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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.

U.S. Rep. Thelma Drake (R-Va) - The Virginian-Pilot reported this week that Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe, a Democrat, is considering challenging Drake next year. But with less than a year until the election, the fact Democrats are still searching for a candidate bodes well for Drake's chances to retain her seat. Unlike her narrow victory in the 2006 election, Drake should be able to count on more Republican-leaning military voters and veterans showing up to the polls in 2008 because of the presidential race.

The freshman Senate class - Nearly every incoming Senate freshman campaigned on a pledge to repeal the abuser fees on bad drivers. The incoming senators' efforts may have gotten a boost this week when the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission issued a less than flattering assessment of the fees, including statistics that indicate that they are not making highways safer.

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) - Moran was an early and vocal critic of the abuser fees, arguing since summer they should be repealed. Moran seized on the JLARC report this week by announcing he is sponsoring a bill in the House to repeal the fees.

Del. Robert Hurt (R-Pittsylvania) - The incoming senator held his own Tuesday during a panel discussion on gun rights during fierce questionning from families of Virginia Tech shooting victims and contradictory comments from panelists.

Del. Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry) - The House Minority Leader has been named to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee's board of directors. The committee works to elect Democrats to state legislatures across the country.

Losers

Gun rights groups - The state Freedom of Information Advisory Council endorsed draft legislation prohibiting the State Police from releasing a database of concealed weapons' permit holders to the public. Gun rights groups support the legislation, but they had hoped the council would make an exception so they and other political organizations could access the database to build their memberships and find potential voters. The council refused, saying it would be a double standard.

Philip Forgit - Despite some last-minute donations from Virginia Democrats, Forgit has struggled to get national Democratic groups involved in campaign in Tuesday's special election to fill the congressional seat of the late U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Davis, a Republican.

Del. David B. Albo (R-Fairfax) - Albo has been a staunch defender of the abuser fees, which he helped create. Responding to the outcry this summer over the fees, Albo is now preparing to fight to amend the fees by dropping some of the offenses covered by them and extending them to out of state drivers. But after the JLARC report, Albo could face a tough sell in arguing to his colleagues the fees should be amended instead of repealed.

Del. Phil Hamilton (R-Newport News) - Hamilton fails to convince House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) that he should be chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee instead of Del. Lacey E. Putney, an independent from Bedford who caucuses with Republican.

By Anita Kumar  |  December 7, 2007; 11:08 AM ET
Categories:  Abusive Driver Fees , Election 2007 , Election 2008/Congress , General Assembly 2008 , Transportation , Winners and Losers  
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