Sabato: McAuliffe Doesn't Fit Virginia

In the Democratic primary race, McAuliffe may not have shaken his carpetbagger image.

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By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers

If former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe doesn't pull off a victory in today's Virginia Democratic primary race for governor, it most likely will be because he never managed to shed his carpetbagger image. "For a while, [Virginia Democrats] toyed with McAuliffe because of his money and national contacts, but they came to believe that he was not Virginian enough," Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, tells Whispers. "He just doesn't fit Virginia," adds Sabato, who is known for keeping his thumb on the pulse of Virginia and national politics. In recent weeks, Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds has scooted ahead of the former Clintonista in some polls. Deeds was aided by an endorsement from the Washington Post and a late advertising blitz, while McAuliffe has gotten help from Bill Clinton and James Carville. A third Democrat, Brian Moran, is also on the ballot.

"Deeds is widely acknowledged to be the front-runner, and it will now be a surprise if he doesn't win," Sabato says. So what does that spell for McAuliffe as a political candidate? Potentially, the end. "This is a big strikeout," Sabato says.

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