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Virginia Politics Blog: October 19, 2008 - October 25, 2008

Palin Remains Big Draw in Va.

For the third time in six weeks, the McCain campaign has to adjust where Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin holds a rally in Virginia because she is proving to be such a big draw. The campaign announced today that Palin's visit Monday to Salem, located near Roanoke, is being moved from the city's civic center to the Salem Football Field to accommodate the expected crowd. Gail Gitcho, a McCain spokeswoman, said there has been "overwhelming response" for tickets for the event. Two weeks ago, a Palin rally in Richmond had to be relocated to the parking lot of the Richmond Motor Speedway because of demand to see her. And in early September, a McCain-Palin rally in Fairfax City scheduled for a high school gymnasium had to be moved to a city park after all the tickets were snatched up in hours. Although many Democrats believe Palin is one reason Democrat Barack...

By Tim Craig  |  October 25, 2008; 8:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
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Obama Returns to Va Tuesday

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama will hold rallies Tuesday at Harbor Park Stadium in Norfolk and James Madison University in Harrisonburg. Obama will tout his proposals to improve the economy, provide affordable health care and make college more affordable. It will be Obama's ninth trip to the state since he secured the nomination in June....

By Anita Kumar  |  October 25, 2008; 4:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President  
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Counting Down to the Election

Virginia Democrats will spend this weekend kicking off a massive canvassing effort in the final days before the Nov. 4 election. Surrogates will visit several of Sen. Barack Obama's campaign offices across the state to rally volunteers before they begin the last 12 days of knocking on doors and calling potential voters. Today, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a national chairman for Obama's campaign, will appear in Fairfax and Prince William counties and Donna Brazile, a political strategist who was Al Gore's campaign manager in 2000, will be in Richmond. Tomorrow, former Navy Secretary John Dalton and Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff, former commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, will visit offices in Winchester, Harrisonburg and Staunton. C. Richard Cranwell, chairman of the state Democratic party, will be in Roanoke. Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe will appear in Arlington. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Brian J. Moran of Alexandria...

By Anita Kumar  |  October 25, 2008; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Obama Airs New Ad in Virginia

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama launched a new TV ad In key states, including Virginia, today about the Illinois senator's proposed tax cuts. The 30-second ad, entitled Try This, tells views that millions of Americans are visiting TaxCutFacts.org, where they can use an online calculator to learn about Obama and his Republican opponent John McCain's tax plans....

By Anita Kumar  |  October 24, 2008; 6:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Campaign Ads , Election 2008/President  
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Taxpayer Group Endorses Gilmore

The political action arm of the National Taxpayers Union announced today that the group has endorsed former governor James S. Gilmore III (R) in his U.S. Senate race against former governor Mark. R. Warner (D). "When he held Virginia's executive position, Jim Gilmore time and again proved his commitment to fiscal responsibility," said Duane Parde, president of the National Taxpayers Union Campaign Fund. "He espoused pro-growth economic policies, chief among them a number of tax cuts, which inspired many similar platforms across the country." Gilmore has pledged to work to cut taxes, including making permanent the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts permanent, reducing income tax rates, eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, repealing the death tax and abolishing the marriage tax penalty. The National Taxpayers Union, the nation's largest grassroots taxpayer organization, has 362,000 members. Campaign Fund endorsements require a unanimous vote on a nonpartisan basis by a five-member committee...

By Anita Kumar  |  October 24, 2008; 6:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner  
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GOP Vows To Make Felons a Big Issue

Republican presidential nominee John McCain's campaign is stepping up the pressure on Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Democrat Barack Obama over Kaine's decision to restore voting rights for about 3,000 felons since he took office. In a conference call with Virginia reporters today, former Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore and former governor George Allen accused Kaine and Obama of engaging in a "conspiracy" to put more felons on the voting rolls. The McCain campaign noted that one man who had his rights restored by Kaine in 2006 has a prior conviction for sexual battery. "How many additional murders, rapists and drug dealers have been added to the rolls?" Kilgore asked. "We need to know that." The McCain campaign also released a video in which Penny Blue appears on a television station in Southside in June and instructs felons how they can apply to Kaine to have their voting rights...

By Tim Craig  |  October 24, 2008; 12:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
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Both Va. Parties Rake in Cash in October

The Virginia Democratic Party's coordinated campaign took in nearly $3 million during the first 15 days of the month, according to federal finance reports filed today. This comes as both political parties are vowing to spend unprecedented amounts of money in Virginia in the days leading up to the Nov. 4 election. The coordinated campaign, a partnership between Barack Obama's presidential campaign and Democratic congressional candidates, is designed to turn out voters on Election Day. Since the start of the year, the coordinated campaign has raised $10.6 million. It has $1.6 million in the bank. The campaign, which pays the salaries of 266 staffers and field organizers, took in a crush of money earlier this month from various labor unions and donors from across the country. Obama's campaign also transferred about $1 million to the state party earlier this month. Democratic Senate candidate Mark R. Warner and the Democratic National...

By Tim Craig  |  October 23, 2008; 10:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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Joe McCain Makes News

WJLA in Washington reported tonight that GOP presidential nominee John McCain's brother, Joe, apparently called Alexandria's 911 emergency system earlier this week to complain about traffic. According to the report, a man berated the 911 operator with an expletive after being told he shouldn't be calling to complain about traffic on the Beltway. When the operator called back, he got a voice mail that said, "Hi, this is Joe McCain, I can't take this message now because I am involved in a very important family political project." After the operator left a message, the man called 911 again to complain about being given the "riot act." Gail Gitcho, a McCain spokeswoman, declined comment. Joe McCain has been campaigning across Virginia for his brother. Last month, Joe McCain made news at a campaign stop in Loudoun County when he referred to Arlington and Alexandria as "communist country." He later apologized, saying...

By Tim Craig  |  October 23, 2008; 10:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
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Glenn Nye Wins Pilot Endorsement

Democrat Glenn Nye, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Thelma Drake (R-Va.), announced tonight that the Virginian Pilot has endorsed him. In the editorial, The Pilot said Nye has the "bipartisan instincts" and the "experience in the world" to serve the 2nd District, which includes the Virginia Beach area. Two years ago, The Pilot endorsed Drake in her race against Democratic candidate Phil Kellam. The endorsement was widely credited with helping Drake win reelection in what otherwise was a very big year for Democratic candidates. But Nye, a 33-year-old career diplomat, still faces an uphill climb in defeating Drake this year. The National Republican Congressional Campaign committee is airing a hard-hitting ad that questions Nye's experience....

By Tim Craig  |  October 23, 2008; 10:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Gilmore Signs Energy Pledge

Former governor James S. Gilmore III, a candidate for U.S. Senate, today signed the American Conservative Union's energy freedom pledge that confirms his opposition to a national ban on offshore oil and gas drilling. Gilmore agreed to "support efforts to increase domestic energy production which will provide for American's future energy needs and make the U.S. less dependent on foreign sources of energy". "During these tough economic times, never has America's need to tap into its vast resources of oil and natural gas been clearer," Gilmore said. "Doing so would not only set the course for energy independence, but would create thousands of jobs right here in the U.S and in Virginia."...

By Anita Kumar  |  October 23, 2008; 2:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner  
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Giuliani, Forbes Campaign for McCain in Va

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes will campaign for Republican presidential nominee John McCain in Virginia on Saturday. Giuliani and Forbes will hold a small business rally in Richmond with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore. Giuliani will then attend a veterans victory rally in Virginia Beach with Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell and John McCain's son, Doug, who lives there....

By Anita Kumar  |  October 23, 2008; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Election 2008/President , John McCain  
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Obama Addresses "Real Virginia"

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama took a swipe at Nancy Pfotenhauer, an adviser to Republican John McCain, when he took the stage a huge outdoor rally in Loudoun County this evening. On Saturday, Pfotenhauer said on MSNBC that Democratic-leaning Northern Virginia isn't "real Virginia" because it's being infiltrated with people moving in from Washington D.C. Pfotenhauer added she was confident McCain can carry the state on Nov. 4 by winning "real Virginia" that is " is more southern in nature." "I know some folks may not think so, but this looks like real Virginia to me," Obama told the crowd gathered at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg. "This looks like authentic Virginia and you look like real Virginians." Later in the speech, Obama noted he has campaigned in the state eight times since June. "I haven't seen a real Virginia and a fake Virginia, I've just seen Virginia." Regardless of...

By Tim Craig  |  October 22, 2008; 6:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (66)
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Palin, Biden Return to Virginia (Updated)

The vice presidential candidates are coming back. U.S. Sen. Joe Biden (D) will hold rallies Friday at the Danville Community Market and Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville and Saturday at Nansemond River High School in Suffolk. It's his fifth trip to the state. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) will campaign Monday at J.R.'s Festival Lakes in Leesburg, Hurkamp Park in Fredericksburg and the Salem Civic Center. It's her third trip to the state.....

By Anita Kumar  |  October 22, 2008; 5:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President , Joe Biden , Sarah Palin  
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Webb, Clyburn Hold Rallies for Obama

U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) will campaign for his colleague, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, at a rally tomorrow morning for seniors at the Greenspring Retirement Village in Springfield. Webb will tout Obama's proposals to protect Social Security, eliminate income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000 per year and bring an end to the Iraq war. Also, U.S. House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn will headline a series of rallies tomorrow and Friday in Roanoke, Lynchburg, Petersburg and Richmond. Clyburn will talk to potential voters about their rights on Election Day and encourage them to vote on Nov. 4....

By Anita Kumar  |  October 22, 2008; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , James Webb  
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Mason Dixon Shows Tight Race

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are locked in an extremely close race in Virginia, according to a new poll by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc. for NBC News and several newspapers. In the survey, Obama receives 47 percent of the vote compared to McCain's 45 percent. But the survey indicates Obama has been gaining ground in Virginia. In a Mason-Dixon poll earlier this month, McCain led Obama by a margin of 48 percent to 45 percent. The poll finds Obama with a 30 -point lead in Northern Virginia, 61 percent to 31 percent. McCain leads by 23 percentage points in the Shenandoah Valley, and by 15 points in Southwest Virginia. He holds a smaller 11-point edge in the Richmond media market, but Obama now has a 5-point advantage in the critical Hampton Roads region. Another Virginia poll commissioned by CNN has Obama leading McCain by 10...

By Tim Craig  |  October 22, 2008; 12:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
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Virginia Notebook: Obama or Bust For '09 Race

With Election Day approaching, the four major candidates for governor next year almost certainly have one fact about Virginia politics on their minds: Since 1976, the party that wins the White House loses the governor's race the following year. Virginia is one of only two states to have a governor's race the year following a presidential contest. And because Virginia voters have developed a reputation for shunning the party that controls the White House, the national pundits often use the outcome to suggest that a new president is off to a rocky start. But that could all change next year. If Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama wins the White House, the organization he has built in Virginia this year holds the potential to alter Virginia's political landscape into the next decade....

By Tim Craig  |  October 22, 2008; 11:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
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Kaine Sets Special Election

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) has set Jan. 6 as the date for voters to go to the polls to elect a replacement for Del. Terrie Lynne Suit (R-Virginia Beach) who resigned to become a lobbyist. "It is important that we have a delegate in place when the session begins on January 14th," Kaine said. "Holding the special election on January 6th will allow the new delegate to participate in the legislative session and to represent the interests of citizens of the district." State law prohibits special elections 30 days after a general election. The last date to file to run for the seat is Dec. 8. The 81st House District includes parts of the cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake . Suit resigned to run Williams Mullen's Hampton Roads lobbying operation. Her last day was Oct. 12. Her 1999 election led to Virginia's first-ever Republican majority in the House....

By Anita Kumar  |  October 22, 2008; 10:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008  
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Warner Ads for Obama Begin Tonight

Former governor Mark R. Warner (D) has recorded a series of radio ads for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama that will begin airing around the state tonight. In the ads, Warner talks about how Obama will take a bipartisan approach to restoring the economy, creating jobs, lowering taxes for middle-class families and providing affordable healthcare. "This is exactly the kind of change our economy needs,'' Warner says in the ad while folksy music plays in the background. "So please join me, Mark Warner, in supporting Barack Obama for president. His steady hand, family values and common sense approach will help get our country back on track." The 60-second ads will run across the state including Northern Virginia, central Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley and Southside and Southwest, rural areas that have traditionally supported Republicans but where Warner is extremely popular. Warner, who is running for U.S. Senate against former governor James...

By Anita Kumar  |  October 21, 2008; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Campaign Ads , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Mark Warner  
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Gilmore Raises $1.9 Million for Race

Former governor James S. Gilmore III (R) has raised $1.9 million for his U.S. Senate campaign and has $121,000 in the bank to use for the final stretch leading to the Nov. 4 election. He raised another $265,000 through a joint fundraising committee with the Republican Party of Virginia, and has $46,000 of that left in the bank. Gilmore's campaign refused to give out his financial information to reporters last week, at the close of the reporting period. But his campaign released the figures to the Washington Post today. Gilmore's opponent, former governor Mark R. Warner (D), announced last week that he has raised $12.3 million for his campaign and has $3.6 million left in the bank. Warner raised about $3 million in the last three-month period that ended Sept. 30 while Gilmore raised $644,000....

By Anita Kumar  |  October 21, 2008; 1:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner  
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Virginia Democrats Outraise GOP

The Virginia Democratic Party has raised nearly four times as much money as the state GOP over the past four months, according to campaign finance reports. Friday was the deadline for both parties to submit state campaign finance reports that show how much money each side has in its state account. From July 1 to Sept. 30, the Virginia Democratic Party raised $732,000. It now has $444,000 in the bank to use to influence the outcome of state races. The Republican Party of Virginia raised $196,000. It has $144,000 in the bank. Although the money in each account is generally restricted to state races, a portion of it can be transferred to the respective party's federal account. Those accounts, which must abide by federal fundraising restrictions, can be used to finance get out the vote efforts in this year's presidential and congressional races. The Virginia Democratic Party has transferred more...

By Tim Craig  |  October 20, 2008; 11:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Kaine Takes in $261,000

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's political action committee raised $261,000 from 36 individuals or entities from July 1 to September 30, according to recently released campaign finance reports. The PAC, Moving Virginia Forward, spent $286,000 during the quarter and now has $154,000 in the bank. As was the case in the first half of the year, Kaine raised very little money from small donors, instead relying on those who can afford to write large checks. Kaine received three $500 contributions, but all of his other reportable donors gave at least $2,000. Kaine also received $375 from donors who do not have to be identified in the report because they gave less than $100. One man, businessman R.J. Kirk, donated $100,000 to the PAC last month. The bulk of Kaine's political spending went toward staff salaries and the costs associated with attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver. But the PAC also...

By Tim Craig  |  October 20, 2008; 10:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Surrogates Flock to Virginia (Updated)

With just two weeks left before the Nov. 4 election, a slew of big-name politicians are flocking to battleground Virginia to stand in for Sens. John McCain (R) and Barack Obama (D). Both parties are ramping up efforts to win the state's 13 electoral votes but with more money and staff the Democrats are usually holding more events, sometimes several each day. Just take a look at the schedule for the next couple days: The Democrats will hold events with Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in Arlington tomorrow; Ethel Kennedy, widow of the late senator and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, in Southwest tomorrow and Wednesday; former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus in various locations, mostly in central Virginia, tomorrow and Wednesday and retired U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark in Roanoke and Harrisonburg Wednesday. The Republicans will hold events with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) in Harrisonburg and...

By Anita Kumar  |  October 20, 2008; 2:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , John McCain , John W. Warner  
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Obama Brings Campaign to Richmond

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama will make his eighth campaign stop in Virginia on Wednesday when he holds a rally at the 13,000-seat Richmond Coliseum. The rally, which follows an event GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin held in Richmond a week ago, will begin at noon. Obama's campaign is also bringing musician Dave Matthews to Richmond on Sunday. Matthews and guitarist Tim Reynolds will perform a free concert at Virginia Commonwealth University to encourage people to vote on Election Day....

By Tim Craig  |  October 20, 2008; 12:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
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