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Virginia Politics Blog: September 14, 2008 - September 20, 2008

Video: Biden Rallies Women in Loudoun County

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  September 19, 2008; 4:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , James Webb  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Video: Warner, Gilmore Debate Foreign Policy

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  September 18, 2008; 2:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig , Virginia Notebook  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President , John McCain  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , John McCain , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President  
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