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Virginia Politics Blog: July 6, 2008 - July 12, 2008

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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine , Transportation  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Gerald E. Connolly , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Sandhya Somashekhar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , John McCain , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Sandhya Somashekhar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Campaign Ads , Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine , Transportation  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Immigration , Kristen Mack , Prince William  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Campaign Ads , Election 2008/President , John McCain , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Tim Craig  
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