Archive: September 2007

Gary Baise and Heroin

Some Fairfax County Democrats are still buzzing about Gary H. Baise's likening of illegal immigration to the heroin trade at his Sept. 18 Chamber of Commerce debate with Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D)....

By Bill Turque | September 28, 2007; 7:36 PM ET | Comments (7)

Democrats Unveil Proposal for Senior Services

House Democrats unveiled a plan Friday to expand services for seniors though in-home and long-term care programs as party leaders continue their tour of the state to convince voters to elect Democrats to the General Assembly in November....

By Anita Kumar | September 28, 2007; 3:10 PM ET | Comments (12)

Democratic Party Asks TV Stations to Pull Ad

Attorneys for the Democratic Party of Virginia are asking cable stations to stop running a controversial TV campaign ad by a Republican state legislator from Fairfax County that uses unidentified, unverified quotes from a blog. ....

By Anita Kumar | September 28, 2007; 12:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

This Week's Winners and Losers

This week's winners: Rep. Thomas M. Davis III: Despite opposition from President Bush, Davis joins 44 other House Republicans in voting to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health care to low-income kids. Davis' vote could upset some conservatives who will help decide whether Davis or former Gov. James S. Gilmore III is the GOP nominee for Senate 2008. But Davis' vote shows how he is already thinking ahead to a general election match up against former governor Mark R. Warner (D)....

By Steve Fehr | September 28, 2007; 11:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

Fairfax Candidate Relocates Tysons

Fairfax County Supervisor Joan M. DuBois (R-Dranesville) did a bit of inexplicable redistricting at the McLean Citizens Association debate Tuesday night when she placed Tysons Corner in the Hunter Mill District. DuBois, locked in what is regarded as a tight race against Democrat John Foust, was trying to make the point that Dranesville often has little control over development activity in Tysons because none of it is in the district. The she added and that she sometimes has a difficult time "getting the attention" of Hunter Mill Supervisor Catherine Hudgins (D) on Tysons issues. This would no doubt be true, since nearly all of the mammoth office and commercial center is in Providence District, represented by Linda Q. Smyth (D). DuBois blanched when informed of the mistake afterward. "Sorry about that," she said....

By Bill Turque | September 27, 2007; 5:57 PM ET | Comments (21)

Schultz to Vogel: Return the Money

Jill Holtzman Vogel, the Republican candidate hoping to replace retiring Virginia Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr. in the 27th District, is getting heat over her husband's lobbying activity in Washington. According to the Northern Virginia Daily, Alex Vogel's firm has lobbied on behalf of the American Immigrant Lawyers Association, which last week announced it supports a bill that would allow provide a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants. Today, her Democratic opponent Karen Schultz called for her husband's firm to return the $63,000 it apparently got from the group to lobby for the bill....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | September 27, 2007; 2:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Announces Esam Omeish's Resignation

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine released this statement today in regards to the resignation of Esam Omeish, recent appointee to the Virginia Commission on Immigration. I have accepted Dr. Esam Omeish's resignation as one of the 10 gubernatorial appointees to the 20-member Virginia Commission on Immigration. Dr. Omeish is a respected physician and community leader, yet I have been made aware of certain statements he has made which concern me. Dr. Omeish indicated that he did not want this controversy to distract from the important work of the Commission. I intend to name another representative of the Muslim community to the Commission in the near future. Kaine faced questions about the appointee after a caller to Kaine's regular program on WRVA Richmond asked the governor about the Omeish appointment and online videos that identify Omeish as the speaker. The Virginia Commission on Immigration was created this year as an advisory commission...

By washingtonpost.com editors | September 27, 2007; 1:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia Notebook: Nasty Campaign Ads

Some candidates for the Nov. 6 state elections are angering some voters with their over the top campaign ads....

By Steve Fehr | September 27, 2007; 11:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia No Longer Red, Kaine Says

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) said today he has high hopes for Democrats this fall as they seek to regain the state Senate and make inroads in the House of Delegates. In an interview on WTOP radio, Kaine declined to predict how many Senate and House seats he expects the Democrats to pick up in the Nov. 6 election. But Kaine said the election will prove Virginia is no longer "a super red state." "It's a competitive state and I believe the results of this year's elections are going to be prove that," said Kaine, who is expected to raise $1 million for his political action committee at an event tonight in Pentagon City. "You don't want to live in a place where one party is given too much control." Despite his confidence, Kaine said plans to spend the next month "fighting like an underdog" to help Democratic candidates....

By Tim Craig | September 25, 2007; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Watkins Beats PW's Marshall

Members of the Virginia Commission on Immigration this morning overwhelmingly selected Sen. John C. Watkins (R-Chesterfield), a moderate, over Del. Robert W. Marshall (R-Prince William) as the chairman of the panel. Despite Marshall's arguments that he should be chairman because he sponsored the bill establishing the commission, the panel voted 16 to 3 to elect Watkins. The panel is suppose to advise Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) on possible changes to state policies related to immigration. In the days leading up to the vote, moderate Senate Republicans and Kaine administration officials sought to line up support for Watkins because they said they thought Marshall was too conservative and combative to be effective....

By Tim Craig | September 25, 2007; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

Immigration Showdown Likely

There could be fireworks tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Virginia Commission on Immigration's first meeting. The commission is studying the state's immigration policies and advising Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) on whether the state should adopt new policies to restrict of the flow of illegal immigrants into the state. Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) was the sponsor of the bill establishing the committee, so he says he should be the chairman of the 20-member panel. But sources say moderate Senate GOP leaders and Kaine administration officials are trying to install Sen. John C. Watkins (R-Chesterfield) as chairman because Marshall has a reputation for being too combative and conservative....

By Tim Craig | September 24, 2007; 2:07 PM ET | Comments (35)

Republicans Press Warner on Taxes

The National Republican Senatorial Committee isn't wasting any time going after Democratic senatorial candidate Mark R. Warner, who was governor between 2002 and 2006.. Even though the 2008 election is more than 13 months away, the RNSCC sent out a statement today challenging Warner to tell voters why he broke his 2001 campaign pledge not to raise state taxes....

By Tim Craig | September 24, 2007; 1:53 PM ET | Comments (11)

New Loudoun PAC

A new political action committee has launched in Loudoun, and it has a familiar target. The Loudoun Coalition, which formed in August, "stands in opposition to five incumbent supervisors who are standing for reelection," according to a Thursday press release announcing the group's formation. If you live in Loudoun, you can probably guess which five they are talking about -- Stephen J. Snow (Dulles), Mick Staton Jr. (Sugarland Run), Jim E. Clem (Leesburg), Eugene A. Delgaudio (Sterling) and Bruce E. Tulloch (Potomac), the board's pro-growth Republicans. "Sounds like one more guy having fun attacking the Republicans," Staton said Friday....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | September 21, 2007; 1:38 PM ET | Comments (1)

Introducing Winners and Losers

Today marks the start of a regular feature of the Virginia Politics blog called "Winners and Losers." It's pretty self-explanatory. In this breezy feature you will find the week's political winners and losers, reflecting the ups and downs of the Virginia political world....

By Steve Fehr | September 21, 2007; 11:51 AM ET | Comments (8)

Fight Brewing Over Budget Shortfall

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine is considering asking lawmakers to dip into the state's "rainy day" fund to make up for a $640 million budget shortfall. But some Republican senators - and one in particular - has a message for the Democratic governor: No way. Sen. William C. Wampler Jr. (R-Bristol), who is in line to become chairman of the Senate Finance Committee if the Republicans retain control of the Senate in November, told reporters Thursday that "now is not the time" to tap the state's savings account. (In its 17-year history, state officials have only had to raid it once.) Instead, some senators want Kaine to consider cutting some of his priorities. Stay tuned. The fight over the budget will likely become a major issue in the General Assembly session that starts in January....

By Anita Kumar | September 20, 2007; 5:32 PM ET | Comments (3)

Fairfax Dems Say Baise's Gloom, Doom Won't Sell

Both camps in the Fairfax County Chairman's race expressed satisfaction with their candidate's showing at Tuesday afternoon's Chamber of Commerce debate. Democratic incumbent Gerry Connolly and Republican attorney Gary Baise took questions for about an hour from a panel of reporters at the Westin Tysons. "I thought Baise was all swagger and not much substance," said George Burke, communications director for the Fairfax County Democratic Committee. "I didn't hear a lot of concrete proposals other than as a private citizen he'd do it differently." Burke said that Baise's core message-- that the quality of life in the county had deteriorated under Connolly's watch--was not going to resonate with voters. He did allow, however, that Baise's extensive experience as a trial lawyer was evident in the poise and ease of his presentation....

By washingtonpost.com editors | September 19, 2007; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (2)

Virginia Notebook: GOP Could Learn From Democrats

If Republicans acted like Democrats, they wouldn't be priming for a clash next year over who their party's nominee will be for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by John W. Warner (R-Va.). With former governor Mark R. Warner (D) now a Senate candidate, Republicans are bracing for a nasty primary or convention battle between Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Fairfax) and former governor James S. Gilmore...

By Steve Fehr | September 19, 2007; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Fireball vs. Monopoly Man

The chairman's race in Loudoun County is heating up -- but not in the way you might think. Three-term incumbent Scott K. York (I), who has been chairman for the past two terms, started off his campaign for reelection this fall not by attacking his opponent but by going after five of his fellow supervisors, all Republicans, whom he has dubbed "the gang of five."...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | September 18, 2007; 6:21 PM ET | Comments (4)

A Virginia GOP Star on the Horizon?

In the race to replace retiring Del. Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Fairfax), Republican Dave Hunt is showing surprising strength in his match up against Democrat Margaret Vanderhye. Campaign finance reports released Tuesday show Hunt raised $118,000 in July and August and has $90,000 in the bank. Vanderhye raised $104,000 during the same period and has $88,000 in the bank. Callahan represents the McLean and Great Falls area, where many voters have sided with the Democrats in recent statewide elections. The race to succeed Callahan holds tremendous symbolism for both parties because he is the last elected Republican to represent a district that is mostly inside the Beltway....

By Tim Craig | September 18, 2007; 5:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Davis Enters "General Betray Us" Fray

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, a possible Republican Senate candidate in 2008, is requesting a inquiry into whether the New York Times allowed Moveon.org to run its controversial "General Betray Us" ad at a discounted rate. In a letter to Henry A. Waxman (D-Ca), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Davis said the "committee should hold a hearing to examine whether the advertising rates and practices of media companies conceal unlawful campaign contributions." Davis is the ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. In his letter, Davis cites a published report that said Moveon paid $65,000 for the ad. Davis said the New York Times admitted that the open rate for such an ad is $181,000....

By Tim Craig | September 18, 2007; 12:17 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kevin Hall to Join Mark Warner's Campaign

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's (D) press secretary, Kevin Hall, announced this morning he is leaving the adminstration to join former governor Mark R. Warner's campaign for the U.S. Senate. Hall said his resignation will take effect in November. He will likely become Warner's chief spokesman for the 2008 campaign. Hall is a former radio reporter and Richmond-based Associated Press print journalist. When Warner (D) was elected governor in 2001, Hall left journalism to become Warner's deputy press secretary in 2002. In 2005, Hall became Warner's chief spokesman, a job he continued in after Kaine toook office in 2006....

By Tim Craig | September 18, 2007; 11:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Roemmelt Doesn't Need Developer Cash

Bruce Roemmelt, a Democratic candidate challenging Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), says he will return a $250 donation he received from Affordable Shelter Political Action Committee because it is a front group for developers. The PAC, affiliated with the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association, gave Roemmelt the money in July. Roemmelt, who has made curtailing sprawl and development a major theme of his campaign, said he discovered the donation as he was preparing to file the campaign finance reports due today....

By Tim Craig | September 17, 2007; 5:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Connolly Endorsed by Green Groups

Gerald E. Connolly (D), chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, on Tuesday will announce endorsements from three environmental organizations: the Sierra Club, the Clean Water Action Project, and the Fairfax chapter of the League of Conservation Voters....

By Steve Fehr | September 17, 2007; 4:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Race Is On

The ad wars have begun in Fairfax County, where two incumbent Republican state senators -- Ken Cuccinelli and Jay O'Brien -- went up on cable TV last week. Cuccinelli's opponent, Democrat Janet Oleszek, is also running an ad on cable....

By Amy Gardner | September 17, 2007; 1:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Del. Kirk Cox Hit by Car; Jody Wagner 'Thankful'

Virginia House Majority Whip M. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights) was struck by a car this morning near the State Capitol, but escaped serious injury. Cox was trying get to a budget presentation by Virginia finance secretary Jody Wagner when he was hit. Midway through Wagner's talk to the House Appropriations Committee, Chairman Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Fairfax) interrupted Wagner to tell the audience that an ambulance was responding to the Capitol grounds to treat Cox. But 15 minutes later, Cox walked into the committee room and took his seat....

By Tim Craig | September 17, 2007; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Gilmore Winning Conservative Support

Two of the nation's leading conservative activists announced today they are supporting former Gov. James Gilmore if he decides to seek the the Republican nomination for the Senate seat being vactated by John W. Warner (R). David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, and Paul Weyrich, executive of the Free Congress Foundation, said in a joint letter that Gilmore is the Republican Party's " best opportunity to hold on to Senator Warner's seat in the election in November of 2008." "He is honest, consistent and conservative," Keene and Weyrich wrote....

By Tim Craig | September 17, 2007; 11:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Bumper Crop of Warner Supporters

When he launched his bid for the U.S. Senate on Sept. 13, former Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) said the campaign wouldn't begin in earnest until after the Nov. 6 state legislative races. But Warner apparently couldn't pass up the chance to promote his candidacy during his annual pig roast on Saturday. Earlier in the week, Warner's staff had 10,000 blue and white 'Mark Warner 08" bumper stickers printed....

By Tim Craig | September 15, 2007; 9:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mark Warner Already 'Battered and Bruised'

Mark Warner's campaign for the U.S. Senate is only three days old and he is already battered and bruised - literally. On Saturday, Warner held his 15th annual pig roast at his farm in King George County overlooking the Rappahannock River. The event attracted several thousand of people, many of whom were Democratic activists or elected officials, who traveled from Richmond or Northern Virginia to spend an afternoon eating pork and talking politics....

By Tim Craig | September 15, 2007; 9:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Jewish Groups Blast Moran Again

Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (R-Va.) has angered several Jewish groups with what they consider to be anti-Semitic remarks. Moran stands by his comments in Tikkun magazine....

By Steve Fehr | September 15, 2007; 10:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Squabbling Continues

The division within the conservative ranks over the controversial fees for bad drivers continues. John H. Hager, chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, was scheduled to speak last Tuesday before a group of conservatives who meet monthly to talk about public policy and state politics....

By Tim Craig | September 14, 2007; 12:34 PM ET | Comments (3)

Connolly Gets Tough...With Average Joe

All Chris Short wanted to do on Monday afternoon was read his statement to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. All Chairman Gerry Connolly wanted to do was argue. The board was holding a public hearing on a proposal to limit the use of the temporary portable storage containers, such as PODS, that have become omnipresent in some neighborhoods. The usual format is for citizens to have their say with a minimum of comment from elected officials, save an occasional question for clarification. Connolly is, by and large, courteous to his speakers but will, from time to time--usually in the midst of a long afternoon--go off on some unsuspecting citizen. Note: Please upgrade your Flash plug-in to view our enhanced content. var thisObj = "flashobj091307_21v"; var so = new SWFObject("http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/mmedia/player/wpniplayer_blog.swf", thisObj, "454", "305", "8", "#ffffff"); so.addParam("allowScriptAccess", "always"); so.addParam("swfliveconnect", true); so.addVariable("thisObj", thisObj); so.addVariable("vid","091307-21v_title"); so.addVariable("playads", "yes"); so.addVariable("adserv",""); so.addVariable("autoStart", "no"); so.write("flashcontent091307_21v"); Play Video...

By washingtonpost.com editors | September 14, 2007; 10:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

Mark Not John

Former Gov. Mark R. Warner ended what little suspense was left yesterday by announcing he's in the U.S. Senate race. Now the attention turns on the Republicans to see what they're going to do. We want to know what you think about the 2008 Senate race. Click on comments. Here are a few reactions....

By Steve Fehr | September 14, 2007; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

Another Civil War?

Movie director Ron Maxwell has been in Loudoun County stumping for at least two Republican candidates in this fall's elections: Greg Ahlemann, who aims to be the next sheriff of Loudoun County, and Jill Holtzman Vogel, who hopes to succeed retiring Virginia Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr. (R-Winchester). Maxwell made the Civil War epics "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals," the latter of which Washington Post film critic Stephen Hunter called "something of a Confederate Honor Restoration Project." What the two candidates have in common is a very early commitment to cracking down on illegal immigration, a position that has become all the rage since Prince William County passed its much-publicized resolution this summer....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | September 13, 2007; 4:27 PM ET | Comments (2)

In Fairfax, Two Schools of Prep

Fairfax County Board Chairman Gerry Connolly (D) and Republican challenger Gary Baise could not be preparing more differently for Tuesday afternoon's Chamber of Commerce debate at the Westin Tysons Corner. Baise, a Republican attorney his first run for public office, said he has been meeting with advisers, studying briefing books and doing mock debates. "It's just like I'd prepare for a case," said Baise, who mostly defends corporate clients in environmental matters. "I'm reading documents. I always do moot courts. " And Connolly? Not much, really. The Democratic incumbent, seeking a second term, said the plan is to show up. "If you don't know it by now, cramming isn't going to help," he said. "I usually just go for a walk in the morning to clear my head." Baise, who is expected to attack Connolly's record on traffic and transportation policy, trails Connolly by close to a 10-to-1 margin in...

By Bill Turque | September 13, 2007; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Welcome to Virginia Politics

Every year is an election year in Virginia, which may or may not be a good thing. However you might feel about it, here's a place to help you keep up with the Commonwealth's overcaffeinated political culture. This will be your one-stop place to find coverage of Virginia politics. We'll provide an insight into the fall campaign, the Feb. 12 presidential primary and next year's U.S. Senate and congressional races. And when the Virginia General Assembly reconvenes in January, Virginia Politics will take you behind the scenes in Richmond. We'll do our best to give you something you can't get anywhere else: an insight, a chuckle, a piece of information that helps you to make up your mind about a candidate. If politics is the art of the possible, we'll try to explore all of the possibilities in Virginia Politics. Our job is to inform, but also to provide a...

By washingtonpost.com editors | September 12, 2007; 1:56 PM ET | Comments (3)

Fairfax Republican Reflects on Pack Rat Years

Gary Baise, Republican candidate for Chairman of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, enjoys reminiscing about his years working with William Ruckelshaus, the first head of the Environmental Protection Agency and later Deputy Attorney General. Ruckelshaus was a casualty of the August 1973 "Saturday Night Massacre" who resigned along with his boss (Attorney General Elliot Richardson) rather than fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox per instructions from President Nixon. Baise left as well, although he was later re-hired by acting Attorney General Robert Bork, who agreed to sack Cox. There's one story from that era that Baise doesn't so readily recount: his 1975 appearance before an Indianapolis grand jury that investigated the alleged burglary and bugging of a political associate of then-Sen. Vance Hartke (D-Ind)....

By Bill Turque | September 7, 2007; 12:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

About the Bloggers - Amy Gardner

Amy Gardner has covered local and state politics for 14 years. Amy touched down in Virginia in 1994, when she joined The Daily Press in Newport News, covering local government as well as the Virginia General Assembly and former Gov. Jim Gilmore. She moved on to The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., where she covered two Tar Heel governors and an endless series of state budget crises. Amy joined The Washington Post's Virginia desk in 2005. Although a Yankee by birth, she has earned her southern bona fides through the births of her two sons, one in Richmond and the other in Raleigh....

By washingtonpost.com editors | September 6, 2007; 10:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

About the Bloggers - Tim Craig

Tim Craig is the Virginia government and politics reporter based in Richmond. Prior to relocating to Richmond in the summer of 2006, Tim spent three years covering state and local politics in Maryland for the Washington Post. Tim's journalism career began at the Baltimore Sun, where he covered everything from crime and police to the Maryland General Assembly and the 2002 governor's race between Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Tim grew up in suburban Pittsburgh. He is a 1999 graduate of Gannon University in Erie, Pa....

By washingtonpost.com editors | September 6, 2007; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

About the Bloggers - Bill Turque

Bill Turque has covered government and politics at every level for the better part of 30 years. He worked as a city hall reporter for The Kansas City Star and the Dallas Times Herald before joining Newsweek magazine in 1986. He was part of a team of reporters that contributed to "The Quest for the Presidency 1988" (Simon and Schuster, 1989) a behind-the-scenes account of the campaign. Turque also covered the Clinton White House and Congress for the magazine. He is the author of "Inventing Al Gore" (Houghton Mifflin, 2000) a biography of the former vice president. He joined The Post in 2002 as Maryland local government editor and has covered Fairfax County since December 2005....

By washingtonpost.com editors | September 6, 2007; 10:26 AM ET | Comments (1)

About the Bloggers- Sandhya Somashekhar

Sandhya Somashekhar (pronounced Sahn-di-ya So-ma-shaker) has been working in the Loudoun County bureau of the Washington Post for the past year, where she has written on a variety of subjects including a high-voltage power line planned for rural Northern Virginia. She has a master's degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. Last year, she was part of a team of former Berkeley students who won the George Polk award for radio reporting. Prior to graduate school, she spent three years covering education for a daily newspaper in suburban San Francisco. Despite her six-year stint in California, she is a local girl who grew up in Bel Air, Md....

By Steve Fehr | September 6, 2007; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

About the Bloggers: Anita Kumar

Anita Kumar covers Virginia politics and government in the Richmond bureau of the Washington Post. A native Virginian, Anita grew up in Charlottesville and attended the University of Virginia (where she took at least one class taught by Larry Sabato). She spent a decade at the St. Petersburg Times in Florida, covering local, state and federal government and politics, including U.S. Senate races in 2004 and 2006. Prior to that, she worked or interned briefly at three small Virginia newspapers - the Daily Progress in Charlottesville, the Star-Exponent in Culpeper and the News & Advance in Lynchburg -- and the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C....

By washingtonpost.com editors | September 6, 2007; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

 

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