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Virginia Politics Blog: January 13, 2008 - January 19, 2008

Frederick Launches Campaign for GOP Chair

The Potomac News reported today that Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William) will run for chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. Frederick, 32, and his wife, Amy, have been considering the move for several weeks. In a conversation last week, Frederick said the party needs young leadership who can bolster its finances, organizational skills and outreach efforts....

By Tim Craig  |  January 18, 2008; 9:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Winners & Losers

This week's winners House Speaker William J. Howell -- Despite lots of pressure from delegates, Howell stands firm in opposing an increase in the daily allowance, or per diem, citing the state's budget shortfall. Del. Steve Shannon (D-Fairfax)- Campaign finance reports show that Shannon, a possible Democratic candidate for attorney general next year, has over $202,000 in the bank. Shannon is also speaking more often on the House floor, which may help raise his profile in preparation for a statewide campaign. Del. Lionel Spruill Sr. (D-Chesapeake) -- Spruill earns headlines nationwide over his bill to make it illegal to hang rubber testicles from a vehicle hitch....

By Tim Craig  |  January 18, 2008; 3:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (140)
Categories:  Abusive Driver Fees , Bill Bolling , Election 2008/Congress , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008 , Robert F. McDonnell , Virginia Tech massacre , Winners and Losers  
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Petersen Jumps On the Train

State Sen. J. Chapman Petersen (D-Fairfax), who just the other day sent a letter to the Federal Transit Administration urging a "time out" on the approval process for a proposed Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport, has now signed a letter urging "immediate action" to approve the project's final design....

By Amy Gardner  |  January 18, 2008; 2:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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House Republicans and Democrats Continue Squabbling

Republicans and Democrats in the House have been bickering since the legislative session started last week. First, there was the flare up about changes to the rules, then committee assignments and yesterday, it was the question of whether raising per diems would be used later in campaign attack ads. Today, Del. Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax) brought the per diem issue back for a second day in a row by accusing Democrats of trying to smear GOP candidates in last year's legislative elections....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 17, 2008; 6:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Election 2007 , General Assembly 2008  
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Howell First Woman Conferee From Senate

Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax) is set to become the first woman from the State Senate to become a budget conferee. The conferees are the handful of lawmakers who duke it out at the end of each session to finish the budget. On Wednesday, Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William), chairman of the finance committee, and Del. William J. Howell (R-Stafford), speaker of the House of Delegates, took the unusual step of announcing the conferees, whose names typically are unveiled toward the end of the session. The House, too, has a woman conferee, Beverly J. Sherwood (R-Frederick). But she won't be the first from that chamber. That was Dorothy McDiarmid (D-Arlington), who served in 1984....

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  January 17, 2008; 5:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  General Assembly 2008 , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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Democrats Collect Money From Tobacco Giants

Two different tobacco companies donated a combined $30,000 to House and Senate Democratic committees in recent days as both chambers prepare to consider Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's proposal to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. Reynolds American, parent company of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, donated $10,000 to The Commonwealth Victory Fund last week, according to the State Board of Elections. The fund is a joint fundraising committee for House and Senate Democrats. R.J. Reynolds, the second biggest largest tobacco company in the United States, manufactures Camel, Kool, Winston and Salem cigarettes. On Jan. 2, Altria Corporate Services also made two separate $10,000 donations to the Senate Democratic Caucus. Altria is a parent company of Philip Morris International, a Richmond-based tobacco company that produces Marlboro cigarettes....

By Tim Craig  |  January 17, 2008; 11:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig  
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Petersen Throws Himself in Front of a Train

State Sen. J. Chapman Petersen (D-Fairfax), just a few days into his first legislative session since upsetting Republican Jeannemarie Devolites Davis last November, did something pretty interesting the other day: He sent a letter to Federal Transit Administration chief James S. Simpson urging him to take a "time out" on approving federal funding for the Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport so that a tunnel through Tysons Corner can be more thoroughly studied....

By Amy Gardner  |  January 16, 2008; 9:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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Byrne gets serious

Leslie L. Byrne declared herself the frontrunner today in the battle for the Democratic nomination in the 11th Congressional District -- but others have something else to say about her numbers. Byrne released polling numbers today that show her with a 10-point lead over potential primary opponent Gerald E. Connolly, the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors who recently formed an exploratory committee to consider running for Congress....

By Amy Gardner  |  January 16, 2008; 8:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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A Rough Road Ahead

Chaos reigned at today's meeting of the Senate Courts of Justice committee, which took the state legislature's first crack at killing the unpopular abusive-driver fees. The panel struggled to combine 10 bills that essentially did the same thing-- repeal the fees. Senators argued along party lines over two issues: should the thousands of motorists who have already been assessed the fees get their money back, and should the committee attach an "emergency clause" to the bill so it takes effect as soon as the governor signs it?...

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  January 16, 2008; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Abusive Driver Fees , General Assembly 2008 , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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Potential Candidates for Gov. Have Money in the Bank

Earlier today, we told you how much money Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R) has in the bank as he considers a run for governor in 2009. Some of his potential rivals have as much or more money than he does. Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's political action committee, Building a Better Virginia, had $418,000 cash on hand at the end of the year. On the Democratic side, Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), had about $600,000 in his two accounts for Friends of Brian Moran and Leadership for Virginia's Future. Meanwhile, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) has almost $300,000 in his three accounts....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 16, 2008; 3:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Brian J. Moran , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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An Early Look at the Feb.12 Primary--And Beyond

Get ready to be inundated with a series of potentially competitive elections. Because of the Democratic resurgence in Virginia, voters are going to be facing more choices at the polls over the next two years than they have in decades. It all starts Feb. 12, with the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries....

By Steve Fehr  |  January 16, 2008; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Bill Bolling , Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Election 2009 , George F. Allen , Gerald E. Connolly , James Gilmore III , John W. Warner , Leslie L. Byrne , Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Thomas M. Davis III , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Kaine Chat on Dulles Rail, Smoking Ban, Abusive Driver Fees

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine was online today at washingtonpost.com....

By Steve Fehr  |  January 16, 2008; 2:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Timothy M. Kaine  
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Power Struggle on the Fairfax Board

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) may already be missing Elaine McConnell. He seldom clashed publicly with the six-term Republican supervisor from Springfield who retired on Dec. 31. The two got along so well that critics in McConnell's district tagged her a RINO (Republican in Name Only). But Connolly could be in for a different experience with her successor, Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield)....

By Bill Turque  |  January 16, 2008; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Bill Turque , Election 2008/Congress , Fairfax County Board of Supervisors , Gerald E. Connolly  
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McDonnell Has $500,000 in the Bank

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell's campaign committee, McDonnell for Virginia, raised $605,040 in the second half of last year, according to newly released financial reports. He contributed more than $123,000 to local and state Republicans in the November election. The committee has $585,812 on hand that could be spent on candidates for office -- that includes his own possible run for governor in 2009....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 15, 2008; 6:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2007 , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Va GOP Has Edge in Money

After being badly outspent by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and the Democrats in last year's state legislative elections, Virginia Republicans have at least one reason to be optimistic as they gear up for this fall's elections. According to year-end campaign finance reports released today, the Virginia Republican Party has twice as much money in the bank as the Democratic Party of Virginia. Republicans reported $219,524, compared to the Democrats' $71,900....

By Tim Craig  |  January 15, 2008; 5:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2007 , Tim Craig  
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Bolling Endorses Party Registration

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) has endorsed a bill by Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William) that would allow Virginia voters to register with a political party. Bolling sent a letter to lawmakers today that says party registration would "maintain the integrity of the party nomination process in Virginia" and allow candidates "to more effectively identify voters and efficiently communicate with them."...

By Tim Craig  |  January 15, 2008; 4:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Bill Bolling , Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/Local , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig  
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Kaine Takes Question On Clinton's Electability

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a key supporter of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, is wading into the debate over whether Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) is electable in the general election if she is the Democratic nominee. In the past, Kaine has largely steered clear of questions about whether Clinton could win in a traditionally red state like Virginia. But in an article titled "Red State Dems Sour on Clinton," Kaine tells the Politico newspaper and website that he thinks Obama has a better chance of winning the general election....

By Tim Craig  |  January 15, 2008; 2:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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Feder Building Campaign Warchest

Judy Feder, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 10th District, announced today she raised $600,000 in 2007, including almost $250,000 during the last three months of the year. Feder, a professor at Georgetown, is trying to unseat Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) for the second time. Mike Turner also has filed as a Democratic candidate. The primary is June 10. Although Wolf easily defeated her In 2006, Feder proved herself to be a proficient fundraiser, having raised over $1.6 million for that campaign...

By Steve Fehr  |  January 15, 2008; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Tim Craig  
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Gilmore, GOP Hire New Staff

The Virginia Republican Party and GOP Senate candidate James S. Gilmore III are both beefing up their communications staffs in preparation for the fall elections. State Party Chairman John Hager announced today that Josh Noland will be the party's new communications director. Noland, who replaces Sean Kenney, used to work for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign....

By Tim Craig  |  January 14, 2008; 1:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/Local , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Election 2009 , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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Herndon Race Heats Up

It didn't take Herndon Mayor Stephen J. DeBenedittis long to jump into re-election mode. Less than a week after Town Council member Harlon Reece announced his candidacy for mayor in the May 6 elections, DeBenedittis has formally declared that he will seek a second term....

By Bill Turque  |  January 14, 2008; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bill Turque , Election 2008/Local , Immigration  
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Ken Plum, Mr. Speaker

At the start of each legislative session, House and Senate members receive their vanity license plates that identifies them as a member of the legislature. The license plate includes a number based on their seniority. This year, Del. Kenneth R. Plum (D-Fairfax) had a surprise when he got his plate because it identified him as the speaker of the House. Earlier today, Plum spoke about the error on the House floor. "Mr. Speaker, this is a prediction of things to come," Plum told House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford), referring to Democrats efforts to win back control in the 2009 elections. Howell responded, "You need to save that, maybe it will be a collector's item some day."...

By Tim Craig  |  January 14, 2008; 1:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig  
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Registration Deadline Today

Today is the deadline to register to vote in Virginia's Feb..12 Democratic and Republican presidential primaries. Virginia residents wanting to register for the first time or change their address have until the close of business to fill out an application at their county Board of Elections office. Virginia does not register voters by political party, so voters someone can decide on Feb..12 whether they want to participate in the Democratic or Republican nominating contest. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Feb. 5. --Tim Craig...

By Steve Fehr  |  January 14, 2008; 11:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President  
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