U.S. Rep. Jennifer McClellan wants her fellow Virginia Democrat Creigh Deeds to remain in the state Senate.
“I think you were my first 2023 endorsement,” McClellan said to Deeds at a rally in Ix Art Park on Thursday afternoon.
Standing in front of a crowd of about 25 people, McClellan touted Deeds’ record and argued he knows how to get things done.
“He sees a problem, and he says, ‘What do we need to do to fix it?’ He sees communities and people that are struggling and he says, ‘What do we need to do to fix it?’” she said from the outdoor stage at Ix. “Creigh cares.”
Deeds’ experience, both McClellan and Deeds argued, is an asset.
“I have 22 years of seniority in the legislature that I use to deliver for the people that I represent and to get things done,” Deeds said to cheers.
Deeds has received criticism from his opponent in the Democratic primary for the Senate’s 11th District, Del. Sally Hudson, for what Hudson has called the senator’s “seniority privilege.”
“I don’t know what that means,” Deeds told The Daily Progress shortly before the rally began. “It’s not just a matter of accumulating seniority, it’s a matter of using it to deliver for the people you represent, and that’s what I’ve tried to do.”
The Deeds camp has noted that he had 24 bills passed in the past legislative session, more than any other member of the General Assembly.
Deeds described himself to the crowd Thursday — which included notable Democratic figures as Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook, Vice Mayor Juandiego Wade, former city councilor Bob Fenwick and former Virginia congressman L.F. Payne — as both progressive and pragmatic.
McClellan suggested that pragmatism matters when it comes to gun control, citing an assault weapons bill Deeds wrote and got out of the state Senate in January, when they both served in that body together.
“He understood that if you’re going to pass commonsense gun legislation to affect and prevent gun violence, it’s got to be constitutional,” she said.
Hudson has accused Deeds of not being tough enough on the issue, citing a 2020 decision he made to vote against a bill that would have banned the sale of assault-style weapons and the possession of high-capacity magazines.
In April, Deeds explained to The Daily Progress that he didn’t support the bill because it “wouldn’t have withstood constitutional scrutiny.”
Before the rally, McClellan again mentioned the recent assault weapons ban Deeds sponsored, telling The Daily Progress that only Deeds could have gotten that bill through the state Senate.
“He can bridge the gap between rural Virginia and urban Virginia who have very different views on gun,” she said. “Being able to talk to both groups and finding common ground where possible is how he got it out.”