|I recently sat down with Stevens and his campaign team to discuss his candidacy and the state of his race. I was privileged to be the first person outside the campaign to view the latest tracking poll and see why they are excited about where they stand going into what is viewed as the heart of the campaign season. The 86th is actually a very solid Democratic area overall even though there is a Republican congressman and delegate. The district has the highest Democratic performance of any district in the state that is currently being represented by a Republican. A telling example of how the district leans is that this poll gives both President Obama and Governor Kaine favorable ratings in regards to job performance (59 and 55 percent respectively). Even more telling is the fact that Creigh Deeds leads Bob McDonnell by a solid 16 point margin among voters in this district.
In his last race, Tom Rust had a very difficult challenge from Jay Donahue and narrowly won reelection. Given the way things are looking right now in the district, I believe Rust will be in for the political fight of his career and one that will not end in his favor. The fact that this poll shows a tie between Miller and Rust at 40% right now is not a good sign for an incumbent like Rust who has been involved in the area politically for nearly 20 years. Rust is a relatively well-liked guy, but his vulnerability stems from his failure to deliver results to people like me and the rest of his constituents in the 86th in areas like transportation and the economy.
Rust and Albo were the driving forces behind the disaster known as the abusive driver fees which did nothing for transportation and if anything hurt the issue because it was such a waste of time to begin with. In economic development, Rust has consistently voted against the Governor's Economic Opportunity Fund which eventually helped Miller and Tim Kaine successfully bring good-paying jobs from Raytheon to Dulles. It is also important to note that Bob McDonnell has even come out in support of this fund as well, though unlike Creigh Deeds, McDonnell consistently opposed the economic development tool. If Rust and McDonnell had their way, the commonwealth wouldn't have created the 78,000 jobs credited to the Opportunity Fund.
Because Rust is highly vulnerable in areas like economic development-a major issue on the minds of voters-Miller starts the stretch run of this campaign in a dead heat. Miller said he is running because he believes if the district were represented by someone who was intent on making a difference, we could grow our economy, fix our roads and bring more of our tax dollars home to fund our schools. In each of those areas, Rust has simply failed to deliver.
The Miller campaign has all momentum right now and at just the right time in the campaign going into Labor Day. They have an experienced and motivated staff getting the message out about how Stevens has been successful in his first term as a board supervisor as a leader who is focused on solutions and not partisan politics like I've seen and experienced with Rust. The number of volunteers coming to help with the campaign is increasing everyday to knock on doors and call voters to tell them that Stevens Miller is the candidate the 86th District needs when the stakes have never been higher. As a resident of the 86th I can saw with all confidence and assurance that Virginia Democrats know this is a race that'll be a top pick for them this coming November. As the campaign continues towards November I'll be keeping everyone updated about Stevens, his campaign and everything else going on in the 86th District as we work to get a Democrat elected to the House.