Creigh Deeds

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Creigh Deeds
Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds 2012.jpg
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 25th district
Assumed office
December 27, 2001
Preceded byEmily Couric
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 18th district
In office
January 8, 1992 – December 27, 2001
Preceded byBo Trumbo
Succeeded byClay Athey
Personal details
Robert Creigh Deeds

(1958-01-04) January 4, 1958 (age 61)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Pamela Miller (divorced)
Siobhan Lomax (2012–present)
Gus (deceased)[1]
Alma materConcord University
Wake Forest University

Robert Creigh Deeds (/ˈkr/; born January 4, 1958) is an American politician serving as a member of the Senate of Virginia representing the 25th district since 2001. Previously, he was the Democratic nominee for Attorney General of Virginia in 2005 and Governor of Virginia in 2009. He was defeated in both of those races by Republican Bob McDonnell. Deeds lost by just 323 votes in 2005, but was defeated by a wide margin of almost 18 percentage points in 2009. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1992 to 2001.[2][3][4]

On November 19, 2013, Deeds was critically wounded during an incident at his home in Millboro, in Bath County, Virginia, where he was stabbed multiple times by his son Austin "Gus" Deeds. Gus was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the home.[1][5][6] Deeds recovered and was discharged three days later.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Deeds was born on January 4, 1958, in Richmond, Virginia.[2] The name "Creigh" is a family surname, originating from Confederate war hero, David Creigh, a distant relative.[8] His family moved early in his life to Bath County. After graduating from Bath County High School, Deeds enrolled in Concord College. He then entered the Wake Forest University School of Law, from which he received his Juris Doctor in 1984.

A Washington Post article published April 12, 2010, revealed that Deeds and his wife Pam had divorced as of February 4, (as The Washington Post described) "a casualty of a nearly 20-year pursuit of a lifelong ambition that kept him away from home".[9]

Deeds married Siobhan Gilbride Lomax of Lexington, Virginia, in June 2012.[10]


On November 19, 2013, Deeds was stabbed multiple times at his home in Bath County, Virginia by his 24-year-old son, Gus, who then committed suicide.[5] Deeds was initially reported to be in critical condition at University of Virginia Medical Center.[1][6] Although a judge had issued an involuntary commitment order for Gus, and despite an intensive search, no available hospital bed could be found to provide him mental health treatment in the days before the attempted murder and he was released home without the ordered treatment.[11] As a consequence, several changes were made in the screening and admission process for people undergoing an emergency psychiatric examination in Virginia.[12]

Political career[edit]

House of Delegates[edit]

Deeds won election to the Virginia House of Delegates 1991 by defeating incumbent Emmett Hanger in a 57%–41% victory. This started a nine-year career in the Virginia House of Delegates.

In the House of Delegates, Deeds introduced several legislative proposals, including introducing Megan's Law to the Virginia General Assembly, which was passed in 1998.[13] Other legislation promoted by Deeds include environmental protection and anti-drug laws.[14] In 1994 Deeds supported and was a major co-sponsor of George Allen's initiative to abolish parole for those convicted of a felony.

State Senate[edit]

Deeds won a special state senate election in 2001 to succeed Emily Couric, who had died of pancreatic cancer.[15] During Deeds' Senate tenure, legislation that Deeds proposed includes:[16]

  • SB150 – Requires that direct recording electronic devices[clarification needed] be equipped to produce a contemporaneous paper record of each vote that can be verified by the voter and used in recounts. (2006)
  • SB891 – Requires the board of visitors of each public two-year and four-year institution of higher education to provide reduced in-state tuition rates for the children of faculty and staff members employed by the institution, effective for the 2008–2009 academic year. (2007) Not enacted, rolled into SB982 and left in the Senate Finance Committee.[17][18]
  • SB34 – Increases the mandatory retirement age for judges from age 70 to age 75. (2008)
  • SB669 – Permits ABC agents to check the national criminal database when conducting background checks on prospective licensees. (2008)

Deeds was also a proponent of a Senate resolution to close Virginia's gun show loophole, and made public appearances to generate support for the measure.[19]

Attorney General campaign[edit]

Democratic Senator Creigh Deeds preparing to formally announce his candidacy for Virginia Attorney General at an event in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In 2005, Deeds and John Edwards—a Virginia state senator from Roanoke—each announced that they planned to run for Attorney General of Virginia in the Democratic primary. Edwards later decided not to run, leaving Deeds as the sole candidate for the Democratic nomination for the office.[20]

In the general election campaign, running against Republican nominee Bob McDonnell, Deeds ran on his record as a moderate Democrat who supported gun rights, strong punishment for criminals, and the death penalty. Deeds' stance on gun control included supporting a ban on semi-automatic firearms,[citation needed] but that did not prevent him from earning the endorsement of the NRA, which cited his patronage of a state constitutional amendment that guaranteed the right to hunt.[21] McDonnell outspent Deeds by almost three million dollars (McDonnell spent $5,962,067 to Deeds' $3,103,585); $2,084,089 of McDonnell's campaign contributions were funneled through the Republican State Leadership Committee,[22] exploiting a loophole in state law that was closed by the General Assembly shortly after the election.[23][24]

The initial result of the vote was 49.96%–49.95%, with Deeds behind by fewer than 350 votes.[25] Due to the closeness of the race's outcome, Deeds asked for a recount. Judge Theodore Markow of Richmond set the recount for December 20, 2005, a date so close to the inauguration that invitations to the event were mailed without a name for the attorney general to be inaugurated. The recount reaffirmed the earlier outcome, and McDonnell became attorney general.[26]

Gubernatorial campaign[edit]

Deeds announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for governor on December 13, 2007.[27] At the end of a close three-way race against former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe and former State Delegate Brian Moran, Deeds won by a large margin, taking about 50 percent of the vote in the June 9, 2009, Democratic Primary.[28] He again faced McDonnell, the Republican nominee, in the November 2009 general election. McDonnell was selected at his party's nominating convention.[29] Deeds lost the gubernatorial race by a wide margin to McDonnell, 41.25% to 58.61%.[30]

Electoral history[edit]

To date, both of the elections Creigh Deeds has lost were to his 2005 Attorney General opponent Bob McDonnell, to whom he also lost in the 2009 Gubernatorial race.

Political positions[edit]


  • Deeds has stated that he will not make a no-tax-increase pledge and wrote in The Washington Post that he would support a new gas tax to fund transportation.[31][32][33]
  • In January 2009, Deeds proposed up to a $10,000 tax credit for businesses that made "job-creating investments."[34]
  • Deeds supported exemption of the sales tax on the purchase of solar or wind energy systems for homeowners.[34]
  • Deeds voted for a bill in the State Senate which would raise the Virginia gas tax $0.06 per gallon over the next 6 years.[35]
  • Deeds is in favor of giving tax credits to businesses that produce green jobs.[36]

Consumer advocacy[edit]

Death penalty[edit]

  • Deeds supports removing the "trigger-man" clause, which restricts the death penalty to those who physically committed the action, in Virginia capital punishment law.[38]
  • In 2005, Deeds said that he disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling (Roper v. Simmons) making it unconstitutional to execute juveniles. He argued that it was the jury's duty to determine when and where the death penalty should come into play.[39]

Gay marriage[edit]

  • In 2006, Deeds was part of the unanimous Democratic coalition that voted to oppose an amendment to the Virginia State Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage.[40]
  • Deeds announced he would be voting against the above amendment because he said that the Amendment went too far in its definition of marriage.[41]
  • In July 2009, Deeds stated he believes "Marriage is between a man and a woman" and declined to say gay marriage is a civil right.[42]

Gun control[edit]

  • Deeds was endorsed by the NRA during his 2005 Attorney General run over Republican Bob McDonnell.[43] In the 2009 gubernatorial race, the NRA endorsed McDonnell.
  • Deeds proposed a measure, which ultimately failed, that would eliminate private sales at gun shows. The bill's proponents called it a measure to prevent another disaster like the Virginia Tech massacre[44] even though the shooter purchased his firearms from licensed gun dealers and not at a gun show.
  • Deeds supports a state ban on the civilian ownership of assault weapons.[45]
  • Deeds signed a pledge to repeal the law that restricts citizens from buying more than one handgun a month.[46] The law was repealed by his opponent, Bob McDonnell in February 2012 [47]
  • Deeds has voted multiple times against Castle Doctrine bills
    • In January 2011, Deeds voted against Senate Bill 876 (Castle Doctrine) which would have allowed "a lawful occupant use of physical force, including deadly force, against an intruder in his dwelling who has committed an overt act against him, without civil liability."[48]
    • In February 2011, Deeds was one of eight senators on the Senate Courts of Justice Committee who "passed by indefinitely" House Bill 1573, defeating the bill by an 8 to 4 margin.[49]

Illegal immigration[edit]

  • Deeds voted to designate English as the official language of the Commonwealth.[50]
  • Deeds voted to make undocumented immigrants ineligible for state and local benefits.[50]
  • Deeds voted against a bill allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates.[50]

2010 redistricting[edit]

  • Deeds introduced SB926 to create a 7-member non-partisan committee to oversee the 2010–2011 Redistricting plan. In 2009, the Bill passed the State Senate 39-0, but was killed by the House of Delegates' Committee on Privileges and Elections.[51] In 2010, the bill once again passed the Senate with unanimous vote of 40–0 before once again being killed in committee by the House of Delegates[52]
  • Deeds said that, if elected Governor of Virginia, he would use his veto power and amendment powers to try and force the House of Delegates into accepting a version of SB926.[53]


  • Deeds' gubernatorial campaign has issued a plan called "Better Schools. Better Jobs" to detail Deeds' plans regarding education.[54] The plan calls for up to $15,000 in student loans for 4-year college students, and for creating partnerships with community colleges and traditional universities.


  • Deeds was criticized by the McDonnell campaign for lacking a coherent transportation plan. During the second debate between the candidates, McDonnell held up a blank sheet of paper as a representation of the Deeds plan.[55]
  • Deeds later wrote a column in The Washington Post laying out his plan, which includes the possibility of a new gas tax or other tax.[33]


  1. ^ a b c "Deeds critically wounded; son dead from gunshot". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Virginia House of Delegates. "Historical Bio for R. Creigh Deeds".
  3. ^ Tim Craig (December 13, 2007). "Creigh Deeds Announces Bid for Governor". The Washington Post.
  4. ^ "Commonwealth of Virginia, November 8, 2005 – General Election, Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Sen. Deeds in serious condition". The Highland Recorder. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Creigh Deeds stabbing leaves state senator in critical condition". WJLA/Allbritton Communications. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
  7. ^ Lavender, Paige (November 22, 2013). "Creigh Deeds Released From Hospital". The Huffington Post.
  8. ^ Helderman, Rosalind S. (July 4, 2009). "Hmmm. So You Say That How? - The Washington Post". Retrieved November 19, 2013.
  9. ^ Kunkle, Frederick (April 12, 2010). "After loss, Va's Deeds tries to regain his footing". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 12, 2010.
  10. ^ "Senator R. Creigh Deeds Democrat-District 25". Virginia Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  11. ^ Virginia Political Figure Stabbed as Son Takes Own Life, Police Say, The New York Times, Trip Gabriel, 19 November 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  12. ^ "Developments in Mental Health Law". University of Virginia. May 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  13. ^ "HB 570 Megan's Law; community notification". Virginia General Assembly. May 14, 1998. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
  14. ^ Deeds for Virginia. "Meet Senator Deeds". Retrieved May 25, 2009. Using his relationships with law enforcement officers and his experience as a prosecutor, Deeds wrote the state law that has turned the tide against homegrown illegal methamphetamine drug labs. In addition to his work to clean up the Kim-Stan landfill Superfund site, Senator Deeds also wrote one of the most progressive laws to preserve open space and protect the environment.
  15. ^ American Cancer Society (October 19, 2001). "Emily Couric, Virginia State Senator Dies of Pancreatic Cancer".
  16. ^ Richmond Sunlight. "Senate Creigh Deeds".
  17. ^ Virginia General Assembly. "SB891 Summary".
  18. ^ Virginia General Assembly. "SB982 Summary".
  19. ^ YouTube (January 26, 2009). "Senator Deeds Builds the Bipartisan Coalition to Close the Gun Show Loophole".
  20. ^ Sluss, Michael (March 4, 2005). "Roanoke senator drops statewide nomination bid". The Roanoke Times. The Times-World Corporation. Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved June 13, 2009. Roanoke state Sen. John Edwards has dropped plans to seek the Democratic nomination for Virginia attorney general, saying he could not devote enough time to mount a competitive campaign. Edwards' decision leaves state Sen. Creigh Deeds of Bath County as the lone candidate for the Democratic nomination, which will be determined in a June 14 primary.
  21. ^ Jenkins, Chris (September 30, 2005). "NRA Backs Democrat For Va. Attorney General". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved April 30, 2010. Virginia Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, who is running for attorney general, received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association
  22. ^ "Attorney General". Virginia Public Access Project. Archived from the original on January 11, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
  23. ^ Nuckols, Christina (February 4, 2006). "Group says McDonnell backing wasn't tied to one donor". Landmark Communications. Retrieved June 12, 2009. McDonnell has been working with lawmakers this year to draft legislation that will require the state leadership committee and similar groups to disclose their donors.
  24. ^ "Mr. McDonnell's Dodge". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. October 28, 2005. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  25. ^ Dave Leip's Election Atlas. "2005 Attorney General General Election Results — Virginia".
  26. ^ Sluss, Michael (December 22, 2005). "Close race finally ends; McDonnell beats Deeds". The Roanoke Times. The Times-World Corporation. Retrieved June 13, 2009. McDonnell became the official winner Wednesday night when a three-judge panel in Richmond Circuit Court certified his 360-vote victory over Democrat Creigh Deeds.
  27. ^ "Creigh Deeds Announces Bid For Governor". The Washington Post. December 13, 2007. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  28. ^ 2009 June Democratic Primary Unofficial Results Archived June 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved on June 10, 2009
  29. ^ Kumar, Anita (November 8, 2008). "Clear Path to Governor's Race". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 6, 2009.
  30. ^ { Archived November 11, 2009, at the Wayback Machine State Board of Elections, November 2009 General Election unofficial results}
  31. ^ "Deeds in a Bit of a Bind on Taxes, Transportation". The Washington Post. September 18, 2009.
  32. ^ "Candidate Closer to N. Va. Than It Seems". The Washington Post. February 1, 2009.
  33. ^ a b Creigh Deeds (September 23, 2009). "My Transportation Plan". The Washington Post.
  34. ^ a b The Richmond Times Dispatch (January 14, 2009). "McDonnell, Deeds pushing Tax credits".
  35. ^ "Moran and Deeds Debate Gas Tax Increase". The Washington Post. July 11, 2008.
  36. ^ (January 18, 2009). "State tax breaks unlikely in slumping economy".
  37. ^ DeedsforVirginia. "Protecting Virginia's Consumers".
  38. ^ "Maryland and Virginia go Separate ways on Death Penalty". The Washington Post. January 27, 2009.
  39. ^ HighBeam Research (March 31, 2005). "Deeds discusses drug prices, death penalty". Archived from the original on October 25, 2012.
  40. ^ The Roanoke Times (June 28, 2006). "Democrats officially against gay marriage amendment".
  41. ^ Blogging the Amendment. "Deeds Announces He Will be Voting NO on Ballot Question #1". Retrieved April 20, 2009.
  42. ^ "Criegh Deeds on Gay Marriage". Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  43. ^ HighBeam Research (September 30, 2005). "NRA endorses Deeds in state race". Archived from the original on October 25, 2012.
  44. ^ "Senate Panel Defeats Bill on Gun Show Sales". The Washington Post. January 24, 2009.
  45. ^ "Dems and guns". June 9, 2009.
  46. ^ Mark Murray (September 24, 2009). "Wilder Won't Endorse Deeds". Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  47. ^ "McDonnell signs repeal of Virginia's one-gun-a-month law". The Washington Times. February 28, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
  48. ^ Norfolk Examiner, January 19, 2011
  49. ^ National Rifle Association, February 15, 2011
  50. ^ a b c Kumar, Anita (Washington Post) (May 17, 2009). "Conservatism Could Hurt Deeds in Democratic Race". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
  51. ^ Richmond Sunlight. "Bipartisan Redistricting Commission; created. (SB926)". Retrieved March 28, 2009.
  52. ^ Whitley, Tyler (March 3, 2010). "House panel kills bipartisan redistricting". Richmond Times Dispatch. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
  53. ^ Decision Virginia, NBC 12 (February 17, 2009). "Deeds fights for redistricting plan". Retrieved March 28, 2009.
  54. ^ Deeds for Virginia. "Better Schools. Better Jobs". Retrieved May 23, 2009.
  55. ^ "Gubernatorial Debate Turns Contentious in Va". Retrieved October 5, 2009.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Tim Kaine
Democratic nominee for Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
Terry McAuliffe