Brian Moran handily wins the Mount Vernon Straw Poll, & Terry McAuliffe is a no-show

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!

A few photos

Nice photos

Thanks Eric!!

what a sham

about half the crowd was paid to be there....and everone voted before the candidates spoke


There were a number of people who were there to support their campaigns, yes, but I can assure you that Brian Moran didn't need to pay anyone in that room! Most of the paid folks (by campaigns) were from the Lt. Gov. campaigns, I believe.

At any rate, that is one of the ways to do well in a straw poll. In 2008, the Clinton campaign paid for about 90 people to attend our straw poll, and as a result she won it by about 20 votes. However, on Election Day, Obama ran away with our district.

Tonights result for Brian, I suspect, however, will hold among the electorate on June 9th. He is rather popular here, and his wife grew up right here in Mount Vernon. There's no mistaking it, this is Moran country.

Anyone else surprised that

Anyone else surprised that Brian was held to 50% in Alexandria? This is a bad bad sign for the Moran camp.

That's one way to look at it (although it was actually 52%)

But another way to see it, James, is that he had a 2-1 margin over his nearest competitor.....I don't know how bad, bad, bad that really is. Another thing---Mount Vernon is NOT in Alexandria city. It is in Faifax County. So, if he gets that margin, in a 3-way statewide primary in Fairfax County, Brian Moran will be our nominee.

When Brian beats McDonnell in NOV...

James will still be saying "This is a bad bad sign for the Moran camp"

And I expect James to concede

for Creigh if he doesn't win every other straw poll outside of Northern Virginia by at least 2 to 1.

And you would now how?

Jody only had one staffer and Brian had 3 who voted (T-Bone, Vegas and Jewels) and 2 of those live in Alexandria. The other candidates may have bused a few people in but it was surprisingly full of mostly locals who most people knew. Unlike the GW parade in Alexandria where Brian had a ton of local grassroots supporters and Terry had a bus load of people no one knew. Or the JJ dinner where Terry bused in over 300 and had a small paid army of staffers to create the appearance of supporters.

In fact there was no effort to pack for Jody or Brian

I only sent out the regular Mt Vernon invite to a few local Obama groups and didn't receive anything from either Jody or Brian's campaign about the event. So if people were bused in, pressed or paid to be there it was from other campaigns. Your sham claim is just sour grapes.

I have to confirm that statement


Dude - It's a straw poll

What do you expect..... When do the candidates not try and get their supporters out to win a straw poll?

It was a great event - a reaffirmation that NOVA Dems will not go silently into the night (even after the close Bulova race) and that it was a platform for some of the unknown candidates to present their positions and get to know grass root Democrats!

It was an excellent turn out and thanks to everyone, candidates and supporters who attended. The funds raised goes directly into electing Democrats! FYI - a large portion of the funds raised will go into the Red to Blue campaign - to unseat the remaining Rep seats in Fairfax county! Dave Albo and Rust especially!

We are strong (and no matter that Bob McDonnald was raised in Mt. Vernon) we will bring home the district and the
county for the Democratic candidates in 2009.

Thanks again for everyone's support.

Janet Myhre, Chair, Mt. Vernon Committee

PS - Support Shenandoah Brewery it rocks....

Yes, the homemade beer was great

From Shenandoah Brewery a few miles away. We should make that a regular fixture at FX and Alexandria events. Mmm Beeer

It was Jeff Myhre's brew though...

Shenandoah is a home-brew place--I don't know if they sell their own products too--I would imagine so. But the batch that Jeff brought was his creation. I think Janet needs to get her husband on the committee and appointed as Vice-Chair, Brewmaster! LOL...

Actually - It was Shenandoah brew

Jeff - brews the same recipe - but we bought this with some sponsorship help from Shenandoah Brewery..

You can brew your own or purchase kegs and brew directly.

Just one more note - Doug can attest to!

MVDDC executive meeting are great @ my house....

how come you never invited me

how come you never invited me to those, janet?


OK good thanks for correcting my misconception! I thought Jeff said he had brewed that batch. Whatever it was, it was great!

where Terry may have been

Lowell says over at his blog that he heard McAuliffe was at an event for Moon.

As were most of the other candidates

at the Moon event. Apparently Terry just doesn't know his way around Northern Virginia.

yeah, but

maybe this means the other candidates who attended both events chose not to demonstrate a laser-like single-minded focus on helping Moon. Seriously, thank for the info. I guess we'll have to wait a little longer for a better excuse from McAuliffe.

What? Are you kidding?

Sharon Bulova was the host of the Moon reception and she also spoke at the Mt Vernon event. Gerry Connolly was at both and the FX Field people, Sue Langley and Chris Ambrose were at both. Bob Pearson and other devoted Moon supporters from Braddock were also at both events. The 2 events were just a few miles away from each other. Less than 10 minutes. This was a scheduled event and the primary fund raiser for Mt Vernon Democrats and Terry had confirmed he would be there. For him to bail out because the math was not in his favor was pure cowardice and vanity on his part and a slap in the face to the Democrats of Mt Vernon. Your "yeah, but" is ridiculous.

All I can say is - don't take your grassroots for granted



I was kidding.

Thanks for your kind words, Todd

In spite of our malfunctioning microphone (yikes! It's always something, isn't it?) I think everybody had a good time. The candidates were all wonderful and impressive (in spite of having to shout to be heard over the crowd--thanks again to them for being so gracious about it.) We had great food, great booze, and a great group of democrats.

We are at a loss to understand McAuliffe's behavior. To get a phone call at 3:45 p.m. from a lower-level campaign staffer informing us that McAuliffe would not be attending was bizarre, to say the least. The campaign staffer could not offer any explanation or reason. To be honest, my first thought was that somebody had been in an accident or that there was some sort of emergency. I could not imagine any other reason to treat a hard-working committee of volunteers so rudely and with such a marked lack of respect. Obviously, I naively thought, if they couldn't even be bothered to phone the chair with a reason for bailing, then something had to be terribly wrong.

But then to hear it was because of the Moon reception? Are you freaking kidding me? What utter nonsense. I'd say a quarter of the room had been to the Moon reception, and yet they still managed to make it to the Mardi Gras event.

I've worked on and been involved with these kind of events for years, and have NEVER had a featured speaker pull out for such a spurious reason. When people talk about McAuliffe being a "Carpetbagger" this is the kind of thing they mean. Why on earth would a candidate want to alienate grassroots and committee democrats? What purpose does it serve? Obviously we don't matter in Terry McAuliffe's world. Apparently the money we raise for the red-to-blue campaign doesn't matter, either.

Thanks for lesson, Terry!

Terry's way

Todd, McAuliffe doesn't know his way around South-Western Virginia, either. As a mater of fact, my little "cell" of "Dem Hens" is thinking up a "Carpetbagger test" for him; if we ever see him around here, we'll ask him not just about specific-to-us issues but about driving routes. All he knows is our phone numbers and our postal addresses (which he uses more than we like. But then... He's got pots and pots of cash...)

here ya go

What a great event

I remember a time (and it wasn't that long ago) when Mt. Vernon Democrats could not have filled one ROOM. Last night it was SRO. Congratulations to everyone on the MVDC for a wonderful event. And yes, Doug, we will win in November.

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I doubt he'd skip out because of poll numbers. Clearly someone doesn't know Terry.