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Virginia Politics Blog: June 8, 2008 - June 14, 2008

Author Grisham Still Supports Clinton

Internationally known novelist John Grisham and his wife, Renee, both active Democrats, drove from their home outside Charlottesville to the convention in Hampton. Mrs. Grisham was selected this afternoon to serve as a delegate at the Democratic National Convention, where she plans to support Hillary Clinton even though Barack Obama won enough delegates to secure the nomination. Grisham will accompany his wife to Denver. Mrs. Grisham has known Clinton since attending a dinner at the White House a decade ago and campaigned for the New York senator in several states, including Texas and Mississippi, where she and her husband used to live....

By Anita Kumar  |  June 14, 2008; 3:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President  
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Democrats Gather at State Convention

3 p.m.: Former governor Mark R. Warner told the crowd at the Democratic convention that he would not run for vice president alongside Barack Obama if the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee asked. "I have not sought and I will not accept any other opportunity," Warner told an enthusiastic group wearing blue Warner for Senate stickers. In recent weeks, Warner, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Sen. James Webb have been mentioned as potential running mates for Obama. But Warner said today he wanted to make it clear that he is focused on beating his Republican senate rival, former governor James S. Gilmore III, in November. "Today's the day I want to make it clear what I am focused on,'' he said. "The only job I am running for this year is United States Senate."...

By Anita Kumar  |  June 14, 2008; 11:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Webb  
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Chopra for Lt. Gov.?

Usually the only people who host parties at Virginia state conventions are those running for statewide office. So when Aneesh P. Chopra, secretary of technology for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, passed out colorful invitations to his party after the state Democratic convention concludes tonight activists started talking. Many Democrats, including potential rival Jon Bowerbank, expect Chopra to jump into the lieutenant govenor's race next year....

By Anita Kumar  |  June 14, 2008; 7:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009  
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Democrats Unite In Hampton Roads

Democratic activists gathered in Hampton Friday night to kick off the party's state convention, which will take place this weekend at the Hampton Roads Convention Center. Sen. James Webb and U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott were special guests at a pool party at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center while four prominent Democrats hosted a packed party at the Embassy Suites. "This is energizing the base,'' said C. Richard Cranwell, chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party....

By Anita Kumar  |  June 14, 2008; 2:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Webb , Mark Warner , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Obama Names Virginia Director

The man who helped orchestrate Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) victory in the Iowa caucuses will head up his campaign in Virginia, the Obama campaign announced today. Mitch Stewart, who most recently served as Obama's Iowa Caucus director and then his Indiana state director, will take on the same job in Virginia for the general election. "Virginia will be a critical state in this election and I am honored to take the helm of Senator Obama's team in Virginia," Stewart said. "Senator Obama has put Virginia on the map in this race, and Obama's success in the primary in February shows we can be very competitive here."...

By Tim Craig  |  June 13, 2008; 11:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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No Endorsement, but Forbes Vows to Help McCain

U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes sent out a statement today clarifying his views on Arizona John McCain's (R) presidential bid. The Hill newspaper reported last night that Forbes (R-Va.) hasn't endorsed McCain. But Forbes vowed to work hard this fall to get McCain elected. "Senator McCain is a war hero with substantial leadership experience in dealing with the complex challenges currently facing our nation," Forbes said. "Although he has not asked me for my endorsement and I have not given it to his campaign, I will support him and work for his election in the fall because I believe he is the best candidate to select our federal judges, lead our national defense effort, and provide the economic responsibility necessary to restore our economy."...

By Tim Craig  |  June 12, 2008; 3:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Wolf to U.N.: Don't come to Prince William

U.S Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) penned a hot letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon requesting he not send a human rights official to Prince William County to inspect the treatment of immigrant workers here. Earlier this week, Jorge A. Bustamante, a U.N. special rapporteur for human rights of migrants, called off a visit planned for Tuesday and Wednesday. The immigrant advocate group Mexicans Without Borders welcomed the scrutiny, saying the county's illegal immigration crackdown has "created a climate where suspicion and terror thrive." Wolf countered that the U.N. has "consistently failed to protect the human rights," of people in the Darfur region of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in his letter to Ban-Ki Moon. "Rather than planning visits to communities in America, the UNÖ should be putting its energy toward responding to this and other human rights abuses around the globe," Wolf wrote. "I respectfully...

By Kristen Mack  |  June 12, 2008; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Prince William  
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Report: Forbes, Goode Haven't Endorsed McCain

The Hill Newspaper reported last night that U.S. Reps. Virgil Goode and Randy Forbes, both of Virginia, are among 14 GOP members of who Congress who "have refused to endorse or publicly support" presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain, an Arizona senator. The article gave no explanation as to why Forbes or Goode haven't rallied behind McCain, or whether they ever plan to. A spokesperson for Forbes was not immediately available to comment today. Linwood Duncan, Goode's spokesman, said, "Virgil has not made any endorsements in any races this year." Duncan wasn't sure if Goode planned to make any endorsements later in the year....

By Tim Craig  |  June 12, 2008; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Tim Craig  
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Virginia Notebook: The Front-runners & Their Partners

Democratic Senate candidate Mark R. Warner and the presumptive GOP nominee for president, Sen. John McCain, have at least one thing in common. Both start as the early favorite to win in Virginia this year -- Warner more so than McCain -- but they also have to determine how to interact with the other man from their party whose names also appear on the ballot statewide. It's a potentially delicate dance that could determine whether one party or the other has a chance at sweeping both contests in Virginia....

By Tim Craig  |  June 11, 2008; 5:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig , Virginia Notebook  
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New Leader for Kaine's PAC

Charlie Kelly will become executive director of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward, replacing Matt Felan, who announced today that he is launching his own independent fundraising company. Kelly has served Kaine in various roles since 2005 and most recently has been the PAC's political director, facilitating campaign operations for legislative and local candidates across Virginia. "I am pleased that Charlie will be serving as the new executive director of Moving Virginia Forward," Kaine said in a statement. "During my campaign and in our coordinated efforts that won back the state Senate, Charlie has served with great distinction and proven himself time and again. He has shown leadership and a real knack for getting the job done."...

By Anita Kumar  |  June 11, 2008; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2008 , Timothy M. Kaine  
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GOP Delegate Slams Kaine's Motives

Republicans in the General Assembly are stepping up their criticism of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) for his role in Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) presidential campaign. In a statement released today, Del. William R. Janis (R-Goochland) asks, "Is governor Kaine sacrificing Virginia on the alter of vice-presidential ambition?" After looking into Kaine's schedule, Janis concludes that Kaine has spent "over 19 days (this year) jetting around the country with Barack Obama, but only fifteen hours over 10 days promoting his transportation plan," an apparent reference to Kaine's ongoing series of town hall meetings....

By Tim Craig  |  June 11, 2008; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Low Turnout Yesterday Says Little About November

Democrat Gerald E. Connolly of Fairfax County, the top elected official of the region's largest jurisdiction, won a decisive primary victory yesterday in Northern Virginia's 11th Congressional District against former representative Leslie L. Byrne. But with less than 6 percent of registered voters participating in the election, the results don't say a whole lot about what could happen come November. Connolly beat Byrne with nearly 58 percent of the vote to her 33 percent. In raw numbers, however, he won by just over 6,000 votes -- little more than 1 percent of the 11th Congressional District's 446,000 active registered voters....

By Amy Gardner  |  June 11, 2008; 12:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Amy Gardner , Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Gerald E. Connolly , James Gilmore III , Leslie L. Byrne , Mark Warner , Prince William , Thomas M. Davis III  
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Connolly Wins 11th District

9:25 p.m. Here's what Gerald E. Connolly had to say minutes after winning. "We come out of this landslide win going into November in a very strong position," he told my colleague Amy Gardner, referring to his next opponent, Republican newcomer Keith S. Fimian, a local businessman, who is well-financed for the fall campaign. "This is going to be one of the most targeted races in the country. It's a prime pickup opportunity for Democrats." 9:15 p.m. Mark W. Elmore has won the 8th District GOP race. He held a 10 point lead over Amit K. Singh, with more than 90 percent of precincts reporting. 9:10 p.m. Leslie L. Byrne just conceded. 9:05 p.m. Gerald E. Connolly has won the hotly contested Democratic primary. He beat out three competitors, fighting off a tough challenge from former representative Leslie L. Byrne....

By Kristen Mack  |  June 10, 2008; 9:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress  
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Did You Vote Today?

Bob commented about the primary today and said, "I voted today--at 7:50 AM. I noticed I was the 6th person to vote...sad. I figure if candidates can put in the time, effort and energy it takes to run--plus the willingness to put themselves "out there" in the public eye-- we as the public should at least respect their efforts, show up at the polls and cast a vote." We want to hear from you. Take the poll and tell us about your voting experience in the comment section below....

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  June 10, 2008; 4:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Gerald E. Connolly , James P. Moran Jr. , Leslie L. Byrne  
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Turnout Worse Than Expected on Primary Day

After morning and lunch-hour rushes that looked more like a trickle, Northern Virginia election officials predicted historically low turnout in today's congressional primaries despite a fiercely competitive Democratic contest for an open seat in the 11th District, where Republican Tom Davis is retiring. At Sleepy Hollow Elementary School, Democratic candidate Leslie Byrne greets a prospective voter and his son at the polls. (By Emma Patti -- washingtonpost.com) Through much of the afternoon, precincts across the region looked like ghost towns. At the Fair Oaks precinct of central Fairfax County, just 15 ballots had been cast at 2 p.m., officials said. "Turnout is, I don't want to say anemic, but turnout is very, very, very, very light," said Rokey Suleman, Fairfax County's general registrar, who predicted that turnout was unlikely to exceed 5 percent by the time polls close at 7 p.m. -- a dismal contrast to the one-third of registered...

By Amy Gardner  |  June 10, 2008; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2008/Congress , Frank R. Wolf , Gerald E. Connolly , James P. Moran Jr. , Leslie L. Byrne  
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Sen. Webb Appears on The Daily Show

Last night, Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) appeared on The Daily Show. In his interview with Jon Stewart, he addressed the bipartisan Webb-Hagel GI Bill for returning service members....

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  June 10, 2008; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  James Webb  
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McCain, Gilmore Share a Moment

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, stopped by Shockoe Express & Roastery in Richmond today before a fund-raiser at the nearby Omni Hotel. The coffee shop, located in the city's historic Shockoe Slip neighborhood, was one of U.S. Senate Mark R. Warner's (D) favorite hangouts when he was governor from 2002 to 2006. Before the $1,000 a plate fund-raiser, Mcain hosted about 40 people at a reception....

By Tim Craig  |  June 9, 2008; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Walter Curt Heads Up GOP Fundraising

Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (Prince William), the newly elected chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, continues to shake up the leadership of the state party. Since defeating former lieutenant governor John H. Hager for the chairman's job last weekend, many of the state party's senior staffers have resigned or been dismissed. Frederick plans to announce today that Walter M. Curt, owner of Power Motors Inc, a Harrisonburg-based technology firm, will be the party's new finance chairman. Curt replaces Fred Malek, who resigned from his finance role at the state party last week. Malek still serves as the deputy national finance chairman for Arizona Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign....

By Tim Craig  |  June 9, 2008; 12:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2007 , Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/Local , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008 , James Gilmore III , Tim Craig  
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Obama Staffers Begin Appearing in Virginia

Paid staffers for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, have begun filtering into Virginia, according to Democratic officials. Scott A. Surovell, chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, said he has met two paid Obama field organizers working on voter registration drives and other activities in Northern Virginia. The Obama campaign is also believed to be engaged in an aggressive voter-registration drive in Richmond. The campaign set a goal last month of registering 4,000 new voters in Richmond by June 13. Some Democrats say the Obama campaign began quietly locating staffers in Virginia shortly after the North Carolina and Indiana primaries on May 6, a month before Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination....

By Tim Craig  |  June 8, 2008; 11:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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