Scenes from the Democratic state convention:
Where's the contest? It all seemed rather tame by comparison.
Where the Republicans had walls of Norfolk's Scope Arena papered with banners and posters, the Democrats had mostly blank walls in Richmond Coliseum.
Where the GOP had a seemingly endless supply of balloons and buttons and placards, the Democrats had only token convention paraphernalia.
And where the Republicans had at least one spirited contest for party nominations, the Democrats had none.
It all added up to a nominating convention that picked its candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in a fast-paced session that ended barely 19 hours after it started. That was in sharp contrast to the GOP convention a week earlier that dragged on for hours as delegates spent almost two days mired in competitive politics over the selection of a nominee for lieutenant governor.
Without the competition, the Democrats found little to do other than mill about the convention floor, trading political gossip. Even the crowd was small by comparison. The Democrats turned out about 3,500 conventioneers while the Republicans attracted about 8,500.
Muttered one Democrat, "It would have been more exciting to stay home and watch my edible pea pods grow."
Beer bust. Opening night for some delegates was a little bitter. It wasn't the politics, it was the beer.
The Richmond Coliseum has a contract with Coors, which for years has battled an image that it is anti-union. Organized labor officials strongly suggested the beer was inappropriate for a Democratic gathering and on Saturday, Coors was gone and Pabst Blue Ribbon was in its place.
Mellowing. George C. Rawlings of Lorton, renowned as much for his loud suits as for his often cantankerous presence, seemed to personify the new unity -- and dullness -- at this convention. Rawlings was wearing a pale yellow suit, surely a first for him and the Democrats.
Rawlings even acknowledged that he had stifled himself several times when he really wanted to object.
Staff Shakeup. The smooth-running convention was one of the last duties for Judy Griswald, coexecutive director of the state party for much of the past year. Griswald, a chief aide to former party chairman Alan A. Diamonstein of Newport News, is to take a staff job with Gov. Charles S. Robb.
Griswald will begin work June 24 for David A. McCloud, Robb's chief of staff.She is expected to be replaced by Robert (Bobby) Watson, a longtime aide to Lt. Gov. Richard J. Davis.
Davis succeeded Diamonstein as party chairman at the convention, agreeing a month ago to accept the post and at the same time dropping his bid for governor. Bonnie Reed, a former party official who has worked for Davis, is expected to switch back to the party headquarters.
The staff changes, some party members said, suggest that Davis will take his new job seriously. There have been rumors Davis will serve only a "transition" period through the election and then give up the post to Del. Richard M. Bagley of Hampton, now the party's vice chairman of operations and a candidate for governor in 1989. Diamonstein, who had not wanted to relinquish the party job, will remain active on the state central committee thanks to a rule change at the convention.
Bernard Craighead, who worked with Griswald, recently moved to Northern Virginia and the Democratic National Committee where he is the new southern states coordinator for national party chairman Paul Kirk. Craighead, from Richmond, was seen all around the convention floor Friday and Saturday, keeping his hand in Virginia politics.
Money matters. State Sen. L. Douglas Wilder of Richmond, the first black to win a major party endorsement for statewide office, wound up the convention weekend by attending a $1,000-a-person fund-raiser at the Richmond home of investment banker McLain T. O'Ferrall, a major Robb backer in '81.
Wilder, whose Senate district includes Richmond's famed "Main Street" of bankers and business leaders, took in $42,000 from the executives, including stockbroker S. Buford Scott and Richmond lawyer Lewis T. Booker.
Wilder expects to hire a campaign manager in about 10 days, he said Tuesday, as well as a full-time scheduler and volunteer coordinator.
Time to Deal. Conservative fund raiser Richard A. Viguerie is back in the cards after losing his bid for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.
But this time it's at the poker table where he deals with the likes of Washington Post editors Bob Woodward and Peter Silberman and White House correspondents Lou Cannon of the Post and Larry Barrett of Time magazine.
Viguerie dropped out of the game for several months while on the campaign trail but was back at the table Monday night -- barely a week after being beat out for the nomination by State Sen. John H. Chichester of Fredericksburg. Though he lost his first bid for statewide elected office, he won Monday night's poker pot.