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Virginia Politics Blog: January 20, 2008 - January 26, 2008

House Democrats Will Try to Fight Back

Stayed tuned for more partisan rancor coming up Monday in the Virginia House. Del. Robert H. Brink (D-Arlington) will ask his House colleagues to vote to rescind a new Republican-written rule that allows Speaker William J. Howell to bypass the usual committee process and send bills straight to the House floor for a vote. The first time that happened was Thursday when Democrats revolted and abstained from voting on a controversial labor bill. Republicans responded by using an obscure House rule to force almost all the Democrats to vote, against their wishes, on the bill....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 25, 2008; 4:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008  
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This Week's Winners and Losers

This Week's Winners: Tom Perriello - A Democratic candidate for Congress in the 5th District, Tom Perriello is being touted as a possible serious challenger to Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va) this year. Some Democrats in Richmond say Perriello, who raised $263,000 last year, will be well funded, considering the relatively cheap television advertisements costs in southern Virginia. Goode remains heavily favored to win, but Perriello can't be disappointed with the free press he got this week in the Martinsville Bulletin and the Roanoke Times. You can find the articles here and here....

By Steve Fehr  |  January 25, 2008; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Kaine Names Lottery Director

Arlington native Paula I. Otto has been named executive director of the Virginia Lottery, state officials announced today....

By Steve Fehr  |  January 25, 2008; 1:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Timothy M. Kaine  
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Dueling Banjos

Hundreds of activists on both sides of the gun control debate crammed into the General Assembly's office building Monday to lobby for or against measures addressing the issue. Many of the gun rights activists were armed, which is legal under Virginia's concealed weapons law. The spectacle of armed men and women trolling the halls of the General Assembly makes some lawmakers nervous, especially those who represent areas of the state that generally support gun control. John Pierce, cofounder of Open Carry.org, said he and other activists got into the same elevator as Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) at one point on Monday....

By Tim Craig  |  January 24, 2008; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig  
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GOP Chairman Ready to Take on Frederick

John H. Hager said today he plans to seek a full term as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, despite a challenge from Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William). Hager, who became chairman in July after Ed Gillespie joined the Bush administration, said he wants to continue his efforts to put forward "a reform agenda" for the state party. "I am not in a career job and I think I can do a good job," Hager said. "We are in good shape financially, which had not been the case before...We are working on being more of a service organization for our elected officials. ... I am imminently involved with all these pieces of the building blocks, so it is probably not a good time to make a change."...

By Tim Craig  |  January 23, 2008; 1:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/Local , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig  
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Connolly Rallies Democratic Family

By day, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) confines his public pronouncements largely to the nuts and bolts of local government. Last night, however, evoked a little of the old time religion for the general membership meeting of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee....

By Steve Fehr  |  January 23, 2008; 11:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Bill Turque , Election 2008/Congress , Gerald E. Connolly  
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House Squabbling, Part 2

Did Virginia Democrats just beat House Republicans at their own game? Del. Christopher B. Saxman (R-Staunton) sponsored a bill that would ban any legislator or statewide official from attending a fundraising event to benefit a political party during the legislative session. The proposal, which was defeated last year, was seen as a partisan swipe at the Democratic Party of Virginia, which holds its biggest fundraiser, the Jefferson-Jackson Day celebration, in the middle of the legislative session....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 22, 2008; 6:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2008  
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Del. Hargrove Compares Asteroids, Climate Change

Del. Frank D. Hargrove Sr., a Republican from suburban Richmond, apparently doesn't believe in the phrase "think globally, act locally." At a House Rules Committee hearing today, Hargrove couldn't understand why Dels. David L. Englin (D-Alexandria) and Kenneth R. Plum (D-Fairfax) sponsored a bill to create a permanent commission to study climate change. "Virginia is a small dot on the map," Hargrove said. "When you look at the entire universe, what advantage do we have to duplicate what the federal government and what international organizations are already doing?" Englin said states are taking the lead in addressing the issue because the federal government is not doing their part. "We have a significant population and a significant economy and therefore a potential significant impact on this issue," Englin said....

By Tim Craig  |  January 22, 2008; 5:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig  
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Could Huckabee, Obama Battle For Virginia Votes?

Some black ministers, who tend to be conservative on social issues and liberal on economic policies, are having a hard time deciding who they will support in the Feb. 12 Virginia primary. In an interview at the state capitol today, Joe Ellison Jr. said he is "torn" over whether he will vote in the Democratic or Republican primary. Ellison, pastor of Essex Village Ministries in Richmond, is executive director of Pastors for Family Values, an offshoot of the socially conservative Family Foundation. In past elections, Ellison has supported Democrats and Republicans, including voting for President Bush in 2004 and former president Ronald Reagan during the 1980s....

By Tim Craig  |  January 21, 2008; 5:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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Cat Thieves, Abortions and the Courts Committee

When it comes to watching how Virginia's laws are really made, there is no better venue than the House Courts of Justice Committee, which takes up hundreds of bills each year dealing with the criminal code. Legislation that can mean the difference between a fine and a lengthy jail term are churned through the committee in a matter of minutes, with little or no debate. Earlier today, the committee gave tentative approval, without debate, to a bill by Del. Jennifer L. McClellan (D-Richmond) to make it a class six felony to steal a cat. A few minutes later, the committee gave tentative approval to a bill by Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) to charge someone with a class 1 misdemeanor if they coerce a woman to have an abortion against her will. Sounds simple enough....

By Tim Craig  |  January 21, 2008; 5:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig  
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Boucher Says Obama Can Win Rural Vote

U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va) formally endorsed Sen. Barack Obama today, saying he is the only Democratic candidate who can carry rural America and Virginia in the general election. Boucher represents a district that is 93 percent white and includes all of rural southwestern Virginia. During a conference call, a reporter from a local paper asked Boucher if Obama's race would be a factor with voters. Boucher responded Obama's "message of hope and his clear focus on the future...transcends all other issues." "After watching all of the candidates in their performances so far, the most compelling of the candidates is Senator Obama," Boucher said. "He clearly, in my mind, offers the best opportunity to win the general election." You can read Boucher's full statement below....

By Tim Craig  |  January 21, 2008; 1:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Tim Craig  
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Boucher Will Endorse Obama Today

U.S. Rep Rick Boucher, a popular Democrat who represents Virginia's coal country, will announce this afternoon that he is endorsing Barack Obama's presidential bid, according to the Obama campaign. The campaign has scheduled a 1 p.m. conference call with reporters to announce the endorsement. Boucher refused to comment yesterday, but said he would "talk about the presidential campaign" during a conference call today. Boucher's support could give Obama a bit of a boost heading into Virginia's Feb. 12 primary. The 9th congressional district still represents an important source of Democratic votes, although it has been trending Republican because of the region's cultural conservatism....

By Tim Craig  |  January 21, 2008; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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