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2009: And so it begins…

Over the weekend, all three Democratic contenders for Virginia governor -- Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe, Brian Moran -- addressed the VA Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Richmond. "Although this is his first run for elective office, McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, put on quite a show downtown before the dinner began: He brought in three busloads of supporters, and Richmond police shut down the street in front of the convention center so he and about 100 people could parade," the Washington Post reported.

More: "During his remarks, Moran sought to define the contest as one between two men with deep ties to Virginia politics -- him and Deeds -- and McAuliffe. In a hard-hitting speech, Moran took repeated swipes at McAuliffe without mentioning him by name, suggesting that he was an outsider who would lead the party to defeat in November if he were the Democratic nominee. 'We must decide what our party stands for,' Moran said. 'Will our party be built from the bottom up or from the top down? Will our party be about public service or personal gain? Will our party be dominated by big money or those who raise it?'" 

Meanwhile, "Deeds, who was the Democratic nominee for attorney general in 2005, used his speech to try to position himself as an alternative to McAuliffe and Moran. 'If you want a nominee who is part of that corporate CEO culture, then I'm not the candidate for you,' said Deeds, who says he will fight for the middle class. If you want a nominee who is part of the partisan bickering that has paralyzed our nation for far too long, then I'm not your guy.'"

Bill Clinton delivered the keynote speech at the JJ Dinner. He "told Virginia Democrats Saturday that the party has won America's long-running culture war but has to make sure not to squander it with partisanship."