Yesterday I attend the Braddock Derby Days event, which is one of the big fundraisers for the local Braddock District Democratic Committee. The event was held on the patio of a local restaurant, which luckily had a covering since it started to rain towards the end of the event, and attracted a very good sized crowd which included Del. David Bulova, Del. Dave Marsden, Del. Steve Shannon, Del. Vivian Watts, Sen. Dick Saslaw, Sen. Creigh Deeds, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Sharon Bulova, and Congressman Gerry Connolly.
While many of the people in attendance already knew the importance of gaining control of the House of Delegates and the LG and AG offices, it was noticeable that more and more people are beginning to pay closer attention to these races. Greg Werkheiser, for instance, was also in attendance and people were really excited about the chance to send him to the House of Delegates instead of Republican Del. Dave Albo. In addition to all the excitement on display for his candidacy yesterday afternoon, I have spoken with a lot of grassroots activists who are really rallying behind Greg’s campaign and are looking forward to his campaign kicking into full gear. I note this because the grassroots support that Werkheiser has will go a long ways towards helping spread his message to voters, a task which is absolutely critical is a Delegate race.
As I spoke with people about the Lt. Governor’s race, there were a large number of people who were still undecided. At the same time, several folks mentioned that they had seen Jon Bowerbank’s live blog over at Blue Commonwealth and were very impressed with what he had to say. Many of them were also looking forward to hearing what he has to say during his education tour next week. This truly falls in with what I’ve been seeing on the campaign trail – when people hear what Jon Bowerbank is all about, they believe he will make an excellent Lt. Governor.
Of course, there was a lot of talk at the event about the gubernatorial primary. Sen. Creigh Deeds did make an appearance and took some time to very briefly address the crowd. He received a warm welcome as he worked the crowd, which is to be expected because I noticed several of his supporters in the crowd and even people who aren’t supporting his candidacy have a lot of respect for the him as a person and the work he has done in the Senate.
Brian Moran wasn’t able to make it, but there were several of his volunteers there who were wearing Moran for Governor t-shirts and letting people know about how they can get more involved in the campaign. Many of the people in the crowd were already Brian supporters and several of them mentioned to me that they had already been participating in phone banks, which seems to suggest that the volunteers were doing a good job of creating grassroots action.
Terry McAuliffe had one of his almost one hundred paid staffers there who was trying to sign up some volunteers. Ironically, when he found out what precinct I lived in he told me that sometimes the volunteers that “they just want to get out of the way” were sent there because it was a Republican precinct. While that might actually be true, that doesn’t seem like the way you’d want to inspire confidence in a certain campaign. Perhaps next time he meets someone from a largely Republican precinct he’ll remember that just a few years ago Virginia as a whole was considered a Republican stronghold and it was the dedication of volunteers from this so called red state that helped Virginia elect Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, and Jim Webb to statewide office; have a Democratic majority in our Congressional delegation; and go blue for the first time in 44 years during last year’s presidential election.
All in all, I think the event went very well and raised a fair amount of money for the Braddock District Democratic Committee. Perhaps more importantly, the energy surrounding our candidates was very evident which could prove to be very beneficial as we head into the June 9th primary and then the general election in November.