As readers of this blog know, among the three candidates seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for Governor of Virginia, from the beginning, I’ve only considered giving my vote to either former Virginia Delegate Brian Moran or State Senator Creigh Deeds of Bath County.
For reasons not worth repeating, I never considered the third candidate seeking the nomination, whom I see as a destructive force in Democratic politics. Brian Moran put it best in a recent ad when he said that candidate represents the kind of big money politics Barack Obama ran against. I couldn’t agree more.
But between Moran and Deeds, I’ve faced a tough choice. I don’t agree with either one on 100 percent of the issues. I like both men, but for different reasons. But ultimately, I decided to give my vote to Creigh Deeds in June because I think he will more competitive in the fall than Brian Moran.
As someone who lives in Northern Virginia, at the start of the campaign, I was probably predisposed to support Moran’s candidacy and to reject the campaign of Creigh Deeds. But as I’ve watched both men, I’ve concluded that Creigh Deeds will play better in Northern Virginia than Brian Moran will in Richmond, Hampton Roads, the Valley, Southwest Virginia or Southside.
Ultimately, I want a governor who will seek to unite Virginia and be successful in doing so. While Brian Moran has been a work horse in the General Assembly, I believe Creigh Deeds’s more moderate positions are a better fit for the purple state of Virginia. I also believe that it’s smart politics to nominate a Democratic candidate who has a proven record of winning independent and Republican voters. (As much as I like him, I don’t know what GOP or independent voters will support Moran, particularly outside of Northern Virginia and the state’s other urban areas.)
Much has been written about yesterday’s Washington Post endorsement of Senator Deeds. There is one passage of that editorial which jumped off of the page and should be read and appreciated by all Virginians, regardless of where they live or how they vote.
As he [Deeds] once told The Post, “A gentleman from Lunenburg County called me up to say, ‘I don’t want my taxes to go up so they can build roads in Northern Virginia.’ I said, ‘Who do you think is paying for your schools?’ Right now, the economic engine that has been driving Virginia has serious transportation woes. It’s in the interest of every single Virginian, no matter where he or she lives, to fix that problem.”
I couldn’t agree more. And I don’t think any candidate, including the GOP nominee, is in a better position than Creigh Deeds is to solve the transportation problems of Northern Virginia.
Earlier this week, the Pew Research Center came out with a new study which looked at the public’s self identification of political party and ideology. Increasingly, voters are leaving the GOP, but they are not becoming Democrats. Disaffected Republicans are becoming independents. In fact, the study reports that the number of independent voters is the highest it’s been in 70 years.
While Virginia is no longer the reliable red state it once was, it’s not a blue state yet. Rather, it has become a state which elects politicians who are moderate in their politics and temperament. Mark Warner, Jim Webb, Tim Kaine, Tom Perriello and Glenn Nye all got elected because of the support they earned from Republicans and independents. Similarly, John Warner, Tom Davis and Frank Wolf all got elected because of the support they earned from Democrats and independents. Those who have lost are generally the candidates who come across as too conservative or too liberal. (Think George Allen, Judy Feder and Leslie Byrne.)
As I considered the kind of campaigns Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds are running, I think Deeds is the wiser choice for our party. I also think the way he has conducted himself and his campaign, reflects well on our party and our state. Even those who disagree with Sen. Deeds concede he is a decent and honorable man. I believe Virginia needs more people like him in public life.
This Virginia Democrat is proud to give him my vote.