A state senator and small-town lawyer pulled off a surprising win in Virginia’s Democratic primary for governor, besting a former legislative colleague and the well-funded Terry McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Last Tuesday’s victory by Democrat Creigh Deeds sets up a rematch this fall with Republican Bob McDonnell.
Deeds lost to McDonnell in the race for attorney general four years ago by only 323 votes out of almost 2 million cast – the closest statewide race in modern Virginia history.
Deeds won nearly 50 percent of the vote. He and his erstwhile Democratic rivals, McAuliffe and Brian J. Moran, appeared together Wednesday with current Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who is barred from serving consecutive terms by the state constitution.
Kaine is also chairman of the DNC, the same job once held by McAuliffe, a former White House confidant of President Bill Clinton.
Nearly 320,000 people voted in the race, only 6 percent of the state’s 5 million registered voters but more than officials predicted. Deeds piled up surprisingly large margins across the state, including in the Washington suburbs of Northern Virginia that his opponents call home.