Deeds runs away with Va. Gov. primary

Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds has won the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Aaron Blake as the story:
Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds has run away with the Democratic nomination for governor, taking up his party's mantle in one of two key 2009 governor's races.

With 74 percent of the vote in, Deeds had just less than 50 percent of the vote, far outpacing former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry McAuliffe and former state Del. Brian Moran, who were at 26 percent and 23 percent, respectively. The Associated Press has named him the winner.

Deeds came from behind in the final weeks of the campaign, after McAuliffe and Moran went after each other. The state senator also benefited from his Southern Virginia roots, as the two Northern Virginia candidates wound up splitting their base.

The rematch should look plenty different, though, as Deeds will have the national party behind him in a race that will be cast as having national implications. He was badly outspent in the 2005 matchup with McDonnell, who without a primary has built up another war chest for the November general election.

As of 8:40 P.M., according to the Virginia Board of Elections, Deeds leads former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe 49.1 percent to 26.7 percent with nearly 86 percent of precincts reported. Former Virginia Delegate Brian Moran is in third with 24 percent.

Deeds's victory caps off a stunning turn around. Just three weeks ago, polling showed Deeds in third place, trailing McAuliffe by more than 20 points.

But after garnering the endorsement of the Washington Post, Deeds's numbers started to rise and he unquestionably had the momentum going into Tuesday.

It is worth noting that at this point in the evening he has nearly doubled McAuliffe's vote count.

jeremy.jacobs@thehill.com