Skip to comments.Virginia: Special Election Tomorrow to fill Deceased Couric Senate Seat
Posted on 12/17/2001 12:48:35 PM PST by Ligeia
Republican and Democrat big guns are flying into Albemarle County to sound off for their candidates in Tuesdays special election for a Virginia Senate seat.
Gov.-elect Mark R. Warner delivered a warm endorsement in Albemarle on Sunday for Del. R. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath County, calling him the best person to further the legacy of the late senator Emily Couric.
U.S. Sen. George F. Allen is expected to deliver his endorsement of Republican hopeful Jane Maddux at noon today on the steps of the University of Virginias Rotunda.
About 50 donors of $1,000 each to Deeds campaign applauded Warner and lunched on smoked salmon and rare roast beef Sunday at the Albemarle home of James B. and Bruce Murray south of Red Hill.
Warner, who takes office Jan. 12, said Deeds brings a commitment to education [and] an understanding of the unique nature of rural Virginia.
I can think of no better person to continue [Courics] legacy than Creigh Deeds, Warner said of the Democrat, a 10-year veteran of the House of Delegates who served four years as Bath County commonwealths attorney.
The governor-elect, who carried every locality in the 25th Senate District on Nov. 6, said Deeds understands the need for strong public schools in every corner of Virginia. If we leave behind the other side of the mountain, or other parts of rural Virginia, we are not going to prosper, Warner told the crowd.
James Murray, a former College of William & Mary rector and Warners business partner the past 15 years, introduced Deeds as the father of legislation creating the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation.
Warner called Deeds a legislator who works well with Democrats and Republicans and a rising star in the Democratic Party whom he would rely upon in the state Senate.
I expect to have good relations with both the Senate and the House on a bipartisan basis to help solve Virginias budget crisis, Warner said.
I am proud to endorse without reservation Creigh Deeds for the state Senate, he said. He will be a fine state senator.
The Virginia Senate has 22 Republicans and 17 Democrats, pending the result of Tuesdays election to fill the remaining two years of Courics second four-year term.
Couric defeated Maddux in every precinct of the old 25th District in 1999, winning by more than 12,000 votes. But turnout in Tuesdays election is expected to be low, perhaps ranging from 15 percent to 25 percent of the districts registered voters.
In a special election a week out from Christmas, every vote counts many times over, Warner reminded the gathering.
Democrats said they believe that Deeds, like Warner, can carry every locality in the new 25th District, although Albemarle, the districts largest locality, is the real battleground of the race.
J. Scott Leake, executive director of the General Assemblys Joint Republican Caucus, said Maddux can win the election but must carry Albemarle by a sufficient margin to overcome the expected Democratic margins in Charlottesville plus the western end of the district, stretching from Keswick to the West Virginia line.
Of Albemarles 52,801 registered voters, nearly 5,900 in the western precincts of Crozet, Free Union and most of Brownsville are no longer in 25th Senate District.
The new district includes Bath and Alleghany counties plus Covington, Buena Vista and most of Rockbridge County. On the east side of the Blue Ridge, Nelson and most of Albemarle plus Charlottesville and the Glenmore Precinct of Buckingham County form the populous half of the district.
All polling precincts in the district open at 6 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m.
UPCOMING 25th SENATE DISTRICT SPECIAL ELECTION Republican Jane Maddux faces Democrat Creigh Deeds in the special election for the 25th Senate District TOMORROW, Tuesday, December 18, 2001. Yesterday, Charlottesville's Daily Progress endorsed Jane's candidacy.
Jane will hold a press conference TODAY, Monday, December 17th, with Sen. George Allen at 12 noon on the street side steps of the UVa Rotunda. Senator Allen will articulate the reasons why Jane is uniquely qualified to represent taxpayers in the 25th District.
Please make plans to help with last minute phone banks, lit drops, yard signs, election day activities, etc. If you cannot help in person, please send Jane some money to help her get her message to the voters and her voters to the polls.
Jane Maddux's Campaign Headquarters is located in Charlottesville on Berkmar Circle. For more information, please call Jane Maddux's Campaign Headquarters at (434) 971-7457.
BY CARLOS SANTOS
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
CHARLOTTESVILLE - It's special election time in the new 25th Virginia Senate District, a voting area shaped like a fanciful bowtie and now being traversed in haste by two candidates who have had only about six weeks to win the hearts of voters.
The candidates are Del. R. Creigh Deeds, a 43-year-old Democrat from Bath County who has served in the House of Delegates for a decade, and Republican Jane S. Maddux, 51, a Charlottesville businesswoman who ran unsuccessfully against the late state Sen. Emily Couric in 1999.
The winner, who will be determined in a special election on Tuesday, will serve out the remaining two years of Couric's term. Couric died of pancreatic cancer in October.
Maddux said she is cautiously optimistic about winning, though she concedes the newly redistricted 25th is slightly more Democratic than the old district, whose voters twice elected Couric, a Democrat.
"It's a challenge," said Maddux, who owns a hair salon on the downtown mall in Charlottesville. "But we have a fantastic grassroots organization. I have so many friends in the area. I have great name recognition."
She also pointed out what might be Deed's greatest handicap in wooing voters. Most of them - 65 percent to 70 percent - live in Albemarle County and Charlottesville. Deeds is from Bath County, a couple of mountain ranges and 100 miles or so from Charlottesville.
"I've lived [in Albemarle] for 25 years. I've raised a family here. I've been a community activist. I've worked with a lot of people. Mr. Deeds has no idea about this area," Maddux said.
Deeds, the outgoing chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, is well-known in Richmond from his work as a delegate at the General Assembly. (His first name Creigh is pronounced Cree.) He is well known in Bath County, too, where he once served as commonwealth's attorney and now practices law from his office in Hot Springs. Though born in Richmond, Deeds has essentially lived at his family's Bath County homeplace, near Millboro, since he was 7.
"If people want to elect someone who lives here in Charlottesville, I can't fix that," said Deeds. "I live in Bath."
Deeds said, however, that he is used to traversing long distances to keep in touch with his constituents. The district that he represented for years in the House ran from Augusta County to Botetourt County.
"I anticipate being here in Charlottesville one day a week," Deeds said. "I will be maintaining an office here."
Political expert Larry Sabato said Deeds shouldn't be too worried about Charlottesville's loyalties. "He is a Democratic candidate in a Democratic district and is strongly back by a Democratic organization in an area he is not from." Sabato was referring to the powerful and tight-knit Democratic machine in Charlottesville that is backing Deeds.
While both candidates have been campaigning hard and filling the airways and mailboxes with political ads, are voters, weary from a just-concluded, long gubernatorial race, even listening?
"We're doing everything we can do," said Deeds, who has been campaigning door to door in Albemarle County's subdivisions. "Ultimately the people will decide. You can't make people vote."
Sabato said a 20- to 25-percent turnout of registered voters would be respectable considering less than 50 percent of registered voters turned out for the gubernatorial elections.
But the voter turnout might still be a wild card. "Special elections are always squirrely," said Sabato, who noted that harried voters must concentrate on an election that will be held only a week before Christmas.
Couric, who was an extremely popular senator in the 25th District and a rising political star in the state, is, not surprisingly, still a factor in the race. Both Deeds and Maddux have used her name to get votes.
"Emily and I share a common belief in . . . working for your community and understanding the needs of this area," Maddux said of her former political opponent.
Deeds, who called Couric a friend, is being backed by Couric's family. In a mailing sent out to district voters Wednesday, Couric's husband and two sons wrote that "on issues so important to her such as education, the environment, and fiscal responsibility, Emily nearly always found a like mind in Creigh."
No single hot-button issue has distinguished the two candidates. Both have hammered on the importance of more money for education. Deeds has been a long-time advocate of state parks and of the environment. Maddux has pushed her concern for health care issues, including the need for earlier and more frequent breast cancer screenings to be paid by health insurance companies.
Both oppose the proposed U.S. 29 bypass, at least as it now stands to be constructed - an issue that has haunted Charlottesville and Albemarle commuters faced with increasing traffic congestion.
Deeds, meanwhile, has been touting his political experience. Maddux has not been elected to any office.
"I can get things done. I've been doing it for 10 years in the General Assembly," he said.
Maddux said the biggest difference between her and Deeds is her political philosophy of less government, personal responsibility and the need for more local government control.
Sabato said Maddux could gain some crucial votes because of the "woman factor" - voters choosing her simply because of her gender - because Deeds is so far from the heart of the district and if Deed-backers, especially in his home area, just don't turn out to vote.
But Sabato said, in his mind, the race "isn't tough to call" in part because the 25th District is so Democratic and because of Deeds' long legislative experience.
"Maddux is going to need a lot of luck," to win, he said.
In Tuesday's special election, Jane Maddux or Creigh Deeds will take Emily Couric's uncompleted term.
THE ROANOKE TIMES
Creigh Deeds spent much of the fall learning his way around a new House of Delegates district and preparing for the probability that his fellow Democrats would elect him as their floor leader in 2002.
Jane Maddux spent the same period working for Republican candidates and pondering her own future run for political office.
Their plans changed shortly after the death Oct. 18 of state Sen. Emily Couric, a Charlottesville Democrat who had held the 25th District seat for six years. In the span of a few weeks, Deeds and Maddux emerged as the top candidates in a race to fill the remaining two years of Couric's term. Their campaigns will conclude Tuesday, when voters in the reconfigured district will cast ballots in a special election.
The election will be the second in as many months for Deeds, a Warm Springs lawyer who recently finished a successful campaign for a sixth House term in a district that stretches from Bath County to Blacksburg.
Maddux, an Albemarle County business owner, is no stranger to the campaign trail, either. She lost to Couric two years ago, getting 34 percent of the vote in her first try for public office.
This election battle is being fought within new district boundaries created this year by the General Assembly. The district stretches from Charlottesville to the West Virginia border and includes Alleghany and Bath counties, the southern portion of Rockbridge County and the cities of Covington and Buena Vista.
The new boundaries stirred up a hornet's nest of legal issues and threats of lawsuits. Because Madison, Greene and portions of Orange and Albemarle counties were removed from the district, voters in those counties cannot participate in this election and must wait two years to vote for who represents them in the Senate.
"They're not the districts I wanted," said Deeds, who could not have sought the Senate seat if the old boundaries were used. Republicans, who hold majorities in both houses of the General Assembly, controlled the redistricting process, Deeds said. The GOP holds a five-seat majority in the 40-member Senate pending the outcome of Tuesday's election.
If Deeds wins , a special election Jan. 8 will fill his House seat. The 2002 General Assembly session begins Jan. 9.
Deeds, 43, has done most of his campaigning east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where the majority of the district's voters live. He has Couric loyalists backing him as he tries to make inroads in vote-rich Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
Maddux, 51, has spent most of her time in densely populated parts of the district but has not ignored the western counties.
"We've executed our plan as we set out to do," she said. "Our grass-roots effort is going better than we could have hoped."
Both candidates have identified public education and health care as defining issues in the race.
Deeds has been a vocal critic of GOP legislative leaders for failing to amend Virginia's two-year budget and leaving the state with no money to raise teachers' salaries. He has also called for revisions to the state's controversial Standards of Learning, arguing that the current standards put too much emphasis on memorization and too little on "analytical thinking."
Maddux supports the SOLs and said the standards may only need gradual adjustments over time. She also supports tax credits to help parents pay for private-school tuition, an issue that has gained support as Republicans have built majorities in the legislature. She rejects critics' complaints that the tax breaks would effectively divert taxpayer funds from public schools.
"My intent was never to take away from public schools," she said. "Never, ever."
Maddux and Deeds also have sparred over proposed legislation to exempt specialized health care facilities from the complicated state approval and oversight process applied to hospitals. Maddux said eliminating the state's certificate of public need requirement would enable health care providers to establish specialized, free-standing clinics in rural areas. Her campaign has mailed out brochures criticizing Deeds for opposing a bill last year that "would have expanded and made more accessible cancer screening and treatment."
Deeds said the mailing distorted his position on the bill, which was defeated by a 63-35 vote. Deeds said the elimination of the certificate requirement would not expand health care in rural areas. Instead, he argued, the deregulation would enable health care providers to "cherry pick" patients in densely populated areas and leave hospitals saddled with the costs of caring for indigent patients.
"People are not clamoring to change the law so they can serve the under-served," Deeds said. "People are clamoring to change the law so they can make money."
The two candidates will get assists from leaders of their respective parties in the campaign's final days. Gov.-elect Mark Warner will appear at a Charlottesville fund-raiser for Deeds today, and U.S. Sen. George Allen will make an appearance with Maddux on Monday at the University of Virginia.
CHARLOTTESVILLE - Democratic Del. R. Creigh Deeds, a 43-year-old lawyer from Bath County who has served in the House of Delegates for a decade, handily won today's election to fill the state Senate seat of the late Emily Couric.
According to unofficial results, Deeds received about two-third of the vote in defeating Republican candidate Jane S. Maddux, 51, a Charlottesville businesswoman and public service activist.
The winner will serve the remaining two years Couric's term for the 25th Senate District. Couric, sister of NBC-TV "Today" show host Katie Couric, had been considered a rising Democratic star in Virginia politics.
The sprawling district includes parts of Albemarle, Buckingham and Rockbridge counties and all of Alleghany, Bath and Nelson counties and the cities of Charlottesville, Buena Vista, and Covington.
Not much of a surprise here considering who votes in university towns.
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