Finally, a clear winner of a Gubernatorial debate.
It was Creigh by a mile.
First, Creigh showed the kind of mastery over Virginia issues that can only come from a lifetime of public service in Virginia.
Second, Creigh convincingly explained why he is the only Democrat who has demonstrated that he can beat Bob McDonnell. Listen carefully: “I am the only one up here who has won Republican votes, who has won the Independent votes” needed to be elected governor.
Read that again, because that is the ballgame right there.
McDonnell outspent Creigh two to one in 2005, and Creigh fought him to a tie!
Third, Creigh showed some great fight tonight. His hit on McAuliffe with the story about asking him for money for Virginia elections, and McAuliffe saying, “No,” went unanswered. and it was damning is showing that McAuliffe's interest in Virginia is newfound.
On the issue of gay marriage, Creigh not only repeated how he has grown on the issue, and come around “maybe more slowly than others” (what could be more human or more honest), but he aggressively called Brian Moran out on his own mixed voting record on the issue.
Fourth, Creigh made the case as to why he is is the most qualified to be governor. From issues like closing the gun show loophole to explaining how, as governor, he will be able to control the redistricting process to return the government to the people, Creigh showed that he is the sole candidate who has demonstrated the ability not only to fight for principles, but to reach pragmatic goals that serve the citizens of Virginia.
Brian Moran, on the other hand, showed he is a soulless politician. Between his robotic reading of the nasty political attacks against Terry McAuliffe that his staff prepared for him, to misrepresenting his own record, he was painful to watch. I believe he is a good person, and I know he has been a strong Progressive voice in Virginia, which is why seeing him run the negative, nasty campaign he is running is all the more disappointing and puzzling.
Terry McAuliffe, meanwhile, in this debate, probably because the questions were more relevant and tougher, revealed himself more than in the other debates as someone who is very charismatic and very smart, but ultimately lacking in enough practical experience in the trenches of Virginia politics over the years to really make his case – at least this cycle. Terry, stay involved, and you’re my man in 2013.
If you were undecided going into this debate, you should not be in that state now. We saw the next governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia tonight. His name is Creigh Deeds.