Archive: February 2008

Marshall Gloats - Just a Little

Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who opposed the landmark transportation bill that the Virginia Supreme Court declared unconstitutional Friday, can't help but feel a little vindicated. "Fours words: I told you so,'' said Marshall, one of the plaintiffs in the suit against the transportation plan. "I'm not going to say that. Look, last year when this thing was going on, I said I wanted an opinion that said this was constitutional. We never got it." Marshall, who is running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate this year, said there were 17 votes in the House against the bill last year but he was the only one who filed a lawsuit. Is he the only political winner today? "The people are the winners,'' he said. "I just stood up for them."...

By Anita Kumar | February 29, 2008; 8:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Has to Make Quick Decision on Bills

The General Assembly is bombarding Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) with bills. Generally the governor will have received about 50 to 100 bills by this time in the legislative session. But as of Friday morning, he had already received 451. What does that mean? Any bills Kaine receives before tomorrow (one week before the legislative session is expected to end) need to be signed, amended or vetoed within seven days. Any bills Kaine receives after Saturday do not need to be reviewed for 30 days....

By Anita Kumar | February 29, 2008; 4:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Discusses Obama Trip

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) today explained his decision to travel to Kansas and Texas tonight and tomorrow to campaign for Sen. Barack Obama. Kaine found himself needed at home today when the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that parts of the state's transportation plan are unconstitutional. But Kaine decided to stick with his plan to speak at a Kansas Democratic Party event tonight and then campaign for Obama tomorrow in Texas. "I worked all last weekend and the [Obama] campaign wanted me on the trail all this weekend," Kaine said before flying off to Kansas. "I changed the plan yesterday [Thursday] to just do one day [of campaigning]. I am going to be here all day Sunday working on bills and working on this" court decision. Republicans around the capitol are mocking Kaine's decision to go campaigning this weekend. "We certainly hope he doesn't call a special session when we...

By Tim Craig | February 29, 2008; 3:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Va. GOP Won't Use Obama's Middle Name

The Republican Party of Virginia said today it would follow the lead of the party's likely presidential nominee, John McCain, by not using Sen. Barack Obama's middle name in fundraising appeals or other campaign literature. Earlier this month, the state party sent out a fundraising letter that called the Illinois senator "Barack Hussein Obama." But Josh Noland, spokesman for the Virginia Republican Party, said today Virginia Republicans now plan to "stick to the issues." Obama is competing with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) for the Democratic presidential nomination. The decision comes amid a controversy in Tennessee after the Tennessee Republican Party sent out a press release mentioning Obama's middle name. On Tuesday, McCain denounced GOP efforts to promote Obama's middle name. "Any comment that is disparaging of either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama is totally inappropriate," McCain said....

By Tim Craig | February 28, 2008; 11:39 AM ET | Comments (4)

Kaine Off to Kansas, Texas to Stump for Obama

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will continue building his national profile this weekend despite it being the final days of Virginia's legislative session. Kaine will be the keynote speaker tomorrow night at a Kansas Democratic Party fundraiser in Topeka. Kaine and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) are supporters of Sen. Barack Obama. Kaine grew up in Kansas and his parents live there. On Saturday, Kaine will spend the day campaigning for Obama in Texas, where voters go to the polls Tuesday. Kaine has also made trips to Iowa, South Carolina and Georgia for Obama. Kaine has been a surrogate for Obama on several Sunday television talk show programs....

By Tim Craig | February 28, 2008; 10:48 AM ET | Comments (0)

Fairfax Budget Gets Political in a Hurry

The Eleventh District Congressional race, and the prospect of a fight to succeed Fairfax Board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly, are already resonating in the debate over the budget proposed on Monday by County Executive Anthony H. Griffin. The Republican minority on the 10-member Board of Supervisors intends to use its grievances about the spending plan to soften up Connolly, who would be the Democratic nominee in November if he defeats former Rep. Leslie L. Byrne, Navy veteran Doug Denneny and physical therapist Lori Alexander in the June 10 primary. At the same time, the two leading aspirants to succeed Connolly should he win the 11th District seat, Supervisors Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock) and Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) are firmly positioned on opposite sides of Griffin's blueprint....

By Bill Turque | February 27, 2008; 1:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Ken Cuccinelli Moves Closer To Bid For AG

Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II, a conservative GOP lawmaker from Fairfax County, is beginning to solicit support for a possible bid for attorney general in 2009. Cuccinelli is inviting Richmond-area GOP activists to an event March 3 for a "discussion of GOP politics and the 2009 elections," according to an invitation for the event. "My wife and I are thinking about the possibility of me running for Attorney General in 2009, and I would appreciate the opportunity to talk with activists in the Richmond area about 2009 and the future of the GOP," the invitation states. Cuccinelli stresses the gathering, to be held at the home of William and Kristie Richards, is not a fundraiser. It is illegal for delegates and senators to raise money for a state race during the legislative session, which doesn't end until March 8....

By Tim Craig | February 27, 2008; 8:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

Brian Moran Adds To Campaign Staff

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) is beefing up his political staff as he prepares for an expected bid for governor next year. Dave Mills, who had been finance director of the Democratic Party of Virginia, will now oversee Moran's fundraising operation. Prior to his work for the state party, Mills served as the Western Regional finance director for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) during his 2005 bid for governor. Dominic Gabello, a former aide to former governor Mark R. Warner (D), is now the political director for "Virginians for Brian Moran." The additions to Moran's team come on the heels of his announcement last month that veteran Democratic strategists Mame Reiley and Steve Jarding will head up the "Virginians for Brian Moran" committee....

By Tim Craig | February 27, 2008; 8:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Fairfax Supervisors Assess the Damage

Fairfax County homeowners, facing an average 3 percent decline in the value of their properties, can take some solace--a bit, anyway--in the fact that the Board of Supervisors are taking a bigger hit. Property assessments released this week show that board members are looking at an average 8.2 percent drop in their home values. Supervisor Linda Q. Smyth (D-Providence) took the biggest dip, losing 22.8 percent on her three-bedroom, brick home on Hideaway Road, which is now assessed at $541,030. Chairman Gerald E. Connolly's (D-At-Large) Mantua Drive home lost 9 percent, bringing it to $725,650. Some had more to lose than others. Supervisor John W. Foust (D-Dranesville) dropped more than $400,000--nearly 11 percent--from his six-bedroom home on Swinks Mill Court in McLean, which was valued last year at $3.9 million....

By Bill Turque | February 26, 2008; 5:13 PM ET | Comments (1)

Mike Henry to Manage Warner's Campaign

Former governor Mark R. Warner (D) announced today that Mike Henry, who resigned earlier this month as Sen. Hillary Clinton's deputy campaign manager, will oversee his U.S. Senate campaign this year. A graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Henry is a veteran of Virginia politics. After working for Virginia House and Senate Democratic caucuses in the 1990s, Henry led the state Democratic party's coordinated campaign effort when Warner ran for governor in 2001. In 2005, Henry managed Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's (D) campaign for governor. Henry is widely credited with helping to revamp how Virginia Democrats win statewide elections by targeting new groups of suburban voters and perfecting the get out to vote effort....

By Tim Craig | February 22, 2008; 1:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hurst Endorses Connolly

Andrew Hurst, the 2006 Democratic Congressional nominee in the 11th District, has endorsed Gerald E. Connolly in the party's June 10 primary....

By Steve Fehr | February 21, 2008; 2:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lobbyist Seeks Seat on Fairfax City Council

A familiar face in Virginia politics has decided to run for office himself. Dan Drummond, a senior vice president at the Powell Tate public affairs company, is running for a seat on the Fairfax City Council. Drummond previously worked as communications director for U.S. Rep. James P. Moran, Jr. ( D-Va.) and as legislative reporter in Richmond for the Washington Times....

By Anita Kumar | February 20, 2008; 12:56 PM ET | Comments (2)

Virginia Notebook: Are Obama Voters Bad News for GOP?

Sen. Barack Obama didn't just beat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Virginia Democratic primary Feb..12. He defeated her so handily that Virginia politicians running for Congress or statewide office might want to study the results for clues about their political futures. Obama's 28-point margin of victory was one of the largest percentage-point wins in recent history by a candidate in a supposedly competitive statewide primary or general election....

By Steve Fehr | February 20, 2008; 12:18 PM ET | Comments (9)

Democrats Increase Numbers in House

Democrat Albert C. Pollard Jr. handily defeated Republican Lee Anne Washington in a special election today to fill a vacant House of Delegates seat in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Pollard, who narrowly lost a bid for state Senate last year, previously held the House seat from 2000 to 2005. The 99th District includes all of King George, Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland counties and part of Caroline County....

By Tim Craig | February 19, 2008; 9:27 PM ET | Comments (502)

Kaine Not Worried About Partisan Budget Vote

Senate Democratic leaders have been fretting all week over the possibility that the chamber's 19 Republicans will vote against the budget Thursday, which senators from both parties say hasn't happened in three decades. If there is a partisan vote on the budget, it could weaken the Senate's hand in negotiations with the Republican-controlled House. Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said Monday he hopes to work with GOP senators to try to address some of their concerns so they vote for the budget. But in an interview today, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) wasn't worried about having a partisan vote on the budget. "I think what is important is that the budget is a good budget," Kaine said....

By Tim Craig | February 19, 2008; 7:38 PM ET | Comments (1)

Superdelegate to Re-evaluate Support for Clinton in March

Is Del. Lionell Spruill Sr. (D-Chesapeake), a superdelegate who could help decide the Democratic nominee for president, reconsidering his pledge to support Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton? "I'm going to look at it again after March 4," Spruill said today, referring to the upcoming primaries in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont. "He's doing well." Spruill, an African-American who sits on the Democratic National Committee, was an early and vocal Clinton supporter. But there could be growing pressure on Spruill and other Virginia superdelegates to rethink their support for the New York senator after Sen. Barack Obama's convincing win in last Tuesday's primary. Obama (D-Ill) won Spruill's Tidewater district with 70 percent of the vote. When asked what he meant by "he's doing well," Spruill responded, "no comment" before adding, "March 4."...

By Tim Craig | February 19, 2008; 11:57 AM ET | Comments (9)

Feder's Fat Wallet

Judy Feder, one of the Democratic challengers to U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) this year, has made CQ Politics' top 10 list of best-funded, opposite party challengers. She's ranked ninth in the cash-on-hand department. Feder is known for her fund-raising abilities. In 2006, she amassed more than $1.5 million in her first match-up against the popular 14-term incumbent, who raised just over $1.7 million....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | February 16, 2008; 9:05 AM ET | Comments (4)

Connolly Makes It Official

Gerald E. Connolly, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, formally announced his candidacy for Congress yesterday. Connolly is seeking the Democratic nomination in the 11th Congressional District. He faces three opponents: former congresswoman and state senator Leslie L. Byrne, community activist Douglas J. Denneny and physical therapist Lori P. Alexander....

By Amy Gardner | February 15, 2008; 8:27 AM ET | Comments (12)

Obama (Almost) Sweeps Northern Virginia

So how bad did Sen. Barack Obama thrash Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in Northern Virginia on Tuesday? According to the state Board of Elections, Clinton (D-N.Y.) didn't win a single precinct in Alexandria. She won one in Arlington (Arlington Mill) and one in Loudoun (Guilford). She won three in Prince William (Stonewall, Park and Potomac View). She also won seven in Fairfax County (Ravensworth, Holmes, Edsall, Parklawn, Lynbrook, Greenspring and Virginia Hills). But Obama (D-Ill.) swept every other precinct in the core of Northern Virginia, often by a 2 to 1 margin. There are 27 precincts in Alexandria, 51 in Arlington, 73 in Prince William, 63 in Loudoun and 232 in Fairfax County. Earlier today, the Virginia Democratic Party estimated Obama will be awarded 54 Virginia pledged delegates. Clinton will get 29....

By Tim Craig | February 14, 2008; 4:10 PM ET | Comments (4)

A Superdelegate Sticks with Clinton in an Obama State

Virginia Democrats overwhelmingly prefer Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) for president, as his 28-point victory this week over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) showed. But one state lawmaker from Richmond who will have a vote at the Democratic National Convention in the influential group of party leaders known as superdelegates said today she's unlikely to abandon her support of Clinton....

By Tim Craig | February 14, 2008; 12:27 PM ET | Comments (6)

Potomac Primary Roundup: Weather Can't Stop McCain, Obama

Despite sleet and strong winds, voters in the District, Maryland and Virginia braved the cold and other weather to cast their ballots in yesterday's Potomac Primary. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., won a convincing sweep over Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., while U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., himself swept Alabama Gov. Mike Huckabee. Over 1.3 million voters cast ballots in Virginia, with Democrats heavily outnumbering Republicans. Last night's results troubled John H. Hager, the Virginia's Republican Party chairman, who called Obama "America's most liberal U.S. senator. ... Despite his rhetoric he offers only the same old liberal policies of higher taxes, bigger government and retreat on the war on terror," Hager said in a Richmond Times-Dispatch article. But much analysis of last night's Virginia results suggests that many Republicans voted for Obama in order to cast a ballot against what Studley's Dave Smith told the Times-Dispatch is perceived as "the Clinton...

By Washington Post Editors | February 13, 2008; 3:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

Why Va. Didn't Keep Polls Open Later

Because of heavy turnout and icy weather in Northern Virginia, some voters were asking yesterday why the state didn't keep the polls open later, as Maryland did. Here's why: Susan Pollard, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Board of Elections, said that a request for longer poll hours would have to come from one of the political parties and approved by a judge. No one requested an extension, she said....

By Steve Fehr | February 13, 2008; 2:49 PM ET | Comments (3)

Estimated Turnout Today

Estimated turnout for Virginia primary from Edison/Mitofsky: Democrat: 930,000, or 16% of voting age population Republican: 505,000, or 8% of voting age population In 2004, 396,223 voted in the Virginia Democratic primary, so turnout increased more than 130 percent. Young voters, age 17-29, made up 14 percent of all voters this time; in 2004, they made up 8 percent. In the February, 2000 GOP primary, 664,093 voted, so Republican turnout was down this time....

By Steve Fehr | February 12, 2008; 9:50 PM ET | Comments (3)

Va. GOP Statement on Primary

Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Hager released the following statement in reaction to the results of Virginia's presidential primaries: I want to congratulate Senator McCain on his victory today in Virginia's presidential primary. Governor Huckabee and Congressman Paul should also be proud of their hard-fought campaigns here in the Commonwealth....

By Steve Fehr | February 12, 2008; 9:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Gov. Kaine Statement on Obama Win

Statement of the Governor on Senator Barack Obama's Virginia Democratic Primary Win: RICHMOND - I want to congratulate my friend Barack Obama on his win today in Virginia's Democratic primary. Both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton deserve credit for their hard work and their spirited campaigning across Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. We've fielded a tremendous group of Democratic candidates this year, and we should be proud of their incredible work....

By Steve Fehr | February 12, 2008; 8:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

Slick Roads Delay Irate Voter

Faridon Mohtashemi said he left work at Wachovia Bank in Crystal City an hour early to vote but was stuck in traffic for 2 1/2 hours. When he arrived at Hayfield Secondary School near his home in the Kingstowne section of Fairfax County it was 7:03 p.m. --three minutes after the official closing time. He said he saw a woman removing the voting sign in the parking lot and asked if he could cast a ballot, but was told "sorry, we're closed." "It's very disheartening that they couldn't extend the hours when they knew what was happening with the weather," he said....

By Steve Fehr | February 12, 2008; 8:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Stickers, Chili, Taters and Kisses

Sights, smells and tastes from a busy election day: Voters shuffled in from the cold, grey weather to the warm back room of the Leesburg Fire House and were greeted by the aroma of the poll workers' cooking chili. Precinct chief Mary Ann Glennon, working her eighth election, said her team has had a busy day, with 455 Democrats and 175 Republicans voting by around 2:10 p.m. There are 2,481 registered voters in her precinct area. The precinct's biggest glitch?...

By Washington Post editors | February 12, 2008; 4:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

NoVa's GOP Voters Speak

Throughout the day, Post reporters have found some GOP voters in Virginia are gravitating toward Sen. John McCain as the party's all-but-certain nominee but others remain reluctant to embrace the Arizona Republican. Post reporter Nick Miroff found Republican voters in Prince William County who backed Huckabee said they knew their candidate was a long shot, but went for him anyway. "I like his religious beliefs," said Dan Boger, 73, a real estate investor voting at Potomac Middle School in Dumfries, adding that he wasn't worried about the candidate's improbable odds. "The Lord's going to take care of that," he said. Woodbridge resident Amy Taylor, a 57-year-old social worker who described herself as Christian and pro-life, said Huckabee was "the only true conservative." "I think the media's largely ignored him," she groused. "Hillary and Obama have gotten all the attention." The tight Democratic race seems like too much "infighting" to Jaime...

By Washington Post editors | February 12, 2008; 4:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Some Immigrant Views

As immigration remains a volatile issue, immigrants are making their voices heard. Nabil Masri, 55, a banker and Woodbridge resident, told reporter Nick Miroff he knows a good deal when he sees one, so he voted for the senator who used to be a first lady. That's Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) "I liked her husband and I like her," he said. "It's two for the price of one." Masri, of Palestinian descent, said he considers Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) "untested" but believes Clinton has the strength and personality to "stand up and fight," especially to get the country's troops out of Iraq. "I'm Arab American, so I want to see this war end," he said. Venezuelan immigrant and Woodbridge resident Cecilia Reynoso said she also voted for Clinton. She wants to see "what a woman can do," she said, and likes the New York senator's smarts and experience. "I want...

By Washington Post editors | February 12, 2008; 4:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Dem Voters Speak Out in NoVa

Post reporters are finding some strong opinions among the divided Democratic electorate in Virginia. In Loudoun County, one couple told Jonathan Mummolo why they voted for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) Scott Sammler Michael, 45, a minister, said that he had been a fan of former North Carolina senator John Edwards but that Obama won him over. "I'm really excited about how much hope he seems to inspire in people." Of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), he said he's wary of having a chain of Bushes and Clintons in the White House for more than 20 years. "I don't like the dynastic thing," he said....

By Washington Post editors | February 12, 2008; 4:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

Vote Splitting and Hot Chocolate

In Reston, Lorrie-Ann Melnick, 40, a preschool teacher, ducked out of the the frigid weather yesterday afternoon for a hot chocolate with her four-year-old son Evan after she cast a vote for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D). "I feel really good about her decision-making in the past under pressure," Melnick told reporter Mike Laris. "She's always acted in a way that there's a lot of integrity and reflects my values." When Clinton makes a mistake, she owns up to it, Melnick said. "I feel like she really takes responsibility for herself," she said. But her pro-Clinton stance is a lonely one at home. "I'm the only one in my family for Hillary Clinton. The boys are all for Obama," Melnick said. That includes her husband, her 6 year old son and little Evan. So why Obama? "Cool!" Evan said. In Loudoun County this morning, reporter Jonathan Mummolo also stumbled onto...

By Washington Post editors | February 12, 2008; 4:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

More about Lines

The lines stretched long in the lobby of the Verizon building in Arlington, longer than Rafael Beltran III had ever seen them in his four years working at the polling place. "Something or someone has energized the voters," Beltran told Post reporter Theresa Vargas, adding that Democrats had shown up in unusual force. "For the first time in years, some candidate or some message is coming out loud and clear." The poll workers had started their day at 4:30 am and were running on coffee and water by 8:30 a.m. The lines were no shorter by 10 a.m. "By now we would be playing cards," Beltran, chief of elections for that voting location, said in mid-morning. "Right now it would have been totally dead." Instead, he was thinking about the rest of the day and whether he would have to call the county to see if a judge would allow...

By Washington Post editors | February 12, 2008; 3:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lines, Lines, Lines

Reporter Jerry Markon learns this afternoon from the Virginia State Board of Elections that voter turnout is heavy statewide and is expected to wind up being about 30 to 40 percent of registered voters -- in the range of what the board had projected. "People are interested and excited about this presidential primary, and they definitely want their voices heard,'' elections board spokeswoman Susan Pollard said. She said this year's projected turnout can't be compared to other recent Virginia presidential primaries because the state hasn't had one with both parties on the ballot for nearly two decades. In 2004, Democrats held a presidential primary, but Republicans didn't, while in 2000 there was only a Republican primary. The last presidential primary to feature both parties was in 1988, the elections board said. That year, Democratic turnout was 14.3 percent, while Republican turnout was 8.9 percent. Pollard said there are reports of...

By Washington Post editors | February 12, 2008; 3:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

A Hands-On Civics Lesson

Post reporter Jackie Spinner checked out some preparations for today's presidential primaries on both sides of the Potomac River. About 50 Arlington high school students were expected this morning to get a real-time civics lesson as poll workers. Teacher Casey Robinson gave her senior government class at H.B. Woodlawn Secondary Program an edict: Don't wear jeans. "You're not just my students. You represent H.B.," Robinson told them Monday. "If they ask you to look nice, look nice." Most of her students were planning to get up at 4:30 or so to help prepare polling stations in Northern Virginia for the 6 a.m. opening. "Most important thing...please be on time," Robinson told the students. "You need a wake-up call? I'm happy to wake up to call you." For many of these students, it was their first detailed view of democracy in action. Chris Kendall, 18, compared the election day assignment to...

By Washington Post editors | February 12, 2008; 8:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Potomac Primary Round-Up

In the days leading up to tomorrow's primary, washingtonpost.com and The Washington Post are combing the web for news and opinion outside the region to supplement our coverage with additional viewpoints. We're posting what we find here and to our Maryland Politics blog. The campaigns are descending upon local universities in search of the youth vote. Bill Clinton stumped for his wife at Virginia Tech Saturday night, prompting student Rohan Mathur to tell campus publication Collegiate Times, "I wish it was four more years for Bill Clinton...In a way, if [Hillary Clinton is] in office (his policies) will come back in." On Sunday night, it was Chelsea Clinton's turn -- she headed to the University of Maryland, speaking with about 250 students and supporters in the Stamp Student Union food court about "universal health care, the No Child Left Behind Act, the war in Iraq and many other issues," according...

By Liz Heron | February 11, 2008; 5:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Updated: Clinton and Sabato at U.-Va.

Post reporter Susan Kinzie caught up with Hillary Rodham Clinton today at the University of Virginia. Here's her report: It's not every intro class that students will line up waiting in the cold for. But yesterday afternoon, the day before the election, Professor Larry J. Sabato had a guest lecturer: Hillary Rodham Clinton. Sabato, a legendary professor at the University of Virginia, invited each of the candidates to his 450-student Introduction to American Politics class, and her campaign agreed. Clinton spent well over an hour taking questions from students on issues ranging from the war in Iraq to universal health care to taxes to biofuels, answering in considerable depth, with policy details and personal anecdotes....

By Steve Fehr | February 11, 2008; 5:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Winners & Losers from JJ Dinner

Here are some winners and losers from the Virginia Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Day dinner Saturday night in Richmond. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) spoke to about 6,000 party activists and donors. Before the event, which also featured speeches from a elected leaders and party officials, hundreds of Clinton and Obama supporters faced off outside the Stuart C. Siegel Center on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. Winners: Barack Obama Virginia organizers: Obama supporters appeared to outnumber Clinton supporters by about 3 to 1. Before the dinner, about 300 Obama supporters paraded down one of Richmond's busiest streets to show their support for their candidate. The Obama campaign, aided by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's (D) trusted political aide Charlie Kelly, even brought in a marching band to lead the group. There was little doubt inside or outside the Siegel Center that Obama supporters appeared...

By Tim Craig | February 11, 2008; 1:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Obama Greets Supporters in Alexandria

Sen. Barack Obama arrived at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria just before 2 p.m. today, greeting thousands of supporters in a packed gymnasium and hundreds more hoping for a glimpse outside. Obama came to Virginia on the heels of a sweeping victory in three smaller states Saturday. He is hoping to ride his momentum to victory in the region in Tuesday's first-ever "Potomac Primary", when voters in D.C., Maryland and Virginia will go to the polls. Obama is expected to do well on all three contests, but just how well could improve his momentum heading into the much larger and more important Texas and Ohio primaries next month. Obama used Williams' history as a racially and economically divided community -- as told in the book and movie "Remember the Titans" -- to describe his agenda to improve quality and access to public and higher education....

By Amy Gardner | February 10, 2008; 3:53 PM ET | Comments (22)

Jim Moran to Endorse Obama Today

U.S. Rep. James P. Moran, a Democrat who represents the inner suburbs in Northern Virginia, will endorse Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) today, sources said. Moran, who has represented the 8th District since 1991, is scheduled to appear at an Obama town hall meeting this afternoon in Alexandria to announce his choice. Moran's decision means all three Democratic congressmen from Virginia have lined up behind Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY.)...

By Tim Craig | February 10, 2008; 12:27 PM ET | Comments (161)

Scenes from the JJ Dinner

Post staff writers Tim Craig, Anita Kumar and Sandhya Somashekhar attend the annual Jefferson Jackson Day dinner and sent along some of their observations, sightings and tidbits. 10:30 p.m. Va. Gov. Timothy Kaine, who endorsed Sen. Barack Obama in February of 2007, introduced the Democratic senator from Illinois. Obama said, "And today, voters from the West Coast to the Gulf Coast to the heart of America stood up to say that it is time to turn the page. We won Louisiana, and Nebraska, and the state of Washington, and I believe that we can win in Virginia on Tuesday if you're ready to stand for change." Read a transcript of Obama's prepared remarks. Barack Obama states his case for the democratic nomination at the Jefferson Jackson dinner Saturday night in Richmond, Va. 9:50 p.m. Mark Warner's wife, Lisa Collis, introduced the former governor of Virginia. Warner is running for the...

By Steve Fehr | February 9, 2008; 3:33 PM ET | Comments (23)

Del. Phillips Endorses Clinton

Del. Clarence E. "Bud" Phillips, a socially conservative Democrat from Dickenson County in southwest Virginia, today endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.). In a statement, Phillips said Clinton is the "only candidate in this race with the experience to hit the ground running and turn our economy around." Phillips also praised Clinton's understanding of the challenges faced by rural America. Southwest Virginia is shaping up to be a major background in Tuesday's election. U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, a popular Democrat who represents that area, has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)....

By Tim Craig | February 9, 2008; 2:12 PM ET | Comments (14)

House Holds 4-minute Session

At 1 p.m., the House of Delegates went into a pro forma session, a formality taken so they could move a slew of non-controversial bills forward so they can be debated Monday. At 1:04 p.m., they adjourned. A total of eight legislators showed up, some in casual clothes. House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem) took the speaker's chair....

By Anita Kumar | February 9, 2008; 1:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lingamfelter Helps Break Partisan Impasse

Democrats credit an unlikely source with helping them get two judges confirmed to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Friday: Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William). Republicans had threatened to reject Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's two judicial picks unless their party was able to fill two other judicial openings on the State Corporation Commission and the Workers' Compensation Commission. But behind closed doors, Lingamfelter lobbied fellow Republicans to allow the appointments, which included a former Prince William County Circuit Court judge....

By Anita Kumar | February 9, 2008; 1:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Endorses McCain

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell officially endorsed John McCain today. In a letter to supporters, McDonnell, a likely candidate for governor in 2009, encouraged all "Republicans, independents and fair-minded Democrats to join me" in supporting the Arizona senator....

By Anita Kumar | February 8, 2008; 6:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bill Clinton To Stump for Hillary Saturday

Former President Bill Clinton will barnstorm Virginia tomorrow to try to boost his wife's campaign heading into Tuesday's primary. Clinton will be in Chesapeake in the morning. He will then travel to western Virginia, where he will hold rallies in Abingdon and at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Meanwhile, actor Kal Penn and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's son, Nate, will visit several Virginia colleges tomorrow on behalf of Sen. Barack Obama, including George Mason University. Penn currently appears on Fox's drama House. Last year Penn had a recurring role in the TV series "24."...

By Tim Craig | February 8, 2008; 4:06 PM ET | Comments (35)

In the 11th: Hunt Out, Fimian Up

Steve Hunt, the former Fairfax County School Board member, has decided to withdraw his name from consideration for the Republican nomination in the 11th Congressional District in Northern Virginia. That leaves Keith Fimian, a successful Oakton business owner favored by U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), who will retire from the 11th at the end of this term....

By Amy Gardner | February 8, 2008; 12:49 PM ET | Comments (1)

Onward and Upward for Marin

David Marin, minority staff director of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, will move on to a new gig this month as a principal with the Podesta Group, a bipartisan government relations and public relations firm with such clients as Google, Wal-Mart and BP. Marin, who has been the right-hand wunderkind of U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), joined on with Davis nine years ago, at the tender age of 29. He rose from the rank of Davis spokesman to staff director during Davis's tenure as committee chairman. Supervising a committee staff of 80, Marin led high-profile inquiries into steroid use in major league baseball, federal defense contracting and treatment of wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Marin is next in a line of Davis staffers likely to move on to new opportunities now that their boss has announced that he will retire at the...

By Amy Gardner | February 8, 2008; 11:38 AM ET | Comments (2)

Obama Leads in Poll; Clinton Hits the Airwaves

Sen. Barack Obama has a 15-point lead over Sen. Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's Democratic primary in Virginia, according to a new poll published by the Southern Political Report. The poll, conducted by the polling firm Insider Advantage, shows Obama with 52 percent of the vote, compared to 37 percent for Clinton. The poll was based on interviews 501 voters likely to participate in Tuesday's primary....

By Tim Craig | February 8, 2008; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (343)

Bolling Reacts to Romney's Departure

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, chairman of Mitt Romney's campaign in Virginia , released the following statement after Romney decided to drop out of the presidential race:...

By Anita Kumar | February 8, 2008; 7:11 AM ET | Comments (1)

Lingamfelter, Moran Have Testy Exchange

Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William) took to the House floor Thursday to criticize his fellow Northern Virginian colleague, Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), for asking for money to fight online child predators in a tight budget year. Moran, chairman of the House Democratic caucus and likely candidate for governor next year, responded with an uncharacteristically fiery speech that was met with cheers from his side of the room. "Stand up for the schoolchildren of Virginia!'' he bellowed. "Let's walk the walk!"...

By Anita Kumar | February 7, 2008; 10:37 PM ET | Comments (1)

Get Election Results While Driving

Virginia residents will be able to see the results of Tuesday's presidential primary as they unfold on a series of digital billboards across the state. The billboards will provide real time election results with candidates' names and percent totals. They will be updated instantly....

By Anita Kumar | February 7, 2008; 9:51 PM ET | Comments (3)

Armstrong's Chief of Staff Resigns

Mark Bergman, chief of staff to House Democratic Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry), is leaving to take a position in the Capitol Hill office of U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH). House Caucus Policy Director Claire Wilker will take Bergman's job as chief of staff and chief spokeswoman for the House Democratic Caucus....

By Anita Kumar | February 7, 2008; 6:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

George Allen Endorses McCain

Former Virginia governor George Allen (R) today endorsed Sen. John McCain's bid for the Republican nomination for president. Allen, who had been a supporter of former senator Fred Thompson, said in a statement that McCain "has led a life of heroic service to our country." "His experience coupled with his strong belief in core conservative principles makes him uniquely prepared to serve as our next commander in chief," Allen said. " I am confident that he is the only candidate who can combat the threat of radical Islamic extremism, ensure our country's economic prosperity, stop wasteful Washington spending, and uphold our traditional values."...

By Tim Craig | February 7, 2008; 4:06 PM ET | Comments (7)

Obama Brings in Surrogates

Sen. Barack Obama has begun deploying surrogates into Virginia to boost his candidacy in the days leading up to Tuesday's primary. Actor Alfre Woodard, who most recently starred in Desperate Housewives, will headline a "Women for Obama" forum tomorrow night in Richmond. Also tomorrow, Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak, the former Air Force Chief of Staff, and former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig will conduct a town hall meetings for Obama in Leesburg and Norfolk....

By Tim Craig | February 7, 2008; 3:49 PM ET | Comments (5)

Will Super Tuesday Turnout Mean More Voters in Va.?

Here's a selection of links, quotes and more that touch on Potomac Primary coverage from around the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. Free free to add more in the comments below. The turnout to vote for the Super Tuesday primaries -- a week before Virginia's actual election date -- indicates voter interest should be heavy on the actual voting date, suggested an article in the Roanoke Times. The State Board of Elections reported more than 700 calls Tuesday from people eager to vote and wanting to know why their polling places weren't open. Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch, a Democrat who helped engineer the change in primary date that has contributed to the creation of the so-called Potomac Primary, said in an article on WJZ-TV's web site that, "this is the first time we're going to see real, live candidates coming through the state of Maryland."...

By Washington Post Editors | February 7, 2008; 3:26 PM ET | Comments (1)

McDonnell OK With McCain as Nominee

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, a conservative Republican who may run for governor next year, said today he would be comfortable if Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) becomes the GOP presidential nominee, even though some party activists are questioning McCain's commitment to the conservative cause. "John McCain is a war hero, and he is an expert on national defense and national security is the top issue the country is facing right now," said McDonnell, who initially supported former senator Fred Thompson. "I think he would be an excellent commander in chief. Do I agree with him on immigration and campaign finance or some of his views on global warming? No. I think he is wrong on some of those issues but he brings a lot more to the table to be the leader of the free world compared to either one of the two Democrats."...

By Tim Craig | February 7, 2008; 2:39 PM ET | Comments (2)

Clinton Discusses Va. Primary

Here is a transcript of the news conference held Wednesday in Arlington by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in which she discussed the Virginia primary: CLINTON: We had a great night last night, with victories across the country, and ending up, once again, with, you know, a total of more votes and more delegates, and lots of energy from voters who decided that they really needed a president on day one to be able to manage the economy and provide the leadership that is going to be required to deal with the problems facing our country....

By Steve Fehr | February 7, 2008; 2:17 PM ET | Comments (1)

Del. Hugo Named to House Leadership

Del. Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax), who is serving his third term in the House, has been named assistant chairman for the House Republican caucus. "I am delighted that Tim has agreed to accept this important responsibility," said Del. Samuel A. Nixon Jr. (R-Chesterfield), House Republican caucus chairman. "I look forward to leveraging his unique legislative skills and talents."...

By Anita Kumar | February 7, 2008; 10:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

Potomac Primary Round-Up

In the days leading up to Feb. 12, washingtonpost.com and The Washington Post will be scouring the web for news and commentary -- largely from outside the metropolitan area -- to supplement our coverage with additional viewpoints and posting what we find here and to the Maryland Moment blog. In the aftermath of Super Tuesday, much of the latest coverage cites a range of people expressing pleasure at the region's newfound political power-player role. "We're looking forward to people paying attention to what's going on in Virginia," U.S. Rep. Robert C. Scott, an Obama supporter who represents Newport News, told the Roanoke Daily Press. "It will be the first time in a long time."...

By Washington Post Editors | February 6, 2008; 5:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Clinton, Obama To Appear at JJ Dinner Sat.

Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton have both decided to speak at the Virginia Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner on Saturday night. The annual fundraising dinner, which is sold out, is expected to draw thousands to the Stuart C. Siegel Center in Richmond. Obama was the keynote speaker at last year's dinner, which was billed as the largest sit down dinner in Richmond history. STUART C. SIEGEL CENTER...

By Tim Craig | February 6, 2008; 3:43 PM ET | Comments (3)

Former Va. First Lady Backs Obama

Former governor Mark R. Warner (D), a candidate for U.S. Senate this fall, has said he will not take sides in the race for the Democratic nomination for president. But his wife, former first lady Lisa Collis, has decided to support Sen. Barack Obama. Collis will co-chair "Virginia Women for Obama." The current first lady, Anne Holton, will also head up the committee. The Obama campaign plans to release the names of the rest of the women who make up the committee later this afternoon. Kevin Hall, a spokesman for Warner's U.S. Senate campaign, declined to comment about Collis, except to say, "she is a strong, smart, accomplished and independent woman."...

By Tim Craig | February 6, 2008; 3:13 PM ET | Comments (2)

First Lady To Lead "Women for Obama"

Virginia first lady Anne Holton is stepping up her role in Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign as the Democratic primary race heads to the commonwealth. Holton, wife of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), held a conference call with reporters today to tout "Women for Obama" in Tuesday's primary. Kaine endorsed Obama last year. Holton is the daughter of former Virginia governor A. Linwood Holton Jr., who in 1969 was elected the state's first Republican governor....

By Tim Craig | February 6, 2008; 9:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Gilmore Blames Warner for Payday Loan Problems

Former governor James S. Gilmore (R) praised the House of Delegates today for their efforts to stiffen regulations on payday lenders while taking a not-so-subtle jab at his potential rivial in this year's U.S. Senate race, former governor Mark R. Warner (D). "It is no secret that payday lending stores opened under the leadership of Mark Warner and the bill he signed into law,'' Gilmore said in a statement. "Their loans are deceptive and they should at a minimum be held to the same standards as other small-loan lenders operating in Virginia. Mark Warner's decision to adopt this policy was wrong and ultimately the people of Virginia have rejected it."...

By Anita Kumar | February 5, 2008; 5:57 PM ET | Comments (6)

2009 Election Starts Early for House

For some members of the House of Delegates, the election has already started. Since the legislative session started last month, Democrats have been targeting two Fairfax Republicans, Dels. David B. Albo and Thomas Davis Rust, who are up for re-election in 2009....

By Anita Kumar | February 5, 2008; 4:48 PM ET | Comments (13)

Elections Board Deluged With Phone Calls Today

Virginia's Democratic and Republican primary is next Tuesday, but more than 400 people have called the State Board of Elections as of 12:30 p.m. today asking "why aren't my polls opened and where do I go to vote?," according to Susan S. Pollard, a spokeswoman for the board....

By Tim Craig | February 5, 2008; 1:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

Fairfax Board Retreats From Retreat

Four years ago this month, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors gathered at a guest ranch on the Shenandoah River for a two-day retreat to sort through ideas and set priorities for their new four year term. Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) speaks fondly of the group cohesion that he said emerged from the trip. At the Stanley, Va. ranch, owned by then-Supervisor Elaine N. McConnell (R-Springfield), board members made breakfast together, sat around the piano in the evening, and generally got to know each other away from telephones, e-mail and the constant drumbeat of official business....

By Bill Turque | February 5, 2008; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Five Virginia Mayors Back Obama

The mayors of some of Virginia's largest cities will announce today they are supporting Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill) bid for the White House. Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim, Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, Roanoke Mayor Nelson Harris and Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris will hold a conference call at 11 a.m. to throw their support behind Obama. Last month, Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder also endorsed Obama....

By Tim Craig | February 5, 2008; 9:19 AM ET | Comments (2)

A Gift from Del. Robert Marshall: Priceless

Each year when it is time for members of the General Assembly to report what gifts, trips and dinners they have received from lobbyists and others, Del. Phillip A. Hamilton (R-Newport news) always gets a special nod. Hamilton, a Republican from Newport News, meticulously records every gift he receives -- even though many of them fall below the $50 threshold for reporting....

By Anita Kumar | February 4, 2008; 4:44 PM ET | Comments (1)

House GOP Defeats Democratic Proposal

As expected, a Democratic proposal to rescind a Republican-written rule was killed today by a vote of 56 to 42 in the House. Del. Robert H. Brink (D-Arlington) had asked his colleagues to change a rule that allows Speaker William J. Howell to bypass the usual committee process and send bills straight to the House floor for a vote....

By Anita Kumar | February 4, 2008; 4:34 PM ET | Comments (1)

U.S. House Members Stop by Virginia House

Even the introductions are partisan in the House of Delegates. Del. Lacey E. Putney, an Independent from Bedford who caucuses with Republicans, introduced two visiting members of Virginia's congressional delegation, Republican Reps. Thelma Drake and Robert J. Wittman. A third member, Democrat Rep. James P. Moran Jr. was sitting close by but was not recognized until House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry) stood up to introduce him....

By Anita Kumar | February 4, 2008; 4:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Clinton Unveils 100-Member Virginia Committee

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY.) today unveiled a list of 100 Democratic activists who will head up her grassroots efforts across Virginia. The group, which makes up Clinton's Virginia steering committee, includes a who's who of party activists from every region of the state. "Virginia is Clinton Country," said Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee. "We are going to fight hard for every vote from Abingdon to Alexandria, and make the case as to why Hillary Clinton is the candidate most ready to hit the ground running on day one." You can read Clinton's full list of supporters below....

By Tim Craig | February 4, 2008; 3:55 PM ET | Comments (6)

EMILY'S List Endorses Leslie Byrne

EMILY's List, which is dedicated to helping women win elective office, announced today they are supporting Leslie L. Byrne in the Democratic primary for Congress in the 11th Distirct. "Leslie Byrne is a strong, proven leader with more than 20 years of service to her community," said Ellen R. Malcolm, president of EMILY's List. "From her early participation with local PTAs and the League of Women Voters, to her position in the Virginia House of Delegates, to her term in the U.S. Congress, Leslie has shown uncommon integrity, leadership and dedication. EMILY's List is proud to support Leslie Byrne in her bid to represent Virginia's 11th District." Byrne is likely to face three challengers, including Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly, in the June 10 primary....

By Tim Craig | February 4, 2008; 1:24 PM ET | Comments (3)

Puller Angry over Clinton Straw Poll Win

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) won a presidential straw poll Saturday night sponsored by the Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee in Fairfax County, but the results have left at least one supporter of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) bitter. Clinton received 100 votes, compared to 80 for Obama. "We are thrilled by our growing support across Virginia," Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said in a statement Saturday. "Northern Virginians are responding to Senator Clinton because they know she is the candidate most ready to lead from day one and who can best get our country back on the right track." But at a press conference this morning to announce that 10 state senators are endorsing Obama, Sen. Linda T. "Toddy" Puller (D-Fairfax) accused the Clinton campaign of skewing the results by sending "young people" from Arlington to cast votes for Clinton....

By Tim Craig | February 4, 2008; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (8)

Half of Senate Democrats Set to Endorse Obama

About half of the 21 Democrats in the Virginia Senate are planning to announce today they are supporting Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) bid for the White House. Obama's list of supporters will likely included senators from every region of the state, including Janet D. Howell and Linda T. "Toddy" Puller, both of Fairfax, A. Donald McEachin of Richmond, R. Edward Houck of Spotsylvania and L. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth, according to sources close to the Obama campaign....

By Tim Craig | February 4, 2008; 5:50 AM ET | Comments (1)

Clinton Names Virginia Staff

Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign announced today that several veteran Virginia Democratic operatives will be directing her effort in the state's Feb. 12 primary. Mike Henry, Clinton's deputy campaign manager, will be the senior Virginia strategist. Henry managed Kaine's campaign during his 2005 bid for governor. Henry, widely credited with bolstering the state Democratic Party's voter files and outreach efforts to suburban voters, was also involved in former governor Mark R. Warner's (D) 2001 campaign. Matt Felan, finance director of Kaine's 2005 campaign, will be Clinton's Virginia director. Even though Kaine supports Obama, Felan is also executive director of Kaine's political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward. Mo Elleithee, a senior spokesman for Clinton's national campaign, will also be Clinton's chief Virginia spokesman. Elleithee was also a senior adviser to the Kaine and Warner gubernatorial campaigns. Other Clinton staffers in Virginia include:...

By Tim Craig | February 1, 2008; 4:07 PM ET | Comments (29)

Gilmore Collects $348,000 for Senate Bid

Former governor James S. Gilmore's end-of-the-year campaign finance reports will show he has raised $348,000 for his bid for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate, according to his advisers. Gilmore has raised far less money than the likely Democratic nominee, former governor Mark R. Warner, but Gilmore advisers say they are pleased with their effort. They note Gilmore didn't enter the race until late November and had to suspend his fundraising efforts over the holidays. "We are looking to raise enough money to put our organization and our campaign in place so for three weeks of work during the holiday season. The governor is proud of what he was able to accomplish in a short period of time, said Ana Gamonal, Gilmore's communications director....

By Tim Craig | February 1, 2008; 10:46 AM ET | Comments (3)

GOP Chair, Jeff Frederick Tussle over 2004 Dispute

John Hager, the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, said yesterday he's increasingly confident that party activists will reelect him to a full term, even though Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William) is vying for the job. In an meeting with Washington Post editors and reporters, Hager said "the Republican Party needs stability, continuity and leadership." "If I thought I needed to get out of the way to allow that happen, I would be happy to do that," Hager said. "I don't think it's about me, its about the party's business." Hager, 71, also took a swipe at Frederick, 32. Hager said Frederick is running out of "youthful exuberance."...

By Tim Craig | February 1, 2008; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (4)

Lawmakers Boo "Young Liberals"

A group of students from Charlottesville and Albemarle County high schools didn't exactly experience southern hospitality when they visited the state Capitol yesterday. During the House session, Del. David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville) stood up to introduce the students, who were sitting in the gallery. But when Toscano said the students were members of the "Charlottesville Young Liberals" club, some GOP lawmakers started booing. After initially being taken aback, Toscano responded by saying: "They are here to witness the process. Whatever you may think of what they may think, I hope you would give them a warm Capitol welcome and help educate them on how things work down here." GOP aides stress the lawmakers who booed were joking, which is common in the sometimes unruly House chamber. Either way, the reception probably offers a lesson for the students on how things "work" in partisan Richmond this year....

By Tim Craig | February 1, 2008; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (15)

 

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