Virginia voters?
The answer could decide this election.