Creigh Deeds, the Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia, has a Barack Obama problem. Obama won Virginia in last year’s presidential race–the first Democrat to do so in 44 years–but his popularity in the state has plunged since then. Deeds is conflicted. Asked if he’s an “Obama Democrat,” Deeds said he’s a “Creigh Deeds Democrat,” whatever that is. And he’s skipped two of three Obama appearances in Virginia during the campaign season.
The rub is Deeds can’t live with Obama, and can’t live without him. His campaign is sputtering, he trails Republican Bob McDonnell by 7 points or more in every poll, and the Democratic base is demoralized. He needs Obama’s help in arousing voters and creating a Democratic surge in turnout on November 3.