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Virginia Politics Blog: June 1, 2008 - June 7, 2008

John Warner Donates $2,000 to Gilmore

Sen. John W. Warner (R), who is retiring, announced today he has contributed $2,000 to former Republican governor James S. Gilmore III's campaign to succeed him in the Senate. Warner's announcement comes on the heels of a report in The Hill newspaper that speculated the state's senior senator may not support Gilmore, who secured the GOP nomination last weekend. Warner apparently made the donation to Gilmore sometime this week. In a statement, Warner said he has also donated $2,000 each this month to GOP Reps. Frank R. Wolf, Thelma Drake, Eric I. Cantor, Randy Forbes and Robert Goodlatte, all of whom are seeking reelection....

By Tim Craig  |  June 6, 2008; 7:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Eric Cantor , Frank R. Wolf , George F. Allen , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner , Thomas M. Davis III , Tim Craig  
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Gilmore Talks About Iraq, Abortion and Warner

GOP Senate nominee James S. Gilmore III said today he expects that U.S. troops will be in Iraq for years to come because they are central to the efforts to combat terrorism around the world. "The Iraq war is part of a much larger problem and process that is underway," Gilmore said while being interviewed on The Politics Program on WTOP radio. "We have to define what American policy is going to be. I don't think there is any specific time that we are going to be there militarily, but I do know this, we are not going to do a precipitous withdrawal."...

By Tim Craig  |  June 6, 2008; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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Obama-Kaine, Obama-Warner, Obama-Webb

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) offered up only a few clues today about which Virginia Democrat, if any, has a shot at being considered as a vice-presidential candidate this fall. But it's clear there is a spot in Obama's heart for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), who endorsed Obama more than a year ago. Obama appeared at different times today with Kaine, Sen. James Webb and U.S. Senate candidate Mark R. Warner, all of whom are mentioned as possible Democratic vice-presidential contenders....

By Tim Craig  |  June 5, 2008; 9:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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Democrats Blast Gilmore for Ties to Romney

Virginia Democrats attacked former governor and U.S. Senate candidate James S. Gilmore III (R) for appearing in Virginia today with former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney who Gilmore criticized just last year. The Democratic Party of Virginia noted that Gilmore, who briefly ran for president himself, criticized the then presidential frontrunners, including Romney, who he called a "liberal politician [from] the Northeast" who used his wealth to convert into a conservative. Gilmore spokeswoman Ana Gamonal dismissed the Democrats' charges, saying that Gilmore and Romney differed on some issues but agreed on the majority of them. She said Gilmore is "excited and grateful" for Romney's endorsement. "This shows the Republican party coming together with its leaders to defeat Barack Obama and Mark Warner in the fall,'' she said....

By Anita Kumar  |  June 5, 2008; 2:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Rep. Scott endorses Byrne; labor union backs Connolly

U.S. Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-Va.) said today he has endorsed Leslie L. Byrne in the hotly contested Democratic primary in the 11th Congressional District, while the Mid-Atlantic Laborers Union has backed Byrne rival Gerald E. Connolly. Scott, who lives in Newport News and represents Virginia's only majority-African-American district, worked alongside Byrne both in the General Assembly and in Congress during her one term in the early 1990s. Like Byrne, he is viewed as one of Virginia's most prominent liberal Democrats....

By Amy Gardner  |  June 5, 2008; 1:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2008/Congress , Gerald E. Connolly , Leslie L. Byrne  
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Warner, Obama in Bristol

Former governor and U.S. Senate candidate Mark R. Warner just gave Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) a rousing endorsement during a town-hall meeting in Bristol in Southwest Virginia. After being introduced by U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va), Warner and Obama emerged on stage together, stopping frequently to shake hands with supporters lining the walkway. Warner then noted the similarities between his campaign strategy and the one Obama has apparently embraced in his effort to win Virginia this fall. "You know seven years ago, I started my campaign (for governor) right here in Southwest Virginia and a month ago, I was a job applicant again, and I came back to Southwest Virginia to start that campaign for Senate," Warner said. "Today is the first official campaign kickoff of the Senator Obama presidential campaign, so I don't know about you, but I think it says a lot about somebody about where they choose...

By Tim Craig  |  June 5, 2008; 12:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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'Gail for Rail' Secures Spot on the Ballot

Gail Parker, a retired Air Force Reservist and Defense Department budget analyst, has secured a spot on the November ballot as an Independent Green candidate for U.S. Senate. "We're been working very hard on it,'' she said. "We were just waiting for official word." Bill Redpath, national chairman of the Libertarian Party, is still collecting signatures to get his name on the ballot before the State Board of Elections' June 10 deadline. They will be running against Republican James S. Gilmore III and Democrat Mark R. Warner....

By Anita Kumar  |  June 5, 2008; 12:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner  
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Warner Gets Some Bipartisan Support

Preston Bryant, a former Republican delegate, and Democratic Del. Shannon R. Valentine, are hosting a fundraiser for former governor and U.S. Senate candidate Mark R. Warner (D) tonight in Lynchburg. An email invitation from Valentine and Bryant, who now works in Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's administration, encourages supporters to attend "a fun, bipartisan evening." "The crowd promises to have lots of R's and D's and I's,'' according to the invitation. "There will be good food and drink. And the setting will be spectacular."...

By Anita Kumar  |  June 5, 2008; 8:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Mark Warner  
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Webb Gets Onboard

In the end, Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) kept his word. But is he admirable or overly cautious? Webb will get behind Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's presidential bid today and appear with him at a large rally tonight in Prince William County, Democratic officials said last night....

By Tim Craig  |  June 5, 2008; 8:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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McCain Looks for Virginia Money

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, will be in Tysons Corner Monday for a high-dollar fundraiser for his campaign and the Republican Party. The event, which will be held at the Ritz-Carlton, is being hosted by a cross-section of Virginia Republicans and business leaders, including Sen. John W. Warner, former senator George Allen, U.S. Rep. Tom Davis, Del. Christopher B. Saxman (Staunton), Ted Georgelas and Til Hazel, both developers, and P. Wesley Foster Jr., chairman of Long & Foster Companies. People who raise or contribute $25,000 will be able to get their picture taken with McCain. Tickets for the reception range from $1,000 to $5,000, according to an invitation on McCain's website....

By Tim Craig  |  June 4, 2008; 9:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Thomas M. Davis III , Tim Craig  
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Kilgore, Saxman Take On Obama

Virginia Republicans are offering up a preview of their strategy for preventing Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, from winning the state's 13 electoral votes in the Nov. 4 general election. In a conference call organized by the Republican National Committee, former attorney general Jerry W. Kilgore and Del. Christopher B. Saxman (Staunton) predicted today that Obama would lose Virginia because of his positions on guns and taxes. The call was a preemptive strike as Obama prepares to campaign tomorrow in Southwest Virginia and Prince William County. "Senator Obama has got an F rating from the (National Rifle Association) and he has been very critical of the people of rural America for their views on guns," said Kilgore, who was raised in Southwest Virginia. "We all remember the famous quote from Obama that people in rural America cling to their faith and their guns. I think...

By Tim Craig  |  June 4, 2008; 4:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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Wilder Praises Obama And Criticizes Clinton

Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, the nation's first black governor released a statement this afternoon about the first black man to win the Democratic nomination for president. "As I watched last night the certification of the nomination of Barack Obama, I was filled with many emotions,'' Wilder said. "I was proud and appreciative of how far we had come in this country. I think that he has run a magnificent campaign and has exhibited grace under fire, humility when necessary, and the courage to face the obstacles of campaigning for the most prestigious political position in the world."...

By Anita Kumar  |  June 4, 2008; 4:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President  
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Warner Will Campaign With Obama in Bristol

Democratic Senate Candidate Mark R. Warner has reshuffled his schedule so that he can appear with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) tomorrow at a town-hall meeting in Bristol in Southwest Virginia. Warner, who has stayed neutral in the presidential race, will not attend the Obama rally at Nissan Pavilion in Prince William due to a prior engagement tomorrow evening. But Warner's appearance with Obama in Bristol will be a symbolic pairing of the two men who will lead the Democratic ticket in the Virginia this year....

By Tim Craig  |  June 4, 2008; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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'Gail for Rail' Hopes to Run for U.S. Senate

Gail Parker, a retired Air Force Reservist and Defense Department budget analyst who has run for office several times in Virginia in recent years, has filed papers to run for U.S. Senate in November. Parker is still collecting signatures from some areas of the state to appear on the ballot, along with Republican James S. Gilmore III and Democrat Mark R. Warner. Parker, whose radio jingle in the 2006 Senate campaign (Let's vote for Gail! She's for light rail!) drew jabs from Stephen Colbert on his late-night Comedy Central show, garnered more than one percent of the vote in the razor tight race between Republican George Allen and Democrat James Webb....

By Anita Kumar  |  June 4, 2008; 11:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Fairfax County Chairman's Race 2007 , George F. Allen , James Webb  
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Virginia Notebook: GOP Questions Answered

Here are the answers to the election questions asked in last week's Virginia Notebook. On Friday and Saturday, Republicans gathered at a Richmond convention center to select their nominee to fill the seat of retiring Sen. John W. Warner (R). They also elected a party chairman and delegates to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul....

By Tim Craig  |  June 4, 2008; 10:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/Local , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Election 2009 , George F. Allen , James Gilmore III , Thomas M. Davis III , Tim Craig , Virginia Notebook  
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Jim Leaman, a Superdelegate, Endorses Obama

Jim Leaman, executive director of the Virginia AFL-CIO, was one of 26.5 superdelegates who endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in a joint statement tonight after the polls closed in South Dakota and Montana. "I believe that Senator Obama is the right person, in the right place and at the right time to change politics in Washington from strict partisan warfare to one of jointly solving America's problems," Leaman said. Sen. James Webb (D-Va), Virginia Democratic Party Chairman C. Richard Cranwell and former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman are now the only undeclared superdelegates from Virginia. Meanwhile, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), who endorsed Obama more than a year ago, issued a statement urging all Democrats to "unite solidly" behind Obama to "move this country forward."...

By Tim Craig  |  June 3, 2008; 11:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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Obama Plans Big Rally at Nissan Pavilion

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the likely Democratic nominee for president, will hold a rally Thursday evening at Nissan Pavilion in Prince William County. The event is free and open to the public, but admission will be on a first-come, first serve basis. The pavilion, located in Bristow, can seat up to 25,000 for a concert, but it's unclear how it will be configured for a political rally. Doors open at 3 p.m and the program begins at 6 p.m. Obama will also hold a town hall meeting in Bristol in Southwest Virignia Thursday afternoon. Tickets are required for that event....

By Tim Craig  |  June 3, 2008; 5:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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Romney to Raise Money For Bolling

Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be in Virginia Thursday to help Lt. Gov Bill Bolling ( R) raise money for his 2009 reelection bid. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and potential GOP vice-presidential candidate, will appear with Bolling at a fundraiser Thursday afternoon at The Ritz Carlton in Arlington. Romney and Bolling will then travel to Richmond for a "Burgers with Bill" barbecue. The two are also planning several joint media appearances. Last year, Bolling endorsed Romney's presidential bid and later served as the co-chairman of his Virginia campaign. Romney dropped out of the presidential race a few days before Virginia's primary on Feb. 12. Bolling is expected to run unopposed the Republican nomination next year but will have to try to fend off a challenger in the general election, although a Democratic candidate with high name recognition has yet to emerge....

By Tim Craig  |  June 3, 2008; 2:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bill Bolling , Election 2009 , Tim Craig  
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Director leaves the Republican Party of Virginia

Days after state Republicans elected Jeffrey M. Frederick as chairman, Charlie Judd, executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia, resigned. "I believe the chairman should be free to choose his own team...to that end I have given my resignation,'' Judd wrote in an email. "I personally committed to him that I will make sure the transition is smooth, orderly and not disruptive in any way...and have encouraged the staff to do the same...which I know they will." Frederick, a conservative state delegate from Prince William, was elected chairman of the Saturday at the state convention, defeating incument John H. Hager, the former lieutenant governor who had held the position for a year....

By Anita Kumar  |  June 3, 2008; 11:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Obama to Campaign in Virginia Thursday

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the likely Democratic nominee for president, will campaign in Virginia on Thursday, according to Democratic officials. While the schedule is still being finalized, Obama will likely visit at least two areas of the state, including Northern Virginia. It will be Obama's first campaign swing through Virginia since before the Feb. 12 primary. Though Virginia hasn't supported a Democratic presidential nominee since 1964, the Obama campaign vows to campaign hard in the state this year in hopes of winning it's 13 electoral votes. No word yet on whether Democratic Senate candidate Mark R. Warner or Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), both of whom are neutral in the presidential race, will decide to endorse Obama when he comes to the state....

By Tim Craig  |  June 3, 2008; 10:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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Sam Rasoul Hopes Cheap Gas Turns Into Votes

Democrat Sam Rasoul has figured out a way to generate interest in his underdog campaign against U.S. Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.). On Wednesday, starting at 4 p.m., Rasoul's campaign staff will be pumping discounted gas at the Texaco Food Mart on South High Street in Harrisonburg. For 40 minutes, motorists will be able to get up to 10 gallons of gas for $1-a-gallon less than retail price....

By Tim Craig  |  June 2, 2008; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Tim Craig  
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Marshall Seeks Concessions From Gilmore

Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) said today he won't run as an Independent candidate for the U.S. Senate, but probably will not be endorsing GOP Senate nominee James S. Gilmore III, either In an interview, Marshall said he remains upset about mailers Gilmore sent out during the final days of their race for the nomination. Gilmore, a former governor, defeated Marshall by less than 1 percent at the state GOP convention on Saturday....

By Tim Craig  |  June 2, 2008; 12:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Obama Picks Up Virginia Superdelegate

Jerome Wiley Segovia, a superdelegate from Virginia, announced today he is supporting Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's bid for the Democratic nomination for president. "While sharing the valuable international experience of spending a portion of my formative years overseas in a similar fashion as Senator Obama, I am excited to add my support to a campaign that has clearly demonstrated a commitment to an inclusive national field campaign, has shattered all previous campaign fundraising records, and is supportive of alternative sources of energy to begin to solve our energy crisis," said Segovia, a member of the Democratic National Committee. Of the 16 superdelegates from Virginia, seven are now backing Obama. Five are supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). Four, including state party chairman C. Richard Cranwell and Sen. James Webb (D), remain uncommitted....

By Tim Craig  |  June 2, 2008; 12:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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LeMunyon, GOP, Set Sights on Caputo

Virginia Republicans are gearing up to challenge Del. C. Charles Caputo (D) next year, saying his Fairfax County district represents one of their best pickup opportunities in Northern Virginia. Jim LeMunyon, a Chantilly businessman, was making the rounds at the state GOP convention touting his plans to run against Caputo. LeMunyon, who served as Assistant Commerce Secretary under former President Bush in the early 1990s, was passing out pamphlets noting that Caputo won his 2007 race against Republican Marc Cadin by just 6 percentage points. He also noted that U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va) won Caputo's 67th House District in 2006, and former senator George Allen received about 46 percent of the vote that year, despite his poor showing in the rest of Fairfax County....

By Tim Craig  |  June 2, 2008; 11:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2009 , Tim Craig  
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