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Virginia Politics Blog: August 10, 2008 - August 16, 2008

Obama, Warner Set Southside Visit

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will campaign with U.S. Senate Candidate Mark R. Warner Wednesday in southern Virginia, Obama's presidential campaign announced today. Obama and Warner, a former governor who takes credit for bringing more jobs to economically depressed communities in southern Virginia, will hold an invitation-only town hall meeting in Martinsville that focuses on economic issues. It will be Obama's third campaign swing through Virginia since he clinched the Democratic nomination in June. Last week, Obama announced that Warner will deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention later this month. Although Obama has yet to announce his running mate, Warner said in June under no circumstance would he be the vice-presidential candidate this year. Warner's GOP opponent in the Senate race, former governor James S. Gilmore III, will also be reaching out to so-called working families on Wednesday. Gilmore will make 11 stops in central Virginia to promote...

By Tim Craig  |  August 16, 2008; 6:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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Jody Wagner Enters LG Race

Jody W. Wagner, who had served as Finance Secretary under Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), has officially entered the 2009 race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor . Wagner's decision to run will likely set up a costly battle for the nomination between her and Jon Bowerbank, a wealthy businessman from Russell County who has also announced his candidacy. C. Richard Cranwell, the chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, is also considering entering the race. Wagner, who hails from Virginia Beach, would likely have an advantage in a three-way race because Cranwell and Bowerbank are both from Southwest Virginia. Wagner is also expected to be the only female candidate for statewide office next year. The winner of the Democratic primary will face Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) in the general election. But if Kaine is tapped to be Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) running mate, and the Democratic ticket wins...

By Tim Craig  |  August 15, 2008; 3:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Will Meet The Press be a Preview of VP Debate?

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will have one last chance this weekend to prove to a national audience he is an effective surrogate for Sen.Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on the campaign trail. Kaine will face off against Louisana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) this Sunday on NBC's Meet The Press. Kaine is mentioned as a possible running mate for Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. Obama is expected to announce his running mate sometime next week. Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, is reportedly considering Jindal as his running mate....

By Tim Craig  |  August 15, 2008; 11:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
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Kaine, Warner Raise $500,000 for Virginia Democrats

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and U.S. Senate Candidate Mark R. Warner teamed up tonight to raise a half million dollars to support Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) presidential campaign in Virginia as well as the state's Democratic congressional candidates, according to party officials. Kaine and Warner headlined a high-dollar fundraiser for the Virginia Democratic Party's coordinated campaign, which was held at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond. The state party's haul from tonight's event will be added to the $729,000 it had in its federal account a month ago. The Virginia Republican Party, meanwhile, was essentially broke a month ago, reporting $101,000 in the bank for federal races but also $91,000 in unpaid bills. But the GOP ground game in Virginia this year is largely being financed by the Republican National Committee, which is flush with cash. A tiny portion of the GOP money was spent tonight, when the...

By Tim Craig  |  August 14, 2008; 11:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Sparks Fly Over Voter Registration

The chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee filed a complaint today with the State Board of Elections alleging one of its Republican members tried to intimidate supporters of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at the Asian American Festival in Reston on Saturday. Harold Pyon, the board member named in the complaint, strongly denies the allegations. He said in an interview today he is considering a counter-complaint because of what he called the Fairfax Democratic Committee's "dirty" tactics. "Maybe I counter sue those people. They are lying," Pyon said. Scott A. Surovell, the chairman of the county party, alleges in the complaint that Pyon, the Republican on the three-member board, approached Obama supporters who were trying to register new voters at the festival. The complaint alleges that Pyon told the Obama volunteers they cannot keep voter registration forms on the same table as campaign literature. Surovell alleges Pyon, the board member,...

By Tim Craig  |  August 14, 2008; 7:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
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Kaine Hopes to Boost Obama in Virginia

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will spend the weekend stumping for Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, across Virginia. Kaine, a potential vice-presidential candidate, is scheduled to attend four town hall meetings in support of Obama on Saturday in Washington's fast-growing outer suburbs. Kaine will also go door-to-door in Richmond on Sunday to try to identify Democratic-leaning voters. It will be Kaine's first big push on behalf of Obama in Virginia since the Feb. 12 primary. According to recent polls, Obama narrowly trails Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, in the state but Kaine expects a close race come the fall. But it's unclear whether Kaine, whose approval rating fluctuates depending on the poll, can help Obama carry a state that President Bush won by 8 percentage points in 2004....

By Tim Craig  |  August 14, 2008; 1:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Allen Emerges as Top McCain Surrogate

Former governor and U.S. senator George Allen (R) is emerging as a top surrogate for Arizona Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign in Virginia, a potentially risky strategy for the GOP as it looks to recover from its losses in 2006. Earlier today, Allen appeared with Rep. Thelma Drake (R-Va.) at an event in Virginia Beach to discuss McCain's energy plans. Last month, the McCain campaign had Allen's wife, Susan, give the campaign's official response to an event Sen. Barack Obama held for women in Fairfax County. Some Virginia Democrats are bewildered by the McCain campaign's strategy of putting Allen front and center of its general election campaign in the state. Allen lost his 2006 bid for reelection by about 8,000 votes following a series of well publicized gaffes on the campaign trail. Allen lost to Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) largely because his support collapsed in vote-rich Northern Virginia. McCain will...

By Tim Craig  |  August 13, 2008; 6:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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Cranwell May Run for LG

C. Richard Cranwell, chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, is considering running for lieutenant governor next year. Cranwell, a 30-year fixture in the House of Delegates who plans to step down from his post when his term expires in 2009, told friends that he is considering running for the Democratic nomination in 2009. House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry) said he will wait to decide who to support until Cranwell makes his decision. "I learned a lot from him,'' Armstrong said. "He's one of the best legislators I have known."...

By Anita Kumar  |  August 13, 2008; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Election 2009  
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Obama Opens 5 More Va Offices

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign announced today it is opening five more offices across Virginia, meaning it will soon have 33 separate regional headquarters. All but one of the new offices will be located in a fairly sparsely populated area, another sign that Obama is banking on winning over new voters through neighbor to neighbor organizing. The new offices will be located in Suffolk, a fast-growing suburb in southeastern Virginia; Tappahannock in the Northern Neck; Culpeper in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains; and Chase City and Farmville, both located in Southside. Obama has now opened more offices in Virginia then he has in Pennsylvania, even though Pennsylvania has 5 million more residents. Obama's 33 Virginia offices rival the number he is planning to open in Ohio, which has long been considered the key battleground state in a presidential contest....

By Tim Craig  |  August 13, 2008; 2:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Obama Competes Against Redskins, Not McCain, on Aug. 28

Sen. Barack Obama may find it won't be easy to get Virginia voters' attention on the night he is scheduled to give his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. On the night of Aug 28, when Obama will be officially accepting the Democratic nomination at Invesco Field in Denver, the Washington Redskins will be playing their last exhibition game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at FedEx Field. The game will be televised nationally on NBC. The Redskins game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., earlier than usual in effort to try to accommodate Obama. NBC has scheduled the Redskins' game to air from 7 to 10 p.m. The network then plans to cover Obama's speech from 10 to 11 p.m. So what happens if the Redskins' game drags on past 10 p.m.?...

By Tim Craig  |  August 13, 2008; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
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Straight Talk Express Stops in Va. Tomorrow

Arizona Sen. John McCain's "Straight Talk Express" bus will barrel through Virginia tomorrow, helping to kickoff a series of campaign events across the state that will culminate in 90 house parties tomorrow night in support of McCain. McCain's legendary bus, which has been garnering media attention since he first ran for president eight years ago, will make an appearance tomorrow morning on the Richmond CBS 6 morning show. McCain won't be on the bus, but Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R ) will be filling in to tout the GOP message. The bus will then travel to Alexandria home of Debbie and Bill Spagnoli-Woodruff. The couple will be hosting one of 90 house parties across Virginia as part of the first "McCain Nation" national event day. People who attend one of the house parties will get a campaign briefing and hear from Cindy McCain and her brother-in-law, Joe McCain....

By Tim Craig  |  August 13, 2008; 12:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2008/President , John McCain , Tim Craig  
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Virginians Can Ask Questions in Denver

Virginians will have a chance to have their questions answered live at the Democratic National Convention or online later this month. "As Barack Obama has said, this is not our Convention - this is America 's Convention," said Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. "And now, at a critical moment in our history, Americans will have their concerns addressed, challenges listened to and their questions answered live by our country's leaders." An open call where Virginians can record questions will take place tomorrow morning in Richmond. Text and video questions also can be submitted online at DemConvention.com/townhall through Aug. 27. The convention, which will take place Aug. 25-28 in Denver, will feature a nightly segment in which elected leaders, national policy experts and others will respond to voters' questions live and online....

By Anita Kumar  |  August 13, 2008; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , John McCain  
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Warner Becomes Face of National Democratic Party

U.S. Senate candidate Mark R. Warner's decision to give the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention later this month means Warner's own political future this year can now be linked to the national Democratic party. Ever since he announced his Senate campaign late last year, Warner has sought to put some distance between himself and Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. Warner appeared with Obama in June in Southwest Virginia, and has touted his candidacy in various interviews. But Warner has at times stressed he is running his own race as he tried to respond to efforts by his GOP opponent, former governor James S. Gilmore, to tie him to Obama and national Democrats. At a debate with Gilmore last month, Warner mentioned Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, more than he mentioned Obama. Now, Gilmore will have images of Warner standing...

By Anita Kumar  |  August 13, 2008; 10:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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Bob Barr Campaigns for President in Va

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, the Libertarian nominee for U.S. President, stopped in Richmond for a few hours today to spread the word of his longshot candidacy. Barr, who was accompanied by his son Derek, said he is running because he sees a "dramatic undercutting of liberty" in the United States. "If it was simply to play a spoiler role, I would not be doing this,'' he said. "I have a lot of better things to do." Barr said he is polling at six percent nationally. He said he expects support from Republicans opposed to Sen. John McCain, blue-collar Reagan Democrats and young people who may be interested in politics for the first time....

By Anita Kumar  |  August 12, 2008; 4:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , John McCain  
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Democrats' Bus Tour Heads to Va

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will continue his national voter registration campaign this week in Virginia. He will be joined on some Northern Virginia stops by Washington Wizards basketball player Etan Thomas. The "Register for Change" bus tour started in President Bush's backyard in Crawford, Texas and is traveling cross country until the Democratic National Convention late this month. Dean, a former presidential candidate and Vermont governor, has been to several states, including Louisiana, North Carolina and Georgia, in recent weeks. Details of the Virginia events are below:...

By Anita Kumar  |  August 12, 2008; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President  
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Kal Penn Will Campaign for Obama in Va

Actor Kal Penn, who currently appears in the FOX medical drama House will visit Northern Virginia today and tomorrow to campaign for Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Penn will meet with volunteers and participate in phone banks at offices of the Campaign for Change, an offshoot of Obama's campaign funded by the Democratic National Committee, in Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, Centreville, Fairfax City and Arlington and Fredericksburg. Penn also will headline a local Asian Americans For Obama And South Asians For Obama event and join Young Democrats canvassing in Richmond. Penn had a recurring role in the TV show, 24 last year. He is probably best known for his role in the movie, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle . A full schedule of his events is below:...

By Anita Kumar  |  August 11, 2008; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President  
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Kaine Talks about Obama on "Face the Nation"

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) appeared on CBS' Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer Sunday to answer questions about Sen. John McCain's recent ads, the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Denver and whether Sen. Barack Obama should be doing better in the polls. "I would rather not spin Barack's lead in the polls as anything negative. He's ahead in the polls,'' Kaine said. "Take Virginia as an example. Virginia is a state that has not gone Democratic in a presidential election since 1964. (Recent polls) have Barack Obama narrowly ahead in Virginia, which is basically outstanding." "I think the Obama campaign has had a healthy underdog attitude since I signed on..." Kaine said. "They always thought this would be tough. They always thought they would be close but we are feeling very very good about where the senator is in the polls." Kaine, an Obama friend and one of his...

By Anita Kumar  |  August 11, 2008; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , John McCain  
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McCain Airs New Ad in Virginia

John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, began airing a new ad on TV Friday in key states, including Virginia. The ad, entitled "Painful," highlights presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's record of voting to raise taxes on middle class families and his tax increase proposals. "The last thing we need to do is raise taxes that force families to make even tougher choices with less money in their pockets,'' according to a press release....

By Anita Kumar  |  August 10, 2008; 8:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Campaign Ads , Election 2008/President , John McCain  
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