On June 9, Virginia Democrats will vote for the gubernatorial nominee to take on presumptive Republican candidate Bob McDonnell in the top statewide race of 2009. There will hopefully soon be some head-to-head numbers for the primary now that the inauguration has passed. While Terry McAuliffe is planning to spend 9 gazillion dollars, at the end of the year the cash-on-hand numbers were pretty even. So where do things stand now?
Brian Moran It was a big week online with a warm reception at the Netroots Nation party, Joe Trippi coming on board ("Moran embraces a politics powered by the people, empowering supporters, not relying on millions of high-dollar donations and the status-quo party establishment"), and Kos saying, "The Virginia Governor's race is definitely shaping up to be a Big-Money Establishment (McAuliffe) versus Grassroots (Moran) battle." But that wasn't the big news for Moran. The big news was today's stories in the Virginia Pilot, the Washington Post, and Richmond Times-Dispatch on another bold move to protect the environment.
Staking his claim as an environmental champion, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian J. Moran said yesterday that he opposes the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Surry County.
Moran recently came out against drilling for oil off Virginia's coast.
Standing up to the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative is, shall we say, rarer than is to be desired. Moran is not just seizing the earned media for the move, but is list-building online
. With the plant expected to harm the Richmond area, Hampton Roads, and the Chesapeake Bay, beyond philosophical environmentalists there are a ton of people who should be applauding this move out of self-interest.
Terry McAuliffe"The Macker" had a different kind of big week, "double-fisting champagne flutes while standing next to Martha Stewart" and raising huge Park Avenue money as part of his big money plan. While this black tie strategy will line his pockets, when it comes to a newbie candidate with carpetbagger issues, there is the expected backlash (read the whole piece, it was recommended at Daily Kos today):
I reject utterly that the mere idea that Terry McAuliffe is going to be such a financial rainmaker is the SOLE reason that he should just walk away with Virginia's Democratic Governor nomination.
The problem for McAuliffe is that the more he spends, the more bitter the taste in the mouths of meritocracy focused progressives. How this could influence electability will be a concern until McAuliffe can lead in head-to-head matchups
. Till then, the enthusiasm gap and backlash problem will be a point of discussion.
Creigh Deeds Senator Deeds' potential advantage in that he is the only candidate who could legislate right now, but under Virginia law this is also a liability as he can't raise money during the session. So Deeds is stuck treading water while the race solidifies as a contest between Moran and McAuliffe. Banking on a split NoVa vote is only a smart strategy as long as Deeds is viewed as a viable candidate. If he becomes viewed as only having spoiler potential, smart voters will want to be part of deciding the nominee as Virginia Democrats don't want to turn back the clock on recent successes.