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Virginia Politics Blog: June 15, 2008 - June 21, 2008

Special Session Begins Monday

Days before the General Assembly returns to Richmond for a special session on transportation Monday, many legislators still say they have little or no hope of reaching an agreement on how to fund road and transit projects. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will address the Democratic caucuses of the House and Senate Sunday night and Monday morning and then the entire 140-member General Assembly at 1 p.m. to encourage them to pass a bill. Republicans, and even many Democrats, are skeptical....

By Anita Kumar  |  June 20, 2008; 2:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2008 , Timothy M. Kaine , Transportation  
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Virginia's 11th District Likely to Flip, Cillizza says

Washingtonpost.com's Chris Cillizza ranks the seat of retiring Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) as the second most likely congressional district in the country to flip from one party to the other in this year's elections. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly, who secured the Democratic nomination 10 days ago, is running against Republican businessman Keith Fimian in Virginia's 11th District. No other Virginia district makes Cillizza's top 20 list this week, but some Democrats believe Rep. Thelma Drake, a Republican who represents Virginia Beach, is vulnerable. Virginia Democrats are also hopeful they can give GOP Reps. Frank R. Wolf in Northern Virginia and Virgil Goode in Southside tough races, even though they represent Republican-leaning districts....

By Tim Craig  |  June 20, 2008; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Frank R. Wolf , Thomas M. Davis III , Tim Craig  
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RNC Challenges Obama Ad

The Republican National Committee responded to Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill) new television ad by pointing out he takes credit for winning passage of a bill that he didn't even vote on. "The fact that in the first ad of the general election Barack Obama cites a bill he didn't vote for is indicative of how little he has accomplished as a legislator," said Katie Wright, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committeee. In the ad, which starts airing in Virginia and 17 other states today, Obama talks about his efforts to expand health care for wounded U.S. troops....

By Tim Craig  |  June 20, 2008; 11:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Obama Goes Up on Air in Virginia

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, will begin airing a general election television ad in Virginia on Friday, his campaign announced today. It will be Obama's first television ad in Virginia since before the Feb. 12 primary. The 60-second ad, entitled "Country I Love," will also air in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. To read a transcript of the video, continue reading on the next page....

By Tim Craig  |  June 19, 2008; 12:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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Sabato Puts Senate race in Democratic Corner

Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia professor known for his Election Day observations, today released his most recent take on the U.S. Senate races this November which includes the popular prediction that Virginia's open seat likely will go Democratic. Sabato expects Democrats to pick up between three and seven seats to add to their razor-thin 51-49 margin in what is shaping up to be a tough political environment for Republicans across the nation. But that's still less than they need to reach 60, the number needed to shut down filibusters....

By Anita Kumar  |  June 19, 2008; 8:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , John W. Warner , Mark Warner  
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Democrats Aim for Seat in Hampton Roads

Here's more evidence that national Democrats are looking to pick up a congressional seat in Virginia's Hampton Roads this November. Glenn Nye, the Democratic candidate running against U.S. Rep. Thelma Drake, was placed in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue" program, which directs assistance to Democratic challengers across the nation. "As a part of the Red to Blue program, we look forward to the growth of support from individuals in the district and around the country," Nye said. "Being on the Red to Blue presents our campaign with a great opportunity to get out our message of real results and independent leadership to the people of Virginia."...

By Anita Kumar  |  June 19, 2008; 8:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/Congress  
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Should Virginia GOP Worry About New Voters?

Volunteers for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) are popping up all over Virginia in an apparent massive effort to register new voters. Earlier today, at least two twenty-something Obama volunteers were canvassing the financial district in downtown Richmond asking nearly everyone, "Are you registered to vote at your current address?" They appeared to be having some success, as one of the volunteers had a clip board full of completed registration forms....

By Tim Craig  |  June 18, 2008; 7:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Virginia Notebook: Transportation Predictions

So what's going to happen next week during the special session on transportation? Probably not much, but who knows? So we are not even going to try to make a prediction. We'll leave that to others. Here is a sampling of predictions -- as a well as a few partisan shots -- from current and former state legislators and lobbyists....

By Tim Craig  |  June 18, 2008; 1:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Abusive Driver Fees , Election 2007 , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008 , Ken Cuccinelli , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine , Transportation , Virginia Notebook  
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Van Hollen Helps Feder Raise Money

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD.) chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, will host a reception Tuesday in support of Judy Feder, the Democratic candidate running against Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.). The fundraiser will be held at the Potomac Maryland home of Nancy and Ira Shapiro, a lawyer who served as a trade negotiator during the Clinton administration. The wealthy Maryland suburbs have been a steady stream of cash for Feder, who also served in the Clinton administration....

By Tim Craig  |  June 17, 2008; 10:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Tim Craig  
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Organizers Coming to a Door Near You

The Virginia Organizing Project, a group dedicated to combating racial and economic injustice, is engaged in a big effort this year to spread its political message and register new voters. The Charlottesville-based group has 10 paid field organizers and 50 interns fanned out across the state knocking on doors each day. On an average night, they can hit as many as 4,000 households, according to Joe Szakos, the executive director. By the end of July, Szakos said the staffers and interns and other volunteers will have distributed about 300,000 voting guides, which contain information about state and federal issues and details on how and where to go to register to vote....

By Tim Craig  |  June 17, 2008; 10:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/Local , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Tim Craig  
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Cuccinelli Fundraising Nears $100,000

Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax), a candidate for attorney general next year, said today he expects to have between $80,000 and $100,000 in his campaign account by the end of the month. State candidates have to file campaign finance reports for the first half of the year with the State Board of Elections by July 15. Cuccinelli said his fundraising has been a success, considering he doesn't plan to fully ramp up his campaign until after the presidential and U.S. Senate races conclude in November....

By Tim Craig  |  June 17, 2008; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2009 , Tim Craig  
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Dissatisfaction Over Obama Slate Lingers On

Virginia Democrats love to snicker about the internal divisions that have plagued the state Republican Party in recent years. Now, they've got their own turmoil. Some Democrats are fuming over how the state party conducted elections at its convention in Hampton on Saturday....

By Tim Craig  |  June 16, 2008; 9:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/Local , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Convention Recap

As the 2008 Virginia Democratic Party convention draws to a close, here are eight observations about the weekend's events at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton. 1) If the Democrats' goal was to leave the convention united behind Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), they still have a lot of work to do. Surprisingly, numerous supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY.) said they weren't sure if they would vote for Obama in the fall....

By Tim Craig  |  June 15, 2008; 12:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Brian J. Moran , Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/Local , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008 , Gerald E. Connolly , James Gilmore III , James Webb , Mark Warner , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine , Winners and Losers  
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