Archive: September 2008

Kaine Pledges to Finish His Term

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) pledged Tuesday to remain governor through January 2010 even if Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama wins the presidency and offers him a Cabinet job. "Absolutely,'' he said on his monthly call-in show on WTOP Radio. "I'm gonna stay as governor all the way through January 2010." Kaine, co-chairman of Obama's national campaign, had been seriously considered as a running mate for the Illinois senator. The two became friends after they campaigned together during Kaine's 2005 gubernatorial race and Kaine has returned the favor, stumping nationwide for him over the last year. "If I was asked to be vice president... I would have said yes,'' Kaine said. But, he said, he plans to remain a volunteer if Obama wins. "I hope I can be helpful,'' he said....

By Anita Kumar | September 30, 2008; 11:26 AM ET | Comments (9)

Obama Releases New Ad in Virginia

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama launched a two-minute television ad in Virginia today to explain how the Illinois senator plans to handle the nation's financial crisis. The ad, called Same Path, details Obama's plan to jump-start the economy and create millions of jobs. Specifically, it outlines his tax plan, which his campaign says will provide tax relief to the middle class and cut taxes for small and startup businesses....

By Anita Kumar | September 30, 2008; 10:49 AM ET | Comments (3)

McCain Airs New Ad in Virginia

The Republican National Committee launched a new television ad today to highlight what it calls Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's plans to raise taxes and increase debt. The ad, called Worse, will run in Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Indiana....

By Anita Kumar | September 30, 2008; 10:11 AM ET | Comments (0)

Webb Pays Tribute to Warner

Democratic Sen. Jim Webb honored his Republican colleague, Sen. John W. Warner, who is retiring after three decades in the Senate. Webb, elected in 2006, took the Senate floor this afternoon to pay tribute to Warner, considered an elder statesman highly regarded for his expertise in defense matters. "He has always put the interests of the people of Virginia and the people in this country ahead of political party,'' Webb said. "He has been very clear at different times that he and I are in different parties. But this is an individual who has served this body with great wisdom and a deeply ingrained sense of fairness and someone who has the temperament and the moral courage of a great leader." Warner then took the floor, saying in an emotional response that he was "moved" and "grateful" for Webb's comments. "America will always look down on you as a proud...

By Anita Kumar | September 29, 2008; 5:00 PM ET | Comments (3)

Financial Bailout Splits Va Delegation

Virginia's congressional delegation was sharply divided on a $700 billion financial bailout defeated by the U.S. House Monday afternoon. Six of Virginia's members of Congress voted against the package and five voted in favor. Five of eight Republican members voted against the bailout as did one Democrat, Rep. Bobby Scott of Hampton Roads. Use the post.com congressional votes database to find out how your representative voted....

By Anita Kumar | September 29, 2008; 3:52 PM ET | Comments (1)

McCain Releases New Radio Ad in Virginia

Republican presidential nominee John McCain unveiled a new radio ad in Virginia today criticizing rival Barack Obama's energy plan. The ad, entitled Clean Coal, accuses the Democratic presidential nominee of opposing clean coal technology in states like Virginia, Colorado, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where thousands of jobs rely on the industry. Former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R) told reporters this afternoon that the ad is calling attention to Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden's contradictary statements on supporting the coal industry while campaigning in Southwest Virginia and other parts of the country. "It's very alarming,'' Kilgore said. "This type of double speak has been caught onto by Southwest Virginians and Virginians." The focus of coal comes amid signs that Obama may be making some inroads in Southwest Virginia. A Washington Post poll last week shows that 36 percent of likely voters in the western part of the state support Obama. The...

By Anita Kumar | September 29, 2008; 3:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Texas Congressman Campaigns for Obama

U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas) will campaign in Virginia this week for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama to talk about the challenges facing veterans, including those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Edwards will meet local veterans and military families to discuss Obama's plans for improving medical care, pay equity and educational opportunities to troops and their families. Edwards, whose district includes President Bush's Crawford ranch, is chairman of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee and is a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. Event details are below:...

By Anita Kumar | September 29, 2008; 10:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Food Workers Give Va. Democrats $100,000

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union donated $100,000 to the Virginia Democratic Party last week, the largest contribution it has received from an individual, business or union in a decade, according to the State Board of Elections and the Virginia Public Access Project. The $100,000 donation was credited to the party's state account, meaning it cannot be used to influence this year's presidential or congressional races. But the donation allows the state party to pay its operating costs so it can focus additional resources on raising money for its federal account, which can be used to support Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) and congressional candidates. "We are happy to have their support and we appreciate a shared interest in working families' conditions in Virginia," said Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the Virginia Democratic Party....

By Tim Craig | September 28, 2008; 9:50 PM ET | Comments (1)

Warner Floods Virginia With Yard Signs

Virginia Democratic officials report that U.S. Senate candidate Mark R. Warner's campaign distributed 10,000 yard signs today across Virginia. Mike Henry, Warner's campaign manager, called it the "biggest one day sign blitz ever" conducted in the state. Although there has been an ongoing debate in Democratic circles over the importance of yard signs in the presidential race, Warner (D) is well-known for his affinity for plastering his red, white and blue signs all over the state. There is no way to verify, however, that Warner's efforts today actually set a one-day record. But it's safe to assume you'll be seeing Warner's name a lot in the coming weeks....

By Tim Craig | September 28, 2008; 9:38 PM ET | Comments (3)

"KKK" Spray Painted on Obama Sign in Southwest Va.

The Washington County Sheriff's Department is investigating the vandalism of a homemade Obama sign in Abingdon in Southwest Virginia as a possible hate crime, according to WJHL in the Tricities market. In a video report posted on the station's website, Chris Johnson said someone spray painted "KKK Kill Bama" on the sign. Johnson said he made the sign for his 8-year-old stepson,who discovered the vandalism. "If you don't like Obama because he's a black man and you come in the middle of the night and destroy my sign, then you are a coward," Johnson said in the report. Johnson, who is white, said he will not be bullied. He now plans to erect even more homemade Obama signs on his property....

By Tim Craig | September 28, 2008; 12:11 PM ET | Comments (9)

Fredericksburg's Population Doubles With Obama Rally

University of Mary Washington Police Chief James C. Snipes confirms more than 25,000 peopled showed up for Sen. Barack Obama's rally today on the campus's main square. After consulting with the fire marshal, Snipes estimates that 12,000 people passed through security to get into the square while another 14,000 were left out. If accurate, Obama supporters doubled the population of the Fredericksburg today. Earlier this month, GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) held a large rally in Fairfax City. McCain campaign officials estimate 23,000 people showed up, although some have questioned that number. But the size of the two rallies highlight how there is genuine excitement among partisans on both sides, laying the groundwork for a pitched struggle between now and Nov. 4. They also raise one obvious question: How large will these rallies grow during final weeks of the campaign?...

By Tim Craig | September 28, 2008; 12:11 AM ET | Comments (6)

Thousands Turn Out For Obama Rally

Thousands of people are waiting in line to get into Sen. Barack Obama's rally this evening at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. The line to get through security stretches for more than a mile through the leafy campus. Obama will be joined by his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), the first time the two have campaigned together since the days immediately following last month's Democratic National Convention. The rally begins at 5:30 p.m., but the campus square where Obama and Biden will speak is already crammed with thousands of supporters. Those still waiting in line are being warned they may not get in. Dawna Vaughn of Fredericksburg is in line with her 9-year-old daughter, Lizzy...

By Tim Craig | September 27, 2008; 4:05 PM ET | Comments (153)

Richmond Democratic Committee Endorses Jones

The Richmond City Democratic Committee voted last night to endorse Del. Dwight Jones (D) in the Nov. 4 election to succeed L. Douglas Wilder as mayor of Richmond. Jones, the chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, is locked in a five way race with Paul Goldman, a former Wilder ally, attorney Robert J. Grey Jr., City Council President William Pantele and community activist Lawrence E. Williams Sr. Goldman and Pantele are white. Jones, Grey and Williams are black. Jones is widely believed to the front-runner, although its unclear if he will win the five of nine wards needed to avoid a run-off in December. Adding to the uncertainty, there could be a record turnout in Richmond this year because of the presidential race. Many voters who show up at the polls may be unfamiliar with any of the candidates in the mayor' s race. Jones has also been endorsed by...

By Tim Craig | September 26, 2008; 2:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Holds Pizza Party to Rally Democrats

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) hosted 30 Democratic staffers at the Governor's Mansion last night for a pizza and beer party to show his appreciation for their efforts in this year's presidential and U.S. Senate race. "We just had pizza and he thanked us for our hard work, and I think we are energized to make sure Barack Obama and Mark Warner win in Virginia," said Levar Stoney, executive director of the Virginia Democratic Party. Kaine's political action committee - not taxpayers, of course - picked up the tab....

By Tim Craig | September 26, 2008; 1:20 PM ET | Comments (2)

Obama Opens Office in DC For Virginia

Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty opened a local headquarters for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in the District this morning. At first glance, you may think Obama's campaign has now really gone overboard when it comes to opening offices. Dating back to 1968, no Democratic presidential nominee has received less than 75 percent of the vote in the District. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) carried the District with 89 percent of the vote in his 2004 race against President Bush. But Obama's D.C. office will actually be focused on helping his campaign efforts across the Potomac River in Virginia, reports Washington Post reporter David Nakamura. Fenty and D.C. council members Kwame Brown and Muriel Bowser urged 200 volunteers at the office opening to get to Virginia to help knock on doors. Obama offices and local Democratic committees in the heavily-Democratic Maryland suburbs are also geared up to help turn out the vote...

By Tim Craig | September 25, 2008; 4:17 PM ET | Comments (3)

McDonnell Returns Car, Slashes Budget

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R) announced today that he will return his state car, reduce his salary by two percent and trim his office budget by nine percent following this week's news of a possible $3 billion state budget shortfall. "These are difficult times,'' he said. "This economic downturn, and sustained uncertainty, is forcing Virginia families and businesses to make hard decisions, and Virginia's government must do likewise." Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will begin implementing the statewide cuts early next month after releasing the state's new forecast for the rest of the two-year, $77 billion budget period that began July 1....

By Anita Kumar | September 25, 2008; 3:36 PM ET | Comments (1)

Abortion Fails to Sway Electorate

Arizona Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) are both making inroads into their opponent's political base in Virginia when it comes to the issue of abortion. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday, 60 percent of registered voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Thirty-eight percent said abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. Voter attitudes on the issue have essentially remained unchanged since 2000, according to previous Washington Post Virginia polls. McCain disagrees with the 1973 Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion rights. Obama supports Roe V. Wade. But 30 percent of voters who want to outlaw abortions say they also support Obama. Thirty-three percent of those who favor abortion rights back McCain....

By Tim Craig | September 25, 2008; 2:33 PM ET | Comments (0)

Summer of George, Autumn of Warner?

Jason Alexander, an actor best known as perpetually down-and-out George Costanza on Seinfeld , has weighed into Virginia's U.S. Senate race by helping former Democratic governor Mark R. Warner raise money. "If you thought Seinfeld was a show about nothing, you should check out Congress,'' Alexander in a fundraising letter emailed to supporters today. "I can't remember such a lack of productivity since the summer of George." The letter turns more serious after that. Alexander asks for donations, as small as $5, before Sept. 30, the latest filing deadline, and talks about why he is "throwing his full support" behind Warner in his race against former governor James S. Gilmore III. "He hasn't just talked a good game,'' he wrote. "As governor, he actually walked the walk by working across the aisle to deliver results and turn Virginia's struggling economy around." The two met when Warner was traveling the country...

By Anita Kumar | September 25, 2008; 12:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia GOP Seizes on Obama Yard Sign Shortage

In an effort to raise money, the Republican Party of Virginia is seizing on the shortage of yard signs for Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign. "While grassroots Democrats are getting discouraged by their lack of materials like yard signs, RPV is working hard to make sure all of our supporters have the yard signs, bumper stickers and materials they need," Frederick wrote in a fundraising appeal, which also took aim at liberals."For example, we've delivered tens-of-thousands of yard signs to our Victory offices in just the last two week. Your most generous gift will help us launch an all-out 30-Day offensive, and will enable us to continue to keep supplies coming." Frederick was referring to a report that some Democrats are disgruntled that Obama staffers have downplayed the importance of the traditional yard signs, which have long been a big part of Virginia campaigns. C. Richard Cranwell, the chairman of...

By Tim Craig | September 25, 2008; 12:40 PM ET | Comments (4)

ACLU to Police: Registration Drives Are Allowed

The ACLU of Virginia has sent letters to all 185 police chiefs in Virginia asking them to educate their emplyees on the right of individuals to engage in door-to-door voter registration drives. The letters were prompted by recent complaints from people going door-to-door who were told by police or other officials that their actions violated a local ordinance or policy. ACLU officials say they are prepared to provide legal assistance to any person whose rights are violated. "The right to go door to door to register voters, to canvass for candidates or to promote one's religious beliefs is deeply ingrained in the American landscape, both legally and culturally," ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis said. "Thankfully, the Supreme Court has struck down every local ordinance that attempts to interfere with this basic First Amendment right." The ACLU's letter cites a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that political and...

By Anita Kumar | September 25, 2008; 9:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Obama, Biden Will Campaign in Va

Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will hold a rally Saturday in Fredericksburg. The Democratic presidential and vice presidential nominees will be at University of Mary Washington at 5:15 p.m. to talk about the economy, healthcare and the Iraq war. It will be the first time Obama and Biden have appeared together in Virginia....

By Anita Kumar | September 24, 2008; 5:50 PM ET | Comments (3)

Anti-Bush Bus Travels to Martinsville

Americans United for Change, a progressive advocacy group, is bringing its Bush Legacy Bus to Virginia tomorrow. The 45-foot long, 28-ton clean bio-diesel powered "museum on wheels" features interactive exhibits that examine President Bush's two terms in office. The tour kicked off across the street from the White House June 24 and has traveled to more than 30 states....

By Anita Kumar | September 24, 2008; 5:45 PM ET | Comments (1)

Virginia Notebook: Signs of Discontent For Obama

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign is spending millions of dollars on television ads in Virginia, staffing 43 offices and sending the candidate and his running mate, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., to every corner of the state. But Obama has apparently overlooked one important element of a successful campaign in Virginia: stocking up on those venerable lawn signs. Across the state, Democratic officials are clamoring to get hold of free Obama yard signs but are being told that none are available or that they have to buy them from the candidate's Web site. It can take weeks to get them delivered. The frustration of volunteers and Democratic officials over the campaign's inability to provide the signs is nearing a boiling point in some parts of Virginia....

By Tim Craig | September 24, 2008; 3:41 PM ET | Comments (27)

Gilmore Responds to Poll

Dick Leggitt, a senior strategist for GOP Senate candidate James S. Gilmore III, distributed a memo today disputing the findings of a Washington Post-ABC News poll showing Democratic candidate Mark R. Warner with a 30-point lead. In the memo, Leggitt said the Washington Post is attempting "to influence the U.S. Senate election." "Don't be discouraged or disheartened by the Post's attempt to influence the U.S. Senate election," Leggitt wrote. "It is after all, the Washington Post. Their coverage is pro-Democrat, pro-Obama and pro-Mark Warner." Leggitt references a Washington Post poll in September preceding the 1997 election, when Gilmore was running for governor. The poll showed Gilmore drawing 38 percent of the vote in his race against Democrat Donald S. Beyer. "On Election Day when the voters finally had their say, Jim Gilmore won the election with 56 percent of the vote," Leggitt wrote. The final Washington Post poll of that...

By Tim Craig | September 24, 2008; 2:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Budget Blues May Boost McAuliffe

With Virginia facing a budget shortfall of up $3 billion over two years, Democrat Terry McAuliffe could emerge as the big political winner this spring if he decides to seek the Democratic nomination for governor. McAuliffe, who will be in Chesterfield County today campaigning for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has begun laying the groundwork for a campaign. He's hired Mo Elleithee, a veteran of former governor Mark R. Warner and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's successful campaigns, to begin organizing the preliminary structure of his effort in case he enters the race. McAulifee, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, would face Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) for the nomination. The budget shortfall means Moran and Deeds will be consumed when the General Assembly convenes in January with tough votes - including possible major spending cuts to schools and other government services as well...

By Tim Craig | September 24, 2008; 10:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

Va. is Up for Grabs; Allen, Kaine Take Center Stage

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and former governor and U.S. senator George Allen (R) stood side-by-side this morning on NBC's Today Show. Host Matt Lauer was broadcasting from Williamsburg as part of the Today Show's tour of battleground states. NBC released a poll it commissioned with Mason-Dixon Polling Research Inc. that showed GOP presidential nominee John McCain with a 3-point edge over Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, in Virginia. McCain's 47 percent to 44 percent advantage is within the poll's margin of error, confirming that Virginia's 13 electoral votes are up for grabs. During the segment, Kaine and Allen took turns touting their favored candidate. "Virginias don't like the direction of the economy and national security in Washington," said Kaine, a co-chair of Obama's national campaign. "They want change. They want better." Allen countered, "The key issues for Virginia are national security, energy security, lower taxes and that is...

By Tim Craig | September 24, 2008; 7:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia GOP Begins Robo Calls

Several residents of Northern Virginia report they received an automated call last night that critcizes the Democratic Party and Sen. Barack Obama for wasteful spending. The caller asks voters to fill out an absentee ballot, which will be mailed in the coming days. On one of the calls, a women named Kate accused Democrats in Congress of approving billions of dollars in unnecessary projects. "I can't stand the billions of dollars wasted by corrupt politicians on pet projects," Kate says. "You should get an absentee ballot in the mail this week....If you are like me and ... think the 'Bridge to Nowhere is an outrageous waste of taxpayer money, you should fill out your absentee ballot." The Republican Party of Virginia paid for and authorized the automated message. "We are looking for some absentee ballot voters." said Gerry Scimeca, a spokesman for the Virginia Republican Party. "We are looking for...

By Tim Craig | September 23, 2008; 5:34 PM ET | Comments (11)

Sen. Warner Named One of Richest Congressmen

Roll Call, a newspaper on Capitol Hill, placed Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) on its list of 50 richest members of Congress. Warner, who is retiring in January, ranked 45th with a net worth of $5.86 million. He has assets at several brokerage accounts, none of which is worth more than $1 million, and has no liabilities. The information came from the notoriously vague annual financial disclosure forms lawmakers turned in this week....

By Anita Kumar | September 23, 2008; 1:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Networks Converge on Virginia

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.) will be on NBC's Today Show tomorrow morning during the 7 a.m. hour. Del. Christopher B. Saxman (R-Staunton), one of Arizona Sen. John McCain's Virginia co-chairs, will also appear. The Today Show will be broadcasting live from Williamsburg as part of its ongoing series on battleground states. The network will also likely be releasing the results of a Virginia poll it commissioned with Mason-Dixon. Last night, ABC World News aired a story about Virginia's role in the presidential race. ABC focused on voters in Williamsburg and Virginia Beach. ABC also released the results of a Virginia poll it conducted with the Washington Post showing Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) with a three point lead among likely voters over GOP nominee John McCain, an Arizona senator....

By Tim Craig | September 23, 2008; 11:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

Biden Campaigns in Prince William Today

Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, will participate in an invitation-only campaign event today in Woodbridge. Biden will talk about Sen. Barack Obama's plans to try to turn around the economy and help financially strapped families by making college more affordable, reducing taxes for middle class families, cutting capital gains taxes on small business owners and investing $150 billion over 10 years in clean energy technology. He was in Loudoun County Friday and joined Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) at the annual United Mine Workers Fish Fry in Russell County Saturday....

By Anita Kumar | September 23, 2008; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Federal Response to Wall Street Scrutinized

Virginia voters are split on whether they approve of the steps the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department have taken to deal with the current upheaval on Wall Street, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The poll found 46 percent of residents approve while 42 percent disapprove. But strong opponents outnumber strong supporters by 2 to 1 (21 to 10 percent). The poll was conducted just as the public was starting to absorb President Bush's proposal for a $700 billion bailout of the financial markets. Republicans were somewhat more likely than Democrats and Independents to support the government's efforts. White voters who graduated from college are also more supportive than those who did not....

By Tim Craig | September 22, 2008; 11:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mixed Results for Palin in Va Poll

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP vice-presidential nominee, is not providing a major boost to Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) campaign in Virginia, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The poll, conducted Thursday through Sunday, shows that slightly more than half of registered voters in Virginia have a favorable impression of Palin. But 38 percent hold an unfavorable view, a quarter of whom have a "strongly" negative impression. Palin appears to be slightly less popular in Virginia than she is nationwide. In a Washington Post-ABC News national poll conducted earlier this month, 58 percent of voters had a strongly or somewhat favorable impression of Palin while 28 point had an unfavorable view....

By Tim Craig | September 22, 2008; 11:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Democrats Get Money for Election Effort

The Virginia Democratic Party collected about $1.1 million last month to finance the party's voter identification and get-out-the-vote efforts in support of Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign and Democratic congressional candidates. The party collected about a quarter million dollars in individual contributions for its federal account, but the vast majority of its money came via transfers from the Democratic National Committee or Obama's campaign. Virginia Democrats ended the month with $575,000 in the bank after they spent a little more than $1.3 million. Most of the money was spent on meeting the party's payroll. It appears the party now has more than 100 people on its payroll, many of whom are field organizers or staffers for Obama's campaign....

By Mike Semel | September 22, 2008; 3:27 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kansas Gov Campaigns for Obama in Va

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will campaign in Virginia tomorrow for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Sebelius will hold town hall meetings in Richmond and Williamsburg with "four area families who are struggling with four issues that are affecting hundreds of thousands of Virginians in this economic downturn,'' according to the campaign. Sebelius will tout Obama's proposals to fix the economy, provide universal health care and offer relief for distressed homeowners and communities. They include cutting taxes for 95 percent of Virginians, investing in clean energy sources and making college more affordable by providing families with a $4,000 tuition tax credit, according to the campaign. Details are below:...

By Anita Kumar | September 22, 2008; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (1)

McCain Opens More Offices in Virginia

Republican John McCain's presidential campaign has opened two more "victory" offices in Virginia, bringing the total to 13. The new offices are in Woodbridge in Prince William, a county that Republicans hope they can win, and the Democratic stronghold of Charlottesville. Each of Virginia's 124 cities and counties already has a designated chairman serving as a local contact for McCain and the campaign is working to assemble more than 1,000 precinct captains. Democrat Barack Obama's presidential campaign has opened a record number 43 offices around the state....

By Anita Kumar | September 22, 2008; 10:56 AM ET | Comments (0)

Video: Biden Rallies Women in Loudoun County

By washingtonpost.com editors | September 19, 2008; 4:52 PM ET | Comments (1)

Gilmore Suspends His Communications Director

Republican Senate candidate James S. Gilmore III suspended his communications director, Ana Gamonal, for two weeks without pay because she allegedly sent a misleading email to Democratic candidate Mark R. Warner's campaign. Dick Leggitt, Gilmore's senior strategist, said Gamonal sent an email to Warner's campaign under a false name and asked to be put on the Democrat's email list. Leggitt said Warner campaign officials confronted Gamonal after they learned her real identity. Gamonal told Leggitt and other Gilmore advisers about the incident earlier today. Gilmore decided to suspend Gamonal without pay. "Governor Gilmore is all about transparency," Leggitt said. "We don't deceive people. We don't pretend we are something we are not so it is not the kind of thing we want anyone on our staff doing." It's not uncommon for staffers for one campaign, either knowingly or deceptively, to be on their opponents email list. But Leggitt said Gamonal...

By Tim Craig | September 19, 2008; 4:11 PM ET | Comments (3)

Mark Warner is Unsure Who's Rich

Democratic Senate candidate Mark R. Warner, who is worth an estimated $200 million, isn't sure how he defines "wealthy" when it comes raising taxes. In his debate yesterday with Republican James S. Gilmore III, Warner said he supports rolling back President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Warner, who wants new revenue to reduce the deficit and invest in "infrastructure," has staked out a position similar to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Gilmore is opposed to all tax increases. Obama's plans calls for higher taxes on couples who earn more than $250,000. When asked after the debate who he considers to be rich, Warner couldn't give an answer. But he said he thinks Obama's $250,000 a year threshold is too low. "I think $250,000 may be a bit low because for one or two income earning households in Northern Virginia that seems too low, but that is one of...

By Tim Craig | September 19, 2008; 1:08 PM ET | Comments (1)

Webb Named One of Most Influential People

Esquire magazine named Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) one of the "75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century" in its 75th anniversary edition. The reason given? "Because the Senate has never seen anything like him." The eclectic list include David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, baseball player Alex Rodriguez and the co-founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. It includes other Democrats, including Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, and Republicans, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal....

By Anita Kumar | September 19, 2008; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (1)

Obama Outspending McCain on Va Ads

The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder reports that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) outspent his GOP opponent, Sen. Arizona John McCain (Ariz.), in television advertising in Virginia by nearly three to one last week. Ambinder, citing figures compiled by TNS Media Intelligence Campaign Media Analysis Group (TNSMI/CMAG) and the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project, said Obama aired $868,000 in ads in Virginia, compared to McCain's $312,000. Obama spent more on ads in Virginia then he did in Ohio....

By Tim Craig | September 19, 2008; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Gilmore vs. Warner, Blow by Blow

Former governors James S. Gilmore III and Mark R. Warner met yesterday morning in Fairfax before hundreds of business and state leaders in the second debate of their U.S. Senate contest. Debate is Underway 10:55 a.m. Gilmore and Warner were each given three minutes for opening statements. The two were introduced, shook hands and shared a quick word on stage. Warner went first. He spoke about the need for a new senator to tackle Street troubles, escalating gas prices and the United State's standing in the world. He talked about the differences between himself and touted his different approach to transportation, where projects were completed "on time and on budget. "We did what we said,'' Warner said. Gilmore's Statement 10:55 a.m. Gilmore spent his three minutes talking about all of his accomplishments working across party lines, which he said includes balancing the budget, delivering on car tax relief, putting lottery...

By Tim Craig | September 19, 2008; 6:23 AM ET | Comments (2)

Will Work For Obama Sign

As thousands of people streamed out of GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain's (Ariz.) rally last week in Fairfax County, nearly everyone who wanted one was handed a lawn sign. Some McCain supporters were clinging to three or four McCain-Palin signs as they walked to their cars, an apparent effort by the campaign to bolster visibility in neighborhoods across Northern Virginia. In a traditional election, candidates are honored - and sometimes have to beg - to have someone place a yard sign on their lawn. But Democratic nominee Barack Obama's campaign team see Obama-Biden signs as a reward that should flatter volunteers after a hard days work....

By Tim Craig | September 18, 2008; 11:42 PM ET | Comments (6)

Kaine Heads to West Virginia

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will be the keynote speaker at Saturday's West Virginia Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner. The state party is touting Kaine as a national co-chairman of Sen.Barack Obama's presidential campaign. West Virginia is widely expected to be a GOP stronghold this year, but Kaine has a good relationship with the state's Democratic governor, Joe Manchin. In mid August, Manchin predicted Obama would select Kaine as his running mate. "I think this country will be blessed if it happens and Barack will have a strong, strong ticket," Manchin said on Aug. 20, according to Charleston's WSAT television station. "I'm truly rooting hard for Tim." Three days later, Obama announced that Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) would be his running mate....

By Tim Craig | September 18, 2008; 10:59 PM ET | Comments (1)

Biden Will Mingle With Mine Workers Saturday

Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden will campaign Saturday in Southwest Virginia. Biden will join Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) at the annual United Mine Workers Fish Fry in Russell County. U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), who was an early Obama supporter, will also be there. Biden's visit comes as Virginia Democrats are trying to shore up support for Obama in Southwest Virginia, where he failed to get 15 percent of the vote in several counties during the Feb. 12 primary. Obama, who has been endorsed by the United Mine Workers, made his second visit to the region last week. Biden will be spending two consecutive days in Virginia. He will campaign today in Loudoun County....

By Tim Craig | September 18, 2008; 10:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Video: Warner, Gilmore Debate Foreign Policy

By washingtonpost.com editors | September 18, 2008; 2:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

Prepping for Gilmore-Warner

Minutes before the U.S. Senate debate was set to begin, campaign managers Mike Henry (for Democrat Mark Warner) and Boyd Marcus (for Republican James Gilmore), were inspecting the stage at the auditorium at the Capital One complex in Tysons Corner in McLean. The candidates and three panelists were backstage. The journalists who will ask questions were: Kojo Nnamdi of WAMU Radio; Gail Pennybacker of WJLA (Channel 7); and Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times Dispatch. About 400 people were in the audience....

By Washington Post editors | September 18, 2008; 10:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine, Others Campaign for Obama This Weekend

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine will host a "Change We Need" town hall Saturday in Abingdon to tout Sen. Barack Obama's vision for changing Washington. In his seventh town hall meeting for Obama, Kaine will highlight the Illinois senator's plans for energy independence, middle class tax relief and job creation, among other topics. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Adviser Richard Clarke and California Rep. Jane Harman also will hold a series of town halls for Obama this weekend. They will discuss Obama's plans to rebuild international cooperation, decrease the risk of terrorism by rooting out al Qaeda, attack global poverty and increase military personnel. Town halls will be held in Fairfax, Newport News, Richmond, Charlottesville and Fredericksburg on Saturday and in Winchester and Harrisonburg on Sunday....

By Anita Kumar | September 17, 2008; 9:19 PM ET | Comments (1)

Virginia Notebook: McAuliffe Muddles 09 Race

RICHMOND- One month before Sen. Barack Obama selected Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. as his running mate, former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe was speaking before the Fairfax County Democratic Committee. During his speech, McAuliffe was "adamant" that Obama select Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine as his running mate, according to the Falls Church News-Press. His comments generated national attention because McAuliffe had been a chairman of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign. What was one of Clinton's biggest supporters doing pushing Virginia's governor -- not his old boss -- for vice president? Looking back, McAuliffe's comments might have been laying the groundwork for a bid for the Democratic nomination for governor next year....

By Tim Craig | September 17, 2008; 5:27 PM ET | Comments (2)

Biden to Campaign in Loudoun

Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen Joe Biden, and his wife, Jill Biden, will hold a a women's Rally for the Change We Need event in Loudoun County on Friday. The Bidens will lay out Sen. Barack Obama's proposals for "improving economic opportunity for women and ensuring that parents are better able to balance the demands of work and family,'' according to the campaign. He will be at Claude Moore Park in Sterling at noon on Friday, Tim Buchholz, chairman of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee, told washingtonpost.com. Friday will mark Biden's second visit to Virginia since joining Sen. Barack Obama on the Democratic ticket last month. Jill Biden and Michelle Obama campaigned today in Richmond and Charlottesville....

By Anita Kumar | September 17, 2008; 5:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Christopher Newport University Releases Poll

Christopher Newport University released a Virginia poll today showing GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) with an 8-point lead over his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) McCain receives 54 percent to Obama's 46 percent. But the poll, conducted Sept. 10 through Sunday, appears to have greatly underrepresented African-Americans and younger voters. The poll assumes African Americans will make up a little under 10 percent of the electorate. In the 2004 presidential race, African-Americans accounted for 21 percent of all voters in Virginia, according to exit polls. The poll is also based on an assumption that voters age 18 to 29, a group Obama expects to win handily, will be 3 percent of the electorate. Those voters made up 17 percent of all voters in 2004, according to exit polls. Christopher Newport also includes responses from just 27 percent of self-described Democrats. Virginia Democrats say their party's base is...

By Tim Craig | September 17, 2008; 2:53 PM ET | Comments (1)

McCain Looks for Support Among Va Women

Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign today announced the formation of the Virginia Women for McCain-Palin Coalition, a statewide grassroots organization that will work to bolster his support among women. "John McCain and Sarah Palin have energized women across the Commonwealth of Virginia because they are proven leaders and effective reformers,'' said Susan Allen, former First Lady of Virginia and Women for McCain-Palin Virginia Chairwoman. "They understand issues that are critical to women voters including eliminating waste in the federal budget, lowering taxes, finding solutions to skyrocketing gas prices and keeping our families safe on the home front." See below for the group's leaders:...

By Anita Kumar | September 17, 2008; 12:41 PM ET | Comments (1)

Hog Farmer May Be Headed to Richmond

Vegetarians beware. Barry D. Knight, who operates one of Virginia's largest hog farms, has emerged as the leading Republican candidate to replace Del. Terrie L. Suit (R-Virginia Beach), who plans to step down next month to go work for a lobbying firm. Knight runs a farm in Virginia Beach that produces 12,000 hogs a year. In 1983, Knight was named Virginia Farm Bureau's young farmer of the year. In the mid-1990s, former governor George Allen (R) appointed Knight to the Virginia Pork Board. Former governor James S. Gilmore III (R) later reappointed him. Besides running the 480-acre pig farm, Knight is a member of the Virginia Beach Planning Commission. Another GOP candidate could still emerge, but party leaders say Knight is currently the front-runner for their nomination because he has been endorsed by Suit. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) still has to set a date for the special election, but...

By Tim Craig | September 16, 2008; 11:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Rock The Vote Rounding Up College Voters

The Rock The Vote organization's effort to register new young voters arrived in Virginia this week. The group is holding an afternoon rally at Virginia Union University in Richmond that will feature several local bands and a d.j. The Rock The Vote bus tour moves to Northern Virginia Community College tomorrow. Yesterday, it showed up at Virginia Tech. "Virginia is one of our big push states," said Sam Orlando, a spokesman for the Rock The Vote, which claims to have registered 1.5 million young voters so far this year....

By Tim Craig | September 16, 2008; 2:39 PM ET | Comments (1)

Warner Gets Law Enforcement Support

Former governor Mark R. Warner received more endorsements from Virginia's law enforcement community this morning in his race against former governor James S. Gilmore III for U.S. Senate. Sheriffs from across western Virginia and the Virginia Police Benevolent Association, a professional association made up of more than 20,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers, announced their support of Warner. "Governor Warner always had an open door for local officials charged with protecting the public safety," said Norfolk Sheriff Robert McCabe, president of the Virginia Sheriffs Association. "Whether it was a natural disaster or a time of fiscal crisis, I was impressed by his leadership and his willingness to work closely with law enforcement to address the challenges facing Virginia in a bipartisan and responsible manner." Warner, who was governor between 2002 and 2006, was credited with appointing the nation's first Cabinet-level state official with responsibility for homeland security; allowing...

By Anita Kumar | September 16, 2008; 10:54 AM ET | Comments (1)

GOP Talks to Voters While Wilder Talks to God

Here is a round up of today's political events related to the presidential race. Republican presidential nominee John McCain's campaign announced its volunteers in Virginia will each make 50 phone calls to potential supporters today to mark the 50th day before the Nov. 4 election. Some of those volunteers who work out of McCain's Arlington headquarters may run into Virginia Democrats. The Virginia Democratic Party has organized a press conference outside of McCain's office at 4 p.m. so "everyday Virginians" can criticize McCain's views on the economy. At 6:30 p.m., House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) will join small business owners in Fredericksburg to discuss their support for McCain's economic plan. Earlier today, Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder (D) held a press conference at Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's Virginia headquarters to accuse McCain of lying about Obama's record and his economic plan. But Wilder got off message when he...

By Tim Craig | September 15, 2008; 3:34 PM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds, Moran Off to Israel

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) and state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath), both of whom are running for governor next year, leave this week for a 10-day, expense-paid, trip to Israel. The trip, designed to bolster economic ties between Israel and Virginia, is sponsored by the Northern Virginia Jewish Community Federation. Annual expense-paid trips to Israel have become a staple for Virginia politicians looking to boost their foreign policy credentials. Last year, Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the likely GOP nominee for governor, took a 10-day trip to Israel sponsored by the American-Israel Friendship League. McDonnell's office billed his trip as being an opportunity for him to learn about Israeli counter terrorism efforts. But some Republicans questioned the timing of McDonnell's adventure because it took place two weeks before last year's state legislative elections....

By Tim Craig | September 15, 2008; 2:40 PM ET | Comments (1)

Michelle Obama Returns to Virginia

Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, will campaign in Virginia Wednesday. She will host a women's economic roundtable in Richmond and a Women for Obama voter registration rally in Charlottesville. Obama will tout her husband's plans to offer a $1,000 tax credit for working families, equal pay for equal work and a $4,000 college tuition tax credit in exchange for community service. She will be joined by Lilly Ledbetter, an Alabama woman whose fight for equal pay brought her to the Supreme Court, and inspired the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Obama started the series of women roundtable discussions early in the primary season to talk about the economy's impact on working women and families. She hosted a roundtable discussion with military spouses in Norfolk last month to discuss challenges facing military spouses and their families. The campaign has yet to release other details about Wednesday's...

By Anita Kumar | September 14, 2008; 9:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

Linwood Holton to Campaign For Obama

Linwood Holton, Virginia's first modern Republican governor, will endorse Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) on Monday and start campaigning for him around the state. Holton, who was in office from 1970 to 1974, is Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's (D) father-in-law. Kaine was one of Obama's earliest supporters. Holton and his daughter, Anne, will campaign Monday and Tuesday in Southwest Virginia. The tour will be a homecoming for Holton, who was born in Big Stone Gap. Holton, a moderate, has endorsed other Democrats in recent years, including Kaine and Mark R. Warner (D) during his 2001 bid for governor....

By Tim Craig | September 13, 2008; 10:55 PM ET | Comments (14)

Under Pressure, Warner Agrees to Another Debate

Democratic Senate candidate Mark R. Warner has agreed to participate in a televised debate with his GOP opponent, James S. Gilmore III, that may be aired statewide. Although details are still being finalized, the debate would occur Oct. 3, said Kevin Hall, a Warner spokesman. It would be held in Roanoke, but a free video feed would be offered to any Virginia television station that wants to air it. Gilmore and some media outlets have been critical of Warner because he chose not to participate in a debate proposed by the League of Women Voters. Warner cited a scheduling conflict. Gilmore has used the issue to draw attention to his campaign. He accused Warner, who holds a big lead in polls and a 40-to-1 money advantage, of wanting to hide from his stands on federal issues. "We are happy he has finally agreed to a statewide, televised debate, and Governor...

By Tim Craig | September 12, 2008; 4:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Poll Holds Good News for Obama, McCain in Va.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain is competitive with Sen. Barack Obama(Ill.) in Northern Virginia, but the Democratic nominee has opened up a 13-point lead in Hampton Roads and parts of Southside, according to the CNN/Time poll released this week. McCain has a narrow 4 point lead statewide, according to the poll conducted Sunday through Tuesday. McCain holds a 20-point advantage in the Shenandoah Valley and Southwestern Virginia, getting 56 percent of the vote compared to Obama's 36 percent. McCain holds a similar lead in central Virginia, which includes the Disrict's exurbs, the Northern Neck, Richmond and it suburbs and south-central areas of the state. But in Southeastern Virginia - which includes Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg and the other counties on the North Carolina border - Obama leads McCain by a margin of 54 percent to 41 percent. The numbers represent a significant reversal in attitudes compared to the 2004 election....

By Tim Craig | September 12, 2008; 11:24 AM ET | Comments (2)

Video: Northern Virginia Voter Voices

In this video, washingtonpost.com's Ed O'Keefe reports on what Northern Virginia Democrats and Republicans think of this week's political developments....

By Washington Post Editors | September 12, 2008; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Draft McAuliffe Campaign Debuts

Someone has created a website, which appears professionally designed, encouraging Terry McAuliffe to run for governor of Virginia next year. The site draftterry.com includes a big head shot of McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, next to Virginia's state seal. "Over the past seven years, Virginia's two Democratic Governors, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, have provided strong leadership -- leadership the commonwealth cannot afford to lose," the website states. It continues, "Virginia's next Governor needs to put people first. For nearly three decades, Terry McAuliffe has been promoting progressive values and helping Democrats win. For years, he has provided one of the premier voices articulating the values and priorities of the Democratic Party." The website is also collecting names and email addresses of potential supporters. The website's domain name appears as if it was registered on August 28, the same day the Washington Post published an article...

By Tim Craig | September 11, 2008; 4:21 PM ET | Comments (11)

Stewart Testifies Before House GOP

Prince William County Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large) made his third appearance before members of Congress today. This time Stewart provided testimony to Republican members of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration. The subject on tap this Sept. 11 was, "Unnecessary Crimes: The Toll of Illegal Alien Criminal on American Families." The hearing was stacked with a sympathetic audience. Tears interrupted the emotional testimony of the victims' families. But by the time the hearing turned to Stewart and a Houston Police Officers Union representative, the tears were substituted with applause. "Local leadership alone cannot get the job done," Stewart said, after citing crime rate statistics and telling stories about crimes committed in Prince William. When he spoke to the subcommittee a year ago, all its members were there. This time, only the GOP members heard what he had to say. "I am disappointed to see that the majority party...

By Kristen Mack | September 11, 2008; 4:11 PM ET | Comments (1)

McCain Gets Into Organizing Game

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama got a big head start this summer in organizing supporters in Virginia, but there are now signs that Arizona Sen. John McCain's (R) campaign is starting to pay attention to some of the details. At yesterday's rally in Fairfax City, people who attended were handed a sheet of paper with the names and phone numbers of two voters. During the rally, they were asked to call their list from a cell phone or when they got home to tout McCain's candidacy. After the rally, nearly everyone who wanted them were given one, two, three - sometimes six or seven - lawn signs to put in their yard or distribute in their neighborhood. It appeared as if McCain had distributed thousands of lawn signs after the rally, and even more bumper stickers. Some Obama supporters in Virginia, meanwhile, have complained they are having a hard time...

By Tim Craig | September 11, 2008; 1:26 PM ET | Comments (7)

Business Group Rates Legislators

In its annual review of the General Assembly, the business coalition Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education penalized each legislator for failing to pass a transportation plan during this summer's failed special session. Virginia FREE's 24-page report opens with a statement on the partisan bickering that left the General Assembly unable to pass a plan to provide money for roads and transit. "We have not only a shortage of transportation dollars, but also a shortage of courage and leadership needed to elevate good governance above short-term partisan gain," it says. The group rates legislators using their voting records on key bills and business lobbyist evaluations. Republicans scored on an average rating of 59; Democrats scored an average rating of 46. Delegates scored an average rating of 53; senators scored an average rating of 52....

By Anita Kumar | September 11, 2008; 11:11 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Big GOP Rally But a Divided Electorate

The supporters of GOP presidential nominee John McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, started lining up at 5 a.m. in Fairfax City for the Republican ticket's first rally in Virginia. And they kept coming. And coming. And coming. By the time the rally got underway at 11 a.m., McCain campaign officials and Fairfax City police were estimating 23,000 people were packed into Van Dyck Park, making it one of the largest political rallies for a statewide candidate in modern Virginia history. Some national and Virginia reporters were skeptical of the official crowd estimate, saying they thought it was too high. Nevertheless, the rally likely rivaled or exceeded the estimated 18,000 who attended Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) rally in Virginia Beach a few days before the Feb. 12 primary. An Obama rally in June at Nissan Pavilion in Prince William County attracted about 10,000. "The Republicans mean business,...

By Tim Craig | September 10, 2008; 11:16 PM ET | Comments (9)

Fimian Extends a Hand to His Base

Keith Fimian, the Republican candidate for Congress in the 11th district, probably shook more hands today than any other person in Virginia, perhaps more than anyone else in the country. Fimian stood at the front of the single-file line to get in Republican presidential nominee John McCain's rally in Fairfax City. It appeared as if he introduced himself to many of the estimated 10,000 plus people who attended McCain's rally. But once inside the security gates, neither Fimian nor Republican U.S. Senate Candidate James S. Gilmore III had a speaking role at the rally, although U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) referenced both by name....

By Tim Craig | September 10, 2008; 10:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

New Poll Shows McCain Leads Obama in Va

Republican John McCain has a slight edge over Democrat Barack Obama in Virginia, according to a new CNN/Time poll. Registered voters preferred McCain over Obama by 50 percent to 46 percent. The telephone survey of 920 registered voters was conducted Friday through Tuesday and released today. It has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. No Democratic presidential candidate has carried Virginia since 1964, but an influx of voters and a stronger get-out-the-vote effort have helped Democrats win the past two gubernatorial elections, a high-profile Senate race in 2006 and the state Senate last year. Opinion Research Corp. conducted the poll for CNN and Time in four battleground states, including Virginia, Missouri, Michigan and New Hampshire....

By Anita Kumar | September 10, 2008; 8:55 PM ET | Comments (1)

Palin Trip to Va Beach Will Be Rescheduled

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will not campaign in Virginia Beach next week as was previously reported. Attorney Robert F. McDonnell told reporters last week that Palin would visit Sept. 18 but the Republican presidential campaign never confirmed the trip. It will be scheduled for another date. Sen. John McCain and Palin held a rally today in Fairfax in front of record crowds while. Sen. Barack Obama appeared in Hampton Roads....

By Anita Kumar | September 10, 2008; 8:36 PM ET | Comments (0)

Connaugton nominated for Maritime Commissioner

Looks like Sean T. Connaughton won't be returning to elected office anytime soon. President Bush announced today that he intends to nominate Connaughton to be Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission for the remainder of a five-year term, through June 2012. Connaughton has served as Administrator of the Maritime Administration at the Department of Transportation for the last two years. Connaughton, who resigned as Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors to accept the Bush administration appointment, lost a bid to be the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor in 2005. There has long been talk he would run for statewide office again when the Bush administration ended, but he's apparently put those plans on hold. . . for now....

By Kristen Mack | September 10, 2008; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bluegrass Legend Ralph Stanley Endorses Obama

Bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president tonight while the Illinois senator was on a campaign swing through Southwest Virginia. "After the last eight years, Virginia families need someone on their side, someone looking out for their interests, and I know Barack Obama will be that leader," Stanley said. "He'll make it easier for parents to send their kids to college and make sure they have more money left in their pockets at the end of the month." Stanley, 81, of Coeburn, received the National Medal of Arts in 2006, the nation's highest honor for artistic excellence. In 2008, the Virginia General Assembly designated him the Outstanding Virginian....

By Anita Kumar | September 9, 2008; 6:27 PM ET | Comments (32)

Warner Strikes Back at Gilmore

Democratic Senate Candidate Mark R. Warner has responded to the ad that his GOP opponent, former governor James S. Gilmore III, is airing in television markets downstate. In Warner's ad, a narrator says even "leading Republicans are calling Gilmore's attacks on Mark Warner preposterous, ridiculous," referring to comments made by former delegate Vincent F. Callahan (R-Fairfax) and former Senate President John H. Chichester Jr. (R-Northumberland). The ad then features footage of Chichester praising Warner for working with Republicans to balance the budget when he was governor from 2002 to 2006. Insiders in Richmond know it's an exaggeration for Warner's campaign to refer to Chichester, and to a lesser extent Callahan, as a "leading" Republican. Chichester and Callahan, both moderate Republicans, are now disconnected from the GOP power structure. But the average voter wouldn't know that, so the ad is effective in getting out Warner's bipartisan message. Even so, Gilmore's ad...

By Tim Craig | September 9, 2008; 2:41 PM ET | Comments (2)

Delegate Suit Resigns from state House

Del. Terrie Lynne Suit (R-Virginia Beach) resigned from the state House of Delegates to run Williams Mullen's Hampton Roads lobbying operation. Her last day will be Oct. 12. "Delegate Suit's service to the people of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, the Commonwealth, and the House of Delegates has been exceptional and exemplary,'' House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) said. "She has been a fierce and steadfast advocate for the people of the 81st District, as well as a prominent and effective champion for the men and women of the United States Armed Services." Suit's 1999 election led to Virginia's first-ever Republican majority in the House. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will call a special election to fill Suit's seat....

By Anita Kumar | September 9, 2008; 11:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

Obama Will Be in Norfolk Tomorrow

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama will campaign tomorrow in Norfolk, the second time in less than a month that he will be spending two consecutive days in Virginia. Obama will hold a town hall meeting later today in Lebanon in Southwest Virginia, the town of 9,000 that U.S. Senate Candidate Mark R. Warner spoke about during his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. Obama will speak at Norfolk's Granby High School tomorrow to discuss educational issues. Obama's visit to Norfolk may be an attempt to counter a rally that GOP presidential nominee John McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), will be holding tomorrow in Fairfax County. McCain and Palin will be making their first public campaign swing in Virginia since before the Feb. 12 primary. Obama will be making his fifth visit....

By Tim Craig | September 9, 2008; 10:35 AM ET | Comments (1)

Chris Matthews Predicts McAuliffe Gubernatorial Bid

Hardball Host Chris Matthews has stoked the speculation that Terry McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, plans to run for governor of Virginia in 2009. In between segments of his show on Monday night, Matthews referenced a Washington Post article from two weeks ago in which McAuliffe refused to bat down rumors he was interested in getting into the race. Matthews, without citing sources, then said, "the fact is Terry McAuliffe is running for governor of Virginia next year." Matthews added, "he's running hard" and will have a huge warchest. A few minutes later, Matthews asked Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) about the speculation that McAuliffe wants to run for governor. Kaine said he was "intrigued" by the idea. "It used to be, to get someone to run statewide as a Democrat, it was almost like getting Mikey to eat the cereal, no one wanted to do...

By Tim Craig | September 8, 2008; 5:31 PM ET | Comments (3)

ACLU Urges Registrars to Let Students Register

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia has sent letters to 30 registrars in parts of the state where college students are likely to live to encourage them to let students to register to vote in local elections. The letter follows reports that a Montgomery County registrar told students that their parents may no longer be able to claim them as dependents for tax purposes if they declare a separate college address for voting purposes. "While registrars should assist students who are uncertain about where they should register, no registrar should question students who make the choice to vote where they attend school,'' ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis said. The ACLU also sent emails to college newspapers asking them to warn students of the problems they may encounter when attempting to register and to let students know that they may contact the ACLU for assistance....

By Anita Kumar | September 8, 2008; 2:39 PM ET | Comments (1)

Gilmore's First Ad (Updated)

As reported in Monday's Washington Post, Republican Senate Candidate James S. Gilmore III has begun airing his first campaign commercial. In the ad, which is airing in television markets downstate but not in Northern Virginia, a narrator criticizes Democratic Candidate Mark R. Warner and seeks to link him to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Gilmore tries to associate himself with Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee for president. The Virginia Republican Party is paying for the ad, but Gilmore authorized it. Democratic strategists describe the ad, which won't be released to the media until today, as a meager $80,000 buy, but it still underscores the following eight points:...

By Tim Craig | September 8, 2008; 2:20 PM ET | Comments (3)

Warner Wins Over FOP, Chamber of Commerce

Democratic Senate Candidate Mark R. Warner was endorsed today by both the Fraternal Order of Police and the U.S. Chamber Commerce, two groups that often align with Republicans in federal races. "Time and again, Mark Warner has proven his commitment to meeting the needs of law enforcement professionals," said Chesterfield County Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Carroll , who also serves as the Virginia FOP's legislative chair. The Virginia FOP represents 9,000 local, state and federal law enforcement officials. It's the first time since the group began making endorsements in 1985 that it has thrown its support behind a Democratic Senate candidate in Virginia. In making the Chamber;'s endorsement, Bill Miller, the U.S. Chamber's senior vice president and political director, said "Warner will continue to be an effective legislator and supporter of businesses of every size if elected."...

By Tim Craig | September 8, 2008; 1:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Crunch Time to Register New Voters

With less than a month to go until the Oct. 6 voter registration deadline, it's crunch time for Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) campaign and other groups trying to register new voters. According to the State Board of Elections, 49,000 new voters signed up in August, a sharp increase from the 36,500 who signed up in July and the 28,000 who registered in June. In recent days, registration efforts appear as if they are picking up in the city of Richmond. Over the past 18 hours, I have been approached twice by someone trying to register me to vote. Last night, a student was positioned outside of a 7-11 store near the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University registering new voters. Earlier today, a man approached my window as I sat in my car at a traffic light in downtown Richmond to ask if I was registered to vote. Meanwhile, a group...

By Tim Craig | September 8, 2008; 12:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

McCain and Palin Planning Fairfax Event

Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, will campaign together Wednesday in Northern Virginia. McCain and Palin, who is the one who has really been drawing the crowds, will hold a rally at Fairfax High School. Delegate Chris Saxman (R-Staunton) and former Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore (R), co-chairs of McCain's Virginia presidential campaign, will hold a conference call Monday morning to announce the details of the visist. Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William), chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, sent an email to GOP activists Sunday night telling them "clear you calendars for Wednesday." If it occurs, the event will be McCain's first public campaign event in Virginia since before the Feb. 12 primary. McCain's Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), has made three campaign swings through Virginia, and has a fourth scheduled for Tuesday, when he will appear in Southwest Virginia....

By Tim Craig | September 7, 2008; 7:18 PM ET | Comments (162)

Palin to Campaign in Virginia

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will campaign in Virginia for the first time since she became the Republican nominee for vice president this week in St. Paul, Minn. Palin will visit Virginia Beach on Sept. 18, according to Virginia Republicans. The campaign has yet to release details of the trip. This year, both parties predict that the heavily populated and racially diverse Hampaton Roads area, which is home to the world's largest naval base, will be one of the state's most competitive regions in the presidential race. Hampton Roads, a region of midsize cities and sprawling suburbs in the state's southeastern corner, is home to core constituencies for both parties. Palin's visit is part of McCain's aggressive campaign in Virginia that includes recruiting volunteers, knocking on doors and calling voters to try to win one of the nation's newest battleground states....

By Anita Kumar | September 6, 2008; 8:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Obama Heading to Southwest Virginia

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will hold a town hall meeting in Lebanon in Southwest Virginia on Tuesday, marking his fourth campaign swing through the state since June. Obama will discuss the economy during his visit to Lebanon High School. Lebanon, population 4,000, is located in Russell County in the heart of Virginia's coal country, where Obama performed poorly in the Feb. 12 primary. Obama got just 14 percent of the vote in the county, even though he had been endorsed by the region's popular congressman, U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher (D). But Obama will be making his second trip to the region, underscoring his campaign's belief that he can improve his standing in rural America if he takes his message directly to residents. Obama's visit is also another sign he plans to fight for Virginia's 13 electoral votes until the end, despite curtailing advertising recently in some other traditional red states,...

By Tim Craig | September 6, 2008; 8:10 PM ET | Comments (12)

Kaine's Guys, and Paul Reagan

(Photo by Tim Craig - TWP) Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's political staff pose with Paul Reagan, chief of staff for Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), at the Democratic National Convention. From left to right, Reagan, Matt Felan, a senior adviser and fundraiser for Moving Virginia Forward, Charles Kelly, executive director of Moving Virginia Forward, and Dave Brooks, finance director for Moving Virginia Forward....

By washingtonpost.com editors | September 6, 2008; 7:03 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Faces Behind Jim Webb

(Photo by Tim Craig) Jessica Smith, Lisa Stark and Ashley Flanagan pose at the Democratic National Convention. Smith, left, is Sen. James Webb's communications director. Stark is Webb's scheduler. Flanagan, a fundraiser, manages Webb's Born Fighting political action commitee....

By washingtonpost.com editors | September 6, 2008; 5:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Wagner Picking Up the Pace

Although she got into the race just a month ago, former Finance Secretary Jody W. Wagner is accelerating her campaign for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. Wagner has a half-dozen campaign events planned this week, focusing on local Democratic meetings in an effort to reach out to party activists. On Friday, Wagner announced she has been endorsed by 30 members of the General Assembly, including Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (Fairfax) and Sen. Charles J. Colgan (Prince William) from Northern Virginia and senators Yvonne Miller (D-Norfolk) and L. Louise Lucas (Portsmouth) from Hampton Roads. The full list of Wagner's legislative supporters indicates she is moving swiftly to try to lock up support in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, two pivotal regions in a Democratic primary. Google Ads have also started appearing on the Internet in which Wagner tries to link herself to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and...

By Tim Craig | September 6, 2008; 12:13 PM ET | Comments (1)

From the Floor: The Real Work Starts

Kate Maxwell was a Virginia delegate to the Republican National Convention who blogged from Minneapolis-St. Paul for Virginia Politics. She is from Midlothian in Chesterfield County. I'm in the airport, waiting to go back to the real world in which a long workday doesn't culminate in a balloon drop. It's been an amazing week for me, and as exhausted as I am, I know the real work starts today. Having never been to a convention before, it's tough for me to say with any authority how this one went. Over the course of this week, though, I have watched a transformation in the delegates. Let's face it, you have to be a pretty enthusiastic Republican to take a week out of your life, and in some cases, fly across the country to watch political speeches. I don't think anyone here lacked excitement for the McCain-Palin ticket on Monday, but...

By Anne Bartlett | September 5, 2008; 5:15 PM ET | Comments (2)

From the Floor: Palin and a Pit Bull

Kate Maxwell is a Virginia delegate to the Republican National Convention who will be blogging from Minneapolis-St. Paul for Virginia Politics. She is from Midlothian in Chesterfield County. "What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick." Every American who tuned into the RNC Wednesday (and more tuned in for Gov. Palin than Barack Obama) knew that she had to hit a home run. To say she exceeded expectations is an understatment. I've seen some of the coverage from Wednesday night and Thursday, not only to catch a glimpse of the women of the Virginia delegation dancing to "Everyday People," but also to see whether the media could capture the dynamic energy and passion that was coursing through the Xcel Center. They didn't, but in all fairness, they couldn't...

By washingtonpost.com | September 4, 2008; 5:36 PM ET | Comments (137)

"Virginia is for McCain-Palin Lovers"

ST. PAUL --- After seeing Texans wearing matching cowboy hats and Pennsylvanians waving matching yellow towels, Virginians have come up with their own symbol to show off on the convention floor tonight. The Virginia delegation will be wearing white T-shirts that proclaim, "Virginia is for McCain-Palin lovers," a play on the state's longstanding slogan. Look for them to the left of the stage next to the New Mexico delegation. Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, delegation chairman, presented the T-shirts to the state's 63 delegates and 60 alternates this morning. McDonnell, the likely Republican nominee for governor next year, paid for the T-shirts....

By Anita Kumar | September 4, 2008; 9:17 AM ET | Comments (0)

VA Business Owner Speaks at Convention

ST. PAUL --- Christy Swanson, a small business owner in Richmond and a Democrat, spoke Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention about her support of Sen. John McCain for president. She told the crowd of thousands that she backs McCain because he will not raise taxes and will expand the number of people with health insurance, "I'm a Democrat,'' she said. "I'm voting for John McCain. It is right for me and right for America." Swanson serves as vice chairwoman of Virginia Citizens for McCain, a coalition of Democrats and independents who support the Arizona senator for president. She and her husband, Kip, own a business that filters vegetable oil for restaurants and use the leftover waste oil to produce biodiesel fuel to power a small company fleet....

By Anita Kumar | September 4, 2008; 2:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Will Join Biden at Town Hall

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will appear with Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) Thursday in Manassas. Earlier today, it wasn't clear if Kaine, who was a finalist for Biden's new job as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, would join Biden at a town hall meeting at George Mason University's Prince William campus. But Kaine advisers say he now plans to attend the event, which is billed as a discussion of economic issues. It will be the first time since Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) selected Biden as his running mate that both he and Kaine will be in public on the same stage. Kaine and Biden did meet briefly, however, last week at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, the governor's advisers say. Before the Democratic event in Manassas, former senator George Allen and Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, both of whom are at the Republican National Convention, will hold a conference call...

By Tim Craig | September 3, 2008; 10:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Obama, Biden Look For Votes in Prince William

U.S. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) will be in Manassas tomorrow, another sign that Prince William County is central to Sen. Barack Obama's strategy for winning Virginia's 13 electoral votes. Biden, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, will hold a town hall meeting on economic issues at George Mason University's Prince William campus. Prince William has long been a GOP stronghold in presidential contests, but Obama is making a big push to win it this year. Prince William has one of the largest African American populations in Northern Virginia - about 20 percent - and it includes several increasingly Democratic suburban neighborhoods near Interstate 95. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) both narrowly won Prince William during their races. In June, Obama kicked off his Virginia general election campaign by hosting a large rally at Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Prince William County. Last month, Kaine also campaigned for Obama...

By Tim Craig | September 3, 2008; 3:48 PM ET | Comments (1)

From the Floor: Online and On Camera

Kate Maxwell is a Virginia delegate to the Republican National Convention who will be blogging from Minneapolis-St. Paul for Virginia Politics. She is from Midlothian in Chesterfield County. Kate participated in a washingtonpost.com live online discussion from our media space in St. Paul, Minn. Kate Maxwell: Hey, I'm Kate and I'm the youngest member of the Virginia delegation. _______________________ Fairfax, Va.: Is the convention as boring and stale as it looks on TV? I sure hope they liven it up a bit ... it is not playing well on TV, lots of empty seats, very senior citizens all over the screen. Are there many young people attending this thing? Why is the turn-out so low? Your opinion please. Kate Maxwell: Well, I'm 20, so there are definitely young people out this year. I'm the youngest member of our delegation, but there are several others in their 20s and 30s....

By washingtonpost.com | September 3, 2008; 3:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Virginians Sip Cocktails, Honor Pat Boone

MINNEAPOLIS --- More than 100 Virginia delegates, alternates and guests enjoyed a posh brunch on the top floor of a beach club overlooking Lake Calhoun, as a jazz bank played. The guest of honor, legendary singer Pat Boone, received a standing ovation when he walked to the stage wearing a white suit and a red, white and blue tie. "We are here to let John McCain and Governor Palin descend to the White House and dethrone the man who would be king,'' Boone said to applause and laughter. Guests sipped mimosas and Bloody Marys, dined on hand-carved roast beef, potato pancakes, frittata, rolls, fruit and salad and strolled onto a rooftop terrace to take in the view. "We don't see this in rural Virginia,'' quipped Tucker Watkins, a delegate from the southern part of the state....

By Anita Kumar | September 3, 2008; 2:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Va. Resident Speaks at Convention

ST. PAUL --- Virginia resident and retired Army captain Leslie Smith spoke briefly on the floor of the Republican National Convention last night about her quest to encourage wounded veterans to live life to the fullest. Smith, of tiny Tappahannock in Essex County, had her left leg amputated after suffering a rare blood disorder during a 2002 peace-keeping mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina. "We need to make tomorrow better than today,'' she told the crowd of thousands last night. Smith had 20 surgeries during her seven-month stay at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Since then, she has completed four marathons, one triathlon and was recruited to try-out for the U.S. Paralympics Women's Sitting Volleyball team for the 2008 U.S. Paralympic Games in Beijing, China. Now, she visits wounded military service members, motivating them to overcome their physical challenges through athletics....

By Anita Kumar | September 3, 2008; 1:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bob Marshall Speaks on Palin

Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who frequently pushes bills in the General Assembly to restrict access to birth control, has entered the debate surrounding the announcement this week that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's (R) unmarried, 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. In a statement sent to reporters, Marshall accused Democrats of launching "vicious and outrageously personal political attacks" on Bristol Palin because she plans to keep the baby. Marshall didn't offer up any examples of Virginia Democrats being involved in attacks on Bristol Palin, but said, "liberal Democrats affirm a right to privacy for any woman who wants to have a legal abortion, but they are granting no such privilege to Bristol Palin." "The Democrats excuse themselves from the sin of scandal but they're more than willing to use children as pawns on political chessboards," said Marshall, who wants to outlaw all abortions. "Like the Pharisees when they confronted Christ with...

By Tim Craig | September 3, 2008; 12:18 PM ET | Comments (3)

Fans Flock to See Allen at Convention

ST. PAUL -- George Allen, former governor and senator, arrived at the Republican National Convention late Tuesday in time to sit with the Virginia delegation and hear the first night of speakers including former senator Fred Thompson and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. Allen, who is serving as a delegate, was mobbed by fans wanting to talk to him or have their photos taken with him. One man of Indian decent from the nearby Nevada delegation even joked that his name was "macaca" when Allen asked him. Allen took it all in stride and seemed to enjoy himself. Allen, who many had expected to run for president this year until he lost his re-election bid in 2006, raved about his former colleague, Sen. John McCain, and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. "She's gotten a lot of people really excited." Allen said convention-goers were more energetic this year than...

By Anita Kumar | September 3, 2008; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (1)

Biden Going to Virginia Beach

Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for vice-president, will campaign in Virginia Beach Thursday. Biden, who will be making his first campaign swing through Virginia as the nominee, will hold a town hall meeting that focuses on military and veterans issues. Biden is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee for president, won't be with Biden. Since June, Obama has made three campaign swings through Virginia. Arizona Sen John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, has been in Virginia for fundraisers and meetings but has yet to hold a public event outside of Northern Virginia....

By Tim Craig | September 2, 2008; 11:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

McCain-Warner Campaign Debuts

Bradley Hungerman, the William & Mary student turned political operative, has followed through on his promise to create a website that promotes both Democratic Senate Candidate Mark R. Warner and Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee for president. The votebipartisan.com website argues Virginia voters should split their tickets this year by supporting McCain and Warner. The site is also selling McCain-Warner bumper stickers and yard signs. The website is funded by a political committee that Hungerman registered with the Federal Election Commission in June. Bradley Hungerman is a senior at William & Mary. His father, Andrew J. Hungerman III, the registered agent of the Vote Bipartisan PAC, is a former vice-president at Colonial Williamsburg. Bradley Hungerman said in an interview last month his efforts are not connected to either the Warner or McCain campaigns. But he noted his family has a relationship with one of Warner's staff members....

By Tim Craig | September 2, 2008; 7:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

From the Floor: Midwest Charm

Kate Maxwell is a Virginia delegate to the Republican National Convention who will be blogging from Minneapolis-St. Paul for Virginia Politics. She is from Midlothian in Chesterfield County. Today the floor session doesn't begin until 6 p.m., so we are having a chance to see some of Minneapolis and St. Paul...which, since I'm 20, pretty much just means the Mall of America. I've really been struck by how gracious the cities have been to us. Whether or not I'm wearing my credentials or the McCain-Palin gear I've been collecting, I'm fairly confident that the locals aren't having any trouble picking me out as a Republican delegate. At the very least, I'm finding my requests for sweet tea and use of "ya'll" is giving me away as an out-of-towner. I've found everyone very nice. Even the protester turn-out has been minimal. After all the hype, I was almost hoping for...

By washingtonpost.com | September 2, 2008; 4:23 PM ET | Comments (11)

Republican Klinge Hits Gilmore in Debate Flap

Republican strategist J. Kenneth Klinge called GOP Senate candidate James S. Gilmore "a hypocrite" today over Gilmore's criticism of Mark R. Warner for not yet agreeing to a statewide, televised debate. Klinge, an ally of U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), noted that Gilmore refused to debate his opponent for the Republican nomination, Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), in the weeks leading up to the state GOP convention in June. "I am sick and tired of seeing (Gilmore) act like something he isn't," said Klinge, who has been critical of Gilmore in the past. "On this subject, he is definitely a hypocrite." On Monday, Gilmore said it's not fair to compare his stance on debates with Warner, the Democratic nominee for Senate, to the one he held this spring. Gilmore noted that only 5,000 delegates selected the GOP nominee whereas several million people will vote in the general election. "We...

By Tim Craig | September 2, 2008; 1:58 PM ET | Comments (3)

RNC Releases New Ad in Virginia

Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) and the Republican National Committee released a new 30-second television ad today that seeks to link Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama to congressional Democrats. The ad suggests that Obama and Democrats in Congress would push for higher taxes if Obama is elected this year. The ad is airing in Virginia, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada and Wisconsin....

By Tim Craig | September 2, 2008; 1:29 PM ET | Comments (1)

Warner Silent on Palin

Democratic Senate Candidate Mark R. Warner dodged a question yesterday at the Buena Vista Labor Day parade on whether he thinks Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is qualified to be the GOP vice-presidential nominee. "That's for you all to decide," Warner told reporters....

By Tim Craig | September 2, 2008; 1:26 PM ET | Comments (1)

GOP Also Gives Va. Prime Seating

ST. PAUL -- The Virginia delegation at the Republican National Convention has enviable seats on the floor at the Xcel Energy Center. The state's 63 delegates are sitting on the front left facing the stage, just behind New Mexico. Virginia is surrounded by other swing states including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. Virginia delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last week also had a prime spot. Virginia, which has voted for a Republican for president for more than four decades, is considered one of the nation's newest battleground states. "It's the first time we've been in play in a long time," said John H. Hager, former lieutenant governor and state party chairman....

By Anne Bartlett | September 2, 2008; 11:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

Delegates Take Palin News In Stride

ST. PAUL --- Many members of 123-member Virginia delegation, who spent the day at back-to-back events, had not yet heard the news Monday afternoon about the pregnancy of the 17-year-old daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Sen. John McCain's running mate. Those who had took it in stride, saying it was not a story and not an issue that would hurt the race. "It's always unfortunate when something like this happens," said Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, a convention delegate. "It's a challenge to any family. But it kind of shows there is no difference [between the Palin family] and what any other American family has to deal with. Families involved in politics and leadership aren't any different." Bolling said the news will probably not hurt McCain because Palin's daughter made the right decision to have the baby and get married. "It's unfortunate,'' said Brian O'Connor, a delegate who lives in...

By Anne Bartlett | September 1, 2008; 10:52 PM ET | Comments (1)

From the Floor: Opening Day

Kate Maxwell is a Virginia delegate to the Republican National Convention who will be blogging from Minneapolis-St. Paul for Virginia Politics. She is from Midlothian in Chesterfield County. Hurricane Gustav hit the Gulf Coast this morning and in Minneapolis, we have suspended nonessential events. The committees continued to meet and the delegates are on the floor this afternoon to approve our party platform and officially nominate John McCain. The atmosphere has been a bit more subdued today, as the hurricane, not party politics is on everyone's mind. John McCain is proving once again that "country first" is not just a campaign slogan. First Lady Laura Bush is speaking as I write, and as she says: "Our American ideals always transcend our partisanship." Today that has been true. The McCain campaign is paying to fly all of the affected delegates home to be with their families. Like many other delegations,...

By washingtonpost.com | September 1, 2008; 8:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Buena Vista Sign War

Democratic Senate candidate Mark R. Warner (D) may have won the sign war at the Buena Vista Labor Day parade today in the Shenandoah Valley, but supporters of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) get the award for creativity. On a highway leading into the city, Obama supporters erected a series of signs that made fun of Obama's name, which is a possible hurdle for his candidacy in rural western Virginia. "Sick of DC?" stated one Obama sign. "Tired of the Same?" read another sign a few feet away. "Vote for the Candidate with the Funny Name," the third sign said. A few miles away, three more homemade Obama signs lined the highway. "Tired of the Same?" the first sign stated. "Want Meds for Mama?" the second sign read. "Vote for Obama," the last sign said. Both Obama and Arizona Sen. John McCain put up respectable showings in the annual sign war....

By Tim Craig | September 1, 2008; 5:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Va, Md Delegates Go to the Circus

ST. PAUL -- Dominion Resources, the energy company, treated the Virginia and Maryland delegations to a lunch-time circus performance today that included acrobatics and fire juggling. The event was put on by Circus Juventas, a non-profit organization in St. Paul that trains children in performance art to inspire artistry and self-confidence. Many members of the audience reacted with "oohs" and "ahhs" when watching the intricate acts that included ropes, swings and fire. Chuck Gast, second vice chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, said the event was a great chance to meet people from other states. Dominion hosted the event for the Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania delegations. A similar event was held Sunday for the West Virginia delegates....

By Anita Kumar | September 1, 2008; 3:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bolling Campaign Cancels Guidebook Order

MINNEAPOLIS -- Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's re-election campaign canceled an order for 150 guidebooks produced in the Twin Cities that devoted a section to gay and lesbian tourists. Bolling (R) had planned to give the guidebooks, published by the Rake, to the 123 members of the Virginia delegation to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. A Bolling spokesman said Monday that the lieutenant governor never saw a copy of the guidebook but would not have had a problem with it. A staffer reviewed a copy and canceled the order because of the section for gays and lesbians, said Randy Marcus, Bolling's chief of staff and a convention delegate. Bolling's campaign ordered another guidebook for the delegates and alternates instead. ....

By Anne Bartlett | September 1, 2008; 2:54 PM ET | Comments (2)

Surrogates Talk Up McCain-Palin Ticket

MINNEAPOLIS -- A couple hundred Virginians began their first official day at the Republican National Convention at a breakfast where they prayed for Gulf Coast hurricane victims and GOP presidential and vice presidential hopefuls, Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. A slew of speakers talked up McCain, including James Woolsey, CIA director during the Clinton administration; retired Major General and Medal of Honor recipient Patrick Brady; Ken Blackwell, former Ohio secretary of state and first African-American to be a candidate for governor of a major party in that state; and U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren of California. "No other leader in America, no one today, has had his experiences, has demostarted his guts or is better qualified to lead American in a time of war,'' Brady said. The "McCain surrogates" were making the rounds at various delegation breakfasts and other events at the convention this week. They spoke about...

By Anita Kumar | September 1, 2008; 11:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

Va. Delegates Party on Eve of Convention

MINNEAPOLIS -- Virginia delegates and other guests from the state gathered last night to play pool, air hockey and other games at the delegation's "Arcade Night" welcome party at the Minneapolis hotel where they are staying this week for the Republican National Convention. The atmosphere was festive despite news that most of Monday's convention activities would be canceled due to concern about Hurricane Gustav hitting the Gulf Coast. Among those in the crowd were Pat Boone, the 1950s singer turned conservative commentator; John H. Hager, former lieutenant governor and father-in-law to Jenna Bush; and U.S. Reps. Tom Davis and Thelma Drake. Drake, who is in a tough re-election battle in Hampton Roads, was the only elected official from Virginia scheduled to speak during the convention until her speech on Monday was postponed, perhaps canceled, because of Gustav. Drake, who had planned on flying back to Virginia Tuesday, said she was...

By Anita Kumar | September 1, 2008; 12:48 AM ET | Comments (1)

 

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