What Can Deeds Offer NOVA?
Creigh Deeds is running behind Bob McDonnell Washington Post poll in large part because he has yet to win over voters in populous, Democratic-leaning Northern Virginia.
Voters across the region say they know little about the state senator, who grew up in sparsely populated Bath County near the West Virginia border, despite his run for attorney general in 2005 and a high-profile party primary in the spring. Much of what they do know about Deeds -- his rural roots, his embrace of gun rights -- doesn't quite click with many people in the affluent, diverse suburbs of Washington.
"Where is he? What is he waiting for?" asked Tari Kovacs, 59, of Manassas, who supports Deeds but is not enthusiastic about him.
"A lot of these candidates have been around. I don't see him around here, I just don't. And I am concerned, because here's a guy who's from southern Virginia with very conservative values even though he's a Democrat."
Deeds is scheduled to make a major campaign speech Friday at George Mason University, touching on the economy, abortion and education and drawing sharp distinctions between his record and that of McDonnell. His campaign expects that the remarks will have particular resonance among Northern Virginians who might be skeptical about his candidacy.
Deeds said he's balancing the attention he gives to Northern Virginia with demands from elsewhere. "Everywhere I go, people say I'm not spending enough time in their area," he said. "There's only one of me. I'm doing the best I can."
But former congressman Tom Davis (R), who is supporting McDonnell, said Deeds's background would be a problem for voters in the region. "He's very rural in terms of his lifestyle and his culture and his roots," Davis said. "People here don't get up in the morning and ask if I can go hunting and fishing."
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