- The Washington Times - Friday, June 5, 2009

Terry McAuliffe is still drawing campaign cash in the last week before the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary on June 9, but a second poll this week shows him trailing in the race.

Mr. McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, has raised roughly three times more than his opponents since the last campaign finance period ended May 27, according to figures from the Virginia Public Access Project.

A poll released by Suffolk University on Thursday showed Mr. McAuliffe still trailing state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, who has enjoyed a surge of popularity in recent weeks.

Mr. Deeds leads the race with 29 percent support, compared to 26 percent for Mr. McAuliffe and 23 percent for former Delegate Brian J. Moran, according to the poll of 500 likely Democratic voters. Twenty-two percent remain undecided.

“Creigh is surging in the polls, while McAuliffe’s support is slipping and Moran’s is stagnant,” said David Petts, a pollster and senior adviser with the Deeds campaign. “Today’s poll clearly shows Virginia Democrats are standing with Creigh Deeds because he is the Democrat most prepared to lead.”

Voters were mixed in some areas. For example, when asked which candidate they would lean toward voting for, 27 percent of respondents backed Mr. Deeds. But when asked who they would vote for if standing in a voting booth, 17 percent said they would back Mr. McAuliffe, versus 8 percent for Mr. Moran and only 4 percent for Mr. Deeds.

Mr. Deeds remains ahead despite a significant fundraising advantage held by Mr. McAuliffe. Since May 27, Mr. McAuliffe has raised $304,000, compared to $134,600 raised by Mr. Deeds and about $45,000 by Mr. Moran.

Mr. Deeds collected more than $100,000 on Tuesday alone, the same day a poll released by the North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling showed that he had edged past Mr. McAuliffe.

Mr. Deeds has attributed his newfound popularity to a series of positive TV ads he released in the voter-rich D.C. suburbs of Northern Virginia, as well as a stream of media endorsements. The Washington Post endorsed his candidacy on May 22, while the Bristol Herald Courier and the Martinsville Bulletin gave their support to Mr. Deeds on May 31.

“It calls people to notice,” Mr. Deeds told The Washington Times. “I know people are going to recognize me now, so we are going to continue to surge until June 9th.”

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