Tonight was a real demonstration of grassroots retail politicking, and every single statewide candidate in the running for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General on the Democratic side, with the exception of one, was present. Almost a few hundred people packed the Stone Mansion house in Alexandria for good retail politics, Mardi Gras beading, and cajun goodies.
The Mount Vernon Democratic Committee sponsored its second annual Mardi Gras Party & Straw Poll, and for the second year in a row, it was standing room only. There was great food, a terrific line-up of silent auction items that political people loved, and the secret hit of the night: Jeff Myhre's amazing Shenandoah-home-brewed beer! The lines for his beer were the biggest story of the night!
But actually, all the candidates who came gave some excellent speeches, some of the best I've heard this year from both Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran. On the Lt. Governor side, Pat Edmonson probably made the biggest strides in terms of identifying herself as the most unabashedly progressive candidate, but it was Secretary of Finance Jody Wagner who brought home the big win, with Jon Bowerbank's cavalcade of signage taking a fairly close second.
Results are after the fold, and as soon as I can get them uploaded, I'll put some photos behind the fold too.
Delegate Steve Shannon attended the event, and as the only sole Democratic candidate for a statewide nomination contest (Attorney General), of course he won wide praise from the room. Steve gave a brief but strong statement about his race.
Total vote results for each Lt. Governor candidate were as follows:
62 - Jody Wagner
44 - Jon Bowerbank
18 - Pat Edmonson
15 - Mike Signer
10 - Rich Savage
The votes for the Governor candidates broke down as follows:
83 - Brian Moran
43 - Creigh Deeds
33 - Terry McAuliffe
The fact that Terry McAuliffe was a complete no-show in terms of his presence at the event, as well as the lack of campaign tickets purchased was pretty surprising to almost everybody there. I personally spoke with some McAuliffe supporters who were leaning to Terry, but who were offended enough by his no-show status that they chose to support other candidates.
Other notable attendees included state senators Toddy Puller and George Barker, Delegates Kris Amundson, Mark Sickles, and candidate for the 42nd District against Delegate "Abuser Fee" Albo, Greg Werkheiser and his wife. Also Mame Reiley, Jean Jensen, Janet Myhre, Chris Ambrose, Laura Sonnenmark, and many other Mt. Vernon Democratic stalwarts attended. And the crowd learned (for those who didn't already know) that Karyn Moran grew up in Hollin Hall, one of the most Democratic neighborhoods in the Mount Vernon District. Several bloggers and local newspapers were there (and you are sure to see several versions of the events on YouTube!).
Regardless of which candidate attendees supported, everyone had a great time and the crowd was boisterous and positive, and the consensus was that even though the Republicans think this is going to be the year they're going to make a comeback in Virginia, Democrats are ready, willing, and able to win this race.
Cheers to another great Mardi Gras event for the Mount Vernon Democrats!