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Virginia Politics Blog: July 13, 2008 - July 19, 2008

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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Election 2009 , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Gerald E. Connolly , Polls , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/Local , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Prince William , Tim Craig , Virginia Notebook  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , John McCain , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Debates , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/Local , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Election 2009 , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Campaign Ads , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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