Congressman Connolly Straw Poll Results

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1. McAuliffe: 58%
2. Moran: 30%
3. Deeds: 12%

Lt Governor
1. Wagner: 48%
2. Signer: 28%
3. Bowerbank: 12%
4. Edmonson: 12%

Amy Gardner at WaPo:

Former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe overwhelmingly won an informal straw poll in Fairfax County tonight against his two Democratic rivals for governor, Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds.

At a jam-packed St. Patrick's Day party hosted by U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), McAuliffe earned 58 percent of votes, Moran took 30 percent and Deeds earned 12 percent. Connolly told the crowd of about 1,400 that a total of 934 ballots were cast.

If nothing else, the vote sprinkled a healthy pinch of fish food into Virginia's political aquarium. McAuliffe outshined his rivals in both organization and spirit at the event, arranging for donors to purchase 400 tickets for his guests, staffing the party with 60 paid campaign workers and prompting the loudest cheers when he spoke to the crowd.


I admit I don't know anything about all this back and forth. If someone violated some real ethics or rules or laws here, then I fully agree and would call on the Moran camp to renounce it and take any appropriate steps.

All I keep hearing though is that this happened but if it were that serious why wouldn't Josh et al use it since they're now in the McAuliffe camp? I don't know, maybe they'll answer that. I think any Democrat should not trash other Democrats, with that I agree, and if Moran is purposefully doing that (again, I haven't seen any proof of it myself) then he (they) need to stop.

Brian has a great biography here and a great record and a huge natural base of support. He shouldn't have to go negative. If he is, that would explain some slipping support I suppose.

But he's still my guy, moreso than ever after boiling it down last night---this is about people, not politicians.

I personally think higher profile bloggers are just getting a little too caught up in their own back and forths because I don't think anyone really cares (I know I don't!).

Brian's my guy too, now but he sure wasn't yesterday

when I was angry with him. I voted my anger at the straw poll. How many others might have done the same to shake him up?

I was going to stay neutral and this forced my hand. He shouldn't have to do stuff like this. And he didn't do it personally. A staffer did. But he has to discipline that staffer. I'm not sure he has to do it publicly because, hopefully, this won't go beyond the blogs. But he has to take it seriously privately.

It doesn't break the law but it's an ethics violation just the same. Nowadays, privacy is a big issue. Whoever did this caused needless problems just to be retaliatory. I have more about it on my blog - I don't need to give you the link, you all can find it.

Point well taken

From what I've been reading this evening there was behavior by someone in Brian's campaign which I would consider extremely uncharacteristic of Brian and has had some very negative consequences. I'm seeing a lot of rage in some of these posts, and this type of behavior just feeds the rage. So yes, from an ethical standpoint Brian should act to ensure that people working for him do not act like anything goes.

Best Straw Poll Money Could Buy


If you're a former Obama supporter

you've probably heard that accusation once or thrice. "Obama's buying the election." waaaahhhh

Obama ultimately

had the most funding. But remember, he got almost nothing from the DNC. So he had to overcome both the McCain camp and the RNC's combined forces. In the end he had the funding advantage but he also had more (unpaid) volunteers. In other words, Obama had what money couldn't buy: dedicated volunteers who believed so much in his campaign that they were willing to leave their jobs to work for him with no expectation of a reward down the line. I'm not just a former Obama supporter; I'm a former and current Obama supporter whose reward was getting him elected - and nothing more.

Actually the accusation was HRC was

buying the nomination with the $20 million Terry put together for the knock out punch on Super Tuesday.

That's just weird.

First, I'm not a "former" Obama supporter. I'm an Obama supporter. And I got on board when he didn't have a chance - when his fundraising was utterly DWARFED by that of Hillary Clinton. We - the GRASSROOTS (look it up) - got behind Obama and started writing about him and making small donations and circulating the energy.

Hillary Clinton was Goliath in the same way that McAuliffe is in the Governor's race. The difference is, at least I always knew where Hillary Clinton stood. Can't say the same for Terry - he seems to enjoy - how do you say - keeping his powder dry for potential future changes of opinion.


Maybe you missed the release of various portions of his proposed energy plan. I am not sure how he is keeping his powder dry.

And will Moran supporters please stop evoking the good name of President Obama? Moran is NOT the second coming.

Moran = Clinton in this race

In many ways, I think Brian Moran is more analagous to Hillary Clinton in the sense that he was clearly the early front-runner who used supeior early fundraising and a bevy of endorsements from th political establishment to try to drive rivals away early, such as the movement to get Cregh to run for AG back last year.

Now, that doesn't turn McAullife into Barack Obama, but he is the outsider coming in to shake things up. I think the biggest difference is that we needed someone like that on the national scene after 8 years of Bush. I'm just not certain what kind of sense that makes in Virginia after 2 successful Democratic Administrations.

And I hope it doesn't mean that Creigh follows in John Edward's footsteps, politically speaking, of course. There are tactical lessons to be learned there.

I am really trying to hold back the fisticuffs here....

But this kind of garbage is making it impossible.

You guys take a few of the Moran supporters who go way over the top, and paint the entire set of us with that brush, and I am getting sick and f-ing tired of it, I'll tell you. I am also pretty upset with some of the Todd-Smyth-esque crap coming from Lowell's mouth lately.

Look folks, Brian said something last night that was a very powerful message that has the potential to undo every one of Terry McAuliffe's perceived advantages at this point, because it gets to the essence of why these three men are in this race: "Politics is not for the politicians, it's for the people that we're fighting for!" That's the essence of public service. And when the issues and campaign in this race come around to an honest assessment of why these men are in this race, Brian Moran stands head and shoulders above his competition. He is simply a good, caring, progressively moderate PUBLIC SERVANT. He is in this game for all the right reasons.

Virginia Democratic primary voters will love Brian Moran for that.

Brian Moran is IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM the "equivalent" of Hillary Clinton in this race (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean anyway because as an Obama supporter early on I've always thought Hillary Clinton to be a magnanimous candidate!). BRIAN MORAN is BRIAN MORAN, and he's got a long, in-depth, fantastic record in Virginia on which to stand, and he is in this race for all the right reasons.

Stop your negativity, guys.

Did you even read the thread?

I was responding to Rena's characterization:

Hillary Clinton was Goliath in the same way that McAuliffe is in the Governor's race.

I then made a perfectly rational argument about why Moran's candidacy is more analagous to Hillary's that Mcauliffe's was. You focus on the shorthand of the headline and utterly ignore the substance of the post in which I use the word "analagous," not "equivalent."

I find this whole bevy of judgmental comments you just threw up on this thread hilarious, actually. Where were you when Todd was slagging Lowell and Lee on DK as "salad tossers" of McAuliffe and accused them of taking money? Where were you when the Moran campaign leaked Josh's private e-mails to NLS? Where were you when some who had agreed to keep the BC list serv off the record was leaking material to one, possibly more people?

But you find yourself in high and fine dungeon over a few harshly worded posts arguing over the meaning a straw poll.

Doug, I usually enjoy reading your posts and have engaged with you contrustively on a variety of topic on which we have not agreed, but I just can't see where you are coming from (I don't need you to expalin it again -- when I say "I can't see it" I don't mean I don't get it, I mean I think it is off base.)


I just made the same analogy in RenaRF's diary! And I hadn't even read your comments yet. What a coincidence!

Where was I?

Ignoring all this kind of BS. It's not about the straw poll, Alan, it's about the characterizations of Moran and his supporters being made by a lot of people on this blog that should not be being made.

I could care less if you see where I'm coming from, frankly. As for reading the entire post--got me there. I read Rena's but I didn't read all of yours. Your headline had an intention to it though, and if you're going to run from that now, well have fun.

Fair enough

And you have fun with your selective indignation.


Pot, meet kettle....

it is not about ALL of Moran's supporters

let me give you credit for identifying one of Brian's supporters who has been over the top, and let me also tell you that Brian's campaign refuses either to disavow or attempt to rein in that particular individual or any others, including one who insists s/he is not officially supporting Brian because there is still a 10% chance s/he would support Deeds.

Had someone called the perpetrators on the B/S, had the campaign not improperly leaked private emails to someone known by most in the Virginia blogosphere to have a real hostile attitude towards Josh, a lot of what you are now seeing from the McAuliffe supporters might not be so bitter.

Let me also note that both Josh and Lowell were critical of what they saw as a lack of clear message from Brian for quite some time. Lowell was leaning Terry early. Despite that, Josh was in favor of Brian, and trying to persuade people around Brian about the messaging problem.

While I will not go into my private conversations in detail, I have explained to several key people in the Moran campaign about how some of their email blasts do not accomplish the goal they seem to be seeking, and in the process make them look unnecessarily shrill.

I like Brian and consider him a friend. I like Creigh, and even though he is the longest shot my wife is actively supporting him. I do not really know Terry. I have met him now perhaps a half dozen times. I was not pleased by some of his tenure at DNC and certainly not at all happy at a great deal of what happened on his watch on the Clinton campaign. Ultimately the candidate is responsible for the campaign, so I am prepared to cut Terry some slack for that.

I know he has some of the best political people in Virginia happily working for him, and that ain't all about the money. I know that he raised a lot of money to help get Tim Kaine elected. I know that he is at a point of his life where he thinks he can do good. To some who have been in direct public service a long time, they may resent that, or think he is doing it for himself. That could be, but it also could be possible that he sees that he bring unique gifts and might be able to make a major difference in the state in which he has lived for almost 2 decades.

Terry McAuliffe is not the devil incarnate. Brian Moran isn't Gandhi. And Creigh Deeds is not a loser because Bob McDonnell heavily outspent him to win statwide by less than 350 votes. All three are men with strong points and weak points.

I have no trouble with someone being a passionate supporter. Hell, I sure as heck was for Jim Webb in 2006. But one's passions should not blind oneself to on'e prejudices. And such passionate commitment does not warrant over the top rhetoric and personal attacks. When I have private channels of communication, if I thinks someone is over the top or out of bounds, I will discuss it with them. I have done so in the past and more recently with some on Terry's side. That does not mean that they will listen to me, any more than the concerns I raised with people on Brian's side had much effect. But still I keep trying.

The more angry supporters of a candidate become, the more clouded their judgment and the greater likelihood that their words/actions will actually damage the candidate they think they are helping. Just saying.


I happen to agree that Brian's had a SLIGHT messaging problem

But I don't think it's as pronounced as what I've heard Lowell say it was. I actually thought he nailed it last night with this line:

"Politics is not about the politicians, it's about the people we're fighting for"

I personally hope the Moran camp decides to couch EVERY issue position they put out within that theme and framework, because it's a winning one in Virginia. That is a central difference in this race if you buy the notion that it's between Moran and McAuliffe (I don't). Deeds will do very, very well in the west and all over downstate, including Richmond, in my opinion. This will keep him in it even if he is at a disadvantage.

As for your point on overpassionate supporters, I agree 100%. I had a good laugh over your prescribed notions, I am assuming, of how you may think I view the three (devil incarnate, Ghandi, and a loser). That is absolutely not how i see any of the three, actually. But actually, have I made any personal attack on anyone, or you're just stating that in general? Also, I could see where that is a possibility about McAuliffe thinking he's at a time in his life where he thinks he can do good, but in my opinion, the history of Terry, the electoral situation, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of the other two candidates make that unlikely to be true. I'm just saying, that is my opinion. I trust Brian Moran far more to be in this race for the right reasons, and that's why I'm supporting him. I've toyed with supporting Creigh, but I'm not comfortable with his discomfort on some issues. And believe it or not, I've even (admittedly short-lived) toyed with supporting Terry, but rapidly became repulsed by my own openness to that on account of what I know about him. I've personally interacted with Terry at a fundraiser in McLean--he wouldn't even remember me most likely, and ALL he wanted to know about me was what I did for a living and who I worked for (code for how big a check can I get out of you?). That one personal interaction did more to turn me off to Terry than anything else ever since.

I absolutely agree with the idea that the passion and personal attacks are over-the-top, unnecessary, and counter-productive. We don't want any of these three handicapped in the general against McDonnell---Lord knows, they're all better than him! But I think the personal attacking has spread well beyond the Moran camp as has been depicted on BC regularly for the last few weeks.

I am sorry if my sudden outburst of participation got too passionate. I'm tired of staying quiet which I wanted to do, because I'm hearing a lot of really bad stuff that shouldn't be happening, in my opinion.

let me clarify

I was not ascribing my 3-way description of the candidates as being your opinion, rather it was what I thought could fairly describe the attitude of a fair number in the Moran camp, including I must say some of the top professionals.

I have no problem with people supporting any of the candidates, nor do I object to their expressing strong opposition towards one or both of the other candidates, providing it does get to the point of some of the blind and destructive fury we have been seeing.


Isn't it Moran supporters who claim Brian does no wrong?

I'm sorry, but the negativity from Moran supporters comes across here on BC as well as in person. I'm not sure if it is only a few of his supporters when many of them on here appear to come across that way. Doug, you make a positive post to a point - standing on Moran's words and not attacking Terry. This is a good thing. I am just tired of people evoking Obama's name for Moran's benefit - as if the two are some how linked. I believe Moran remained neutral in the presidential primary until Obama pretty much locked up the nomination.

Your belief is wrong

Brian started supporting Obama at least as early as January 2008, or even earlier. Google it. You'll find several references to his and his brother's support of Obama in very early 2008, when Obama was still considered a longshot. And no, Moran supporters do not believe that Brian can do no wrong. If you keep talking like that you're going to start sounding like the people I argue with on right wing websites about Obama. Rather than discuss issues of substance they spend their time attacking Obama supporters.

Obama outraised Hillary in the 1st Quarter of 2007

when he first entered the race. Then AGAIN in the second quarter.

Obama's fundraising was NEVER dwarfed by Clinton.

Not true, Terry put together $26 million overall the first quarter and Obama raised $24.8 million. You were only including primary money.

Fund-Raising for Clinton and Obama Nears Records

Rena said his fundraising was "DWARFED" by Clinton

is that what you call those numbers?

considering how much she had

considering how much she had in her accounts before january, yes i consider it dwarfing

Money-bags Moran couldn't buy this?

He's raised a lot of money. This is his home turf. It'd be like Creigh losing a straw poll in Charlottesville.


I guess his letter begging donors for contributions hasn't yielded the returns as soon as he would've liked.

mcaullife rigs this one but

mcaullife rigs this one but not mount vernon? wtf?

They didn't have what they needed to pull

the trigger at Mt. Vernon, so Terry dropped out at the last minute and his people spread the word that Terry doesn't like straw polls. Terry's campaign manager Mike Henry and strategist Mo Elleithee orchestrated the buying of the Mt. Vernon straw poll last year for Hillary and that didn't end to well for them either.

oh well

Gerry needs the money more than MV I guess. Quite honestly our venue could not have
supported anymore people.

Straw polls are fun!

well you do have all those

well you do have all those rich dems in westgate :p


Does that mean the Republicans in Woodlawn are poor?


yes... anyone in the republican party will tell you that unless you have at least 1 mansion and 1 vacation home in florida, your not a real human being. The republican mansions in Westgate make the republican bourgeoise in woodlawn look like the proletariat.

Aww! Pat tied for 3rd?

She's my underdog hero! =)

Moran is biggest loser tonight

I just don't think there is any doubt. Even if McAuliffe bought it, isn't that what you're supposed to do at a straw poll like this if you want to win? Isn't it atest, in part, of your ability to mobilize your supporters?

At this point, I'm not quite sure what to make of Creigh's finish. I don't think he expected to win, and obviously, given the location, he wasn't going to go whole hog on this thing. I actually think he may have accomplsihed what he wanted.

But you know Moran wanted to win this. As he says, that's why he's running for governor, because he has to win. I know, it makes no sense, but that's what he says.


There were no losers tonight, Alan. You & the merry band of BC Moran-haters are guilty of exactly the same tripe that you all have been accusing Todd Smyth of, in my mind. Your interpretations are often ad-hominem and just plain worthless and unnecessary banter. That's exactly what Todd does....

At any rate, the Democratic Party, in fact, was the biggest winner. Anyone who was there at the event would be awed by the muscular condition of the Democratic Party in Virginia, and yes, Terry McAuliffe is a part of that, as is Creigh Deeds. Moran was no more a loser than Creigh, and in fact, given that to my knowledge he didn't run ANY kind of ticket operation (if he had I would have known about it and/or been invited I would think), getting 280 folks to go pay of their own volition was actually pretty damn good.

It's been said---straw polls are fun, but they don't matter on June 9th.

Based on those WaPo numbers

That's 542 votes for McAuliffe, 280 for Moran, 112 for Deeds.

Of which 400 of the McAuliffe tickets

were bought and given away free. What a shock that all those people voted for Terry. Hey, just how many of those people were even registered Virginia voters? How many of them will be able to show up at the primary and vote then?

Video of speeches

I have video of the speeches made by all three of the gubernatorial candidates up at Left of the Hill.

Not terribly meaningful...

Straw polls are tests of organization and willingness to blow money for a quick boost; as I recall, didn't Mitt Romney spend a whole lot of money to bus in lots of people for the Iowa straw poll? And it proved what in the end?

I talked with someone who had been trying to get petitions signed, and they kept being told by folks wearing McAuliffe stickers that, "sorry, I'm not registered in Virginia."

At a time when Moran and McAuliffe are duking it out in NoVa, it shows that Terry has the ability to spend a lot of money to make a splash. But as a predictor of results in June? I'm not sure it means much.


The Mount Vernon Straw Poll in 2008 had Clinton beating Obama after a similar ticket-buying effort.

Obama won the district 65-35. Moran is going to do very well in Fairfax.

Don't count Creigh out of NOVA yet...

So far from up here in Northern Virginia I haven't seen too many people on the ground from any of the campaigns. But Creigh does have the support of the two largest law enforcement labor unions in Virginia: Fairfax Coalition of Police Local 5000 and the Fairfax Deputy Sheriff's Coalition Local 5016. We are both ready to hit ground and pound it hard right up until June 9th and looking from our past support for candidates and the work we've done I don't think anyone should count out Creigh from making a good showing in Northern Virginia just yet!!


would be an absolute fool to count Creigh out. He's one hell of a good guy too. And I'd argue that if Virginia Democratic primary voters get the accurate picture on all three of these candidates, the race will be between Creigh and Moran. Alas, the other one seems to have more of the resources, so he will paint as flattering a picture of himself, and as unflattering of the other two (fine men) as he can without being accused as negative, and Virginia voters won't be getting to hear enough of what Moran and Deeds have to say.

That is a travesty, as both of them know Virignia, its legislative processes, its government, her people, and her problems and their solutions far better than Mr. McAuliffe.

We shall see.

well if you do the math...

mcauliffes total was 542

542 - 60 (estimated number of mcauliffe staffers) = 482

482 - 400 (number of tickets mcauliffe bought) = 82

McAuliffe's real total is 82, which if you look at the margins is about what all the candidates got @ mount vernon

While McAuliffe's field team actually does deserve praise for organizing an impressive showing, this whole exercise is about as useful as a yardsign blitz in terms of winning in june or november. So way to go. I think ill be keeping my money this year rather than donating it to campaigns.

You're seriously arguing that EVERY single

one of McAuliffe's 400 supporters whose tickets he purchased came ONLY because they got a free ticket. That seems highly unreasonable. How about assuming that half (200) of Terry's votes came in part or wholly because the ticket was paid for, and the other half (200) would have come anyway. That would mean over 280 votes for McAuliffe, even if you assume 60 staffers (sounds high, but we'll give you that one just for argument's sake). AND, let's assume that Brian Moran had no staffers there (not true, I saw several Moran staffers, let's say 20 or so) AND bought no tickets (I find that really hard to believe). With all those heroic assumptions, Terry STILL wins, 280-something to mid-200's for Brian. Anyway, keep trying to discount Terry's strength, we'll see how that works out for Brian on election day. :)

I'm hearing that Brian bought "a large block"

of tickets. I'm trying to nail it down.


dude, i was just pointing out how meaningless this all was, chill out

nail it down yet? this is

nail it down yet? this is important stuff so you better get on it


he didn't offer any to me!

The Moran campaign bought 0 tickets

..and they did not encourage donors to buy any. They had 10 paid staff there and all but 2 bought their own ticket. A few of them bought an extra ticket for a friend and one bought 2 tickets for two junior field staffers. The large block ticket purchases were organized by T-Mac's campaign and thanks for confirming it.