It's primary day in Virginia, where the state's Democrats are set to pick from three candidates for governor: State Sen. Creigh Deeds, who is now the frontrunner in all the polls; former state Del. Brian Moran; and former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe, the colorful personality who campaigned for so long on Hillary Clinton's behalf, and who later became the frontrunner in this race for quite a while, but may have now blown it.
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To be sure, Terry had some weaknesses all along. First of all, his tenure as DNC chairman was a period of one Dem failure after another, regardless of whether that was his own fault or due to circumstances beyond his control. And once it became clear that Hillary Clinton wasn't going to the Democratic nominee, his advocacy of her reached newer (and stranger) heights, with talk show hosts openly joking that he might have been on drugs. You got the feeling along the way that he was deliberately turning this into performance art -- such as when he appeared on Morning Joe in a Hawaiian shirt, waving around a bottle of Bacardi to celebrate Hillary's win in the Puerto Rico primary.
But in many respects, McAuliffe went into the race with all the big advantages. First was money. McAuliffe was the big-time leader in the money race: The most recent figures show he took in a total of $6.9 million for this race, tapping into his contacts from the business world, his time as DNC chairman, and his connections from the Clintons. In distant second was Moran with $3.8 million, and Deeds at $3.4 million. This money advantage allowed McAuliffe to advertise on TV for months now, while Moran and Deeds only just recently went on the air.
Terry's lead in the polls turned out to be quite fragile, however, as soon as he came under sustained attack. Moran began aggressively attacking him, which appears to have worn him down. Only what hurt McAuliffe didn't help Moran. The real beneficiary was Deeds, who for much of the race was treated like something of an also-ran by the media.