The Democratic and Republican nominees for attorney general faced off today in Virginia Beach at a debate sponsored by the Virginia State Bar.
And it sure sounds like Democrat Creigh Deeds did very, very well.
The scorecard on the flipside, along with some background.
Deeds is a state senator from west-central Virginia, including parts of rural Bath County (his home), 5 other rural counties and the city of Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia. He was a county prosecutor and state delegate before being elected senator in 2001. He's a moderate to conservative Democrat. For example, he's got an A+ lifetime rating from the NRA, and is against gay marriage. But he's gotten 100% scores from NARAL 2 of the 4 years he's been in the senate, is noted for his work on environmental issues and has recieved awards from the Nature Conservancy and the Preservation Alliance of Virginia.
Creigh is facing off against Del. Bob McDonnell, one of the most extreme right-wingers in the general assembly. McDonnell is perhaps best known for once saying anyone who's ever had oral sex is unfit for public office, but then in response to a question on his own history said that he couldn't remember if he's ever partaken in that act. In defeating a more moderate GOP opponent in the primary last week McDonnell blew through a great deal of cash. The most recent fundraising reports show him with $56,000 on hand, in comparison to Deeds' $505,000.
Judging by press reports Deeds easily bested McDonnell at the debate today. McDonnell came out against stem cell research and in favor of Terri Schaivo-like intervention by the state in end of life decisons (VA, you might not know, was home to the late Hugh Finn, who's wife wanted to stop his life support after years of rehabilitation following a horrible car accident were to no avail. She was was prevented from doing so by GOP Gov. Jim Gilmore. Mrs. Finn eventually won the case and Hugh passed away. This was probably the highest profile "Schaivo" case before this year). McDonnell also went out of his way to paint Deeds as a moderate, in supposed opposition to his ticket-mates Tim Kaine and Leslie Byrne.
Deeds meanwhile noted his work in preventing the sexual abuse of children (he was the sponsor of the VA Megan's Law) and criticized McDonnell for voting against funding of police and emergency responders when McDonnell refused to join the General Assembly in raising taxes.
So, IMO a strong Deeds candidacy was helped today. Deeds got in some tough shots and McDonnell only hurt himself.
I used this Richmond Times-Dispatch article in writing this, and it's a good read, especially for the quotes from the debate.
See also the always great Waldo Jaquith for his take.