Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Virginia governor's race has been a sleepy affair since the two candidates won their nominations a couple of months back. For the first month, in fact, neither one of them was heard from much and they barely appeared in public as they plotted strategy and raised money.
But now they're out there and state Sen. Creigh Deeds, the Democrat, is trying to stir things up. During the primary, one of his arguments was that he was more in tune with the state's moderate-to-conservative voters than his liberal opponents because of his support for such matters as gun owners' rights.
Deeds is now trying the opposite approach, tacking left to try to motivate his base. He's arguing that Republican Robert McDonell, a former legislator and state attorney general, is more of a right-winger than he fashions himself this time around. Deeds big pieces of evidence are bills that tighten restrictions on abortion.
The Washington Post reports:
Deeds's message could energize a Democratic base that has been showing signs of sluggishness since last year's overwhelming victory in the presidential election. It could also chip away at McDonnell's campaign promises that he would focus on education, jobs and transportation if elected governor.
"It's easy in an election year to talk a good game about the governor you're going to be, and it's easy to talk about jobs and bipartisanship, but I think it's my obligation to draw distinctions where they exist," Deeds said.
Republicans seized on Deeds' new message, convinced that it will prove to be a strategic blunder for the Democrat to force the difficult social issue into the forefront of the campaign.
I have to say that I don't expect abortion to be a decisive issue in a gubernatorial contest in 2009, one way or the other. But I do know that if you're still shoring up support in your own party months after a primary, that's hardly a good sign.
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