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Virginia Politics Blog: December 9, 2007 - December 15, 2007

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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Winners and Losers  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Bill Turque , Election 2008/Congress , Gerald E. Connolly  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Election 2009 , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2007 , General Assembly 2008 , Thomas M. Davis III  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2007 , Election 2008/Congress , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Mark Warner , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2007 , General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2007 , General Assembly 2008  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Loudoun County , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bill Turque , Election 2008/President , Fairfax County Board of Supervisors , Gerald E. Connolly  
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