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By John Wilkes from

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Terry McAuliffe, Brian Moran, and Creigh Deeds make one final push to get supporters out to the polls for the Democratic primary before they sit back and wait for the results to come in. The winner from today's matchup will square off on November 3 against the Republican candidate, Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell, who was unopposed in the GOP primary.

All eyes of the political world turn to Virginia today as the state's voters head to the polls to select the Democratic candidate for the gubernatorial election in November.

The extra attention won't just be because the election is the only one being held accross the entire country, but also because millionaire businessman, former DNC Chairman and longtime Clinton family protege Terry McAuliffe is making his first foray into elective politics.  Ironically, the man he hopes to replace in the Governor's Mansion is term-limited chief executive Tim Kaine, who was selected by President Barack Obama to serve as Chairman of the DNC himself.

The race is primarily a three-man contest, with state legislators Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds battling McAuliffe.  Early predictions and conventional wisdom put McAuliffe in the driver's seat, considering the former national party chairman's fungraising connections and accumen.  But periodic surges by both of his two competitors have kept the race extremely competitive throughout.  Polling has been mixed, with one candidate leading one day, and another taking command the next.

If all patterns hold their current position, Creigh Deeds will likely come out on top.  The State Senator and Bath County resident has propelled to the front of the pack in recent days with notable gains in the northern counties closest to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Moran has been running a close third, and is entirely capable of a come-from-behind win.

But if one man is most likely to benefit from wild-card scenarios, it's McAuliffe.  His robust campaign war chest has allowed him to keep television and radio spots airing at a crucial point in the election, and his boots-on-the-ground network is said to be the best among the three.

In any event, turnout is expected be extremely low, adding another interesting and perhaps unpredictable twist to today's contest.

The winner of the primary will square off against Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell, who won his party's nomination absent any competition in the GOP primary.  McDonnell defeated Deeds in his race for the state's top law enforcement posiiton back in 2005.

Today's election is just the fifth in an off-year election, and only the second regularly-scheduled contest of the year.  Voters in Illinois, New York, and California have gone to the polls to elect replacements for Congressmen who were appointed to positions in the Obama Administration.  Last month, New Jersey voters decided on the candidates for their own gubernatorial contest, also to be held on November 3.

The Virginia Governorship has been a political launching pad in recent years.  Governor Kaine was touted as a top choice to be President Obama's running mate before he selected Joe Biden of Delaware.  His predecessor, Democrat (now Senator) Mark Warner, is thought to be a presidential candidate in his own right down the road.  Warner followed Republican Jim Gilmore, who parlayed his tenure in office into a presidential bid of his own, albeit a fairly weak one.  His predecessor, Republican George Allen, went from the Governor's mansion to the US Senate, and was thought to be a top tier presidential contender until his "macaca moment" sent his political career up in flames.

Check back with for updates on this race!

Originally posted to eyesonobama on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 12:17 PM PDT.

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