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Virginia Politics Blog: March 9, 2008 - March 15, 2008

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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Bill Turque , Election 2008/Congress , Gerald E. Connolly  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine , Virginia Notebook  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Election 2009 , James Gilmore III , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bill Bolling , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Robert F. McDonnell , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  James Gilmore III , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2008/Congress , Gerald E. Connolly , Leslie L. Byrne  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig , Virginia Notebook  
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