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Virginia Politics Blog: January 6, 2008 - January 12, 2008

Reece Runs for Mayor of Herndon

Herndon Town Council member Harlon Reece, who says he is disturbed by the tone of the debate over illegal immigration in the western Fairfax community, has announced that he will run for mayor this spring....

By Steve Fehr  |  January 12, 2008; 2:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bill Turque , Election 2008/Local  
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Gilmore Says GOP Senators Behind Him

Since announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in November, there have been questions about whether former governor James S. Gilmore III could attract support from Republicans in Washington. But Gilmore sent an email to supporters today that notes he's already received campaign donations from 13 GOP senators. Gilmore says he's received contributions from Trent Lott of Mississippi, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Wayne Allard of Colorado, Richard Burr or North Carolina, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma , Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas. It's worth noting one prominent Republican senator wasn't on the list - Virginia Sen. John W. Warner....

By Tim Craig  |  January 11, 2008; 3:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Tim Craig  
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Republicans, Mark Warner Trade Jabs

The National Republican Senatorial Committee came after Democratic Senate candidate Mark Warner today on the issue of illegal immigration. In a release titled "Marky Mark Flips on Immigration," the NRSC accused Warner of changing his position on the issue. The NRSC referenced comments Warner, who was governor between 2002 and 2006, made to a Virginia television station yesterday. Warner was quoted as saying he supports sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants. NRSC Communications Director Rebecca Fisher said Warner's get-touch approach contrasts with his record as governor because he vetoed a bill to deny in-state tuition to illegal immigrants....

By Tim Craig  |  January 11, 2008; 3:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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Romney Wins Republican Women Straw Poll

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the Virginia Federation of Republican Women presidential straw poll Thursday in Richmond. Romney received 26 percent of the vote, followed by John McCain with 24 percent, Fred Thompson with 21 percent, Rudy Guiliani with 17 percent, Mike Huckabee with 11 percent. Ron Paul got less than 1 percent of the vote....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 10, 2008; 8:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President  
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Speaker Draws Ire for Committee Assignments

House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) raised some eyebrows when he released long-awaited committee assignments to delegates last night. The two highest ranking Democrats in the Republican-controlled House were removed from two of the three committees they had each spent a dozen years or more on. Del. Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry), House minority leader, was left on Courts of Justice and taken off General Laws and Counties, Cities and Towns. Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), House Democratic caucus chairman, was left on Courts of Justice but taken off Transportation and Health, Welfare and Institutions....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 10, 2008; 11:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008 , Loudoun County  
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Senate Gets Tough on Raising Money

Democrats in the state Senate have successfully pushed through a rules change that tightens restrictions on senators who try to raise money during the legislative session. For years, state law has prohibited delegates and senators from raising money for their campaigns during the legislative session. But two years ago, Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax) solicited funds for an anti-abortion organization that was gearing up to support legislation before the General Assembly. Some senators, including Republicans, condemned Cuccinelli, saying he was violating the spirit of the law. Cuccinelli, who argued he did nothing wrong because he wasn't raising money for himself, successfully argued he was on solid legal ground. But now the Democrats set the rules in the Senate....

By Tim Craig  |  January 9, 2008; 11:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig  
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Kaine Seeks Nonpartisan Redistricting

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) said tonight he wants Virginia to expand access to absentee ballots and create a new system for drawing legislative boundaries. In his third State of the Commonwealth address, Kaine said a non-partisan redistricting process would allow districts to be drawn "with people, not the politicians, first in mind." Kaine's proposal comes as Democrats took control of the Senate today, which will assure their party has a seat at the table during the next round of congressional and legislative redistricting in 2011. "With different parties in the majority in each house, now is the perfect time to make this necessary change," Kaine said....

By Tim Craig  |  January 9, 2008; 7:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Text of Kaine Speech

One part of our transportation package clearly is not working. The imposition of higher fees on drivers who commit serious traffic offenses was designed to both increase transportation revenue and encourage safer driving habits. After six months, neither goal has come to pass.

By Steve Fehr  |  January 9, 2008; 7:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Abusive Driver Fees , General Assembly 2008 , Immigration , Timothy M. Kaine , Transportation , Virginia Tech massacre  
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More Steam For Rail

Increasingly impatient with the silence emanating from the Federal Transit Administration, the Dulles Corridor Rail Association will publish a full-page, $100,000 ad in The Washington Post tomorrow reminding the FTA and the public just how important they view the proposed $5-plus billion extension of Metro to Dulles Internatonional Airport. "We're ready to ride," states the ad, which supporters described as "positive," and which also states: "The Dulles Metrorail has never had so much support."...

By Amy Gardner  |  January 9, 2008; 4:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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Hillary Clinton Wins Prince William Straw Poll

Sen. Hillary Clinton won the Prince William County Democratic Committee presidential straw poll on Tuesday night. Clinton received 40 percent of the vote. Sen. Barack Obama finished second, earning 32 percent. Former senator John Edwards received 17 percent and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson got 11 percent....

By Tim Craig  |  January 9, 2008; 4:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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The Fight Begins for Allen Supporters

In an interview last night, former governor and U.S. senator George Allen said he probably would not be taking sides in the brewing fight between Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell for the GOP nomination for governor in 2009. "They are both well qualified and would be outstanding governors," said Allen, who yesterday ruled out his own bid for governor. Even if the former governor stays on the sidelines, McDonnell and Bolling will immediately start battling to win over his supporters....

By Tim Craig  |  January 9, 2008; 11:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Bill Bolling , Election 2009 , George F. Allen , Tim Craig  
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Political Establishment React to Allen's Decision

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said Tuesday that he was surprised that former U.S. senator George F. Allen announced he would not run for governor in 2009. "I'm a little surprised. Signs were suggesting to me that he might,'' Kaine told reporters at a press conference. "There's a lot of moving pieces in Virginia politics." Allen's decision leaves the door open for Attorney General Robert McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and perhaps others to compete for the GOP nomination. "Throughout his career, Sen. Allen has been a strong leader and a true friend,'' said John Hager, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. "While I have full confidence that George Allen would have done great things for Virginia in a second term as Governor of the Commonwealth, I respect his decision to turn down this opportunity."...

By Anita Kumar  |  January 8, 2008; 4:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , George F. Allen , Timothy M. Kaine  
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McDonnell Unveils Legislative Agenda

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R) unveiled his legislative priorities Tuesday, a day before the state's lawmakers get to work for this year's 60-day session in Richmond. It came the same day former governor and U.S. senator George Allen announced he will not run for governor in 2009. Allen's announcement clears the field a bit for McDonnell, who could face Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling for the Republican nomination....

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  January 8, 2008; 3:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Bill Bolling , General Assembly 2008 , George F. Allen , Immigration , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar , Virginia Tech massacre  
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Obama Could Give Va GOP a Scare, Bolling Says

Lt. Gov Bill Bolling (R) said today Virginia Republicans believe they would have a much harder time defeating Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) than they would Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in this year's presidential race. A Democratic presidential nominee has not won Virginia since 1964, but Democrats believe their luck may change this year. Bolling, who is state chairman of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in Virginia, said he thinks a Republican will still win Virginia's 13 electoral votes. But Bolling said "without a doubt" he thinks Obama would pose a stiffer challenge to the GOP nominee. "He is a new face, a fresh face with a very appealing message, and no where near as divisive as Hillary Clinton," Bolling said in an interview. "Clearly, he would be a stronger candidate for Democrats."...

By Tim Craig  |  January 8, 2008; 2:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Bill Bolling , Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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Saslaw, Democrats Raise Money

Senate Democrats in Richmond are celebrating their new majority by raising as much money as they can before the legislative session starts tomorrow. Earlier today, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) headlined a fundraiser for the Senate Democratic Caucus at the Colony Club in downtown Richmond. At the event, about 100 lobbyists and business leaders schmoozed with Kaine and the new Democratic committee chairmen. "When you got a majority, you get a lot more people at these things," Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) quipped at one point, according to someone who attended. Saslaw also held a seperate fundraiser Monday night that featured Sen. James Webb (D). State law prohibits Kaine or legislators from raising money during the legislative session....

By Tim Craig  |  January 8, 2008; 11:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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George Allen's Statement

As first reported this morning by the Associated Press, former governor and U.S. senator George F. Allen (R) announced today he will not run for governor again in 2009. Allen's decision sets up a potentially nasty fight for the GOP nomination for governor between Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. Allen's statement:...

By Tim Craig  |  January 8, 2008; 11:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Bill Bolling , Election 2009 , George F. Allen , Tim Craig  
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Armstrong Opens Door For Lobbyists

The Democratic presidential candidates may be tripping over themselves to prove who can be tougher on lobbyists, but some Democrats in Richmond have an open door policy, at least today. Last month, House Minority Leader Ward H. Armstrong (D-Henry) sent out an email to lobbyists and interest groups inviting them to come meet with him in his office to discuss their legislative agenda. The hallway to Armstrong's office has been jammed all day. Someone even hauled in an extra couch for lobbyists to sit on....

By Tim Craig  |  January 7, 2008; 2:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Bob Marshall Set to Make it Official

Virginia Del. Robert G. Marshall of Prince William will announce Monday he is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. Marshall, who is known for his conservative views on social issues and taxes, has scheduled a 1:30 p.m. press conference at the state capitol to make his announcement. Marshall will challenge former governor James S. Gilmore III for the GOP nomination. Marshall says Gilmore is too moderate on some issues, including his past support for abortion rights during the first trimester. "I did a lot of calling around the state and I got an excellent response from Republican Party officials," Marshall said. "I just concluded I matched their aspiration for the views they think should be expressed and defended by a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate."...

By Tim Craig  |  January 6, 2008; 6:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Tim Craig  
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