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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.

Gerald E. Connolly - Now that he's officially sworn in for a second term, Connolly is free to ramp up his possible bid for Congress in the 11th district. Connolly has already begun sending signals he is likely to enter the race for the Democratic nomination.

House Republicans - The incoming House Republicans got a round of positive press this week after they announced they are giving Republicans and Democrats proportional representation on each of the body's permanent committees for the 2008 legislative session.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine - Even though the budget is tight, Kaine manages to grab four days of headlines off relatively modest proposals.

Del.-elect Brenda Pogge (R-York) - Even before his loss in Tuesday's special election in the 1st Congressional District, Democrat Philip Forgit had been mentioned as a possible challenger to Pogge, who represents the 96th House District, in 2009. Forgit got 46 percent of the vote when he ran delegate in 2003 against Del. Melanie Rapp, who preceded Pogge. But in his bid for Congress this year, Forgit managed to get just 43 percent of the vote in the 96th District. Republicans strategists now no longer view him as a credible threat to Pogge in two years.

College presidents - Kaine (D) says he will ask the General Assembly to borrow a record $1.65 billion to pay for construction projects at the state's colleges and universities.

David Dixon - In what seems to be the new norm, Deeds' announced his candidacy for governor this week via an online video. The video was produced by Dixon, of Dixon/Davis Media Group. Instead of having Deeds talk directly into a camera, the ad was more like an infomercial. The result was a sharp, informative video filled with Deeds' messages as well as images that kept the viewers' attention for 2 minutes.

This Week's Losers:

Sen. William C. Wampler Jr. (R-Bristol) - Kaine announces this week he will not appoint Wampler, who had been privately lobbying for the job, (or anyone) to the State Corporations Commission. Kaine instead said he will leave the appointment up to the General Assembly, where some members are fighting against appointing Wampler.

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) - With Deeds' announcement, Moran's hopes that he would instead run for attorney general are dashed.

Virginia teachers - The Virginia Education Association releases a new report that shows state teachers make $6,100 less than the average of teachers nationwide.

The uninsured - Kaine releases his proposal to extending government subsidized health care to more individuals. But Kaine's plan, at a cost of $25 million over two years, will only result in additional help for an estimated 8,000 individuals. One million people in Virginia lack health insurance.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City) - Kaine and Norment endorse plans to keep a $1- a- vehicle annual registration fee collected primarily to help pay for the Jamestown 400th commemoration even though the celebrations ended this year. The decision gives new ammunition to conservatives who say state government is addicted to certain revenues. And, in a possible repeat of the controversy over abuser fees, a radio host has a started an online petition against keeping the fee.

Gerald E. Connolly - Just as he is considering a run for Congress, county officials say Fairfax County has a $220 million budget shortfall.

By Steve Fehr  |  December 14, 2007; 3:09 PM ET
Categories:  Winners and Losers  
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