Updated: 8:58 p.m.
State Sen. Creigh Deeds won a resounding victory over his two Democratic rivals in Virginia’s gubernatorial primary on Tuesday and will now face Republican former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell in the general election.
With 90 percent of precincts reporting in the low turnout election, the Associated Press called the race for Deeds, who had 50 percent of the vote to former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe’s 26 percent and former state Del. Brian Moran’s (D) 23 percent.
Deeds had been gaining momentum late in the race, particularly in Northern Virginia where Moran and McAuliffe had been battling it out for most of the campaign.
In the end, Deeds margin of victory was surprisingly large in a contest in which he was outspent by both his Democratic rivals. From Jan. 1 to the end of May, Deeds spent $1.69 million compared with Moran’s $1.71 million and McAuliffe’s $3.05 million.
But Deeds’ moderate profile helped carry him to victory over McAuliffe’s deep pockets and Moran’s more liberal views. Deeds also appeared to be the biggest beneficiary of Moran’s attacks on McAuliffe late in the campaign.
Even before the votes were counted Tuesday evening, the Democratic Governor’s Association was laying out its line of attack against McDonnell for the November general election. In a release, DGA Executive Director Nathan Daschle specifically pointed to McDonnell’s “lackluster fundraising— and state Republican Party divisions as reasons why any of the three Democrats would be well positioned against McDonnell.