You may not realize it but 25th District Senator Creigh Deeds (D) has a challenger this year. His name is T.J. Aldous and he's hoping his first time running a campaign is successful.
Senator Deeds has served in the General Assembly for decades now. He has the name recognition and a huge fundraising advantage, but Aldous is hoping an anti-incumbent sentiment will be the jolt he needs to win.
If you ask Deeds what he thinks about his opponent in this year's election, you won't get much of a response: "Why would I talk about him? He's got a right to run his campaign; he's got a right to express his views."
But with an election looming 25th District Republican challenger T.J. Aldous is hoping others will do some more talking about him.
"I'm out talking to people every day, and as I do that people are telling me they're seeing me, they're hearing me, they like the message," he said.
Both men say improvements to Virginia's education system is the key to economic growth but Deeds says last year's cuts in education funding sent the wrong message.
"Everything has to be on the table, and that's the position I've always taken, and I've been attacked from both the left and the right because I'm willing to think about what our future is supposed to look like," he stated.
Aldous says, "I'm not convinced that throwing more money to the problem is always the answer."
Aldous says merit pay for teachers and strengthening family units will lead to better educated students and more jobs. The problem now is getting out his name to voters.
"I think that if Mr. Deeds heard what I hear when I go out and meet with people, he'd be less confident. People are wanting something new. They don't like incumbents," he said.
Deeds says, "I'm not entitled to this position just because I've been in it for 10 years. I'm asking people to vote for me and I'm pointing to the record of my years of service, but also to my vision for the future."
As for fundraising, as of August 31 the Virginia Public Access Project reports that Aldous had about $16,000 on hand. But Deeds has about $146,000.
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Derick Waller joined the NBC 29 news team in August, 2010. Prior to this, Derick graduated with degrees in both broadcast journalism and political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story