During the gubernatorial debate earlier today Creigh Deeds refused to say that he was a “Obama Democrat” and instead insisted that he was a “Creigh Deeds Democrat.” In the few hours following the debate I have already heard a few people say that they didn’t really get why he’d refuse to call himself an “Obama Democrat.” While I understand that these activists might want our gubernatorial candidate to use the opportunity to show more solidarity with the president, I’ve been running into a lot of people who don’t know what either candidate really stands for and this debate could have served as a platform to truly define what it means to be a “Creigh Deeds Democrat.” I therefore liked that he decided to call himself a “Creigh Deeds Democrat” instead of an “Obama Democrat.”
Unfortunately, I don’t think Creigh fully took advantage of the opportunity that he was given with this line of questioning. The answer he provided should have been followed up with an explanation of what it really means to be a “Creigh Deeds Democrat.” I think this could have helped persuade some of the 20% of likely voters who are still undecided to vote for Creigh and could have also inspired some of the progressive activists who haven’t been too energetic about Creigh’s campaign. Furthermore, it would have been a great messaging tool as it could have been used in ads or youtube videos in addition to giving canvassers and phone bankers something to refer to when talking with people who want to get a general sense of Creigh’s values.
While Creigh might not have fully utilized the opportunity he had here to define what it means to be a Creigh Deeds Democrat, now is the time when people are beginning to truly tune into the race. Hopefully he doesn’t pass on the opportunity too many more times because it is especially true in a relatively low turnout election (like this race will likely be) that the victor will be the candidate who is best able to define what they stand for and why they should be elected.