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Virginia Politics Blog: October 5, 2008 - October 11, 2008

Huge Crowds Expected for McCain, Palin on Monday

Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign is expecting tens of thousands of people at a pair of rallies on Monday. McCain (R) and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, will appear at 10 a.m. at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, which holds 20,000 people. Palin will then travel to Richmond for a rally 2 p.m. The demand for tickets prompted the campaign to move the rally from the Arthur Ashe Center to the Richmond International Raceway. "The demand for tickets to see Gov. Palin has been so overwhelming, we are changing locations so everyone who wants attend the rally has the opportunity to do so,'' said Trey Walker, a McCain spokesman said. "The energy and enthusiasm for the campaign in the Richmond area is very exciting."...

By Anita Kumar  |  October 10, 2008; 4:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President , John McCain , Sarah Palin  
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McDonnell Condemns Bobby May

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, a GOP candidate for governor, issued a statement today condemning Bobby May, the Republican official from Southwest Virginia who wrote controversial remarks about Sen. Barack Obama in a local newspaper. Until this week, May had been on GOP presidential nominee John McCain's Virginia leadership team. But May was forced to leave the campaign earlier this week after the Los Angeles Times published part of a column that May had written. "The Attorney General condemns the offensive rhetoric in this column," said J. Tucker Martin, a McDonnell spokesman. In the column, May wrote Obama would hire the rapper Ludacris to paint the White House black, change the national antemm into the "black national anthemm," raise taxes to "pay for Obama's inner-city political base" and replace the U.S. flag with one that had "a star and crescent logo." May, the treasurer of the Buchanan County Republican Party,...

By Tim Craig  |  October 10, 2008; 1:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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Military Leaders Hold Town Halls for Obama

Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy and the15th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps John Estrada will hold a series of town hall meetings this weekend in Virginia. They will be in Roanoke, Staunton and Winchester on Saturday and in Prince William County near the Quantico Marine Corps Base and Virginia Beach on Sunday. They will tout Obama's plan to end to the Iraq war, build international alliances, defeat al Qaeda and complete the U.S.'s work in Afghanistan. Kennedy, who retired in 2000, was the first woman to reach the rank of three-star Lieutenant General in the U.S. Army. Estrada, who retired last year, was the first African-American to hold the rank of 15th Sergeant Major of the U.S. Marine Corps. Details of the events are below:...

By Anita Kumar  |  October 9, 2008; 4:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President  
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Fairfax Helps Some Inmates Vote, GOP Cries Foul

Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (Prince William), the chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, is blasting Fairfax County officials for allowing some inmates at the detention center to register to vote. According to the Washington Examiner, Fairfax County General Registrar Rokey Suleman and Sheriff Stan Barry allowed registration forms and absentee ballot information to be delivered to inmates with misdemeanor convictions and those awaiting trial. In Virginia, a felon loses their right to vote unless they get their rights restored by the governor. People without felony convictions maintain their rights, although its unusual to register them in a jail. "This might not be illegal, but it sure stinks to high heaven. Is this really how Obama expects to win the presidency with - a coalition of criminals? I guess it's Obama's latest big government program: 'no inmate left behind'" Frederick said. There is no evidence that Obama's campaign had anything to...

By Tim Craig  |  October 9, 2008; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
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Hank Williams Jr. Set to Hit Va. Beach for McCain

Apparently, GOP presidential nominee John McCain has decided it's not so bad to have a little bit of "celebrity" power behind his campaign after all. Country music star Hank Williams Jr. will perform at a McCain rally Monday in Virginia Beach, the campaign announced yesterday. Williams will be the latest - and perhaps most well known - music or Hollywood star to travel to Virginia in support of a presidential candidate. Until now, most have been to Virginia in support of Obama. But Obama has not deployed his really big name supporters to Virginia. Last weekend, Bruce Springsteen performed free concerts for Obama fans in Philadelphia and Columbus Ohio. Rap music icon Jay Z also performed free concerts in support of Obama last weekend in Detroit and Miami. No word yet from Obama campaign officials on whether they plan to try to top Hank Williams Jr.'s star power....

By Tim Craig  |  October 9, 2008; 10:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
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Bolling Looks to Shed A Few Pounds

A year ago, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling pledged to lose 30 pounds. This year, his goal is 20 pounds. This week, Bolling (R) and a group of health care officials kicked off a new campaign to promote heart health education, healthier living, increased physical activity and improved diet and nutrition. "By taking simple steps toward healthier living - losing weight, increased physical fitness and proper dieting - Virginians can significantly mitigate their risk of contracting heart disease," Bolling said. Bolling, who plans to run for re-election next year, lost 28 of the 30 pounds and hopes to lose 20 more through a program put on by the National Lieutenant Governor's Association. Virginia was the first state to participate....

By Anita Kumar  |  October 8, 2008; 11:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling  
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Tom Ridge to Stump for McCain

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge will campaign for GOP presidential nominee John McCain Thursday in Arlington. Ridge, a former Pennsylvania governor, will be joined by McCain's mother, Roberta. They will hold a rally for GOP volunteers at McCain's Virginia headquarters at noon. Roberta McCain will then travel to Suffolk without Ridge for an event with former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift (R). The tour, sponsored by the Republican National Committee, will on Friday move to Williamsburg and Newport News, where Ridge will appear with U.S. Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.)...

By Tim Craig  |  October 8, 2008; 3:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Bill Clinton to Campaign For Obama in Va.

Former President Bill Clinton will campaign for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) Sunday in Roanoke and Richmond. Clinton will hold rallies in both cities. The time and locations have yet to be determined. The fact Obama feels comfortable enough to bring Clinton into Virginia is a testament of how dramatically the state's political climate has changed in recent years. During statewide elections in the 1990s and earlier this decade, Democratic candidates largely kept their distance from Clinton, although Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) brought him in for an election-eve rally in liberal-leaning Alexandria in 2006. But Virginia Democrats now believe the former president can help Obama win over working class voters who live in rural areas of the state. In the Feb. 12 primary, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-Ill.) ran very strong in Southwestern Virginia and parts of the Shenandoah Valley. Obama is still trying to win over those Clinton voters. And...

By Tim Craig  |  October 8, 2008; 2:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
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Kaine Heads West for Obama

Virginia may be a key battleground in this year's presidential race, but Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will turn his attention this weekend to helping to shore up Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) presidential campaign in the Rocky Mountains. Kaine will headline events for Obama Sunday in Colorado, another fiercely contested state in Obama's race against GOP nominee John McCain. Kaine will then travel to Phoenix to be the keynote speaker at the Arizona Democratic Party "Hall of Fame" dinner Sunday evening. Coming less than one month before the election, some Democrats may question whether it's smart for Kaine to spend time in another state instead of stumping for Obama or Democratic congressional candidates in Virginia. But Kaine and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), who is hosting the Democratic fundraiser in Phoenix, have developed a good relationship because they were both early Obama supporters. Kaine also speaks Spanish and Hispanics are...

By Tim Craig  |  October 8, 2008; 12:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Va Republicans Try to Boost Membership

In an effort to boost the army of Republican volunteers who make calls and knock on doors, Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who are running for governor and lieutenant governor next year, challenged local parties to double their membership over several months. The results are in: Fifty-four of the 124 cities' and counties' parties met or exceeded the goal. At least thirty-two units increased membership but fell short of the goal. Total, the exercise added more than 3,000 new members to the party, according to the Republican Party of Virginia....

By Anita Kumar  |  October 8, 2008; 11:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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War Veterans Enter Va. Campaign in Big Way

Virginia's airwaves are going to be cluttered with ads from Iraq veterans who are backing either Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama or Arizona Sen. John McCain, the GOP nominee. The NRA is running an ad in which an Iraq war veteran condemns Obama for once supporting a ban on handguns in Illinois. "Like all the guys I fought with in Iraq, I was honored to defend my country and its freedom," Kurt Rusch, a former Marine, says in the ad. "But when I got back stateside, I learned Barack Obama opposes my right to own a handgun for self defense. It's ridiculous." Meanwhile, Washington Post reporter Matt Mosk is reporting that VoteVets is launching a $1.3 million ad buy in Virginia. In the ad, an Iraq war veteran criticizes McCain for skipping the vote on Sen. James Webb's (D-Va.) GI Bill or Rights. "When John McCain was about my age,...

By Tim Craig  |  October 8, 2008; 11:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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Webb Hits the Campaign Trail

Sen. Jim Webb, who is not exactly known for his love of campaigning, starting stumping today for fellow Democrats running for election next month. This week, he is appearing at events for Gerry Connolly, Fairfax County Board chairman who is running for Congress; former governor Mark R. Warner, who is running for U.S. Senate; and Tom Perriello, who is running against Rep. Virgil Goode in a south central district stretching from Charlottesville to Danville. Next week, he will campaign for Judy Feder, who is running against Rep. Frank Wolf in Northern Virginia and Glenn Nye, who is running against Rep. Thelma Drake in Hampton Roads. He will also participate in an event for Democratic senate candidates with D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and make a two-day swing through Southwest Virginia for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Webb, elected in 2006, has been criticized by some constituents and party activists for his...

By Anita Kumar  |  October 7, 2008; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Webb  
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Elizabeth Edwards Speaks Out Against McCain

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, was in Richmond today to speak out against John McCain's health care plan. Edwards held an event at the State Capitol with several Democratic legislators. Several labor unions sponsored the event....

By Tim Craig  |  October 7, 2008; 10:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
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Community Voters Project Registers 82,000 Minorities

Community Voters Project announced yesterday it has registered at least 82,000 minority voters in Virginia. For the past several months, the non-partisan group has had 370 staffers working in cities across the state. The group paid special attention to Petersburg, Hampton, Richmond, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Roanoke, Lynchburg, Fredericksburg and Falls Church. If its estimates are correct, the 82,000 figure is the first real indication of the percentage of newly registered voters in Virginia who are black or Hispanic. The State Board of Elections does not collect such data, but the board announced last week nearly 350,000 people have registered to vote between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30. County registrars are also currently processing thousands of additional applications that arrived between Sept. 30 and yesterday, which was the deadline to register in Virginia. If the number of total new registrants this year eventually swells to 400,000, the efforts by Community Voters...

By Tim Craig  |  October 7, 2008; 12:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
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McCain, Palin Head to Virginia

Republican presidential nominee John McCain announced today that he and his running mate Sarah Palin will campaign in Virginia on Monday. McCain and Palin will hold a rally at 10 a.m. in Virginia Beach at the convention center. Palin will then hold at 1 p.m. rally in Richmond at the Arthur Ashe Center. "Voters statewide are excited to have the next president and vice president of the United States bring their message of reform back to Virginia,'' Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, McCain's campaign co-chairman. "John McCain and Sarah Palin will bring some much needed straight talk to the voters in Virginia about strengthening our economy, finding innovative solutions to our energy crisis and keeping America safe. It is going to be a tough race in Virginia, but we are focused on winning Virginia so that John McCain and Sarah Palin can shake things up in Washington."...

By Anita Kumar  |  October 6, 2008; 2:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President , John McCain , Sarah Palin  
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Obama Leads McCain in New Va. Poll

A new poll by Suffolk University shows Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) with a double-digit lead over GOP nominee John McCain in Virginia. Obama draws 51 percent to McCain's 39 percent, although the poll's sample skews heavily toward the Democrats, which may be inflating Obama's margin. "Barack Obama has built a coalition of suburban DC area progressives from the north, African-American voters from the south, and young voters statewide," said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University in Boston. "That broad-based support suggests a 44-year Republican run in the Old Dominion State, dating back to Lyndon Johnson's victory in 1964, is in jeopardy." The poll conflicts with one last week by Mason Dixon that showed McCain leading Obama by 3 points in Virginia. The Suffolk poll also shows Democratic Senate candidate Mark R. Warner beating GOP candidate James S. Gilmore by 33 points, similar to the advantage...

By Tim Craig  |  October 6, 2008; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
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Fairfax Democrats Set Fundraising Record

The Fairfax County Democratic Committee will announce this week it raised a record $138,000 during the month of September. Since the start of the year, the committee has taken in $415,000 for its state and federal accounts, smashing their previous fundraising record of $267,000, which was set in 2007. The committee will report it has $160,000 remaining in its federal account, money it can use to help Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Democratic congressional candidates. The Fairfax County Republican Party has only $13,000 in its federal account, according to campaign finance reports. With that sizeable advantage, the Fairfax Democratic Party becomes another outlet that the state and national party can turn to for help in turning out voters on Nov. 4. If Obama can approach or top 60 percent of the vote in Fairfax, the state's largest jurisdiction, it will be very difficult for GOP presidential nominee John McCain to...

By Tim Craig  |  October 6, 2008; 10:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
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Palin to Appear at GOP Fundraiser in Fairfax

Republican vice-presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be in Tysons Corner in Fairfax County next Monday to help raise money for the national party, according to GOP officials. Palin's visit comes as some Virginia Republicans are increasingly nervous that GOP presidential nominee John McCain is not campaigning hard enough in the state, where polls indicate he is tied with Democratic nominee Barack Obama. McCain and Palin have held only one public event in Virginia, which took place a month ago. In news stories this weekend in the Washington Post and Politico, some Virginia Republicans expressed concern that the GOP ticket is taking Virginia for granted. Gail Gitcho, a McCain spokeswoman, said she is not ready to release when, or if, Palin or McCain will be in Virginia for an event other than a fundraiser....

By Tim Craig  |  October 5, 2008; 7:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
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