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Virginia Politics Blog: December 2, 2007 - December 8, 2007

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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2009 , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Abusive Driver Fees , Election 2007 , Election 2008/Congress , General Assembly 2008 , Transportation , Winners and Losers  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2007 , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2007  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Abusive Driver Fees , General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig , Transportation  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2008 , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , James Webb , Mark Warner , Polls , Tim Craig , Virginia Notebook  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Election 2007 , General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Election 2007 , General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Leslie L. Byrne , Thomas M. Davis III , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Bill Bolling , Election 2007 , Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , George F. Allen , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner , Thomas M. Davis III , Tim Craig , Virginia Notebook , Winners and Losers  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2009 , Tim Craig  
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