Archive: October 2007

More fodder in Davis-Petersen ad wars

State Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-Fairfax) has debuted a new advertisement on network television tonight, continuing the high-dollar, high-stakes ad wars with Democrat J. Chapman Petersen that could permanently transform Northern Virginia electoral politics. Devolites Davis became the first Virginia legislative candidate from Northern Virginia to buy expensive network air time in the Washington market. Petersen quickly followed suit, as has Democrat Janet Oleszek, who is challenging state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II in western Fairfax County. Watch the new ad here....

By Amy Gardner | October 31, 2007; 4:47 PM ET | Comments (2)

Metro May be Next Stop for Connolly

There is talk that if he wins re-election as expected Tuesday, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) may try to expand his regional influence by grabbing the Virginia seat on the Metro board of directors. The current Virginia member, Fairfax Supervisor T. Dana Kauffman (D-Lee), did not seek re-election to the Fairfax board this year and is retiring....

By Steve Fehr | October 31, 2007; 4:38 PM ET | Comments (2)

Did Herrity's Dad Make Developers Jump?

Transportation proffers are generally not the stuff of vivid anecdotes. But Pat S. Herrity, Republican candidate for the Springfield seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, has been recounting one to election-season audiences. Herrity, who is running against Democrat P. Mike McClanahan, promises to toughen the county's approach to extracting cash from developers for road and transit improvements to accompany new construction. As an example, he describes a mid-1980s meeting between his late father, then-board chairman John F. "Jack" Herrity (R), County Executive J. Hamilton Lambert and Milton V. Peterson, co-developer with John T. "Til" Hazel, of the 620-acre Fair Lakes project near the Fair Oaks Mall....

By Steve Fehr | October 31, 2007; 4:27 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mayor Bloomberg to Endorse Sen. Davis

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will make a stop in Northern Virginia tomorrow to endorse state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-Fairfax) in her tight race against Democrat Chapman "Chap" Petersen in the 34th District. We're told Bloomberg, an independent who at one time was rumored to be interested in running for president in 2008, will mentioned Davis' "independence and courage" and her support of legislation to keep guns out of the hands of criminals....

By Anita Kumar | October 31, 2007; 2:17 PM ET | Comments (10)

Jost Picks Up Support in 1st District Bid

Several key conservative leaders announced today they are supporting Paul Jost's bid for Republican nomination for the 1st congressional district seat left vacant by the death of Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va). Jost, chairman of the Virginia Club for Growth, picked up endorsements from Republican delegates L. Scott Lingamfelter and Jeffrey M. Frederick, both of Prince William, as well as Del. Thomas D. Gear (R-Hampton). Former Republican Party Chairman Pat McSweeney and current Republican National Committeeman Morton Blackwell also announced their support for Jost. Jost, who lost to Davis in the 2000 GOP primary, is a wealthy businessman and major donor to conservative causes. The 1st District Republican Committee will hold a convention Nov. 10 to select the party nominee. The special election will be held Dec. 11. An updated list of announced GOP candidates can be found below:...

By Tim Craig | October 31, 2007; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

Fairfax's Oleszek Up on Network TV

Democrat Janet Oleszek has gone up on network television as she seeks to unseat Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax) in Tuesday's election. Oleszek's foray into network television in the expensive Washington media market, which also reaches viewers in Maryland and the District, signals such television buys could become the norm in future state legislative races. Earlier this month, Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-Fairfax) began airing commercials on network television. Devolites Davis's Democratic opponent, J. Chapman "Chap" Petersen, responded by last week by starting his own network television blitz. You can view Oleszek's ad here....

By Tim Craig | October 31, 2007; 10:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

Where in the World is Bob McDonnell?

With the election a week away, nearly every major state GOP official is busy scrambling to line up for votes for Republican state legislative candidates. After suffering losses in the last three statewide elections, many GOP leaders say the outcome of Tuesday's vote will be a critical test of the party's resiliency in traditionally conservative Virginia. This year's campaign is also a precursor to the 2009 governor's race. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell and former governors James S. Gilmore III and George Allen have all been mentioned as possible GOP candidates for governor. Over the past week, Bolling has essentially cleared his scheduled to campaign for GOP candidates. Gilmore and Allen are also out on the campaign trail. But McDonnell has been noticeably absent....

By Tim Craig | October 30, 2007; 3:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Leslie Byrne Willing to Take on Davis Next Year

Democrat. Leslie L Byrne said today she will likely be a candidate for Congress in the 11th District, even if incumbent Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va) decides to seek reelection. "I am running, there is no question about it," said Byrne, who held the seat between 1993 and 1995. "I am just waiting for the next election cycle to get done before we start on the next one." Byrne filed an exploratory committee earlier this month, when it appeared as if Davis would give up the seat to run for the U.S. Senate. Davis announced last week he will not be a Senate candidate. But Davis, who defeated Byrne in 1994, said he hasn't decided whether he plans to seek reelection. Byrne says "it doesn't matter who is in and who is out" because she thinks Davis, who won with 56 percent of the vote last year, will...

By Tim Craig | October 30, 2007; 2:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine to Hit Campaign Trail for Obama

When Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) finishes his drive Tuesday to elect more Democrats to the Virginia General Assembly, he will turn his attention to next year's presidential race. Earlier this year, Kaine became one of the first Democratic governors in the country to endorse Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill) presidential bid. In an interview on WTOP radio this morning, Kaine said he will be traveling to Iowa in mid-November to campaign for Obama. Kaine will also hit the campaign trail for Obama around Christmas. Kaine said he is still optimistic about Obama's chances, even though several recent polls indicate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) holds a big lead among Democratic voters nationwide. But Obama, Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards appear to be locked in a tight race in the crucial Iowa Democratic caucus Jan. 3. Virginia's primary is Feb. 12....

By Tim Craig | October 30, 2007; 1:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Money Money Money

The latest money reports are in, and the cash is flowing like rainwater in the hottest legislative races in the state. In Northern Virginia, state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-Fairfax), in one of the toughest contests of the year against Democratic challenger J. Chapman Petersen, accepted $183,000 from the congressional committee of her husband, U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III. To date, Devolites Davis has accepted more than $400,000 from Davis, much of it directed toward network television advertising....

By Amy Gardner | October 30, 2007; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Democrats Send Colgan Some Help

Virginia Democrats are hoping to pick up at least four seats in the state Senate but word is they are worried about losing one of their own: Sen. Charles J. Colgan of Prince William. To underscore how vulnerable they think Colgan may be when voters go to the polls next Tuesday both of the state Democratic party's superstars will be appearing with him this week....

By Anita Kumar | October 29, 2007; 4:00 PM ET | Comments (8)

Democratic Senator Lends a Helping Hand

On Friday, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) sent his political action committee's five staffers to volunteer for targeted Senate races as part of a get-out-the-vote effort a week before the Nov. 6 election. Deeds, a possible candidate for governor in 2009, has contributed or raised almost $250,000 to campaigns this year....

By Anita Kumar | October 26, 2007; 5:01 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Long Memory of Cyrus Katzen

Dentist-developer Cyrus Katzen is among the biggest donors to Fairfax County campaigns. He's got it to spare. The owner of the Culmore Shopping Center in Baileys Crossroads gave $15 million to American University for the arts center that bears his name and that of his wife, Myrtle. Since 1996 he's given Fairfax Board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly more than $52,000, according to the non-partisan Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP). Supervisors Gerald W. Hyland (D-Mount Vernon), T. Dana Kauffman (D-Lee) and Elaine N. McConnell (R-Springfield) have also been recipients of Katzen's largesse....

By Steve Fehr | October 25, 2007; 11:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Sharon Bulova, Teamster

The list of donors to campaigns in Fairfax County is a usual-suspects mix of developers, realtors, attorneys, government contractors, party PACs and community activists. That's why the $2,000 contribution to Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock) from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters stands out. She is the Fairfax Board's sole recipient of money directly from the 1.4 million-member union. (It also gave $6,500 to state Democratic PACs)...

By Steve Fehr | October 25, 2007; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Chichester, Potts Endorse Democrat Colgan

Two moderate Republican senators will endorse Democratic Sen. Charles H. Colgan (Prince William) at an event Thursday in Manassas. Senate President John H. Chichester and Sen. H. Russell Potts will join several other GOP business and community leaders at an event to unveil "Republicans for Colgan." Colgan is facing a stiff challenge from Republican Bob FitzSimmonds. Last week, the Washington Post reported that Chicheste has already donated to Colgan's campaign. In the article, Potts says he is backing Colgan because he thinks FitzSimmonds is "an extremist." FitzSimmonds countered that Chichester and Pott's are liberals who support higher taxes....

By Tim Craig | October 24, 2007; 4:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia Notebook: Election Day Questions

With the Nov..6 election less than two weeks away, here are some questions raised by the races throughout the state. Answers will appear in the next Virginia Notebook, which will be published Nov..15. Q. Can a Republican still win inside the Beltway? Retiring Del. Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Fairfax) is the last Republican elected official representing a district that is mainly inside the Capital Beltway. Republican Dave Hunt and Democrat Margaret G. Vanderhye are vying to replace Callahan. If Vanderhye wins, it will complete the Democrats' 30-year effort to purge Alexandria, Arlington County and inner Fairfax County of Republican officeholders...

By Tim Craig | October 24, 2007; 1:00 PM ET | Comments (13)

O'Brien Gets Last-minute Donation

Citizens for the Commonwealth, a new political action committee hoping to help Republicans keep control of the Senate, gave $60,000 to Sen. James K. "Jay" O'Brien Jr., who is in a tight race for re-election in the 39th district, which includes parts of Fairfax and Prince Williams counties. As of Sept. 30, O'Brien, had $92,000 in the bank while Democrat George L. Barker had $173,000. Richard Sharp, the former chairman of Circuit City and co-founder of CarMax, has created Citizens for the Commonwealth, with initial contributions of $275,000 and the expectation of raising more. Three businessmen, including Dwight C. Schar, chairman of home builder NVR in Reston, each contributed $25,000 to the organization....

By Anita Kumar | October 24, 2007; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Chap Petersen Goes Up on Network TV

Democrat J. Chapman "Chap" Petersen is going up on network television tonight in the Washington media market in response to a two-week media blitz by his opponent, Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites (R-Fairfax). Devolites Davis has been airing commercials on network television criticizing Petersen's record on gun control and taxes. Devolites Davis is believed to be the first legislative candidate in Virginia to purchase air time in the expensive Washington media market, which also reaches the District and Maryland. Several Democrats say Devolites Davis' strategy has caused the race to tighten. Petersen is responding with this ad....

By Tim Craig | October 23, 2007; 2:25 PM ET | Comments (1)

Webb Ready to Help Democrats Take Back Richmond

U.S. Sen. James Webb (D-Va) is urging his supporters in Virginia to mobilize for a major Democratic get-out-the-vote effort to help the party make inroads in the General Assembly. In an email to supporters, Webb said Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) "needs a General Assembly that is under Democratic leadership to move Virginia forward." "The eyes of Virginia will be on Virginia this election day," said Webb, who is trying to recruit volunteers to help get out the vote. "As the only state with significant off-year elections, a win in Virginia will send a powerful message around the nation about next year and the outcome of the 2008 elections." Several other states, including Kentucky, are also holding state elections this year. But Webb says "the first returns for 2008 will come from Virginia in 2007."...

By Tim Craig | October 23, 2007; 1:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lots of Names in 1st District Race

For those keeping tabs, here is a list of who's in, who's out and who's a maybe in the race for the Republican nomination to fill the seat of the late Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va). The list has been compiled with the help of GOP sources. Announced Candidates: Rob Wittman, Westmoreland Chuck Davis, Jo Ann' Davis's husband, Gloucester Jim Bowden, Poquoson Dick Black, former Loudoun County delegate, Fredericksburg Catesby Jones, Gloucester David Caprara, Spotsylvania Paul Jost, chairman, chairman, Virginia Club for Growth, Williamsburg...

By Tim Craig | October 23, 2007; 12:46 PM ET | Comments (4)

Richmond Editor Named New Kaine Spokesman

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) appointed Gordon Hickey, political editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, as his new press secretary. Hickey, 57, of Richmond, has been a reporter and editor for more than 25 years, working at the Waukesha (Wisc.) Freeman, the Progress-Index in Petersburg, the Richmond News Leader and the Richmond Times-Dispatch....

By Anita Kumar | October 23, 2007; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Calls Special Election

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today set a special election Dec. 11 to replace U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.), who died Oct. 6 of breast cancer. The successor will serve the remaining year of Davis' term and would have to seek re-election next fall. At least a half-dozen Republicans, including Davis' widower, Chuck Davis, and former Loudoun County Del. Dick Black, have announced plans to run or indicated an interest in the vacancy....

By Anita Kumar | October 23, 2007; 12:02 PM ET | Comments (3)

Jim Webb's Big New Hampshire Speech

Virginia Sen. James Webb (D) was the keynote speaker tonight at the New Hampshire Democratic Party Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner, a noteworthy honor for a freshman senator. Webb, who's been touted as a possible vice-presidential candidate, accused Republicans of blocking Democrats' efforts to change direction in Iraq, according to a transcript of the speech. Webb asked the audience to work to defeat New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu, who is up for re-election in 2008, so Senate Democrats can accomplish more. Webb recounted how one of his top priorities - enacting a bill that would have required that troops get more rest at home before being redeployed - was defeated this summer when Democrats could not muster the 60 votes needed to end a GOP filibuster. "When the Republicans vote against the troops on an issue like this, they deserve to be held accountable," said Webb, who also spoke about...

By Tim Craig | October 20, 2007; 10:04 PM ET | Comments (12)

This Week's Winners and Losers

Winners: Mark Tate- All campaign finance fraud charges were dismissed against the former GOP Senate candidate from Loudoun County after the prosecutor said the case had been tainted by allegations of improprieties in the investigation. Tim Kaine Two different polls came out during the past week showing Kaine's approval ratings remain strong, despite the summer-long controversy over abuser fees and illegal immigration. Kaine has also proved he's a prolific fundraiser. Kaine's political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward, has $1 million in the bank to spend in the campaign's final days. With three weeks to go until the election, Kaine is popular and rich. What more could a politician ask for? Jim Gilmore: The former governor scores a big victory by convincing the Republican State Central Committee to hold a convention over a primary to select its nominee in next year's U.S. Senate race. Gilmore also appears hungry to get back...

By Steve Fehr | October 19, 2007; 1:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Whose Fair Share?

A common gripe around Loudoun County these days has been the way Richmond divvies up the tax money generated by Northern Virginia, the state's "economic engine." Only a fraction of every tax dollar generated in Northern Virginia comes back in the form of road improvements, school funding and similar benefits. Candidates keep demanding "our fair share" to pay for the county's badly needed schools and roads. But two state delegates this week broke from the chorus....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 18, 2007; 8:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

More GOP division

State Sen. Martin E. Williams (R-Newport News) is the latest moderate Republican to predict trouble on the horizon for the GOP if it doesn't open its tent to a broad range of voters. Williams, who lost a fierce primary battle earlier this year to conservative Tricia Stall, has launched a new blog, www.reagansgop.com, whose principal theme will be to lament the damage that the party's conservative wing is wreaking on GOP majorities....

By Amy Gardner | October 18, 2007; 6:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

Democrats throw a party

Sen. Henry L. Marsh III (D-Richmond) will be honored for his 41 years of service in public office tonight at what looks to be a very swanky reception at the Richmond Marriott. Special guests include Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, former Gov. Mark R. Warner and U.S. Rep. Robert Scott. There will be a jazz ensemble, heavy hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. Marsh faces an independent in next month's election and with it being just a few weeks before the big day, they have turned this event into a fundraiser. $500 to $1,000 buys you a ticket....

By Anita Kumar | October 18, 2007; 2:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Conservative Republican gives to Democrats

Jerry Parker, chairman of the Virginia Conservative Action political action committee, which has tried to rid the General Assembly of moderate Republicans in the past, has uncharacteristically donated money to two Democrats this year. Parker gave $1,000 to J. Chapman Petersen, running against Republican Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, and $5,000 to Albert Pollard, running against Republican Richard H. Stuart, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Is this part of a new strategy? Parker did give $138,000 to the PAC and a handful of Republican candidates including Bob FitzSimmonds, running against Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William)...

By Anita Kumar | October 18, 2007; 2:06 PM ET | Comments (2)

Connolly and LBJ, Continued

There's a bit more to the story of the Lyndon Johnson photos in the conference room of Fairfax Board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D). As The Post mentioned in its Monday morning piece on Connolly's four year record as chairman, the series of photos, known as "The Johnson Treatment," show the then-Senate Majority Leader strongarming a committee chairman....

By Steve Fehr | October 17, 2007; 4:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia Notebook: The Bush Factor

Virginia Republicans had a scare during the fall of 2004 when some polls showed Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry surprisingly close to President Bush in the campaign for the state's 13 electoral votes. GOP leaders and activists rallied to Bush's side, ramping up the party's get-out-the-vote campaign and redoubling efforts to paint the Massachusetts senator as a Northeastern liberal who was out of step with the state's conservative reputation. On Election Day, it wasn't even close. Virginia went for Bush over Kerry by 9 percent. Some Virginia Republicans, however, have been regretting that day ever since....

By Tim Craig | October 17, 2007; 2:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Davis Hints He May Pass on 08 Senate Run.

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R) is hinting that he is unlikely to be a candidate in next year's U.S. Senate race. As reported this morning by The Hill newspaper, Davis spoke to a breakfast gathering at the National Press Club yesterday. At the event, Davis said he may be inclined to challenge Sen. James Webb in 2012 instead of taking on Democrat Mark R. Warner in 2008 for the seat of retiring Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va). "There are other races; this isn't the only shot," said Davis, according to The Hill. "You've got a very vulnerable guy sitting there in the other Senate seat right now who may or may not run in four years. And you know what? If you don't go to the Senate, so what? I've been a committee chairman in the House. I've got my portrait hanging on a wall. I've been pretty...

By Tim Craig | October 17, 2007; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Voters like Kaine, Warner but not Assembly

A new poll shows former governor Mark R. Warner (D) with a nearly 2 to 1 lead in next year's U.S. Senate race over either one of his potential GOP challengers. The poll by Christopher Newport University shows Warner beating either former governor James P. Gilmore III or Rep. Thomas M. Davis III by a margin of 24 points. If the election were held today, 51 percent of voters would support Warner while 27 percent said they would favor either Gilmore or Davis. The Christopher Newport University survey also found that voters have a negative view of the Republican-controlled General Assembly, but they support Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kaine....

By Tim Craig | October 17, 2007; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

An Exaggeration or an Untruth?

Democrat J. Chapman Petersen, who is seeking to unseat Fairfax state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R) in what is widely viewed as one of the most competitive races in Virginia this year, put the Fairfax Education Association in a tough spot at a candidates forum Sunday at which he claimed that the teacher group endorsed Davis only because she is the incumbent. "I don't have the FEA endorsement because I'm not an incumbent," Petersen told the audience at Temple Rodef Shalom Sunday morning. "It's funny -- the president of the FEA said, 'I'll come to every single one of your fundraisers, and I'll write you a personal check, but understand that we can't go against an incumbent that meets the minimum score.' Our children deserve better than the minimum score. If I'm elected, you're going to get better than the minimum score."...

By Amy Gardner | October 16, 2007; 6:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Who is Tim Kaine's Half-Million Dollar Man?

Randal J. Kirk, a Radford businessman, has become Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's (D) half-million dollar man. On Oct. 4, Kirk donated $250,000 to Kaine's political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward, that is trying to elect more Democrats to the General Assembly. Over the past two years, Kirk has contributed a total of $450,000 to the PAC, according to the State Board of Elections. In 2005, Kirk also donated $100,000 to Kaine's campaign for governor. He gave another $100,000 to Kaine that year through one of his holding companies, according to the Roanoke Times. Kirk is Senior Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Third Security, LLC, an investment management firm he founded in 1999. In July, Kaine reappointed Kirk to Radford University's governing board....

By Tim Craig | October 16, 2007; 3:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hugo Asks For an Apology But Doesn't Get One

Late last week, Del. Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax) wrote a letter to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) asking him to denounce a campaign mailer sent out by Hugo's Democratic opponent, Rex Simmons, and apologize for the Democratic party's involvement. "As a good father, I ask you to consider how you would respond when a child or family member asks you why someone would falsely accuse you of complicity in human torture,'' Hugo wrote Thursday. "As a man of honor, I call on you to direct the Democratic Party of Virginia to issue a retraction and an apology to me and my family." Three days later, Kaine's political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward, sent out an email to supporters highlighting two candidates for the General Assembly including Simmons. "Rex Simmons believes in Virginia's future. He was an underdog. But he's fought hard and clawed his way into a race that has...

By Anita Kumar | October 15, 2007; 2:30 PM ET | Comments (1)

Kaine Has $1 Million to Turn Assembly Blue

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will report today his political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward, has about $1 million in the bank to help Democratic state legislative candidates running in Virginia's Nov. 6 election. The campaign filing reports, which candidates and political action committees must file today, come as both parties are raising and spending record amounts of money. Democrats think they are well-positioned to win the four seats needed to regain control of the state Senate and some of the 11 needed to win a majority in the House of Delegates. Kaine raised about $1 million between July 1 and Sept. 30 for his PAC. During that period, Kaine distributed more than a half-million dollars to Democratic candidates, most of it in September. In the final three weeks of the campaign, Kaine could dump tens of thousands of dollars into individual races, putting several GOP incumbents on the...

By Tim Craig | October 15, 2007; 1:55 PM ET | Comments (2)

Jim Webb in 2012 or 2016?

There's been lots of speculation that Sen. James Webb (D) could be on the short list for vice-president in 2008. But maybe Webb has his eye on the top job? And, as everyone knows, the road to the Democratic presidential nomination in 2012 or 2016 will likely run through New Hampshire. Webb, 61, will be keynote speaker Saturday at New Hampshire Democratic Party Annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner in Manchester. Webb's appearance reminds me of a private discussion I had with one of his campaign staffers after last year's U.S. Senate race. The friend said Webb wants to be President someday. Webb just laughed when I asked him later whether a presidential run is in his future....

By Tim Craig | October 15, 2007; 1:14 PM ET | Comments (3)

Wash Post Polling Director Discusses Va Poll

Jon Cohen, the Washington Post polling director, and polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta, conducted an online chat today on the paper's recent Virginia poll. The poll found that Democrat Mark R. Warner has a big lead in next year's U.S. Senate race. The paper also reported that a majority of voters want the Democrats to take control of the General Assembly. You can find Jon and Jennifer's chat here....

By Tim Craig | October 15, 2007; 12:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

Republicans Accuse Kaine of Playing Politics

For the second week in a row, House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith accused the Kaine administration of trying to scare voters into believing the state's finances are worse than they are. Griffith (R-Salem) called the administration's lack of information "inappropriate" and "improper" and said it's not the way things should be done in Virginia. Earlier on Monday, Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee berated the state's secretary of finance and budget director for failing to provide other alternatives to the state's $640-million shortfall besides crucial cuts to services or dipping into the state's rainy day fund....

By Anita Kumar | October 15, 2007; 12:38 PM ET | Comments (4)

Poll Shows Voters Frustrated With Traffic

There is another poll out that shows the public doesn't think the recently approved transportation package will do enough to solve the state's traffic woes. On Sunday, the Washington Post published a poll that showed voters by a 2 to 1 margin don't think the transportation funding package supported by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D)_ and GOP leaders, designed to raise $1 billion annually, does enough. The findings in The Post poll are confirmed in a survey released today by Christopher Newport University. That poll found just 18 percent of voters think the transportation deal, which relies on regional taxing districts in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, goes far enough in solving the problem....

By Tim Craig | October 15, 2007; 12:02 PM ET | Comments (1)

Lt. Gov. Bolling Ramps Up Campaigning

It looks like Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is getting ready to do some serious campaigning. No, not for himself. He's hitting the road to help Republicans running for local and legislative offices in Nov. 6 election. Just check out his schedule next week:...

By Anita Kumar | October 12, 2007; 6:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Air Wars Go Local

Gerald E. Connolly, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, launched his first round of television advertising this week with a $40,000-a-week cable TV buy, he said. And there's plenty more where that came from....

By Amy Gardner | October 12, 2007; 3:54 PM ET | Comments (1)

Post Poll Preview: Kaine Earns High Marks

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's approval rating has dropped 14 points in the last year, but a large majority of residents still think he is doing a good job, according to a Washington Post poll scheduled to be published Sunday. The poll will cover Virginians' views on next month's election for control of the General Assembly. It willl also gauge voters' attitudes about the two parties as well as issues such as transportation and the environment. A poll published today looked at next year's Senate and presidential race. Kaine has been campaigning for Democratic candidates running for the House and Senate. In a Washington Post poll last year, Kaine scored an unusually high 77 percent approval rating. But this weekend's poll shows Kaine with a 63 percent approval rating....

By Tim Craig | October 12, 2007; 12:07 PM ET | Comments (21)

Next, They Turn Off The Mike

A standard feature of candidate debates are cue cards, usually held up by an intrepid volunteer stationed in the front row, to tell candidates how much time they have left to speak. Organizers of Thursday's McLean Chamber of Commerce breakfast forum came up with an unusual prod for folks to finish up. After cards reading "1 minute," "30 seconds" and "Time," those still orating saw one that read, "Blah Blah." Fairfax County Board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) liked it so much he asked if he could have it. "Maybe I'll bring it to future debates," he quipped. Or perhaps bring it to flash at windy constituents in public hearings....

By Bill Turque | October 11, 2007; 4:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Baise Vows to Stop Dulles Rail In Its Tracks

Republican Gary H. Baise says that if elected Chairman of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors he would halt the planned Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport unless the elevated segment through Tysons Corner was built below ground. "My first action would be to stop that project until we get it right," Baise said at a Thursday breakfast forum sponsored by the McLean Chamber of Commerce. Baise, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Gerald E. Connolly, is on record supporting a Tysons tunnel. But this morning's pledge was his most explicit of the campaign on the Dulles project, which he has also criticized for its mushrooming cost, dearth of transparency and lack of competitive bidding on aspects of the contract. His vow drew applause from the audience at the Westin Tysons. Baise also trashed Dulles Transit Partners, the private construction consortium headed by Bechtel and Washington Group International that would build...

By Bill Turque | October 11, 2007; 4:18 PM ET | Comments (21)

Post Poll Preview: Virginians Like Their U.S. Senators

First term Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) is popular among Virginians who know him, according to a Washington Post poll to be published tomorrow. The poll will cover Virginians' views on next year's U.S. Senate and presidential races. It also has favorability ratings of various politicians, including Webb and retiring Sen. John W. Warner....

By Steve Fehr | October 11, 2007; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (21)

Virginia Notebook: Davis and His Decision

As Virginia Republican leaders gather this weekend to decide whether to hold a convention or primary to select their nominee for the U.S. Senate, no one will be following the outcome more closely than U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.)....

By Steve Fehr | October 10, 2007; 5:06 PM ET | Comments (11)

Mark Warner to Move Into New Office

The Mark Warner for Senate campaign will be moving into a a new office later this week. Campaign officials say the office, at 1029 N. Royal Street in Alexandria, is more than double the size of their current space on Union Street in Alexandria. The new digs, which Warner plans to stay in through the general election next year, consists of a large open space and several smaller offices....

By Tim Craig | October 9, 2007; 11:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Rhetoric Heats Up in Assembly Races

Yesterday, top Republican and Democratic leaders traded barbs over who is responsible for the strength of the state's economy and whether President Bush should be a factor in voters' decisions this year. With the Nov. 6 election less than a month away, the rhetoric and campaign promises are increasing as Democrats try to retake the state Senate and make inroads in the GOP-led House of Delegates. In recent weeks, Democrats have stepped up efforts to link GOP candidates to the policies of the Bush administration. In Fairfax County, House Democratic candidate Rex Simmons has sent out a mailer with a photo of Del. Timothy D. Hugo (R) standing with Vice President Cheney. Read the full story here....

By washingtonpost.com editors | October 9, 2007; 10:54 AM ET | Comments (0)

Despite Howell, GOP Candidates Hate Those Fees

According to Washington Post reporter Nick Miroff, Republicans are still divided over those controversial fees on bad drivers. Top GOP leaders, including Attorney General Robert F. McDonell (R) and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, went on a statewide tour Monday in hopes of boosting the fortunes of Republicans running in the Nov. 6 election. At a stop at Manassas Regional Airport, House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) took credit for the fees and said they are making roads safer. But as soon GOP leaders ended their speeches and headed back to the tarmac for their next flight, the local Republican candidates who stayed behind rushed up to reporters to distance themselves from Howell's support of the fees, which can reach $3,000....

By Tim Craig | October 8, 2007; 4:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Debatable Points in Fairfax Chairman's Race

Baise also contends that graduation rates in Fairfax County schools have plunged precipitously in recent years, from the high nineties to the low eighties. In fact, he is mixing apples and oranges from different sets of data. Fairfax schools derive their graduation rate by comparing the number of seniors who started the year with the number who finish. That calculation produced a rate of about 97 percent this year. State education officials, accountable to administrators of the federal No Child Left Behind Law, use a more rigorous formula, involving drop outs from 9th through 12 grades. "He doesn't understand what he's been told or what he's reading," said Connolly.

By Bill Turque | October 8, 2007; 4:35 PM ET | Comments (3)

Can Hillary Save Jeannemarie?

State Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-Fairfax) thinks U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is saving her reelection campaign against Democrat J. Chapman "Chap" Petersen. Davis and Petersen are locked in one of the closest, most heated contests in the state, the outcome of which could determine whether the Democrats retake the state Senate. In an interview with the Associated Press, Davis said her campaign is rebounding because Clinton's presidential bid is helping to energize moderate Republicans into supporting GOP candidates for the state legislature in the Nov. 6 election. "She is a very polarizing figure and in her own way she is moving Republicans back to the Republican way of voting," Davis told the AP....

By Tim Craig | October 8, 2007; 9:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

Democrats Object to Campaign Ad

The Democratic Party of Virginia has sent letters to radio stations asking them to stop airing an ad that criticizes a Senate candidate for letting illegal immigrants get taxpayer subsidized in-state tuition rates. The party says that's not true, and that when Democrat Albert Pollard was in the House he voted to deny in-state tuition -- not to give it -- as the ad by his opponent, Republican Richard Stuart, claims. Pollard and Stuart are running for Senate District 28 which includes the city of Frederickburg, part of Prince William County and Stafford County. "Although a broadcast station should provide contrasting views on issues of public importance, it should not broadcast an inflammatory advertisement that contains what is nothing more than a blatant lie,'' the letter states....

By Anita Kumar | October 5, 2007; 2:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Dems Want GOP to Pledge Education Support

At a sparsely-attended press conference in Richmond today, House Democratic leaders called on Republicans to agree to preserve money for public education. "We have seen an erosion of support by Republican leaders for public schools,'' said Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), who leads the Democratic caucus in the House....

By Anita Kumar | October 5, 2007; 2:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

This Week's Winner and Losers

Winners and Losers for the week ending Oct. 5, 2007: THIS WEEK'S WINNERS Peter Pace: The recently retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff hasn't given any indication that he's interested in running for public office, but what Virginia Republican wouldn't want an editorial from the conservative National Review urging them to run for the U.S. Senate? In recent days, "draft Pace" websites have also been popping up. It feels eerily similar to the effort to lure U.S. Sen. James Webb (D), who like Pace is a Marine, into the 2006 Senate race against former Sen. George Allen....

By Steve Fehr | October 5, 2007; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Flowery Oratory in Fairfax Campaign

Many yearn for more civility in our politics, but few walk the walk like Carey Campbell, Independent Green candidate for the Braddock District seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Campbell begins every candidates' forum and debate by presenting his opponent, incumbent Sharon Bulova (D), with a bouquet of flowers. He also asks the audience to give Bulova, running for her sixth four-year term, a round of applause....

By Bill Turque | October 5, 2007; 10:37 AM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia Notebook: The Omeish Blunder

It hasn't been an easy week for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D). With the Nov..6 election a month away, Democrats had been feeling increasingly confident they could make big gains in the General Assembly. But their momentum might be stopped by the Kaine administration's blunder involving the appointment of Esam S. Omeish to the Virginia Commission on Immigration. Republicans are seizing on the Omeish fiasco, using it to energize the party's conservative base. But in trying to score political points, have Republicans once again proven they're out of touch with increasingly diverse Northern Virginia?...

By Steve Fehr | October 4, 2007; 1:01 AM ET | Comments (14)

General Pace for Senate?

Virginia Republicans are buzzing over speculation that retired Marine Gen. Peter Pace may be lured into running for the U.S. Senate being vacated by John W. Warner (R). On Sunday, Pace retired as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. He plans to settle in the Fort Myer area. The conservative publication National Review ran an editorial Monday urging Pace to enter Virignia Senate race. The editors of National Review said conservatives aren't happy with either Rep. Thomas M. Davis III or former governor James S. Gilmore III, both of whom have been mentioned as possible candidates. "The articulate and personable four-star would be a novice politician wise in the ways of Washington," the editorial states. "As a veteran of the Pentagon's senior ranks, he would have a commanding advantage over all other candidates on national-security issues. Unlike other senior military leaders, the Catholic General Pace has been outspoken...

By Tim Craig | October 3, 2007; 4:22 PM ET | Comments (19)

Feder's Fund-Raising Prowess

Judy Feder, a Democrat who raised more than $1.5 million in her race to unseat U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) last year, has already raised a whopping $335,000 for her rematch in November 2008, her campaign has announced. It's an impressive sum for so early in the game, but it's obviously no guarantee. Feder, dean of Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute, lost solidly to Wolf last year....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 3, 2007; 4:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Still Has High Hopes for Obama

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) said he's still confident Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) can overcome Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) to win the Democratic nomination for president, despite new poll numbers that show Clinton is widening her lead nationwide. In an interview this morning, Kaine said Obama is still well positioned to win the Iowa caucus, where many polls show a three race between Clinton, Obama and John Edwards. "Someone who comes in and wins Iowa in a surprise way gets a tremendous amount of momentum," said Kaine, who earlier this year became the first sitting Democratic governor to endorse Obama. "I feel very good where Obama is in Iowa."...

By Tim Craig | October 3, 2007; 2:23 PM ET | Comments (25)

Gilbert Presses Kaine

Virginia Del. C. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) asked a "national reformed Muslim organization" to put together some guidelines for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) to consider before he replaces Dr. Esam Omeish on the Virginia Commission on Immigration....

By Anita Kumar | October 1, 2007; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (2)

 

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