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Virginia Politics Blog: December 16, 2007 - December 22, 2007

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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Winners and Losers  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Election 2007 , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/U.S. Senate  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2007  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Bill Turque , Fairfax County Board of Supervisors  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Frank R. Wolf , Leslie L. Byrne , Thomas M. Davis III , Tim Craig , Virginia Notebook  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , James Webb  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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