Left: Deeds; Right: McAuliffe

Left: Deeds; Right: McAuliffe

In an election that was supposed to be close, but then wasn’t, Creigh Deeds beat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s Democratic primary for governor. With 99% of precincts now counted, Deeds holds 50% of the vote, with McAulliffe clocking in at 26%.

It was truly a remarkable comeback victory for Deeds, as McAulliffe was the heavy favorite in the weeks leading up to the primary.

Terry McAuliffe has a very distinguished career. He is very well respected by his Democratic cohorts, was DNC chairman 2001-2005, and Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign chair.

But he is quite obviously a political hack first, and a Virginian second (although he was born in New York).

And that’s why Deeds took down McAuliffe, a political heavyweight and party-favorite.

For these two men, the devil is in the way they contrast each other. While McAulliffe was chairing the DNC, calling President Bush an “ostrich”, Deeds was serving the Commonwealth in the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate. The former has a background in law, lobbying, and consulting, the latter hails from an agricultural (translate: quintessentially Virginian) background.

Deeds won the primary because he is the man most Virginians can relate to. In a national election, McAuliffe would probably win, given his popularity among Democrats inside the beltway and the consequential national fundraising potential.

However, Deeds will have difficulty trying to “out-Virginia” his upcoming Republican opponent, Bob McDonnell. McDonnell is an ardent family man, was a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army, and was also Deeds’ colleague in the Virginia House of delegates.