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Virginia Politics Blog: July 27, 2008 - August 2, 2008

Wagner Resigns as State Finance Secretary

Jody M. Wagner resigned today as Virginia secretary of finance. She is expected to announce in the coming days that she will run for lieutenant governor next year. Her last day is Aug. 8. "Jody Wagner's fiscal stewardship is one of the reasons why Virginia has been named best managed state and best state to do business," Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said in a statement. "Her dedication and talents have secured Virginia's triple A bond rating and helped keep Virginia on the right track in a challenging economic environment. She has devoted herself to service, putting Virginia first, and she will be missed as an invaluable member of my team." 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  |  August 1, 2008; 2:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Election 2009 , Timothy M. Kaine  
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First Lady Kicks off Va Women for Obama Events

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's wife, First Lady Anne Holton, will headline the Virginia Women for Obama, Families for Change statewide kickoff tomorrow. She and families from across the Richmond area will gather at Byrd Park to highlight Sen. Barack Obama's policies that "strengthen American families and support working women." Virginia Women for Obama will hold a total of 11 events across the state including picnics and house parties. Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple of Arlington will headline the Alexandria event and Jody M. Wagner, the state secretary of finance who is expected to run for lieutenant governor, will appear in Hampton Roads. Some of the events are listed below:...

By Anita Kumar  |  August 1, 2008; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , John McCain  
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Democrats Target More Va Congressional Races

National Democrats announced today that they will provide assistance to two more congressional races in Virginia this November. That brings the number in the state to four. Judy Feder, who is running against Rep. Frank Wolf in Northern Virginia, and Rep. Tom Perriello, who is runninng against Virgil Goode in the southern part of the state, were placed in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue" program, which directs assistance to Democratic challengers across the nation. They were chosen because they surpassed fundraising goals and showed "voters that they stand for change and will represent new priorities when elected to Congress." "The candidates for change being named to the DCCC Red to Blue program are running solid campaigns and are committed to making things easier for middle class families in their districts," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, DCCC chairman. "With less than 100 days to make their case for...

By Anita Kumar  |  August 1, 2008; 12:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/Congress , Frank R. Wolf , Thomas M. Davis III  
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Michelle Obama Will Visit Virginia

Sen. Barack Obama's wife, Michelle, will make a campaign stop in Norfolk on Wednesday but few details about the event have been released yet. Later that evening, Obama will appear at a fundraiser hosted by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and First Lady Anne Holton at the Harrison Opera House featuring a musical performance by Bruce Hornsby. Tickets are $100 per person, $50 for students. It will be Obama's first campaign visit to the state, though her husband, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has been here several times....

By Anita Kumar  |  August 1, 2008; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/Local , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Loudoun County , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Campaign Ads , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , John McCain  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
 
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/Local , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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