Archive: December 2007

Kaine To Spend New Year's Day in Iowa

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will spend New Year's Day in Iowa with presidential hopeful, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, just days before the state's caucuses. The two will participate in three campaign events in Des Moines, Sioux City and Council Bluffs. Kaine traveled to South Carolina the weekend before Christmas to campaign for Obama but was not able to go to Iowa as he had planned because of a snow storm. Kaine, one of Obama's national co-chairmen, spent a weekend in Iowa in November....

By Anita Kumar | December 31, 2007; 12:36 PM ET | Comments (1)

McDonnell Reflects on the Year, Looks Ahead

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell spent 45 minutes answering questions today in an end-of-the-year conference call with bloggers and a few journalists who contribute to blogs on newspaper websites, including washingtonpost.com. McDonnell, a Republican, said he expects to announce in the next couple weeks 25 to 30 priorities for the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 9. They will include mental health, immigration and homeland security reforms. The funniest moment came when McDonnell, who expects to run for governor in 2009, was asked about potential gubernatorial rival Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria)'s new bill that would give more power to the Attorney General by directing his office to remove recalled toys from shelves and to consider the development of standards for toys in the state. McDonnell joked that Moran might want to run for Attorney General but then quickly said that he thinks Moran has another office in mind, and...

By Anita Kumar | December 28, 2007; 4:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Pollard to Run for House

Democrat Albert C. Pollard Jr. announced today that he will run in the Feb. 19 special election to fill his old House seat. "I have always enjoyed public service and we are in a better financial position to serve than when I stepped down,'' he said in a statement. "For these reasons and because of the outpouring of encouragement to run, I am declaring my candidacy." Pollard represented the district for three terms until he left in 2005. The recent vacancy was created when Rob Wittman left to run for Congress....

By Anita Kumar | December 28, 2007; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Bets a Ham

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius have placed a friendly wager on the game between the University of Kansas and Virginia Tech in the 2008 Orange Bowl. If Kansas loses to Virginia Tech, Sebelius will send Kaine a "delicious assortment of Kansas beef." If Virginia Tech loses to Kansas, Kaine will send Sebelius a Virginia ham....

By Anita Kumar | December 27, 2007; 4:44 PM ET | Comments (5)

Mark Warner Looks for Online Donors

Former Gov. Mark Warner has received more than 1,400 online donations totaling more than half a million dollars since he announced in September he was running for U.S. Senate next year. In an email to supporters today, Warner asks for more contributions to reach his 2007 goal of 1,500 online donors before midnight Dec. 31. "Trust me: that sends a powerful message that Virginians are ready for transformative change and a new approach in Washington,'' he wrote. "Let's make that message even more loud and clear." Warner is the likely Democratic nominee in the race to replace retiring Republican Sen. John Warner. Former Gov. James S. Gilmore III is running for the Republication nomination while Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) said he is considering running....

By Anita Kumar | December 27, 2007; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (1)

Winners and Losers

This Week's Winners Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va) - Roll Call, the Capitol Hill paper, reported that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee plans to target 40 Republican-held House seats next year. No seats from Virginia are on the list. By excluding Davis's district, which includes Fairfax and Prince William counties, Democrats are signaling that he remains in a strong position if he decides to run again. House and Senate Republicans- After years of squabbling, top Senate and House leaders showed this week they can be far more effective when they are unified. After Kaine unveiled his budget, they spoke with one voice, setting the stage for a purely partisan battle over the budget, which hasn't occurred since the late 1990s. Barack Obama - Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-Va) endorsed his presidential bid. If the race for the Democratic nomination is still competitive by Virginia's Feb. 12 primary, Obama...

By Bill Turque | December 21, 2007; 7:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Sets Special Election

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) today called for a special election Feb. 19 to fill the House of Delegates seat vacated after Robert J. Wittman, a Republican from Westmoreland County, was elected to Congress. "Holding the special election on February 19th will provide a new delegate with the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the legislative session and to commence important constituent services promptly," Kaine said. The election in the 99th District gives the Democratic minority in the House a chance for a pickup. The party now controls 44 of the 100 seats in the House. Former delegate Albert C. Pollard Jr., a Democrat, has indicated he is likely to try to reclaim the seat he held from 2000 to 2005. Pollard narrowly lost a bid for state Senate this year. The 99th includes all of King George, Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland counties and part of Caroline County, comprised of...

By Tim Craig | December 21, 2007; 1:46 PM ET | Comments (2)

Kaine Hits the Trail, Again, for Obama

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will be campaigning almost around the clock this weekend for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination. Kaine will travel to South Carolina and Iowa, two states crucial to Obama's hopes of clinching the nomination. This will be the second time in a month that Kaine has left Virginia to stump for Obama. Kaine serves as one of Obama's national cochairmen. You can review Kaine's complete weekend schedule below....

By Tim Craig | December 20, 2007; 7:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

Marshall Edges Closer to Senate Race

Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) said Thursday he is forming an exploratory committee as he considers running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate against former Gov. James S. Gilmore III next year. "I am pleased that many Republican party leaders, in addition to grass-roots citizens, have encouraged me to run,'' Marshall said in a statement. Marshall, known for his conservative views on social issues, led the fight against the recently approved transportation bill and helped win passage of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions. He was reelected this year with 58 percent of the vote....

By Bill Turque | December 20, 2007; 5:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

DCCC Not Looking to Virginia for Gains

Roll Call, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill, reported this morning that Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has identified 40 Republican-held House seats that Democrats plan to target in next year's elections. But there were no seats from Virginia on the list, even though there has been plenty of talk in recent months that the state is trending Democratic. Last year, DCCC made a big push to defeat Rep. Thelma Drake, a Republican who represents Hampton Roads. But Democrats have struggled to find a candidate willing to challenge Drake next year. Earlier this month, there had been talk that Norfolk Sheriff Robert McCabe was considering taking on Drake. But the Virginian Pilot reported this week that McCabe has decided not to run. In Northern Virginia, some Democrats believe the party has a chance to win either the 10th or 11th congressional district....

By Tim Craig | December 20, 2007; 3:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

McKay Taps Barker Operative for Lee

Jeffrey C. McKay, Fairfax Supervisor-elect for Lee District, has named a key campaign operative for State Senator-elect George L. Barker (Fairfax) as his chief of staff. Scott Robinson was director of field operations for Barker, who unseated J.K. "Jay" O'Brien in the 39th District race last month. Lee District comprises a good portion of the 39th. McKay, the long-time chief of staff for retiring incumbent T. Dana Kauffman, said he plans to retain the rest of Kauffman's district staff, including communications director Linda Waller and assistants Christina Manning, Joan Clark and Marcus Wadsworth....

By Bill Turque | December 20, 2007; 11:48 AM ET | Comments (0)

Congressman Scott Endorses Obama

Democratic Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, Virginia's only black U.S. representative, is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination, Scott announced in a statement this morning. Several presidential hopefuls had courted Scott, who represents parts of Tidewater and Richmond. Scott, elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, is credited with having a polished political operation effective at turning out voters for past state and federal candidates. "America is at a crossroads. We can either remain mired in the politics of the past, or press forward and elect a President who can unite us around the sobering challenges," Scott said in a statement. "Senator Barack Obama offers change we can believe in, and that is why I support his candidacy."...

By Tim Craig | December 20, 2007; 10:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

Oleszek Packs It In

Democrat Janet S. Oleszek conceded defeat today in her bid to unseat state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax) after a recount of the Nov. 6 election found that she lost by 101 votes. Oleszek had trailed Cuccinelli by about a quarter of a percentage point in unofficial returns after the election, allowing her to request a taxpayer-funded recount. Out of more than 37,000 ballots cast in the 37th District contest, 92 votes separated the two candidates in Virginia's closest legislative race of the year. The tally added nine votes to Cuccinelli's winning margin. But the outcome did not decide which party controls the chamber....

By Bill Turque | December 19, 2007; 5:33 PM ET | Comments (0)

McConnell's Imperial Send-Off

It was a farewell fit for a departing secretary of state, much less a retiring Fairfax County supervisor. Monday night's salute to Elaine N. McConnell at the Springfield Hilton consumed three-and-a-half hours, a dozen testimonials, two church hymns (written by the guest of honor) and a "This Is Your Life" PowerPoint presentation that began with her Spanish immigrant grandfather. The hundreds of friends, constituents and colleagues who packed the hotel ballroom for the six-term Republican's send-off dinner heard a formidable collection of guest speakers from the top tier of the county's business and political class, including Secretary of the Commonwealth (and former Fairfax Board Chairwoman) Katherine K. Hanley (D); incumbent Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D); County Executive Anthony H. Griffin; former county executive Jay Hamilton Lambert; developers Milton V. Peterson and John T. "Til" Hazel, and go-to real estate attorneys Francis A. McDermott and Michael Horwatt....

By Bill Turque | December 19, 2007; 1:09 PM ET | Comments (2)

Virginia Notebook: Do Byrne, Feder Stand a Chance?

After they won control of the state Senate last month, Virginia Democrats were confident about their potential for future success, even in Republican-leaning areas. But it took only a month for reality to set in. In many parts of Virginia, voters continue to have strong affection for Republicans....

By Tim Craig | December 19, 2007; 12:29 PM ET | Comments (28)

Wolf Opponent Quitting Her Job

Judy Feder, the Democrat who ran unsuccessfully in 2006 against Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), is quitting her job to focus on her effort to challenge Wolf again next year. Feder announced yesterday she was stepping down as dean of the Georgetown Public Policy Institute after nine years....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | December 18, 2007; 6:27 PM ET | Comments (2)

House Committee Chairmen

Here is a complete list of of House committee chairman for the 2008 legislative session. Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources - Harvey B. Morgan (R-Gloucester) Appropriations - Lacey E. Putney (I-Bedford) Commerce and Labor - Terry G. Kilgore (R-Scott)...

By Tim Craig | December 18, 2007; 4:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Webb Named "Rookie of the Year"

The Politico, a political newspaper in Washington, named U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., "Rookie of the Year" for his work on the Iraq war, contracting oversight and other issues. Read the story, "ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Anti-war Webb was talk of Senate from Day 1."...

By Anita Kumar | December 18, 2007; 2:49 PM ET | Comments (3)

McDonnell Eyes D.C. Gun Law

When Robert F. McDonnell ran for Attorney General in 2005, it was his Democratic opponent, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, who ended up getting the National Rifle Association endorsement. The NRA was upset that McDonnell voted in the House for the state's one-gun-a-month law, which Deeds opposed. It almost cost McDonnell the election. He's been trying ever since to make amends with the nation's most influential gun rights organization....

By Anita Kumar | December 18, 2007; 11:54 AM ET | Comments (7)

Norment No Longer Supports $1 Car Fee

Senate Minority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City) said today he no longer supports keeping the $1 per vehicle surcharge on annual vehicle registrations. The fee was established in 2003 to raise money to pay for the Jamestown 400th commemoration. Earlier this month, Norment said he wanted Virginia to keep the fee to help pay for tourism promotions, even though the Jamestown celebrations are over....

By Tim Craig | December 17, 2007; 6:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Winners and Losers

This Week's Winners U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) - Del. Robert Wittman's victory this week in the 1st Congressional District shows the advantage GOP candidates have running in districts that were created to elect Republicans. Wolf's district is more Democratic than the 1st but it still leans Republican. He will be favored to win reelection next year despite a possible rematch with Democrat Judy Feder. Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) - Deeds' unexpectedly early announcement that he's running for governor in 2009 catches his Democratic rivals for the nomination off guard. House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). As former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee continues to surge this week in several polls, Howell looks as if he has good political instincts. Howell endorsed Huckabee in August, when the former governor was in the single digits in most polls....

By Steve Fehr | December 14, 2007; 3:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Connolly and the "11th Congressional Arena"

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) sounded like he was test-marketing bumper sticker language at his swearing-in ceremony last night. "Government that works. Results that matter," he said in his inaugural address. That catch-phrase followed a list of achievements straight from the stump speech he used in his resounding November re-election victory over Republican Gary H. Baise. Conciliation and statesmanship are the usual fare at inaugural ceremonies. But Connolly, who wants to contend for the 11th District Congressional seat if incumbent Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R) retires, seemed to take special pains to soften partisan edges and craft a speech that reached out to Davis' moderate base. He invoked Theodore Roosevelt's "Man in the Arena" speech and departed from his prepared text to recognize Baise, who was in attendance, for a round of applause. "None of us in public life has a corner on the...

By Bill Turque | December 13, 2007; 4:14 PM ET | Comments (10)

Mark Warner Rakes in Money

Former governor Mark R. Warner (D) picked up more than a quarter million dollars last night for his U.S. Senate campaign at a fundraiser at the home of Northern Virginia financier W. Russell Ramsey. Ramsey, president of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. Inc., is one of Warner's closest friends. The event was billed as a celebration of Warner's 53rd birthday, which takes place Saturday. Warner's haul comes as he is trying to raise as much as possible before the Dec. 31 campaign finance reporting deadline for federal candidates. Last month, Warner spent a week on the West Coast raising money. As of Sept. 30, Warner had already raised more than $1 million for his campaign. Former governor James S. Gilmore III, the likely GOP nominee for Senate, is also busy raising money. Republican sources say Gilmore's fundraising is going better than expected, although they don't anticipate he will be able...

By Tim Craig | December 13, 2007; 2:52 PM ET | Comments (1)

Creigh Deeds Announces Bid For Governor

State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) announced this morning he is running for governor in 2009. In an on-line video, Deeds said he's running to make Virginia "the best place to live, work and raise a family." Deeds, who lost a bid for attorney general by 360 votes in 2005, becomes the first candidate from either party to enter the governor's race. Deeds' decision to enter the race almost two years before the general election signals he wants to build his name recognition and organization to get a head start on another likely Democratic candidate, Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria)....

By Tim Craig | December 13, 2007; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (11)

Tom and Jeannemarie go to Big Apple

After state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis lost her election and after U.S. Rep. Tom Davis decided against running for U.S. Senate, the couple took three much-needed vacations. The most recent one was a trip to New York City, where they visited with New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg....

By Anita Kumar | December 12, 2007; 6:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Rebuffed by DCCC

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) said today he's not sure why the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee didn't invest large amounts of money in Democrat Philip Forgit's unsuccessful campaign in the 1st Congressional District. In a special election yesterday, Forgit lost to Del. Robert Wittman (R-Westmoreland) by more than 20 points in a Republican-leaning district that stretches from Tidewater to Prince William County. Forgit was badly outspent because he failed to attract support from national Democratic groups. ....

By Tim Craig | December 12, 2007; 6:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Wants to Keep $1 Car Fee

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) said today that he wants to keep a $1 per vehicle annual registration fee collected primarily to help pay for the Jamestown 400th commemoration even though the celebrations ended this year. In the last week, several prominent Republicans, including Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R) have argued that the fee should be eliminated since Virginians were told the fee was for the Jamestown festivities. But Kaine said today he wants to keep the fee to help funding tourism initiatives and the Department of Motor Vehicles. "It is a proposal I will make to the legislature," said Kaine, who said he will say more about the matter when he unveils his budget Monday....

By Tim Craig | December 12, 2007; 6:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

RNC Congratulates Wittman

Republican National Chairman Robert M. "Mike" Duncan said voters "sent a strong statement to Washington" today by electing Del. Robert J. Wittman's (R-Westmoreland) over Democrat Philip Forgit in the 1st District congressional race. Wittman got 61 percent of the vote in a Republican-leaning district that includes all or part of 18 counties, including Prince William and Fauquier. The vacancy in the 1st District occurred after U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R) died of breast cancer in October. "Rob Wittman won because he isn't interested in playing the partisan Washington game that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have engaged in over the last year," Duncan said. "He's interested in getting things accomplished for the people of Virginia." Though Wittman was widely expected to win, his decisive margin could temper talk among Democrats that Virginia is turning blue. Forgit, who received 37 percent of the vote, fared even worse among 1st District...

By Tim Craig | December 11, 2007; 8:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine, Warner Won't be Celebrating (or Crying) with Forgit

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and former governor Mark R. Warner, both Democrats, have never been known to miss a good victory celebration. Last year, Kaine and Warner took center stage at Sen. James Webb's (D) election night party. And last month, Kaine and Warner were partying it up in Tysons Corner after Democrats won control of the state senate. But neither Kaine nor Warner plan to be with Democrat Philip Forgit tonight as he watches the returns in his race to replace the late U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va). Forgit is running against Republican Del. Robert J. Wittman in a district that leans Republican. Despite some last minute help from Kaine and Warner, the race never attracted much attention from national Democrats....

By Tim Craig | December 11, 2007; 4:25 PM ET | Comments (1)

Republicans, Democrats Debate Rural Politics

The Washington Post published an article today on tension between rural and suburban Democrats. Here are some comments that didn't make it into the article that could offer further insight into the state of the Democratic Party in rural Virginia....

By Tim Craig | December 11, 2007; 3:41 PM ET | Comments (3)

Christmas Came Early for Ralph Northam

Incoming Sen. Ralph Northam (D) may want to think of an extra special Father's Day gift next year. Westcott B. Northam, a retired federal judge from Virginia's Eastern Shore, donated $243,500 to his son's campaign this year, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Westcott Northam's is responsible for almost a fifth of the $1.1 million his son raised to defeat Sen. Nick Rerras (R-Norfolk). Westcott Northam contributions to his son make him the third most generous individual donor during this election cycle, according to VPAP....

By Tim Craig | December 11, 2007; 2:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Takes His Cabinet on the Road

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) took his Cabinet on the road to the Charlottesville area Monday with stops at a Christmas tree farm, a bridge dedication and a reception at James Madison's Montpelier. After a sit-down lunch with former Gov. Gov. Gerald L. Baliles at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, a reporter from a local weekly asked Kaine if he would serve in the Cabinet if U.S. Sen. Barack Obama was elected president next year. Kaine smiled and said: "That's not going to happen.''...

By Anita Kumar | December 11, 2007; 12:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

House Republicans Give Democrats Seat at Table

Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford), announced yesterday that the House will provide Republicans and Democrats proportional representation on each of the body's permanent committees for the 2008 legislative session. He and other Republican leaders called on the new Democratic majoriy to adhere to the same principle in the Senate. "House Republicans - both current and past - have been leaders in adhering to the key principles of representative democracy," Howell said. The decision means that most standing committees, consisting of 22 members, will have 13 Republican delegates and 9 Democratic delegates. "I have always felt that this is the appropriate way to carry out representative government," said H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem), the House majority leader....

By Tim Craig | December 11, 2007; 11:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

Ex-Reporter Still On The Scene

A former reporter who went from news-breaker to news-maker earlier this year when he revealed the details of his purported off-the-record conversations with Loudoun's top prosecutor is still on the local political scene. After quitting his job with the Loudoun County weekly Leesburg Today, Charlie Jackson volunteered for several Loudoun Democrats' campaigns, he said in an interview today. He also helped set up a press event in which the Democratic candidates for the Loudoun Board of Supervisors signed an oversized ethics pledge for the benefit of clicking cameras....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | December 10, 2007; 5:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

NoVa Still Hillary Country

The Democratic presidential nomination may be a settled issue by the Feb. 12 Virginia primary. But that didn't stop Northern Virginia party activists from conducting a straw poll in Falls Church on Saturday. It came at a thank-you brunch hosted by Fairfax County Board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D). There were only 265 votes cast, but hey, it's a poll. So it's got to be accurate, right? The results: Clinton 35 percent (93) Obama 24 percent (63) Edwards 18 percent (48) Richardson 10 percent (26) Biden 7 percent (19) Kucinich 4 percent (9) Dodd 2 percent (6) Gravel 0 percent (1)...

By Bill Turque | December 10, 2007; 3:27 PM ET | Comments (0)

Rick Boucher Not Interested in Run for Governor

U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, a Democrat who represents Southwest Virginia, said today he has no plans to run for governor in 2009. Some Democrats have floated Boucher's name as a possible candidate because they think the party needs to find a someone who can appeal to rural voters. But Boucher said in an interview he's happy - for now - in Congress. "I have given no thought to it," said Boucher, who was reelected last year with 68 percent of the vote in a Republican-leaning district. "I have received a number of phone calls from people who suggested there is a unique opportunity for somebody who has a strong standing in rural Virginia, and it is an intriguing idea, but honestly I have given no thought to it."...

By Tim Craig | December 7, 2007; 5:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Winners and Losers

Winners Legislative Black Caucus - Senate leaders announced this week that four out of five African-American senators will chair a committee when the General Assembly convenes in January, a stunning ascendancy in power in a state that has historically be run by white men. Doug Denneny - A Democratic House candidate in the 11th congressional district, Denneny was endorsed this week by U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa), a rising star within the Democratic party. Denneny and Murphy are both veterans of the war an Iraq, which they oppose....

By Anita Kumar | December 7, 2007; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (0)

Democrats Take Full Control of Russell County

There is an interesting political story in Russell County, located in Southwest Virginia's coal country. In the Nov. 6 election, businessman Jon I. Bowerbank VII unseated Republican incumbent D. Carter McGlothlin for an at-large seat on the Russell County Board of Supervisors. Bowerbank got 44 percent of the vote in a race that also included Democrat Clarence E. "Butch" Ball. Bowerbank said his political advisers have told him he became the first independent in southern or southwestern Virginia since the Civil War to win a race against both a Democrat and a Republican candidate. (But he's not sure if he believes them.) Either way, Bowerbank doesn't plan to stay an independent for long....

By Tim Craig | December 6, 2007; 4:32 PM ET | Comments (1)

Forgit Receives Financial Support

All Democratic members of the Virginia congressional delegation have pledged or given money to Philip Forgit, the Democratic candidate for U.S. House in Tuesday's election. That includes: U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher: $2,500 U.S. Rep. Jim Moran: $5,000 U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott: $2,300  ...

By Anita Kumar | December 6, 2007; 3:46 PM ET | Comments (2)

Are You Ready to Talk Gas Tax Increase?

As first reported (I think) by Republican blogger Shaun Kenney, Sen. Linda T. "Toddy" Puller (D-Fairfax) has introduced legislation to increase the state's gasoline tax by 5 percent. Puller's proposal to raise the 17.5 cent a gallon gas tax, which hasn't been raised since 1986, comes amid growing calls to eliminate the controversial fees on bad drivers. Yesterday, incoming Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) refused to rule out a gas tax increase as a substitute for the abuser fees, which were designed to raise $65 million annually for transportation. Earlier today, Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) announced he will introduce legislation to repeal the abuser fees. Yesterday, the Joint Legislative Audit Review Commission released a report that questions whether the fees were good public policy....

By Tim Craig | December 6, 2007; 3:40 PM ET | Comments (4)

Putney Named House Appropriations Leader

House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) announced that he has picked Del. Lacey E. Putney of Bedford to lead the Appropriations Committee. The move was a bit controversial because Putney switched from Democrat to independent almost four decades ago. But Putney is a member of the House Republican caucus and the current vice chairman of the committee....

By Anita Kumar | December 6, 2007; 12:17 PM ET | Comments (2)

Virginia Notebook: Gilmore vs. Warner & Clinton

To figure out James S. Gilmore III's campaign strategy in next year's U.S. Senate race, one only has to listen to him for a few minutes. In an interview with reporters at the Virginia Republican Party retreat last weekend, Gilmore stressed that former governor Mark R. Warner, the likely Democratic nominee for Senate, won't be on the ballot by himself. "My strategy is defeating a Clinton-Warner ticket," said Gilmore, who is assuming that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York will be the Democratic nominee for president. "It will be Hillary Clinton together with Mark Warner, and at that point, people's opinion about the ticket will change."...

By Tim Craig | December 5, 2007; 7:26 PM ET | Comments (3)

Pollard Likely to Run for State House

Former Del. Albert C. Pollard Jr., who narrowly lost his Senate bid this year, said today he will likely run for his old state House seat if Del. Robert J. Wittman (R-Westmoreland) is elected to Congress next week. Pollard said "everybody from former Republican Governor Linwood Holton to the local UPS men" have been urging him to run for the House seat he gave up in 2005. "I enjoy the public service, I am a much better position financially then I was two years ago and if the seat opens, I will almost certainly run," Pollard said....

By Tim Craig | December 5, 2007; 12:21 PM ET | Comments (4)

New Senate Democratic Leaders

Here is a list of the Senate Democratic leaders, who will take outright control of the chamber in January. Majority Leader - Richard L. Saslaw (Fairfax) Deputy Floor Leader - William Roscoe Reynolds (Franklin) Caucus Chairman - Mary Margaret Whipple (Arlington) Caucus Vice- Chairman -Phillip P. Puckett (Russell) Floor Whips - Janet D. Howell (Fairfax) & John S. Edwards (Roanoke) Caucus Secretary- Yvonne B. Miller (Norfolk) Caucus Treasurer- Henry L. Marsh III (Richmond)...

By Tim Craig | December 5, 2007; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (4)

Warner Challenger Has Past Criminal Record

The Fairfax County man who filed to run against Mark R. Warner for the Democratic nomination for the U.S Senate has a past conviction for bank fraud, according to newspaper accounts. Julien Modica filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission Oct. 22 to run for the Senate, which would set up a potential June primary against Warner. But Julien Modica, chief executive officer of the Brain Trauma Recovery & Policy Institute, used to be known as Julien K. Dilks. Julien Dilks was convicted in federal court in 1994 after he stole over $12,100 from Jefferson National Bank in Charlottesville, according to an article that year in the Roanoke Times. The Washington Post verified the conviction through court records. In an interview today, Modica admittted he changed his last name in recent years....

By Tim Craig | December 4, 2007; 3:11 PM ET | Comments (9)

More New Blood for Fairfax Board

Supervisor-elect Pat Herrity (R-Springfield), who will assume the seat now held by retiring Elaine N. McConnell, has hired David Foreman to be his chief of staff. Foreman, who currently serves as field director for U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Fairfax), and Herrity attended West Springfield High School together. But the connections don't end there. Foreman's dad was the chief of staff to Herrity's dad, the late John F. "Jack" Herrity, a former county board chairman. And Foreman's wife works for Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully), who is likely to be a friendly face on the board for fellow Republican Herrity. Foreman did not return a phone call for comment, but others close to Davis said Foreman's impending departure is not a signal that Davis has decided not to seek reelection. Herrity said his old high school friend has helped him with the campaign all year....

By Amy Gardner | December 4, 2007; 2:59 PM ET | Comments (4)

What U.S. Rep. Murphy Says about Doug Denneny

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) sent out a statement today praising Doug Denneny, a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 11th District. Murphy and Denney are both Iraq war veterans. Murphy will headline a fundraiser for Denneny next week. "To change direction in Iraq, we need strong voices in Congress who can speak with real world experience," said Murphy. "From aircraft carriers to Fairfax County, Doug knows the issues - none more so than the war in Iraq. As a fellow Iraq War veteran, Doug is uniquely prepared for this job and I know he is ready to continue his public service and join the fight to bring our troops home."...

By Tim Craig | December 4, 2007; 1:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Doug Denneny Gets Big Name Backer

Doug Denneny , retired Naval commander, is getting some high-powered support for his bid for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 11th district. U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Murphy, an Iraq war veteran and retired WestPoint professor, will headline a fundraiser for Denneny Tuesday in Vienna. Murphy (D-Pa) is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party after he unseated Republican Mike Fitzpatrick last year. Murphy is the only Iraq war veteran to serve in Congress. Denneny is also an Iraq war veteran. According to Denneny's biography, he led the first strike of non-stealth aircraft over Baghdad. He also served in Somalia and Afghanistan....

By Tim Craig | December 4, 2007; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Baise Still Fighting Tysons Tunnel -- For a Fee

Gary H. Baise, the Republican candidate for chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors who lost to incumbent Gerald E. Connolly (D) last month, is still talking about the Tysons tunnel. But Baise has hung up his politician's cap and put on the one he wears as lawyer. Baise is representing tysonstunnel.org in the lawsuit it filed last week against the Federal Transit Administration seeking a renewed look at the proposal to extend Metrorail from Falls Church to Dulles International Airport. Current plans call for an elevated track through busy Tysons Corner, but tysonstunnel.org claims that state, local and federal officials have not sufficiently considered the tunnel option. When asked if he was doing the legal work pro bono, Baise replied, "Oh no." But it's not clear how quickly, or by whom, he will be paid. Scott Monet, who heads tysonstunnel.org, said in an interview last week that the...

By Amy Gardner | December 3, 2007; 7:01 PM ET | Comments (2)

Fairfax Man May Take on Mark Warner

A Fairfax County man has filed paperwork to challenge former governor Mark R. Warner for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, which could set up a potential June primary. Julien Modica, of Fairfax, said he is running on a platform of securing more federal funding for veterans who return from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with brain injuries. "These kids are 19 and 21 years old and they are going to be alive for another 50 years," Modica said in an interview. "These are celebrated veterans, but when they are back here in the United States, Americans have to realize these people need to be properly taken care of."...

By Tim Craig | December 3, 2007; 5:30 PM ET | Comments (4)

Democrats Already 'Tracking' Gilmore on Tape

Let the games begin. According to Democratic sources, either the Democratic Party of Virginia or the Mark Warner for Senate campaign had a videographer, known as a tracker, infiltrate the Republican Party Advance this weekend in Crystal City. The tracker shot footage of former governor James S. Gilmore III, the likely GOP nominee for Senate, and other speakers at the annual Republican retreat. As has been well documented, a tracker helped bring down Sen. George F. Allen (R-Va.) in last year's U.S. Senate race. Because it's 11 months until the 2008 election, Virginia Democrats appear to be raising the stakes in what is sure to become a heated campaign. No word on whether the current Democratic tracker is a college student, as was the now infamous S.R. Sidarth, the Democratic tracker who captured Allen's "macaca" remark on tape last August....

By Tim Craig | December 3, 2007; 1:52 PM ET | Comments (12)

Winners and Losers From the GOP Advance

The annual Virginia Republican Party Advance is the ultimate venue for schmoozing, jockeying for attention and laying the groundwork for future bids for office. So here's my take on the winners and losers of this weekend's event, which drew about 650 party activists and leaders to the Hyatt Regency at Crystal City. Advance Winners - Attorney General Bob McDonnell - The attorney general hosted a party for GOP activists on Friday and Saturday nights. Both were well attended, and there were plenty of people throughout the weekend wearing "Bob McDonnell" stickers. There also was a strong sentiment from GOP activists that McDonnell should run for governor in 2009, even if former governor and senator George Allen enters the race. George Allen - While Allen wasn't nearly as visible as McDonnell was, the former governor and senator gave what many considered to be a strong, inspiring speech in support of Fred...

By Tim Craig | December 3, 2007; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (6)

A Republican Attorney General From Arlington?

Ready for a quiz? Why did David M. Foster, chairman of the Arlington County School Board, rent a suite at the Virginia Republican Party Advance in Crystal City? Did he feel bad that 650 Virginia Republicans traveled to Arlington County and there were no local Republican officeholders to greet them? Or is he thinking of running for attorney general in 2009? You are correct if you answered yes to both questions....

By Tim Craig | December 2, 2007; 8:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Ken Cuccinelli for Attorney General?

State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II of Fairfax County still has to survive a recount of his 92-vote victory over Democrat Janet Oleszek, but he may already be turning his attention to his next possible campaign. At this weekend's Virginia Republican Party Advance in Crystal City, there was plenty of talk that Cuccinelli may run for attorney general in 2009. "People have raised it with me, but I haven't done anything about it, except telling my wife people have raised it with me," Cuccinelli said in an interview. "But there is a certain amount of logic for a conservative from Northern Virginia running." But Cuccinelli added his first task is the recount later this month. "I got to win this race first," he said....

By Tim Craig | December 1, 2007; 7:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Straw Poll Results

You can read about the results of the presidential straw poll at the Republican Party of Virginia Advance here. You can also find a complete tally for each candidate below....

By Tim Craig | December 1, 2007; 6:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Saxman Says No to Senate Bid

Del. Christopher B. Saxman (R-Staunton) announced today he will not enter the race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. Saxman's decision could all but clear the field for former governor James S. Gilmore III to be the GOP nominee against former governor Mark R. Warner, the likely Democratic nominee. Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) is now the only other Republican besides Gilmore publicly considering the race....

By Tim Craig | December 1, 2007; 5:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

 

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