NORFOLK, Va. - Virginians made their voices heard at the polls on Tuesdaychoosing a rematch in the race for the state's next Governor.
Democratic State Senator Creigh Deeds scored 50 percent of thevotes, beating both his primary rivals by a nearly two-to-onemargin. He will face Republican Bob McDonnell in November.
Political junkies crave a race like this: both are strongcandidates, both will be well funded, and they know each other.Four years ago McDonnell beat Deeds by 323 votes for State AttorneyGeneral out of 1.9 million cast.
Make no mistake, Creigh Deeds against Bob McDonnell could becomethe biggest smack down political grudge match in VirginiaHistory.
What has changed in Virginia in the last four years when thesetwo faced off?
Regent University's Dean of the School of Government Dr. ChuckDunn said, "McDonnell has tenure as Attorney General, and he has acredible record as Attorney General."
What else has changed is 620,000 new voters in Virginia? Inrecent elections they helped put democrats like Creigh Deeds instatewide office. "I'm going to have plenty of resources to makethe case. I didn't have that four years ago. I've made myself wellknown the last four years around Virginia," Deeds said.
The economy has also changed as jobs are gone and unemploymentis high. "This campaign is saying 'yes' to new jobs for ourcitizens. 'Yes' to offshore drilling and more energy. 'Yes' tocharter schools and performance pay and real education reform," BobMcDonnell said.
In four years campaigns have changed. Who will be the smartestutilizing new media? "You're seeing more creative use of media.Campaigns that use the internet, blogging, tweeting. All of that isnew," said Dr. Carol Pretlow who is a political analyst at NorfolkState University.
What else has changed? Deeds has new momentum. "In politicsmomentum is everything, and Deeds has momentum," said Dunn.
President Obama is also new and Deeds did poorly among AfricanAmericans. In fact, Deeds won every congressional district exceptthe heavily African American Third District. Will Obama fight hardfor Deeds to win, and then risk his own political defeat if Deedsloses?
"If Obama comes and raises money then you know it's in play. Ifhe doesn't come and do these things then it's curtains for Deeds,"Dunn said.
Governor Tim Kaine is new too and he now heads the DemocraticNational Committee. Kaine needs Deeds to win, but are Republicansmore hungry after recent blow out losses?
Republican strength has changed in four years, "All acrossAmerica Republicans are raising money. They are hungry. They knowthat the party out of power always wins congressional seats in theelection cycle after a presidential campaign, and they will take astand in Virginia," said Dunn. Pretlow countered, " I don't buythat. Republicans were hungry before and they could be seen asdesperate if the campaigns take that tone."
Here are some more notes: Hampton Roads is pivotal, and thatfavors McDonnell who is from here. Finally, for more than 30 yearswhatever party has won the White House has lost the Virginiagubernatorial race.
Stay tuned to WAVY.com because this race is too close tocall.
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