Archive: July 2008

Democrats Open More Offices in Virginia

The Virginia Campaign for Change, an offshoot of Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign funded by the Democratic National Committee, announced today it will open four more offices, bringing the total number in the state to 28. The offices will have their grand openings Saturday in Arlington, Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Staunton. The locations can be be found below....

By Anita Kumar | July 31, 2008; 2:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

ACLU of Virginia Warns of Political Interference

The ACLU of Virginia sent letters today to housing authorities across the state, warning them not to prevent political campaigners from going door to door to distribute literature, talk with residents or register people to vote. The letters, sent to administrators at all 28 housing authorities in the state, were prompted by the actions of the Bristol Redevelopment and Housing Authority, which blocked political campaigners from going door to door at its housing projects. ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis said the First Amendment protects both the right of campaigners to go door to door in public housing projects and the right of tenants to receive information about registering to vote and political campaigns. "Just because people live in public housing does not mean they can be cut off from political debate," Willis said. "Public housing tenants have exactly the same rights as everyone else to be involved in...

By Anita Kumar | July 31, 2008; 1:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

John McCain's Brother in Loudoun Tonight

Alexandria resident Joe McCain -- who according to Leesburg Town Councilman Ken Reid is "the spitting image of his brother," John McCain -- is scheduled to address Loudoun Republicans tonight. Hmm, spitting image? You decide. Photos and a bit more information about the younger McCain here and here. Joe McCain also was quoted in this story about Cindy McCain by The Washington Post's Libby Copeland....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | July 30, 2008; 2:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

McCain Airs New Ad In Virginia

Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, began airing a new ad on national cable TV in key states, including Virginia. The 30-second ad, entitled "Celeb," highlights the opposition of Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, to offshore drilling and proposals to raise taxes on energy sources that produce electricity. "This ad shows a clear contrast between John McCain and Barack Obama on the issues important to Virginia voters,'' said Gail Gitcho, McCain's mid-Atlantic regional communications director. "John McCain believes that lowering taxes is the best way to create jobs here in America. Barack Obama believes tax hikes are the solution to our economic problems,'' she said. "John McCain believes those have to be a part of a comprehensive solution that include renewables and new innovative energy sources. Barack Obama opposes nuclear power and additional drilling. John McCain will end the war but he believes we must...

By Anita Kumar | July 30, 2008; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Webb Aide Found Dead in Southwest Virginia

Frederick Wayne Hutchins Jr., who headed up Sen. James Webb's Roanoke office, was found dead this morning alongside a highway in Botetourt County, according to the sheriff's office. Hutchins, 26, had been active in numerous Democratic political campaigns and used to work for Del. Onzlee Ware (D-Roanoke) before he went to work for Webb. Ronnie N. Sprinkle, the Botetourt County sheriff, said in a statement his officers discovered Hutchins' body about 7 a.m. on an embankment next to a vehicle parked on the shoulder of southbound US 220 near Fincastle. Sprinkle said Hutchins appeared to have a single gunshot wound to the head. Police recovered a gun at the scene. The Office of the Medical Examiner is trying to determine the manner and time of death. "I am terribly saddened by the tragic and sudden death of Fred Hutchins, who diligently managed our Roanoke Senate office," Webb (D-Va.) said in...

By Tim Craig | July 29, 2008; 3:15 PM ET | Comments (55)

Kaine Enters Dispute Over Vote Fraud Allegations

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) slammed Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick, the chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, this morning for saying on Monday that groups trying to register new voters are engaged in "a coordinated and widespread effort to commit voter fraud." In an interview on WTOP radio, Kaine called Frederick's (Prince William) assertion "ridiculous." "I think that is slandering the reputation of hardworking Virginians who care about elections and who want people to care about this process," Kaine said. "You know, I don't like to see folks doing things in the heat of a tough election to suggest they are trying to winnow down turnout and that is what I view (Frederick's) effort as." Gerry Scimeca, a spokesman for the Virginia Republican Party, responded in an interview by rhetorically asking Kaine if he is "against people breaking the law," referring to the arrests last week of three canvassers in...

By Tim Craig | July 29, 2008; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (6)

Will Kaine End the Virginia Drought?

If Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) selects Timothy M. Kaine (D) as his running mate, the Virginia governor would be the first politician from the state on a major-party national ticket in many years. First, let's dispense with a caveat: Yes, Woodrow Wilson was born in Virginia. But his political career was launched in New Jersey before he was elected president as a Democrat in 1912 and reelected in 1916. The last time a politician based in Virginia was nominated by a major party for its national ticket was in 1840. That year, the Whigs nominated former Virginia governor and senator John Tyler to be William Henry Harrison's running mate....

By Washington Post editors | July 29, 2008; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (7)

Gilmore Puts in Long Days as He Hunts For Votes

Republican Senate candidate James S. Gilmore III may be behind in the polls and in fundraising, but he certainly is keeping up an energetic pace on the campaign trail. Over the next three days, Gilmore will be putting in 12-hour days as he hunts for votes in his race against Democratic candidate Mark R. Warner. Gilmore visited a bait and tackle shop at noon today in Hampton. He is now on to a "meet and greet" in Williamsburg. Gilmore will start his day tomorrow at 6.50 a.m, when he visits shift workers at Smithfield Foods in Smithfield, near Norfolk. Gilmore will then traverse Southside with stops in Suffolk, Emporia, South Boston and Danville. On Wednesday, Gilmore has seven campaign stops planned in the south central part of the state. If Gilmore can sustain that pace throughout the fall, he may be able to develop a reputation as being the candidate...

By Tim Craig | July 28, 2008; 3:03 PM ET | Comments (4)

New Citizens Swell Voter Rolls in Fairfax

Rokey Suleman, Fairfax's general registrar of voters, said in an interview today his office is processing an average of 1,800 voter registration applications a week. The figure does not include change of address or name change applications. "They are really, really pushing," Suleman said of efforts by Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) campaign and others to register more voters. Suleman said new citizens account for a big part of the increase. Suleman said his office processes an average of 300 to 400 applications a day from people who just obtained their U.S. citizenship. One in ten residents in Fairfax County are foreign born, according to Census data. On some days, the numbers of applications received from new citizens can spike as high as 500, Suleman said. Over the past two weeks, Suleman said his office processed 3,100 applications from new citizens, which he says coincides with an effort by federal authorities...

By Tim Craig | July 28, 2008; 1:55 PM ET | Comments (11)

Frederick Alleges Voter Fraud

Is there "widespread" voter fraud occurring across Virginia or is the state Republican Party trying to suppress efforts by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) and the Democrats to register more people to vote? In a conference call this morning, Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William), the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, seized on recent news reports that three people in Hampton Roads have been charged with submitting false names on voter registration applications. The three canvassers worked for the Community Voters Project, a program of The Fund for the Public Interest. "There appears to be a coordinated and widespread effort in Virginia to commit voter fraud," said Frederick, who added the state party is also in possession of affidavit from someone alleging their social security number was fraudulently used to try to register someone else to vote. "These are just two known and documented examples of known voter fraud,...

By Tim Craig | July 28, 2008; 12:18 PM ET | Comments (48)

Byrne, Puckett, Petersen Choose Sides in LG Race

Former U.S. Rep. Leslie L. Byrne and state senators J. Chapman "Chap" Petersen (D-Fairfax) and Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell) announced today they are supporting Jon Bowerbank in next year's race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. "Jon Bowerbank represents the kind of Democrat who will bring practical results for all Virginians, and who will always fight for what is right in Richmond," said Byrne, an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor in 2005 who also lost her bid for the Democratic nomination for Congress this year in the 11th District. Petersen said Bowerbank, a wealthy businessman from Russell County, will stand up for "the people against the powerful special interests." Puckett, who lost his race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in 2005 to Byrne, called Bowerbank "extremely impressive and well-qualified." The endorsements, the first of the 2009 race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, are not unexpected....

By Tim Craig | July 25, 2008; 4:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Albo Spending More Than He is Raising for 09

Del. David B. Albo (R-Fairfax), who Democrats are targeting for defeat in the 2009 state legislative elections, is already spending money like his race is this year instead of next year. Albo's campaign finance report for the first half of the year has not yet been logged onto the State Board of Elections website, but in an interview today he said he spent $73,000 from Jan 1. to June 30. Albo said his report will show he raised $51,728 during the period. But Albo only has $43,710 in the bank, likely accelerating efforts by Democrats to unseat him through a strategy of pouring money into his district. "I've got a full operation here," said Albo, who represents West Springfield, Lorton and Fairfax Station. "Because of the district I am in, we are running a two-year campaign. We hired a campaign manager back in August a year ago."...

By Tim Craig | July 25, 2008; 3:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Obama Seeks Out-of-State Volunteers for Virginia

Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) presidential campaign is recruiting out-of-state volunteers to come to Virginia, despite its claims that it already has more than 10,000 volunteers in the state. According to Obama's website, the campaign established a "Virginia Sister City Program" on Thursday to urge out-of-state supporters to travel to the state over the next 100 days. "The Sister City program will match volunteers in neighboring states with a nearby Campaign for Change office in Virginia that needs a little extra volunteer help," the statement said. "Sister City volunteers become part of a team, made up of other out-of-state volunteers, who adopt a town in Virginia for the last 100 days before the election." Depending on how you look at it, the effort is either yet another sign that Virginia this year really will be the Ohio of 2004, or it's an indication the campaign is a bit worried it won't...

By Tim Craig | July 24, 2008; 11:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bowerbank Lacks Donors But Has Cash

Jon Bowerbank, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, is almost completely self-funding his 2009 campaign, including putting up $100,000 of his own money on the last day of the reporting period. In campaign finance reports filed earlier this month, Bowerbank revealed he has only one reportable cash donor, even though he has about $108,000 in the bank. Bowerbank, a wealthy businessman from Russell County, made a $5,000 contribution to his campaign on May 14, just before he announced his candidacy. A week later, Bowerbank donated $50,000 to his campaign. Bowerbank, founder and CEO of EMATS Inc. engineering firm, threw another $15,000 behind his campaign on June 26. Four days later, just hours before the end the of the fundraising period, Bowerbank wrote his campaign the $100,000 check, according to the State Board of Elections. Bowerbank also made $51,000 of in-kind contributions to his campaign. So who is Bowerbank's only reportable...

By Tim Craig | July 24, 2008; 5:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Democrats Press Fimian on Social Issues

Virginia Democrats are demanding that Keith Fimian, the Republican nominee for Congress in the 11th District, clarify his recent remarks that social issues are not a relevant to voters in Northern Virginia. In a conference call organized by the state party, three women from Fairfax and Prince William counties called on Fimian to publicly state his views on abortion-rights, stem-cell research and contraception. Jane Blechman of Fairfax Station, Zoe Vitter of Woodbridge and Penny Gross (D), the Mason District supervisor in Fairfax County, also sent Fimian a letter. They were responding to statements Fimian made in the Washington Examiner this week. "As women who live in Northern Virginia and are concerned about these issues that affect our lives, we would appreciate answers," the letter stated. Zack Condry, Fimian's campaign manager, said the candidate stands by his remarks to The Examiner....

By Tim Craig | July 24, 2008; 4:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

Obama Set to Open 24th Virginia Office

Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, announced today his campaign is opening four additional offices in Virginia, including his fifth in Northern Virginia. The Virginia Campaign for Change, an offshoot of the Obama campaign funded by the Democratic National Committee, had already opened 20 offices around the state in support of Obama. It now plans to add four additional offices to the list. The campaign is opening new offices in Centreville and Leesburg in Northern Virginia, Emporia in Southside and Big Stone Gap in Southwest Virginia, near the Kentucky border....

By Tim Craig | July 24, 2008; 12:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

McCain Unveils Virginia Leadership Team

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, announced today the members of his Virginia "grassrooots leadership team," who will oversee voter identification and get-out-the-vote operations in each of the state's 134 jurisdictions. Under McCain's organizational structure, each of Virginia's 95 counties and 39 cities will have a designated chairperson who coordinates local campaign activities, including recruiting volunteers. "We are organized and enthusiastic about getting John McCain's positive message to Virginians," said Bobby Lee May, the chairman for McCain's efforts in Buchanan County, which is located in Southwest Virginia. " John McCain will help protect coal miners' jobs and our Second Amendment rights. We believe that John McCain has been tested and is the best person to lead our country in these times as we continue to need strong, proven leadership." Later today, U.S. Reps. Thelma D. Drake, Eric Cantor and Rob Wittman, all Republicans, will hold a...

By Tim Craig | July 24, 2008; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Jim Wilson Moves Into New Role After Sign Flap

The Virginia Democratic Party's coordinated campaign announced tonight that Jim Wilson, a former Republican operative who still apparently supports Arizona Sen. John McCain's presidential ambitions, will not be added to its payroll. Wilson, who used to do work for former senator George Allen (R), was supposed to join the coordinated campaign as a consultant because he now supports Democratic Senate candidate Mark R. Warner. But Mike Henry, Warner's campaign manager, issued a statement saying Wilson will now work for the Warner campaign instead of the state party....

By Tim Craig | July 23, 2008; 7:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Has Fun With Kaine Video

A video promoting Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and the Democratic resurgence in Virginia is starting to pop up all over the Internet, just as the governor is being mentioned as a possible vice-presidential candidate for Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. Charles Kelly, Kaine's political director, said the Google ad is a "good way to engage potential voters" and draw them to the website of the governor's political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward. "We are entering a period when the campaign season is really beginning to heat up," Kelly said. "Virginia is an important battleground this year with huge potential, but to meet that potential, we need to make sure voters are engaged." But Virginia Republicans are mocking the video, which was also shown at the state Democratic convention last month. They say Kaine is just trying to build his national profile so Obama will...

By Tim Craig | July 23, 2008; 4:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Wagner Gears Up for LG Race; Kaine Names Successor

Jody W. Wagner, secretary of finance, may not have officially resigned to run for lieutenant governor yet but several people close to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) say he has already picked her replacement. Richard D. Brown, director of the Department of Planning and Budget, is expected to be named finance secretary after Wagner resigns next week to launch a bid for lieutenant governor in 2009. Wagner said last week that she plans to consider her options while on vacation this week. But several people in the Kaine administration say she has already told the governor that she will resign....

By Anita Kumar | July 23, 2008; 2:22 PM ET | Comments (3)

Coordinating Va Democrats: No Simple Task

The Virginia Democratic Party's decision to add Jim Wilson, a longtime Republican operative, to the payroll of its coordinated campaign may be a sign that Democratic efforts this year may not be so coordinated after all. The coordinated Democratic campaign has been established to boost U.S. Senate candidate Mark R. Warner, congressional candidates and Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), the party's presumptive nominee for president. Although he is a Republican, Wilson supports Warner and travels the state putting up campaign signs for him. But at Saturday's U.S. Senate debate between Warner and Republican Jim Gilmore, Wilson was seen with a sign in his truck that included Warner's name and that of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the presumptive GOP nominee for president....

By Washington Post editors | July 23, 2008; 11:56 AM ET | Comments (6)

Virginia Democrats Have Cash; Republicans Have Debt

The Virginia Democratic Party continues to have a crushing advantage over the Virginia Republican Party when it comes to money that can be spent on the presidential, U.S. Senate and congressional races this year. In campaign finance reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commission, the state Democratic Party had about $729,000 in its federal account, about $120,000 less than it had a month ago. The Republican Party of Virginia reported it has $101,000 in its federal account. But over the past month, the party has generated $91,000 in unpaid debt, according to its July FEC report....

By Tim Craig | July 22, 2008; 4:38 PM ET | Comments (2)

Democrats Plot Aggressive Press Strategy

The difference in how presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain are approaching this fall's election in Virginia can be seen in the campaigns' press strategies. While McCain and the Republicans are taking a regional approach when it comes to selling their message, Obama and the Democrats have embraced a local strategy. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, already had a Virginia communications director, Kevin Griffis. On Monday, the campaign also hired press secretary Ashley Etienne. The Campaign for Change, an off-shoot of the Obama campaign, hired press secretary Clark Stevens two weeks ago. All three are based in Obama's Richmond headquarters. While that may sound like a lot of overlap, Democratic officials say its a testament to their committment to get Obama's message out in the local, as well as the national, media....

By Anita Kumar | July 22, 2008; 2:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Mocks Brian Moran

The Republican Party of Virginia is seizing on Del. Brian J. Moran's decision to pay Del. Lionell Spruill Sr. (D-Chesapeake) $7,500 a month to be an "outreach coordinator" for his campaign for governor. In an article published today in the Virginian Pilot, Spruill is quoted as saying his salary is "no big money." "Anyone could have matched it," Spruill said of the $90,000-a-year salary. Spruill is vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. Moran (D-Alexandria), who is running against Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) for the Democratic nomination for governor, is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus....

By Washington Post editors | July 22, 2008; 12:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mark Warner on Roe v. Wade and the Supreme Court

Democratic Senate candidate Mark R. Warner, who supports abortion rights, said over the weekend he would be open to voting to confirm a justice to the Supreme Court who is on record as opposing the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion rights. When asked the question after his debate with Republican candidate James S. Gilmore III, Warner said he would have "no single litmus test issue" when it comes to deciding in the Senate who gets to sit on the Supreme Court. "I don't think there should be any single litmus test issue, but I do believe that my reading of the constitution is that there is a right to privacy, and I would look at the potential judge's or justice's overall record," Warner said. Warner then added he believes the Roe v. Wade decision was decided on the question of the right to privacy."That would be part...

By Washington Post editors | July 22, 2008; 11:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Democrat files in House's 52nd District

It's a little early, but former U.S. Marine and retired Secret Service veteran Mike Hodge, has filed for the House of Delegates 52nd District. The seat isn't up until 2009. Hodge, a Democrat, apparently wants to stake his claim on the seat while the plans of Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William) are still up in the air. Frederick, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, initially vowed not to seek re-election next year if he was elected chair. But last month he said he may reconsider that pledge. Hodge, who lives in Montclair, is touting his military and law enforcement background. He oversees the corporate security department at Washington Gas....

By Kristen Mack | July 21, 2008; 4:40 PM ET | Comments (1)

McCain, Obama Campaigns Hold Dueling Va Veteran Events

Sen. John McCain's campaign announced today the Virginia Veterans for McCain, a statewide group that will work to bolster the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's support within the veterans' community in the state. The organization boasts members from various generations, including veterans from World War II to the raq war, in all of the state's 11 congressional districts. "John McCain has the experience, judgment and character to lead this country as commander-in-chief,'' group chairman Paul Galanti said. "John and I were both POWs, and I know he has an unshakeable character and unwavering dedication to country; always putting country above himself."...

By Anita Kumar | July 21, 2008; 3:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

Where Was Doug Wilder? (Updated)

Thousands of people withstood the 90-plus-degree heat today for the unveiling of a monument outside the state Capitol that commemorates those who helped bring about the end of school segregation across the state and nation. They included NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, actor Blair Underwood, poet Nikki Giovanni, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, former governor Mark R. Warner, Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, House Speaker William J. Howell and several other members of the General Assembly. But L. Douglas Wilder, the nation's first elected black governor, who now serves as Richmond's mayor, was noticeably absent....

By Anita Kumar | July 21, 2008; 3:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Mysterious McCain-Warner Campaign Signs

Some motorists who traveled to The Homestead Friday night for the U.S. Senate debate between Democrat Mark R. Warner and Republican James S. Gilmore III were doing double-takes as they drove from Warm Springs to Hot Springs in Bath County. About four miles from The Homestead, blue and white "Warner for Senate" signs began to line the highway. Interspersed with those signs were about a half-dozen signs that included the Democrat's name as well as that of Arizona Senator John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee for president. The web address "Votebipartisan.com" was streaked across the bottom of the signs. The McCain-Warner signs caught the attention of the Gilmore campaign, which was shooting video footage of them. So how did the signs, which appeared professionally made, get there?...

By Tim Craig | July 21, 2008; 7:58 AM ET | Comments (8)

The Early Word From The Homestead Debate

The U.S. Senate debate between Democrat Mark R. Warner and Republican James S. Gilmore III has ended, and the early line from the pressroom is that it was a draw. "Neither former governor scored a breakthrough," Bob Lewis of the Associated Press wrote in his initial story on the 75-minute debate. Because Gilmore needed the debate more than Warner, the overall dynamics of the race did not change. But several things stood out....

By Tim Craig | July 19, 2008; 3:41 PM ET | Comments (8)

Gilmore, Warner Meet For Debate

With the U.S. Senate debate between Republican James S. Gilmore and Democrat Mark R. Warner starting in a few minutes, both men are squeezing in a last round of debate preparation. Warner and Gilmore, both former governors, have already spent much of the last week huddled with staff engaged in mock debates. Richmond lobbyist David Hallock stood in for Gilmore during Warner's sessions. Del. M. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights), the House majority whip, helped out Gilmore by playing the part of Warner. "It's a lot of fun," said Cox, who often clashed with Warner when he was governor from 2002 to 2006. "I was there the whole four years, so I got to relive it." Cox said he tried to replicate Warner's mannerisms, style, and speaking habits - even when he was not with Gilmore - over the past several days. Cox predicted Warner is going to be in for...

By Tim Craig | July 19, 2008; 10:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

Joseph V. Gartlan Jr, a Former State Senator, Has Died

Former state senator Joseph V. Gartlan Jr, a Democrat who represented Fairfax County in the General Assembly for nearly three decades, died earlier this morning after a sudden illness, according to family members. He was 82. Gartlan was a leading liberal voice, and fierce booster of Northern Virginia, during his tenure before retiring in 1999. "Senator Gartlan was a true statesman. He wore his heart on his sleeve when it came to issues of social and economic justice," said Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who ordered state flags be flown at half staff. "He was a tireless and effective advocate for the environment, the mentally and physically disabled, and for abused and neglected children. He spearheaded efforts for funding natural resources and human service programs during his almost three decades of public service. His role was critical in galvanizing the regional efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay." Below is the...

By Tim Craig | July 18, 2008; 10:56 AM ET | Comments (0)

Even Before The Debate, Gilmore Throws a Punch

Former governor James S. Gilmore III, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, is trying to undercut Democratic candidate Mark R. Warner's credibility as the two prepare to face off at their first debate Saturday at The Homestead resort. Gilmore sent out a statement today reminding reporters that Warner, also a former governor, pledged during his 2001 gubernatorial debate with Republican Mark L. Earley that he would not raise taxes. Warner, who faced a budget shortfall after he took office in 2002 that he says he inherited from Gilmore, ended up pushing for a $1.4 billion tax increase in 2004. Gilmore, who denies he left Warner a shortfall, sent out video today of Warner's promise not to raise taxes....

By Tim Craig | July 17, 2008; 6:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Wagner Expected to Run for LG

Jody W. Wagner, secretary of finance for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), is expected to resign in the coming weeks and launch a bid for lieutenant governor in 2009. Wagner said today that she plans to consider her options while on vacation next week. But Democrats who are close to Kaine's administration said Wagner plans to resign by the end of the month after returning from vacation. "I'm trying to figure out what to do,'' she said. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) plans to run for re-election. Wagner will face fellow Democrat Jon Bowerbank, a businessman and member of the Russell County Board of Supervisors, who is already running....

By Anita Kumar | July 17, 2008; 3:31 PM ET | Comments (8)

Spruill Defends His Salary from Moran

In an interview today, Del. Lionell Spruill Sr. (D-Chesapeake) defended his $7,500 a month salary from Del. Brian J. Moran's (D-Alexandria) campaign for governor. Moran is paying Spruill, a prominent African-American who is vice-chairman of the House Democratic caucus, to be an "outreach consultant." Moran, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, is running against Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) in next year's Democratic primary for governor. "I am working for Brian. I have contacts all over the state," said Spruill, who has developed a reputation for being able to help drive up black turnout in Hampton Roads. "I am working different meetings, several groups, churches and organizations all over the state. I have contacts all over the state."...

By Tim Craig | July 17, 2008; 1:24 PM ET | Comments (4)

Connolly Claims Big Lead Over Fimian

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly, the Democratic nominee in the 11th congressional district, claims he has a 31-point lead over his Republican opponent, Keith Fimian. Connolly's campaign released an internal poll that his pollster, Lake Research Partners, conducted from July 10 to July 14. According to the survey, Connolly receives 52 percent of the vote to Fimian's 21 percent. Independent Green Party candidate Joe Oddo receives 2 percent. The candidates are vying to replace Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), who is retiring. "This is a real pick-up opportunity for Democrats as they seek to expand their governing majority," pollsters Celinda Lake and Joshua Ulibarri wrote in a memo. "Connolly is well-positioned to win." But the memo reads somewhat like a fundraising appeal....

By Tim Craig | July 17, 2008; 12:04 PM ET | Comments (2)

Virginia Notebook: The State's Purple Places

With Virginia shaping up as a battleground in the presidential contest between Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.),a few counties and cities will be key in deciding whether the state goes blue this year for the first time since 1964. Just as the national map can be sliced into blue, red and purple states, so, too, can Virginia's 134 counties and cities. In Northern Virginia, political analysts say, Obama will probably win in Alexandria and Arlington and Fairfax counties, given recent voting patterns. Democrats also usually rack up big wins in Richmond, Norfolk and Charlottesville. McCain will probably have a strong advantage in rural counties in western and southern Virginia. What follows is a list of 10 Virginia locations that could be up for grabs....

By Tim Craig | July 16, 2008; 8:42 PM ET | Comments (2)

Moran's Finance Report Scrutinized by Deeds

A campaign staffer for Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, a Democratic candidate for governor, is accusing Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) of turning in misleading information about his own gubernatorial campaign's fundraising numbers. The charge by Peter Jackson, a Deed's spokesman, comes amid growing acrimony between the two candidates for the Democratic nomination in next year's governor's race. On Tuesday, Moran released campaign finance reports that showed he had $924,000 in the bank, although a week earlier he put out a press release stating he expected to have only $800,000 on hand. Deeds, who lives in Bath County, reported he had $650,000 in the bank. But a closer examination of Moran's finance report reveals he essentially stopped spending money in June, the last month of the reporting period. In April, Moran spent $113,000 on staff and other expenses. In May, he spent about $119,000. In June, Moran spent just $4,000, mainly...

By Tim Craig | July 16, 2008; 8:31 PM ET | Comments (7)

Obama Will Open 20 Offices in Virginia

Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) presidential campaign announced today it is opening 20 regional headquarters across Virginia, a potentially unprecedented move by a statewide candidate. The offices, which are in addition to the 10 regional offices already being operated by the Virginia Democratic Party, will be scattered across the state, including two in Fairfax County and two in Southwest Virginia. "A lot of these places may have never had a presidential campaign before," state Sen. John S. Edwards (D-Roanoke) said at an event announcing the new headquarters. "It shows (Obama) is investing in the Commonwealth and it is a bottom up, not a top down campaign. This is an intensive grassroots campaign."...

By Tim Craig | July 16, 2008; 3:10 PM ET | Comments (20)

Warner, Gilmore Prepare for First Senate Debate

In 2005, Richmond lobbyist David Hallock spent weeks pretending to be Jerry W. Kilgore, the Republican nominee for governor, as a way to help Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) prepare for the first gubernatorial debate. This year, Hallock is back to help his old boss, former Gov. Mark R. Warner. Hallock, who had been one of Warner's top lawyers, is playing Republican nominee James S. Gilmore III as Warner prepares for his first debate in this year's U.S. Senate debate....

By Anita Kumar | July 16, 2008; 1:31 PM ET | Comments (7)

Gilmore Repays Loan; Campaign Calls Warner a "Liar"

Republican U.S. Senate candidate James S. Gilmore III has repaid himself the $50,000 he lent his campaign last month, according to campaign finance reports. On May 11, Gilmore lent his campaign the money as he prepared to face Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) at the state GOP convention. At the time, Ana Gamonal, a Gilmore spokeswoman, said the loan was meant to "show his supporters and his donors his own commitment to electing a steady and common-sense senator for the commonwealth of Virginia." But the money has been repaid, according to the finance reports. "That was just something we did to get a little cash flow to get ready for the convention and we raised the money so we paid it back," M. Boyd Marcus, a Gilmore strategist, said today....

By Tim Craig | July 15, 2008; 9:56 PM ET | Comments (3)

Campaign Finance Information

Today is the deadline for both state and federal campaign finance reports. As the tallies for elected officials, parties and campaign committees are released, we will post them here. Former governor James S. Gilmore III, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, raised $250,000 between May 21 and June 31. Gilmore has about $117,000 in the bank. Since he launched his campaign last fall, Gilmore has raised about $1.2 million. Former governor Mark R. Warner, a Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate, reports raising $2.9 million from April 1 to June 30. Warner has about $5.1 million in the bank. Warner has raised $9.3 million since he got into the race in September. Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the likely Republican nominee for governor in 2009, will report he raised $878,000 so far this year. McDonnell has about $1.2 million in the bank. Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), who seeking the Democratic...

By Tim Craig | July 15, 2008; 11:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Obama Launches New Television Ad in Virginia

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) released a new television ad today that will air in Virginia. The 30-second spot is the third ad that Obama has aired in the state since becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. The ad, which focuses on the national security and the threat posed by a terrorist getting a hold of a nuclear weapon, 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....

By Tim Craig | July 15, 2008; 11:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

Warner Releases New Ad focusing on Energy

Democratic Senate candidate Mark R. Warner released a new television ad today that focuses on his plan for driving down gas prices and reforming the nation's energy policies. Warner's 30-second ad, his second of the campaign, comes on the same day updated campaign finance reports are due at the Federal Election Commission. By unveiling the ad today, Warner is showcasing what is expected to be his sizeable cash advantage over his Republican opponent, James S. Gilmore III....

By Tim Craig | July 15, 2008; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Moran Feud with Fairfax Police Gets Heated

A nasty battle has developed between Del. Brian J. Moran's (D-Alexandria) staff and Fairfax County police officers and sheriff's deputies over their role in next year's governors race. Last month, the Fairfax Coalition of Police and the Fairfax Deputy Sheriff's Coalition -- both affiliated with AFL-CIO and the International Union of Police Associations (I.U.P.A.) - endorsed Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) instead of Moran in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. Jesse F. Ferguson, Moran's communications director, responded by writing a terse letter to the two organizations on July 1 questioning the "legitimacy of" their endorsement. "We believe that endorsements conducted in secret, without transparency, notification or commonly followed procedures should be considered suspect at best," Ferguson wrote on Moran for Governor letterhead. "We strongly question the legitimacy of this decision."...

By Tim Craig | July 14, 2008; 5:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia Democrats Criticize Drake's Ties to Karl Rove

Virginia Democrats are stepping up their criticism of U.S. Rep. Thelma D. Drake (R-Va.) over a fundraiser she has scheduled with former White House adviser Karl Rove. Dels. Joseph F. Bouchard and Robert W. Mathiesen, both freshmen Democrats who represent Virginia Beach, will be holding a conference call with reporters this afternoon to criticize Drake. Rove will be at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Virginia Beach Friday to raise money for Drake, who is being challenged by Democrat Glenn Nye. Tickets start at $100, but a donor can get their picture taken with Rove if they contribute $1,000....

By Tim Craig | July 14, 2008; 2:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

Updated Voter Registration Statistics Released

The number of newly registered voters in Virginia since the start of the year has grown to 148,389, according to the State Board of Elections. Of those newly registered voters, about 45 percent are under the age of 25. But the numbers of new registrants appears to be slowing down, at least when it comes to processing the applications....

By Tim Craig | July 14, 2008; 1:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

McCain Set to Open More Virginia Offices

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, appears to beating Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) when it comes to announcing campaign offices across the state. Last week, McCain and the Virginia Republican Party opened joint regional headquarters in Fairfax and Richmond. The two organizations will open offices this week in Virginia Beach and Fredericksburg. In May, they opened a main headquarters in Pentagon City. Kevin Griffis, an Obama spokesman, said the campaign's headquarters is in Richmond but it has not yet officially opened any regional offices, although some staffers have been working out of temporary locations. But the Virginia Democratic Party's coordinated campaign, which plans to operate somewhat independent of Obama's effort, has already opened regional offices in Loudoun, Prince William, Alexandria, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Roanoke, Charlottesville, Richmond and two offices in Hampton Roads - one on the Peninsula and another near Virginia Beach - according to a party...

By Tim Craig | July 14, 2008; 12:46 PM ET | Comments (2)

Obama Seeks to Register 151,000 Voters in 86 Days

Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder (D) announced today that Barack Obama's presidential campaign is launching an effort to register 151,000 new voters in Virginia before the Oct. 6 registration deadline. To meet the goal, Obama supporters would have to register about 1,755 new voters each day between now and Oct. 6. "If we do that, we'll not only win an election, we'll change a country," Wilder said. The effort, called Can You Best Barack, is designed to get Virginians to register more voters then the 150,000 residents Obama helped to register as a community organizer in Chicago in the early 1990s. Anyone who registers at least 100 voters will qualify for an opportunity to meet Obama. The Obama campaign, which already has dozens of paid staffers working in various counties across the state, is also releasing a new one-minute radio ad today in Virginia....

By Tim Craig | July 11, 2008; 3:15 PM ET | Comments (14)

DCCC Reserves Airtime in DC Market

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $1.3 million of airtime to run ads this fall in Northern Virginia's increasingly Democratic 11th congressional district, according to party officials. Democrat Gerald E. Connolly, the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, is running against Republican Keith Fimian to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.). National Democrats are optimistic they can pick up Davis's seat, but President Bush won the 11th District by 2,000 votes in 2004, which could indicate a competitive congressional race this fall. In all, the DCCC has reserved airtime in 31 districts nationwide, according to a report on Politico's website. The DCCC does not appear to be reserving airtime for any other Virginia race, despite suggestions from some Democrats that GOP Reps. Thelma D. Drake, Virgil Goode and Frank R. Wolf could also be in for tough races this year. But a DCCC official notes those...

By Tim Craig | July 11, 2008; 1:41 PM ET | Comments (2)

Moran and Deeds Debate Gas Tax Increase

The General Assembly's debate over transportation this week set up a rare, clear division between the two Democratic candidates for governor next year. Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) voted in favor of a plan by Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) to raise the state's gas tax by six cents over six years, which would cost the average family about $45 a year. Deed's likely opponent in next year's Democratic primary, Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), voted to strip the gas tax from Saslaw's bill when it got to the House floor. The two campaigns are now throwing verbal jabs at the other over the issue....

By Tim Craig | July 11, 2008; 1:08 PM ET | Comments (4)

Fimian Has $1 Million For Race Against Connolly

Keith Fimian, the Republican candidate in the 11th Congressional District, announced today he has over $1 million in the bank for his race against Democratic nominee Gerald E. Connolly, the chairman of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors. Fimian, a businessman, says he has so far taken in about $1.3 million for his effort, including the $325,000 he loaned his campaign shortly after he entered the race. Fimian said his fundraising proves he will have the resources to stay competitive with Connolly, even though the 11th district has an increasingly Democratic tilt. "With the money I am raising I will be able to deliver my message of bringing accountability to government to citizens across the district and win in November," Fimian said. Connolly, who secured his party's nomination last month, has not yet released his quarterly fundraising report. But a source close to Connolly said he has about $300,000 in the...

By Tim Craig | July 10, 2008; 5:58 PM ET | Comments (1)

Obama, McCain Woo NoVa

Sen. Barack Obama outlined his plans to help struggling middle-income families and working mothers in a town hall meeting in Fairfax County this afternoon, in his second visit to the area since becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. Later today, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the presumptive Republican nominee, also plans to reach out to Northern Virginia voters. Standing amid the bleachers at Robinson Secondary School at about 1:30 p.m., Obama (Ill.) told a packed gymnasium that as president he would seek to expand paid family and medical leave and increase spending on childcare and preschool programs....

By Washington Post editors | July 10, 2008; 3:26 PM ET | Comments (5)

No Plans Yet for Kaine Convention Speech

Because he was one of Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill) earliest and biggest supporters, some Virginia Democrats have speculated that Gov Timothy M. Kaine (D) could land a speaking role at next month's national convention in Denver. But Kaine said today he hasn't been asked yet to play a public role at the convention. "I know I am going but I don't have any formal role that I know of," Kaine said....

By Tim Craig | July 10, 2008; 2:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Nader Vows to Get on Virginia Ballot

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader will appear in Richmond Saturday for a low-dollar fundraiser and rally at the Virginia Holocaust Museum. Nader plans to speak about progressive issues, including ending the war in Iraq, funding a public works jobs program and cracking down on what he calls "corporate welfare." With the contest between Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama shaping up as a potential nailbiter in Virginia this year, Nader could become a factor - if he can get on Virginia's ballot....

By Tim Craig | July 10, 2008; 1:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

Obama, McCain Targeting Virginia

Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain are planning today to reach out to voters in Northern Virginia, with the Illinois Democrat in a town hall meeting in Fairfax this afternoon and the Arizona Republican in a telephone conference with independents and moderates this evening. The events underscore the importance of Virginia in the fall election. Though the state has supported the Republican nominee for president for the past four decades, Democrats are optimistic that Obama can carry it this year in part because of a demographic shift in Northern Virginia....

By Washington Post editors | July 10, 2008; 1:02 PM ET | Comments (1)

RNC Set To Air Anti-Obama Radio Ad Tomorrow

The Republican National Committee will air a radio ad in the Washington region tomorrow to welcome Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to Northern Virginia. Obama is scheduled to hold a town hall meeting Thursday afternoon in Fairfax County. In the ad, a teacher accuses Obama of voting to raise taxes on people who earn more than $32,000 a year. "I hear a lot of promises from politicians," the woman states. "Barack Obama promises to cut taxes, but he voted to raise taxes on folks earning as little as $32,000. I'm a teacher, and I feel the strain of rising gas prices and food prices every day. I don't understand why Obama insists on raising my taxes."...

By Tim Craig | July 9, 2008; 5:56 PM ET | Comments (1)

AFL-CIO Targets McCain in Virginia

According to the Washingtonpost.com's Chris Cillizza, the AFL-CIO will launch a television ad tomorrow in six-states, including Virginia, that takes aim at Sen. John McCain's (R) record on military and veteran's issues. The ad, described as a "significant targeted buy," will also air in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin....

By Tim Craig | July 9, 2008; 3:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

Gilmore Takes on Reporter, Federal Government

Republican Senate Candidate James S. Gilmore III had a testy exchange yesterday with a reporter from Roanoke over how quickly consumers would see relief at the gas pump if the United States opened up more areas to drilling....

By Tim Craig | July 9, 2008; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (2)

Few Words, But The Blame Continues

If you are eagerly awaiting a breakthrough in the standoff over transportation between Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and House Republican leaders, you should probably go onto the next posting. They haven't even been talking. When state legislators left Richmond June 26 after failing to reach a consensus on transportation funding, Gov. Kaine called Howell (R-Stafford) and Majority Whip M. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights) into his office to talk. But the meeting lasted only a few minutes, according to Cox and Howell, both of whom described it as a waste of time....

By Tim Craig | July 9, 2008; 12:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Warner Leaves the Door Open for Future Presidential Bid

Former Governor Mark R. Warner, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate this fall, tells our colleagues at washingtonpost.com that presidential hopeful Barack Obama could win the state of Virginia in November. Warner also talks about his interest in national politics, saying he did not want to serve as Obama's running mate but he did leave the door open for a presidential bid down the road. "I would never rule it out," he says....

By Anita Kumar | July 8, 2008; 4:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

Stewart Testifies at Immigration Enforcement Hearing

Prince William County Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large) testified before the House Republican Policy Committee on immigration enforcement this afternoon. Not sure exactly what he had to say, since he spoke "extemporaneously" -- his office sent out a release announcing his appearance after the hearing started. The last time Stewart testified before Congress, he veered from the county-prepared text, upsetting some supervisors. On his way into the Board of Supervisors meeting, which started before he made it back to Prince William, he said he spoke about the "remarkable success of the crackdown on illegal immigration," citing a 19.3 percent decrease in the crime rate....

By washingtonpost.com editors | July 8, 2008; 4:03 PM ET | Comments (7)

National Democrats Add Staff to Virginia

The Democratic National Committee is adding another layer of paid staff to the party's efforts to help Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) win Virginia's 13 electoral votes this fall. The national party announced today it is funding a group called the Virginia Campaign for Change, which is designed to reach out to voters in support of Obama and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark R. Warner. Katie Ingebretson, who was a regional field director for Obama in Iowa prior to his victory in that state's caucuses, will head up the effort. Yohannes Abraham, who led Obama's get-out-the-vote campaign in Virginia's Feb. 12 primary, will be the field director. Luke Hayes is the deputy field director of the Virginia Campaign for Change....

By Tim Craig | July 8, 2008; 11:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

McCain Releases Ad That Will Air in Virginia

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, released his first television ad today that will air in local Virginia markets. In the one-minute ad, entitled Love, a narrator contrasts McCain's experience as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War with that of other Americans back home in 1967. "It was a time of uncertainty, hope and change. The 'Summer Of Love,' the ad states. "Half a world away, another kind of love -- of country. John McCain: Shot down. Bayoneted. Tortured. Offered early release, he said 'no'. He's sworn an oath."...

By Tim Craig | July 8, 2008; 9:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

McCain Campaign Gets Local Coverage

Arizona Sen. John McCain's (R) presidential campaign appeared to pull off a successful made-for-local television event today in Richmond, the first of what will likely be many staged media events to get the GOP message out over the local, as well as national, news. In a sweltering warehouse in an industrial neighborhood in Richmond, the campaign gathered an ethnically diverse group of two dozen small business owners to applaud McCain's economic message while being critical of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), for wanting to raise taxes. Even though the event had little news value, it was attended by reporters or cameramen from at least two Richmond-area television stations, a Charlottesville station, two radio stations, the Richmond Times Dispatch and the Washington Post....

By Tim Craig | July 7, 2008; 6:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Webb Won't Be Vice-Presidential Candidate

Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) said in a statement today he has told Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, not to consider him as a potential vice-presidential candidate. "Last week I communicated to Senator Obama and his presidential campaign my firm intention to remain in the United States Senate, where I believe I am best equipped to serve the people of Virginia and this country," Webb said. "Under no circumstances will I be a candidate for Vice President." Many political observers have mentioned Webb, a former marine and Secretary of the Navy, as being on Obama's short list because of his foreign policy and military credentials. But Webb, who sponsored the new GI Bill that President Bush signed into law last week, said he's happy in the Senate....

By Tim Craig | July 7, 2008; 3:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Gilmore Gets Dirty, and Some Green, on Tour

In an effort to contrast himself with his Democratic opponent, former governor Mark R. Warner, Republican Senate candidate James S. Gilmore III will be getting a bit dirty during his two-day swing down the Interstate 81 corridor. Part of his "working families tour," Gilmore is trying to portray Warner as a liberal elitist who is out touch with the concerns of lower and middle class families. Gilmore has stops planned today and tomorrow at several construction sites in the Shenandoah Valley. Gilmore has taken to calling Warner, who is worth an estimated $200 million, a "limousine liberal." Tomorrow, Gilmore will visit a BP station in Radford and a Chevron station in Bristol, where he will be pumping gas to highlight the high price of fuel. But Gilmore, who is also a millionaire, won't just be mingling with blue collar workers during his campaign swing....

By Tim Craig | July 7, 2008; 11:11 AM ET | Comments (0)

Moran Raises Nearly $1.4 Million in Six Months

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) will announce today he's raised about $1.4 million so far this year for his campaign for governor, which his staff is touting as a record haul for a gubernatorial candidate making their first bid for statewide office. According to a statement Moran plans to release today, Virginians for Brian Moran will report it has $800,000 in the bank. Moran is expected to face off against Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) next spring for the Democratic nomination. Although the primary is almost a year away, Moran has been accelerating his campaign efforts in recent weeks, including building staff and traveling the state....

By Tim Craig | July 7, 2008; 12:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Obama Returns to Virginia Next Week

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, will visit Virginia at the end of next week. The exact time and location have not yet been announced. Obama will spend next week campaigning in states won by President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, including Virginia, where he will discuss plans to strengthen the economy....

By Anita Kumar | July 4, 2008; 3:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

McCain To Start Ads in Virginia

U.S. Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is expected to start airing ads in Virginia on Tuesday. His campaign bought air time for 60-second TV ads in Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, Harrisonburg, Charlottesville and southwest Virginia....

By Anita Kumar | July 4, 2008; 1:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

Democratic Challenger Drops Out Of Race

Democrat Keith Hummel is abandoning his challenge of U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman (R) in Virginia's 1st Congressional District, which includes part of Prince William County. Today, Hummel announced that he was suspending his campaign, citing past financial difficulties and lamenting "the politics of personal attack and destruction." "Unfortunately, our elections today revolve around narrow and simplistic assessments of viability,'' he said in a statement. "Under such circumstances, it is little wonder that the politics of personal attack and destruction turn the mistakes of the past into harbingers of the future with little understanding that the brutal lessons learned through our life's struggles are valuable ingredients for successful leaders."...

By Anita Kumar | July 3, 2008; 11:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Group Starts Ads to Encourage Legislators to Act

LIUNA, the Laborers' International Union of North America, began radio ads today in several area across the state "urging progress on the state's transportation crisis that negatively affects working people every day." The ads will run in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond and Fredericksburg through Wednesday when the General Assembly returns to the state Capitol to try once again to find money for road and transit projects. "Investing in Virginia's transportation system will dramatically improve safety and quality of life, while creating 50,000 good jobs in local economies," said Terence M. O'Sullivan, LIUNA General President. "Delegates in the Virginia House must take care of Virginia's basic priorities - the roads, highways, bridges and transit systems that the working men and women of the state rely on every day. It's time to build Virginia so Virginia works."...

By Anita Kumar | July 3, 2008; 11:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia Notebook: Democrats Stuck in Neutral

Shortly after Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) called a special session to try to tackle transportation funding issues, the governor gave a blunt assessment of what he hoped to accomplish by advocating a tax increase even though he didn't have the support of the Republican-controlled House of Delegates. "It will be very productive to either try to find a solution or make it plain to people who are standing in the way," Kaine said in an interview with The Washington Post in May. "We are going to make something happen or let the public see who is obstructing, and frankly, that is one of the reasons why Democrats have won elections in Virginia." But 10 days into the special session on transportation -- legislators have been on vacation for six of those days -- it remains uncertain whether any solution will be found or whether the governor will score any...

By Tim Craig | July 2, 2008; 2:31 PM ET | Comments (6)

Gilmore Will Celebrate 4th of July in Fairfax

Republican U.S. Senate James S. Gilmore III is preparing for a major campaign push across Virginia, including reaching out to voters in Fairfax County. On Friday, Gilmore will march in the Dale City Independence Day parade during the morning. Gilmore, a former governor, will then attend the Leadership Institute's "Annual Conservative Fourth of July Soirée" at Bull Run Park in Centreville. The event is billed as a "patriotic annual celebration for all things conservative." Gilmore will wrap up his July 4 politicking by participating in the Clifton Independence Day parade and picnic. "This is just the beginning," Ana Gamonal, a Gilmore spokeswoman, said of the campaign's efforts in Fairfax County, a county Gilmore won during his 1998 bid for governor but has since been trending Democratic. "By spending one of the busiest days of the campaign in Northern Virginia, this shows our commitment to the region."...

By Tim Craig | July 2, 2008; 2:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Warner Spends More Than $4 Million

Former governor Mark R. Warner (D) has already spent $4.2 million on his bid for the U.S. Senate. Warner has raised $9.3 million since he got into the race in September, and has $5.1 million left in the bank, according to his latest campaign finance report, which was first reported on by the Associated Press....

By Tim Craig | July 2, 2008; 1:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Lands Another $100,000 Plus Donor

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) now has another $100,000 donor to his political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward. John O. Wynne, retired president and chief executive officer of Landmark Communications, which owns The Weather Channel and several newspapers, including the Virginian Pilot and Roanoke Times, gave Moving Virginia Forward $25,000 on June 20. Since Kaine took office in 2006, Wynne has contributed $125,000 to Moving Virginia Forward. There are now six individuals or organizations that have contributed at least $100,000 to Kaine's political committee, which he uses to try to bolster the Virginia Democratic Party, including the governor's successful efforts last year in winning control of the state Senate, according to the Virginia Board of Elections and the Virginia Public Access Project....

By Tim Craig | July 2, 2008; 12:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Former Top Cop Endorses Warner

W. Gerald Massengill, a retired Virginia State Police superintendent appointed by former Republican Gov. James S. Gilmore III, today endorsed Democrat Mark R. Warner for U.S. Senate. Massengill, best known for heading the panel that reviewed the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, was joined by five other law enforcement officials from around the state for a news conference in Richmond with Warner. A self-described Republican who spent 37 years in the state police force, Massengill was appointed superintendent in 2000 and served until 2003. That meant he served under Gilmore and Warner, who was governor from 2002 to 2006....

By Washington Post editors | July 1, 2008; 2:42 PM ET | Comments (5)

 

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