Do you remember the “MARKNOTJOHN” bumper sticker that Mark Warner supporters displayed in his 1996 Senate race against John Warner?
Well, one of the most interesting features of today’s first gubernatorial debate was Creigh Deeds’ tendency to portray himself as a Mark Warner Democrat and to limit his references to the sitting Democratic Governor.
With a recent poll showing that a plurality of Virginians are not enthusiastic about their Governor serving as the head of the DNC, with Kaine compelled to defend almost all of the positions articulated by the Obama administration and the Democratic leadership in Congress, and with the ongoing snafus over VITA and the rest stop closings, Deeds has obviously decided that being a Mark Warner Democrat is the way to go.
Deeds indicated today that it wants to frame the election around the issues that Virginians are discussing at their kitchen tables and not around national Democratic policy initiatives.
This is why, I think, he spent time this week arguing that McDonnell’s transportation plan amounts to an attack on funding for Virginia’s schools.
A “Virginia First” focus makes a lot of sense in a Governor’s race.
But it’s a delicate balancing act when your Governor’s the Chair of the DNC.
And the President may be your best fundraiser.
But Deeds will want to speak
About utility rates in Virginia, not Cap and Trade in Congress.
He’ll want to talk about funding Virginia’s schools.
Not why we should close the rest stops.
And if he has to be MARKNOTTIM to do this, it appears that this is a risk he might be willing to take.