Archive: March 2008

Cuccinelli Is First to Enter AG Race

State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax), one of Northern Virginia's few conservative elected officials with deep roots in the conservative wing of the Republican Party, announced plans today to run for state attorney general in 2009. Cuccinelli, 39, is a proven campaigner who narrowly won reelection last fall in western Fairfax County despite the region's increasing tendency to choose Democrats at the polls. He touted his conservative credentials on such issues as illegal immigration, gun rights, the death penalty and abortion as evidence that he can court Republican votes and round out a conservative GOP ticket that will also feature Robert F. McDonnell, the current attorney general, for governor, and Lt. Gov. William T. Bolling, who will seek reelection next year. "We have the opportunity to have the strongest ticket that Republicans have fielded in years, many years," Cuccinelli said. "And I believe I can round out that ticket, bringing in...

By Steve Fehr | March 31, 2008; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Cranking Out the Endorsements in the 11th

Endorsements are a chronically overvalued commodity in politics. Remember a few weeks ago when Ted Kennedy's testimonial to Barack Obama at American University was heralded as a ground-changing event? But that's never stopped campaigns from cranking them out--big names and little ones. Gerry Connolly announced 29 local officials on Wednesday in his campaign for the 11th District Democratic Congressional nomination. Today was House of Delegates day: Del. Kenneth R. Plum (D-Fairfax); Del. James M. Scott (D-Fairfax); Del. David L. Bulova (D-Fairfax); Del. Vivian E. Watts (D-Fairfax); Del. Dave W. Marsden (D-Fairfax); Del. C. Charles Caputo (D-Fairfax), and Del. Paul F. Nichols (D-Prince William). Former Rep. Leslie L. Byrne has her own long state house list, including Del. Robert D. Hull (D-Fairfax); Del. Margi Vanderhye (D-Fairfax) and Del. Lionell Spruill Sr. (D-Chesapeake), DNC National Committeeman. Byrne has also brought home the marquee endorsement of the race to date, Sen. James Webb....

By Bill Turque | March 27, 2008; 7:02 PM ET | Comments (9)

Corey Stewart Won't Run for Lt. Gov.

Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R) said today he will not run for lieutenant governor next year now that Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) has announced he will seek reelection. Bolling said Monday he will support Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R) for governor instead of seeking the nomination himself. "I was surprised. I had no idea it was coming," Stewart (R-At Large) said of Bolling's announcement. "I really want to be lieutenant governor, but this is the strongest ticket. It's the best thing for the party." Bolling's decision also upset the political futures of Del. Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax) and former state Sen. James K. "Jay" O'Brien (R-Fairfax), who also said they will not seek the nomination for lieutenant governor. --Kristen Mack...

By Steve Fehr | March 25, 2008; 3:28 PM ET | Comments (5)

Connolly, Firefighters Continue a Beautiful Friendship

As investments go, Gerald E. Connolly has yielded pretty good returns for Fairfax County firefighters and paramedics. Their union, Local 2068 of the International Association of Firefighters, has put up nearly $100,000 in campaign contributions to the Board of Supervisors chairman over the last four years. During that period, they've received salary increases significantly higher than those of other county employees. County and union officials say there was no quid pro quo, and that the raises were strictly a matter of keeping public safety pay competitive with surrounding communities....

By Bill Turque | March 21, 2008; 11:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

Another Big Kaine Donor

Suzann W. Matthews, a onetime finance mogul and community activist from McLean, continues to pony up for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's (D) political activities. Earlier this month, Matthews gave $25,000 to Kaine's political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward, according to the State Board of Elections. Since Kaine formed his committee in 2006, Matthews has contributed a total of a $108,000. Matthews is a major donor to Democratic candidates and causes in Virginia, giving nearly $1 million since 1996, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Kaine has received a big chunk of that money....

By Tim Craig | March 19, 2008; 5:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

Another Conservative Enters Senate Race

There are now three candidates running for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va). Robert D. "Bob" Berry, a longtime conservative activist from Springfield, says he filed paperwork with the state party last month and has begun making the rounds to local GOP committees. "The Republican Party is losing its way on a number of very important issues and it needs some serious guidance in terms of resting on its foundational principles," said Berry, who will face former governor James S. Gilmore III and Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) at the GOP state convention in May. "I decided to run because the party needs a lot of help in returning to its roots."...

By Tim Craig | March 19, 2008; 2:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Denneny Decries 11th District Squabbling

While Leslie L. Byrne and Gerald E. Connolly trade charge and countercharge about their records and tactics, 11th District Democratic Congressional candidate Doug Denneny is trying to gain some ground on the high road. "Just like the career politicians they are, Doug's opponents are quibbling over campaign tactics instead of focusing on the real problems facing voters in the 11th district," his communications director, Kevin Franck, said in a statement today. "The fact that our opponents have gone negative so early in this race is troubling." Franck said such intramural food fights are especially unseemly on the 5th anniverary of the Iraq War. Denneny is a former Navy pilot and Iraq war veteran. "Brave men and women of our armed forces are still in harms way," he said. "Getting our country back on track will require real leadership for a change, not inside-baseball political fights. Let's keep our eye...

By Bill Turque | March 19, 2008; 1:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Brian Moran Builds Staff

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) continues to bolster his campaign staff as he prepares to run for governor next year. Moran announced today that Jean Jensen, former head of the State Board of Elections, will become a senior adviser to his campaign. Jensen is a former executive director of the Virginia Democratic Party. She also served as the Northern Virginia director for Mark Warner's 2001 bid for governor. Del. Lionell Spruill (D -Chesapeake), a member of the Democratic National Committee, will be an outreach consultant for Moran. Spruill, an African-American, has deep roots in the Virginia Democratic Party and is widely respected in Hampton Roads. But Spruill hasn't had the best track record in recent years of picking winning candidates to work for....

By Tim Craig | March 18, 2008; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (1)

Connolly Brings on the Green on St. Pat's Day

St. Patrick's Day may not be, as Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly likes to joke, "the holiest day of the year." But for Connolly it's certainly the most profitable. Connolly, running for the 11th District Democratic Congressional nomination, will once again celebrate with high and low-end fundraisers. He'll hold a $1,000-a-plate lunch at the Tower Club in Tysons Corner, followed by his 14th annual fete Monday evening at the Kena Temple on Route 50, where Democrats will pay $35-a-head for beer, corned beef and cabbage. Last year's lunch brought in about $300,000 for his campaign for a second term as Fairfax Board chairman, which he won in November....

By Bill Turque | March 14, 2008; 7:15 PM ET | Comments (8)

Virginia Notebook: Transportation Blues

As the political establishment reels over a bad case of deja vu, lawmakers are struggling to figure out what to do in the recurring battle over how to raise more money for transportation. The state Supreme Court's Feb. 29 decision to toss out the regional taxing authorities in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, a cornerstone of last year's transportation deal, could soon lead to political chaos. But as Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and House and Senate leaders consider whether they can come up with a solution, a big question remains unresolved: Has the window for addressing transportation closed?...

By Tim Craig | March 13, 2008; 1:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Gilmore Fires Back at Marshall; Demands Apology

The fight for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate is becoming increasingly heated. Earlier today, former governor James S. Gilmore III sent out a statement demanding that his opponent for the nomination, Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) apologize for criticizing Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, who endorsed Gilmore yesterday. As reported by the Virginia Politics blog, Marshall said yesterday that Bolling and McDonnell "have a political death wish for the party" because Gilmore supports abortion rights up until the eighth week of a pregnancy. "To say that Jim Gilmore or the many prominent Republican leaders who support him have a 'death wish' or are not pro-life is, at best, ill informed and, at worst, out of control political opportunism," Gilmore's campaign manager, Dick Leggitt, said. "Del. Marshall's unfortunate attacks on these distinguished Virginians are repugnant."...

By Tim Craig | March 12, 2008; 3:36 PM ET | Comments (0)

VoteVets.org Will Endorse Doug Denneny

VoteVets.org, a political action committee dedicated to helping candidates who oppose the Iraq war, will announce tomorrow they are endorsing Democrat Doug Denneny in the 11th congressional district race to replace Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R), who is retiring. Founded in 2006, VoteVets.org PAC takes credit for helping to elect four veterans to Congress that year, including Reps. Patrick Murphy, Joe Sestak and Chris Carney, all Democrats from Pennsylvania. The group also aired a television ad in 2006 aimed at helping Virginia Sen. James Webb in his race against Republican George Allen. The controversial ad, which featured a man shooting into a bullet-proof vest, implied that Allen voted against funding body armor for troops in Iraq when he was in the Senate. Denneny, a retired naval commander, is running against Fairfax County Board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly, former Rep. Leslie L. Byrne and community activist Lori Alexander for the...

By Tim Craig | March 12, 2008; 1:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Gets Tough With Clinton

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), along with other elected leaders from medium size states, sent out a letter to the national media this morning in an attempt to refute Sen. Hillary Clinton's claims that she would be the strongest Democratic presidential nominee this fall because she has won more big states. The letter, titled "debunking the Clinton campaign's dubious big state spin," argues that Sen. Barack Obama has won a majority of the largest states that are likely to decide the 2008 presidential contest, including Virginia, where Obama got 64 percent of the vote last month. "Senator Obama has scored important victories in each of our states - states that will play a decisive role in deciding whether or not John McCain will be given the chance to enter the White House and extend George Bush's failed policies for another 4 years," the letter said, which was signed by Kaine,...

By Tim Craig | March 12, 2008; 12:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Marshall Condemns Bolling, McDonnell

Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) lashed out at Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling today over their decision to endorse James S. Gilmore's bid for Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. Marshall, who is also running for the Senate, accused Bolling and McDonnell of condoning Gilmore's support for abortion rights up until the eighth week of a pregnancy. "You've got basically the entire Republican establishment endorsing a candidate, Jim Gilmore, who wants to keep 60 percent of all abortions now being done legal," said Marshall, who noted both McDonnell and Bolling are likely GOP candidates for governor next year. "These guys have a political death wish for the party. How do they expect all the Reagan Democrats to work for them when they are running for office next year...They are ensuring a Democratic victory statewide next year."...

By Tim Craig | March 11, 2008; 6:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bolling, McDonnell Endorse Gilmore

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell and Lt. Gov Bill Bolling, both likely GOP candidates for governor next year, today endorsed James S. Gilmore III in the U.S. Senate race. Gilmore, who was governor from 1998 to 2002, is running against Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) for the GOP nomination for the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. John W. Warner (D). The party will select its nominee at a convention in May. In a statement, Bolling said Gilmore is one of "the most consistent and principled conservative leaders" he has ever known. "Jim Gilmore knows what he believes in, and he fights for it, when it's easy and when it's not," Bolling said. "That's the kind of leader we need representing us in the United States Senate."...

By Tim Craig | March 11, 2008; 2:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Gilmore Lines Up Support But Ignores Marshall

Former governor James S. Gilmore III, who is seeking the GOP nomination for Senate, unveiled a series of endorsements today to demonstrate his committement to the "sanctity of life and the preservation of traditional family values." In a joint statement, 23 GOP conservative activists are urging GOP activists to get behind Gilmore, calling him "a strong, pro-family conservative." The statement comes as Gilmore is trying to fend off a challenge for the nomination from Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who is also a conservative. Marshall, who argues he is a stronger opponent of abortion rights than Gilmore is, has been quietly lining up support. Several thousand party activists will decide the nominee at party convention in May. Gilmore has embraced a strategy in which he largely ignores Marshall, instead focusing on former governor Mark R. Warner, the likely Democratic nominee. It's a risky strategy....

By Tim Craig | March 11, 2008; 11:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

Gilmore Wants Drilling in Alaska

As gasoline prices soared to record levels today, Republican U.S. Senate candidate James S. Gilmore (R) embraced drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. "If not now, when?" Gilmore asked in a statement. "We must make America energy independent and obtaining energy production from the vast reserves in [the refuge] is a solid first step in that direction." Gilmore, who is fighting Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) for the GOP nomination, has also endorsed proposals to increase use of nuclear power and build more domestic oil refineries. The likely Democratic nominee for Senate, former governor Mark R. Warner, has made changes in the nation's energy policy one of his top campaign issues....

By Tim Craig | March 10, 2008; 1:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Connolly Far Ahead, His Poll Shows

Gerald E. Connolly, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and candidate for the congressional seat of retiring Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), released poll results today giving him a 23-point lead over Democratic rival Leslie L. Byrne....

By Amy Gardner | March 10, 2008; 10:48 AM ET | Comments (0)

Senate Democrats Fail to Mention Kaine's Role in Fees

Senate Democrats apparently have selective memory. On Saturday, the Democratic caucus sent out a statement heralding its role in repealing the unpopular abusive driving fees. The statement noted that House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and then Senate Majority Leader Walter A. Stosch (R-Henrico) stood together in July to defend the fees. "Meanwhile, Democratic Senators were mounting efforts to repeal the legislation," the statement said. But the statement failed to mention that Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) - who bolstered public opposition to the driving fee law by excluding out-of-state drivers - also stood with Howell and Stosch at that press conference. In fact, Kaine's role at the event was far more influential than the one played by Stosch. Kaine, who has since changed his position, declared at the time the fees "affect poor drivers, not poor people."...

By Tim Craig | March 9, 2008; 2:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

Jay O'Brien: State Senator or Candidate for Lt. Gov.?

Former state senator James K. "Jay" O'Brien of Fairfax is ramping up his campaign for lieutenant governor in 2009. O'Brien has printed up "Jay O'Brien for Lieutenant Governor" pamphlets, one of which was found on the floor of the General Assembly building. He's also started a website, where he lists endorsements from more than 50 GOP officials, including U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III and his wife, former state senator Jeannemarie Devolites Davis. The flier notes O'Brien has a perfect record in opposing abortion rights and has been supported by the National Rifle Association. He also takes credit for passing a bill last year that bans teenagers from using a cell phone while driving and helping to pass legislation that cracks down on child predators. The flier, which solicits campaign contributions, also runs through O'Brien's resume. But it's impossible to tell from the flier that O'Brien lost his bid for...

By Tim Craig | March 7, 2008; 2:58 PM ET | Comments (3)

Tempers Flare in the Final Days of Session

During the lengthy House session Thursday afternoon, Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) challenged House Speaker William J. Howell about whether an amendment on a transportation bill was relevant. As Howell considered the answer, he invited Marshall and the sponsor of the amendment, House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem), to the front of the chamber to discuss the question. House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry) also joined them. To say Del. R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta) was peeved with Armstrong's presence is an understatement....

By Anita Kumar | March 6, 2008; 6:57 PM ET | Comments (1)

Webb Endorses Byrne

Sen. James Webb said today he is endorsing Leslie L. Byrne in the race for the Democratic nomination in the 11th congressional district. "I am convinced that Leslie Byrne is our best candidate," Webb said in a statement. " Leslie shares my values about economic fairness and the need to re-order our national security policies - both in Iraq and throughout the world. In her service as a state legislator and member of Congress, Leslie Byrne has demonstrated time and again that she is tough, fiercely independent and willing to stand up to powerful special interests. I would be proud to serve in Congress with her." Byrne is running against Fairfax County Board chairman Gerald E. Connolly, retired naval commander Doug Denneny and Lori P. Alexander in the June 10 Democratic primary. Incumbent Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) is retiring....

By Tim Craig | March 6, 2008; 3:16 PM ET | Comments (5)

Perriello-Goode Race Takes Shape

Tom Perriello has secured the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.), whose district stretches from Charlottesville to Danville, in the fall election. Perriello gets the nomination because no other Democrat met yesterday's filing deadline to enter the race. In January, Democrat David Shreve of Charlottesville withdrew from the race. "I'm thrilled to lock up the nomination this early and to see such an overwhelming response from Democrats, Republicans and independents to our positive agenda for moving our communities forward together," Perriello said. Goode, first elected in 1996, has deep roots in the traditionally conservative 5th congressional district, easily winning reelection. But Perriello could prove to be a formidable challenger. Perriello, a lawyer, raised $263,665 last year, compared to Goode's $152,863. Perrielo has already opened campaign offices in Franklin County and Charlottesville and will be opening a third office in Danville soon....

By Tim Craig | March 4, 2008; 11:14 AM ET | Comments (0)

Warner Dismisses Suggestions He is Eyeing VP Slot

Former Gov. Mark R. Warner is dismissing speculation that he might drop out of the U.S. Senate race if offered the vice-presidential slot on Sen. Barack Obama's ticket. The New York Observer reported Friday that Warner told supporters in New York he isn't ruling out running for vice-president if Obama, who has yet to secure the Democratic nomination, asked him to be his running mate. The Observer speculated that either Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) or former lieutenant governor Donald S. Beyer would run for the Senate if Warner dropped out of the race....

By Tim Craig | March 3, 2008; 9:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

 

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