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Virginia Politics Blog: February 3, 2008 - February 9, 2008

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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Election 2008/President  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President , General Assembly 2008  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2008  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President , Election 2009  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (343)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Election 2008/President , Election 2009  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2008  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2008/President  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2008  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , General Assembly 2008 , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Abusive Driver Fees , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bill Turque , Fairfax County Board of Supervisors , Gerald E. Connolly  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2008  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2008  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008 , James P. Moran Jr. , James Webb , John W. Warner , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Leslie L. Byrne , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig  
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