Politics

Police: Va. senator in hospital after assault

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A state senator and former gubernatorial candidate was critically injured Tuesday after being assaulted at his Virginia home, and another person was found dead inside the home, police and hospital officials said.

The Virginia State Police did not describe how Democratic Sen. R. Creigh (kree) Deeds was injured, and authorities have not identified the other person in the home. Deeds ran for attorney general and governor, losing both times to current Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Deeds was flown to the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville after the assault at his home in rural Bath County, which is in western Virginia on the border with West Virginia. The hospital said Deeds was in critical condition Tuesday morning.

Police planned a news conference at noon. Deeds, a former Bath County prosecutor, was elected to the House of Delegates in 1991 and to the state Senate in 2001, in a special election after the death of Emily Couric. He ran for attorney general in 2005, but lost to McDonnell, a Republican. The margin of victory was fewer than 400 votes out of nearly 2 million cast.

Deeds and McDonnell squared off again in 2009 in the race for governor after Deeds defeated Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran in the Democratic Party. But Deeds lost badly that time. McAuliffe was elected governor earlier this month.

McDonnell said in a statement the news was "utterly heartbreaking." "Creigh Deeds is an exceptional and committed public servant who has always done what he believes is best for Virginia and who gives his all to public service," McDonnell said in the statement.

Gov.-elect McAuliffe called it a sad day for Virginia and the many people who know Creigh. "We join people across the Commonwealth and country in wishing him a full recovery," he said. Deeds, who drafted a constitutional amendment guaranteeing Virginians' right to hunt, long enjoyed support from the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates.

Deeds and his wife, Pam, divorced shortly after the 2009 campaign.

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