By Courtney Ridenhour
Before Tuesday, State Sen. Creigh Deeds had not faced a challenger in 10 years. Yesterday, the veteran Democrat easily retained his 25th District seat by overwhelming first-time candidate, Charlottesville tax attorney Thomas W. “T.J.” Aldous Jr.
With 92 percent of the 98 precincts reporting, Deeds had a commanding lead in the voting, 64 to 35 percent. The 20-year politics veteran was in the House of Delegates from 1991 to 2001. In the governor’s race two years ago, Deeds lost to Republican Bob McDonnell.
“I expect Creigh will certainly win,” said Valerie L’Herron, the chair of the Albemarle County Democratic Party.
“I definitely think Deeds is going to win,” said staffer Danny Dellinger. “He’s still got it. He’s still able to take on an opponent and show what he’s made of.” Deeds was unavailable earlier Tuesday evening.
Tuesday’s election was an important one for state politics as Republicans, who are three seats short of holding a Senate majority, were hoping to gain. With a majority, the GOP gets the privilege to draw Congressional lines for the 2012 election and would control the House of Delegates, the Senate and the governor’s office.
Though happy for Deeds, Democratic staffers were wary of the results of Senate races statewide.
“I’d like to think that Democrats will hold it but looking at the other races in the state, it’s not looking too positive,” Dellinger said
The Senate race was Aldous’ first run at public office. He said his decision to run was based on his distaste for the direction the state is going in.
Aldous’s campaign pointed directly at Deeds.
“It’s because of his record, it’s because of his values – the things that he has done,” he said. “That’s the whole motivation of my running.”
Aldous advocated for the creation of private sector jobs, lower tax rates, less government regulation to protect gun rights, and strong families.
Incumbent Deeds is a 20-year Virginia politics veteran. From 1991 to 2001, Deeds served in the House of Delegates. In 2001, he took the Senate seat in a special election.
The Democrat’s campaign focuses on keeping taxes low to create jobs and bring new business to the area. He says he wants to improve educational opportunities for children in rural areas.
“There’s not too many things that have happened in Richmond in the last 20 years that my thumbprint, or forefinger-print, is not on one way or another,” Deeds said. “Maybe it’s not in the headlines, because I’m not a headline-grabbing guy.”
The 25th Senate district has been redrawn, but an analysis shows that the change in boundaries made it only slightly more Republican and did not change Deeds’ strong advantage in name-recognition and campaign funding.