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Winners and Losers

This Week's Winners

Barack Obama - Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and his 17-year-old son, Nat, spent the weekend shuffling around Iowa, attending 10 small events for the Democratic presidential candidate. If Kaine worked that hard in Iowa for Obama, you've got to expect that the governor will pull out all the stops to help him win Virginia in the Feb. 12 Democratic primary -- assuming the nomination fight is still competitive.

Del. Christopher B. Saxman - The Republican delegate from Staunton sends out signals he may challenge former governor James S. Gilmore III for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. Saxman's potential candidacy has created a buzz among party activists and conservative bloggers who fear Gilmore is unelectable in a general election. While Saxman faces an uphill challenge, it's noteworthy that a three-term delegate is even being considered as a possible credible challenger to a former governor.

James S. Gilmore III - Despite his hurried decision to announce his candidacy Monday instead of after Thanksgiving, Gilmore's entry into the Senate race appeared to go without a hitch. Gilmore also says he has a mailing list of 70,000 potential supporters around the state.

House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) - House Republicans overwhelmingly decide to keep Howell as their leader. Because he had to fend off a challenge from conservative activists, Howell can more easily make a case to Kaine and Democratic Senate leaders that he and his caucus can only go so far in compromising.

John McCain - Though many pollsters question the reliability of automated telephone polls, Survey USA releases a poll that found McCain would get at least 50 percent in Virginia against either Obama or Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) if the general election were held today.

Kevin Hall and the Mark Warner for Senate Campaign -- As Democratic Senate candidate Mark Warner's communications director, Hall was sprung into action Monday after Gilmore announced his candidacy. Instead of letting Gilmore have the spotlight to himself, Hall issued a strongly worded statement that took the fight to the former GOP governor, saying he had "a record of fiscal irresponsibility and extreme partisanship."

This week's losers

Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) - Marshall, a conservative, attempted Sunday to get his House Republican colleagues to pass a resolution expressing no confidence in Speaker Howell. But the resolution only got one vote - Marshall's, according to GOP legislators.

The Tuesday Morning Group - A group of conservatives who meet monthly, the group played a major role in trying to drum support for replacing Howell and other House GOP leaders. Because they failed, Republicans say the group's credibility is weakened.

Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax) /Sen. Stephen D. Newman (R-Lynchburg) -- Cuccinelli and Newman are trying to get a conservative elected as Senate minority leader when the Senate Republicans meet Monday. But it's become increasingly clear this week that Sen. Walter A. Stosch (R-Henrico), who has aligned with more moderate senators, has the votes needed to win the title of minority leader.

Sen. Richard L. Sasalw (D-Fairfax) -The incoming Senate majority leader is finding out it's not easy being in charge as he seeks to balance all the competing interests within the Democratic Party as divisions emerge between rural and urban Democrats.

Ginny The Pig - The pig represents the claim that the first Thanksgiving was held at the Berkeley Plantation near Williamsburg. When 38 settlers arrived in 1619 - a year before the Pilgrims arrived - they probably ate a pig. U.S. Presidents have historically pardoned a turkey in honor of Thanksgiving. But some Virginians had waged a campaign to persuade Bush to pardon the 80-pound spotted pig this year. Bush this week refused to issue the pardon, although two turkeys received his blessing in the annual White House rite.

Can you think of any more winners or losers? Add your suggestions below.

By Tim Craig  |  November 21, 2007; 1:25 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2007 , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Election 2009 , Mark Warner , Polls , Winners and Losers  
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