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Virginia Politics Blog: May 18, 2008 - May 24, 2008

U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo Endorses Bob Marshall

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), an outspoken conservative and fierce advocate for additional controls on illegal immigration, announced today he is supporting Del. Robert G. Marshall's candidacy for U.S. Senate. Tancredo's endorsement could boost Marshall (R-Prince William) among conservatives as he battles former governor James S. Gilmore III for the GOP nomination. About 10,000 Republican activists will elect the nominee at the state party convention next weekend. "We can trust Bob Marshall to oppose amnesty for illegal aliens. In the House of Delegates, Bob has a strong record of doing what he could on the state level to stop illegal immigration," Tancredo said in a statement. "Instead of making vague statements about border security, Bob has a clear-cut plan to build a fence along the border, crack down on employers who hire illegals, and end birthright citizenship."...

By Tim Craig  |  May 22, 2008; 5:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Tim Craig  
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McDonnell, Bolling Honor Dead Soldiers

In honor of Memorial Day, the state's top Republicans, Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, paid tribute in a ceremony at the state Capitol to Virginia soldiers who died in the last year. A pair of F-18 fighter jets and Blackhawk helicopters flew overhead. It was the second year that McDonnell - a likely candidate for governor next year - has organized the event. Last year, people in downtown Richmond were alarmed by the loud noise made by the fighter jets so this year, the Attorney General's Office tried to make sure more people knew about the event....

By Anita Kumar  |  May 22, 2008; 4:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Mark Warner Has $5.3 Million in the Bank

Former governor Mark R. Warner (D) has raised almost $8 million for his U.S. Senate campaign, and has $5.3 million in the bank, according to campaign finance reports he plans to release today. Since April 1, Warner has taken in $1.5 million. Warner's numbers' show he has about a $5 million cash-on-hand advantage over his likely GOP rival in the fall, former governor James S. Gilmore III....

By Tim Craig  |  May 22, 2008; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Frederick Won't Seek Reelection If Elected GOP Chair

Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William) sent a letter to supporters this week saying he won't seek reelection to his House seat in 2009 if he is elected chairman of the Virginia Republican Party at next week's GOP convention. Frederick, who is challenging John H. Hager for the chairman's job, said he made his decision because of concerns from party leaders that it would be too hard for him to be both a delegate and the leader of the state party. "With the loss of 9 seats in the General Assembly in just the last 6 months alone, and RPV finishing 5th in fundraising to four Democratic committees last year, the risk is too great for me to not make the tough decision to eliminate any objections to my candidacy for Party chair," Frederick said in a letter to GOP activists. "The future of our Party, and indeed our Commonwealth,...

By Tim Craig  |  May 22, 2008; 12:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2009 , Tim Craig  
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A Byrne Poll in the 11th

The congressional campaign of Leslie L. Byrne has released details from an internal poll showing her in a statistical dead heat with fellow Democrat Gerald E. Connolly. The two are competing in the June 10 primary along with two others, Doug Denneny and Lori P. Alexander, for the Democratic nomination in the 11th Congressional District, where incumbent Tom Davis is retiring. The winner will face Republican newcomer Keith Fimian in the fall in an increasingly blue-leaning district that includes much of central Fairfax County and a part of Prince William County. According to an internal memo issued by the campaign, Connolly is ahead of Byrne 37 percent to 34 percent among likely Democratic primary voters -- a statistical dead heat given the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points....

By Amy Gardner  |  May 21, 2008; 5:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2008/Congress , Gerald E. Connolly , Leslie L. Byrne , Polls  
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U.S. Senate Candidates Criticize Abortion Ruling

Former governor James S. Gilmore III, who is running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, criticized yesterday's decision of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals striking down Virginia's ban on partial birth abortions. "This outcome shows how critical it is to have federal judges who will strictly interpret the Constitution," Gilmore said. "This unfortunate ruling by the 4th Circuit Tuesday was decided by two judges appointed by President Bill Clinton. If I am elected to the U.S. Senate I will support the selection of federal judges who do not try to rewrite laws that have been enacted by a duly elected legislature." Likely Democratic candidate Mark R. Warner was governor when the General Assembly approved the ban on late-term abortions in 2003. He opposed the ban, but the General Assembly overruled him. Warner declined to comment on the court ruling, which will likely thrust the issues of abortion...

By Anita Kumar  |  May 21, 2008; 4:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner  
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Likely Candidate Moran Opens Richmond Office

Del. Brian J. Moran of Alexandria, who is expected to run for the Democratic nomination for governor next year, has opened an office in downtown Richmond. Moran, who is chairman of the Democratic caucus in the House of Delegates, had all his staff (about seven people) working out of an office in Alexandria until last month. Now, one staffer who is raising money has been located a few blocks from the Capitol in Richmond. That office is likely to expand in the coming months....

By Anita Kumar  |  May 21, 2008; 1:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , General Assembly 2008 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Virginia Notebook: Gambling on Webb for VP

Virginia Sen. James Webb, ending a nationwide publicity tour, is fueling speculation that he will be on Sen. Barack Obama's shortlist for vice presidential candidates. But don't start making Obama-Webb signs just yet....

By Tim Craig  |  May 21, 2008; 11:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Webb , Mark Warner , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine , Virginia Notebook  
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McCain Leads Obama, Clinton in Virginia

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, leads both of his potential Democratic rivals in Virginia, according to poll by Virginia Commonwealth University released today. The survey, conducted by the school's Center for Public Policy, found that McCain would beat Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois by 8 points if the election were held today. McCain would get 44 percent of the vote among voters, compared to Obama's 36 percent. McCain would expand his lead slightly if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York is the Democratic nominee. In that match-up, McCain gets 47 percent of the vote among voters while 38 percent would choose Clinton....

By Tim Craig  |  May 20, 2008; 5:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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Court Strikes Down Virginia Abortion Ban

A federal appeals court has ruled that Virginia's ban on late-term abortions, approved by the General Assembly in 2003 over objections from then governor Mark R. Warner (D), is unconstitutional. In a ruling issued this afternoon, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said the procedures covered under Virginia's ban "imposes an undue burden on a woman's right to obtain an abortion." The ruling will likely reignite the abortion debate in Virginia....

By Tim Craig  |  May 20, 2008; 4:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (353)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Oleszek May Run Again for Senate

Democrat Janet Oleszek, who lost to Sen. Ken Cuccinelli by 101 votes in last year's election, says she's ready for a rematch in 2011. At the Fairfax County Democratic Committee Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner Sunday night, Oleszek said she thinks she will be able to beat Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax) the next time....

By Steve Fehr  |  May 20, 2008; 11:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Election 2009 , Tim Craig  
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Cheney to Speak to Virginia GOP

Vice-President Dick Cheney will be the keynote speaker at a fundraising gala at the Virginia Republican Party state convention next weekend in Richmond, party officials said today. Cheney's appearance will almost certainly become fodder for Virginia Democrats, who are trying to link the GOP and its presumptive presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, to the Bush administration. But the event will be a big money maker for the state GOP, which has been working to keep pace with Virginia Democrats in fundraising....

By Tim Craig  |  May 19, 2008; 5:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Brian J. Moran , Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Tim Craig  
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Clinton Book Brings in the Bucks

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) may have won Fairfax County by 30,000 votes in the Feb. 12 primary, but Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY.) words are still apparently more valuable to that county's Democratic activists. During an auction last night at the Fairfax County Democratic Committee Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner, an autographed copy of Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, sold for $250. An autographed copy of Clinton's book, Living History, sold for $400....

By Tim Craig  |  May 19, 2008; 1:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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Jody Wagner Ponders Bid for Lt. Gov.

Secretary of Finance Jody W. Wagner was making the rounds at the Fairfax County Democratic Committee Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner last night as she considers a bid for statewide office. Wagner, who is from Virginia Beach, said in an interview she is thinking about running for lieutenant governor next year, although she was quick to point out her main focus continues to be her job in Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's administration. "I'm thinking about it but right now I am still working very hard for Governor Kaine on transportation and other stuff," said Wagner, adding she will have to step down as finance secretary if she decides to run for lieutenant governor....

By Tim Craig  |  May 19, 2008; 11:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2009 , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Brownlee Expected to Announce AG Run

John Brownlee, the former top prosecutor for Virginia's western district, is expected to announce tomorrow that he is running for the Republican nomination for attorney general next year. Brownlee, whose last day on the job was Friday, has scheduled a news conference tomorrow morning in Roanoke. Brownlee, 43, has been U.S. Attorney since 2001. A graduate of Washington and Lee University and the William and Mary law school, Brownlee previously served as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. In Virginia, Brownlee is best known for efforts to combat illegal drug use, including going after the makers of Oxycotin for alleged deceptive marketing....

By Anita Kumar  |  May 19, 2008; 10:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Election 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Live Q&A With U.S. Rep. Jim Moran

U.S. Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia's 8th District will be online Tuesday, May 20 at 11 a.m. ET to take your questions about his work and goals during this session of Congress. You can read the Q&A here or submit questions directly....

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 19, 2008; 7:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  James P. Moran Jr.  
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Connolly Wins Fairfax Straw Poll

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly, a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 11th District, easily defeated his rivals for the nomination in a straw poll tonight at the Fairfax County Democratic Committee Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner. Party officials say Connolly won but they didn't release the final vote count. However, Connolly says he got 57 percent of the vote, compared to 33 percent for his closest rival, former congresswoman Leslie L. Byrne. The two other candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in the June 10 primary, Doug Denneny and Lori P. Alexander, split the remaining votes, Connolly said....

By Tim Craig  |  May 18, 2008; 10:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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