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Virginia Politics Blog: November 9, 2008 - November 15, 2008

McAuliffe To Hit Campaign Trail Saturday

Terry McAuliffe, a potential Democratic candidate for governor next year, will kick off his two-month listening tour this weekend. McAuliffe, who plans to announce Jan. 7 whether he will enter the race, will have breakfast with Prince William County Democrats tomorrow morning in Occoquan. McAuliffe will then attend the Norfolk State University vs. Delaware State football game in Norfolk. "Terry will be rooting on the Norfolk State Spartans," his campaign said in a statement. McAuliffe will end his day by attending a black-tie gala in Portsmouth to raise money for scholarships. McAuliffe's visit to Hampton Roads appears to be an effort to target African Americans. A Washington Post survey last month showed McAuliffe running particulary strong among black females although black males favored Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), who is also a candidate for the nomination. The poll also showed Moran with a slim overall lead statewide, but he and...

By Tim Craig  |  November 14, 2008; 12:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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Gilmore Continues Raising Money (Updated)

His campaign for U.S. Senate ended 10 days ago but former governor James S. Gilmore III is still fundraising. Gilmore (R) is looking for donors to help him erase a $50,000 debt in his unsuccessful race against former governor Mark R. Warner (D). He also has another $140,000 in debt from his failed presidential campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission. "I want to continue to play a role in restoring our party and adding to the public debate of the future,'' he wrote in a fundraising letter to supporters this week. "It will be difficult to play this role with this unresolved debt. If you can help me one last time with a contribution of $100, $75, or even $35 , I would be most grateful." Gilmore raised more than $2-million during his campaign while Warner raised more than $12-million. Text of the letter is below:...

By Anita Kumar  |  November 14, 2008; 10:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner  
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Loudoun Officials Endorse Moran

A majority of Loudoun County's elected Democrats endorsed Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) today in his bid for governor next year. The officials cited Moran's ability to win the swing county as well as his understanding of suburban communities and his history of working with the last two Democratic governors, Timothy M. Kaine and Mark R. Warner. "Loudoun is the key to victory in Virginia and Loudoun Democrats know Brian Moran can win here," said Kelly Burk, a member of the Board of Supervisors. "We have to make sure that the Democratic nominee can win decisively in Northern Virginia and the suburbs. That's what it takes to win."...

By Anita Kumar  |  November 13, 2008; 5:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell  
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More Labor Money for Va. Democrats

Organized labor continues to play a major role in bankrolling the Virginia Democratic Party. On Monday, the Treasury Employees Democracy in Action committee gave the state party $15,000. The organization is made up of federal employees. Since Sept. 1, the state party has collected more than $625,000 from organized labor for its state account. Labor unions also contributed tens of thousands dollars to the party's federal efforts this year in support of President-elect Barck Obama and Senator-Elect Mark R. Warner. The volume of money the party is collecting from labor could certainly become a campaign issue in 2009, given Virginia's status as a right-to-work state. Virginia Republicans are already asking what, if anything, the labor unions hope to accomplish by pouring so much money into the state party....

By Tim Craig  |  November 13, 2008; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Top McCain, Obama Counties

With most of the votes now apparently counted, the results from the Nov. 4 election show President-elect Barack Obama received at least 70 percent of the vote in six jurisdictions. Obama got 88.6 percent of the vote in Petersburg, 79.1 percent in Richmond, 78.3 percent in Charlottesville, 71.7 percent in both Alexandria and Arlington and 71 percent in Norfolk, according to State Board of Elections. Arizona Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) eclipsed the 70 percent mark in two locations, Poquoson, where he got 74 percent and Scott County, where he got 71 percent. McCain also received at least 68 percent of the vote in Bedford, Augusta, Powhatan and Rockingham counties as well as Colonial Heights. Sentor-Elect Mark R. Warner (D) topped 70 percent in 29 jurisdictions, including 90 percent in Petersburg, 84.5 percent in Richmond, 83.6 percent in Charlottesville and 82 percent in Martinsville....

By Tim Craig  |  November 13, 2008; 12:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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As '09 Race Begins, Obama Supporters Up for Grabs

As the race for the Democratic nomination for governor gets underway, one question is still awaiting an answer: Will any of the candidates be able to latch into the extensive political network that President-Elect Barack Obama built in Virginia this year? In what may turn out being the biggest missed opportunity of the 2009 race, none of the Democratic candidates got behind Obama early in the presidential campaign. Fearful of getting entangled in the primary battle between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY.), both Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) remained neutral. The third contender for the nomination, Terry McAuliffe, served as national chairman of Clinton's campaign. Had Deeds or Moran been associated with the Obama campaign during the presidential primaries, they would have likely been rewarded with intense loyalty from his supporters in 2009. Obama also may have decided to throw his support...

By Tim Craig  |  November 12, 2008; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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Cranwell Still Undecided on Statewide Bid

C.. Richard Cranwell, the chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, said today he's still not sure whether he will step down so he can seek his party's nomination for lieutenant governor. For months, Cranwell has been mentioned as a potential statewide candidate next year, but he had been telling people he would not make an announcement until after the election. The election has come and gone, but Cranwell now says he will "probably" reach a decision before Thanksgiving. "I haven't made up my mind yet," Cranwell said. Since Cranwell took over as chairman, Democrats won the 2005 governor's race, two U.S. Senate seats, three House seats, control of the state senate and President-Elect Barack Obama became the first Democratic nominee in 44 years to carry the state. Not a bad talking point to take to Democratic primary voters....

By Tim Craig  |  November 12, 2008; 2:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Poll Time

POLL...

By Tim Craig  |  November 12, 2008; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Virginia Notebook: How The Swing Counties Swung

In July, Virginia Notebook published a list of 10 Virginia locations that were likely to be up for grabs in the presidential race between Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). At the time, many pundits thought it would be an uphill climb for Obama to become the first Democratic nominee in 44 years to carry Virginia. For Obama to win, he needed to carry many of the 10 locations that we wrote about in the summer. Now that the election is over, it's time to review the results in those counties and cities. Obama carried seven of them, helping him rack up a statewide lead of nearly seven percentage points. Below are the earlier explanations of the 10 swing locations as well as the results, based on unofficial returns as of Tuesday....

By Tim Craig  |  November 12, 2008; 11:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Democratic Candidates Seek Voter Input

Someone is trying to recruit women in Northern Virginia to participate in a focus group about next year's race for governor. People are being called and offered $75 to participate in the focus group. In screening potential participants, the caller is asking a series of questions about former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, who set up a political committee this week as he explores whether to seek the Democratic nomination for governor. Meanwhile, another Democratic candidate for governor, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath), will be hosting a conference call with "supporters and friends" tomorrow evening to begin plotting strategy for next year. The people on the conference call will become "an informal group of advisers" for Deeds' campaign, according to an email advertising the call....

By Tim Craig  |  November 12, 2008; 11:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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Fairfax GOP Chair Eyes Steve Shannon's Seat

GOP officials say James E. Hyland, the chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Party, has emerged as the leading possible contender to be the party's nominee for Del. Steve Shannon's (D-Fairfax) House seat next year. Shannon will likely give up his seat to run for Attorney General. His central Fairfax-District has been tough for Republicans in recent years, but GOP officials believe it is winnable next year if the current political environment starts shifting away from the Democrats once President-Elect Barack Obama takes office. At the very least, by fielding a strong candidate, the GOP is sending a signal it plans to fight hard for several Democrat-held House seats in Fairfax and Loudoun counties to try to stall recent losses in the region....

By Tim Craig  |  November 11, 2008; 1:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Unsure if Kaine Will Hold the Ticket to History

As Inaugural fever builds across the Commonwealth, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's (D) staff said they are not sure yet how many tickets to the swearing-in ceremony they will get to distribute. Kaine was one of President-elect Barack Obama's earliest supporters, so the governor will surely have some influence in getting some Virginia Democrats into the ceremony. But Charlie Kelly, Kaine's political director, said they have not yet received an allottment of tickets. "We look to be as helpful as possible," Kelly said of requests for tickets. For daily tidbits on inaugural planning, logistics and intrigue, check out the Post's inaugural blog. Send tips about local or state festivities, tickets and the like to our colleague David Nakamura at nakamurad@washpost.com...

By Tim Craig  |  November 11, 2008; 1:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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McAuliffe Begins Staffing Up

Terry McAuliffe has begun retaining staff as he explores whether he will officially enter the race for the Democratic nomination for governor next year. Jenny Nadicksbernd, who was Senator-elect Mark R. Warner's (D) Virginia finance director this year, will help McAuliffe establish his fundraising operations in the state. Nadicksbernd also served as Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's (D) Northern Virginia finance director during his 2005 campaign. McAuliffe has also brought on Mike Henry to serve as an unpaid adviser. Henry has been a heavy weight figure in Virginia Democratic politics for years, most recently serving as Warner's campaign manager. Henry also oversaw Kaine's 2005 campaign, and is widely credited with helping Democrats' implement their recent successful strategy of reaching out to voters in Virginia's suburban community. Henry, as of now, will not take on an official title for the McAuliffe campaign. He will join Mo Elleithee, a former adviser to Sen....

By Tim Craig  |  November 11, 2008; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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Obama Nearly Pulls Ahead in Va. Beach

As local registrars finish canvassing the vote totals and complete the counting of absentee ballots, President-Elect Barack Obama continues to gain ground in several Virginia localities. Obama is now up to 57.5 percent of the vote in Prince William County, and 53.7 percent of the vote in Loudoun County. In both Northern Virginia locations, Obama gained about two percentage points since his initial showing the day after the election. Obama also now appears as if he will win traditionally conservative Chesapeake City in Hampton Roads with 50 percent of the vote, even though the results Wednesday morning had him trailing Arizona Sen. John McCain (R). Virginia Beach is also in danger of flipping into Obama's column. On the day after the election, McCain led Obama by about 3 percentage points in Virginia Beach. But when the results were updated earlier today, McCain's lead had dwindled to less than one...

By Tim Craig  |  November 10, 2008; 8:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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Obama's Decisive Virginia Victory

With the exception of Democrat Mark R. Warner's crushing, although somewhat expected, 65 percent to 35 percent win in the Senate race Tuesday, President-Elect Barack Obama has achieved a milestone for a Democrat running in Virginia in recent times. According to unofficial results, Obama got 52.6 percent of the vote, the highest margin a Democratic candidate running statewide has achieved in Virginia since 1993. That year, Democrat Donald S. Beyer defeated Republican Michael P. Farris by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent. Since then, no other Democrat has been able to match the percentage Obama received in Virginia on Tuesday. In 2004, then Sen. Charles S. Robb (D) won reelection in a three-way race with less than 50 percent of the vote. In 2001, Warner received 52.2 percent in his bid for governor. Four years later, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) was elected with 51.7 percent of the...

By Tim Craig  |  November 10, 2008; 7:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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The Race is on for Obama Inaugural Tickets

Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) reports his office is being overwhelmed with requests for tickets to President-Elect Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony Jan. 20. As of this morning, Webb's office had already fielded 15,000 requests for tickets. But there is one major problem: He expects he will have only 500 tickets to distribute. "Space is limited and we have an extensive waiting list, but we will do our best to accommodate as many Virginians as possible," said Jessica Smith, a Webb spokeswoman....

By Tim Craig  |  November 10, 2008; 5:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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McAuliffe Files Papers To Run for Governor

Terry McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, filed paperwork today to run for governor of Virginia next year. McAuliffe said he's still not certain he will formally enter the race, but plans to spend the next two months traveling around the state talking to voters. He will also begin assembling a campaign team. In an interview today, McAuliffe says he will campaign as an outsider who will make improving the state's economy his central issue. "Tim and Mark have done a great job, but they have continually been held back and I think Richmond has been a road block," said McAuliffe, referring to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and former governor Mark R. Warner (D). "Richmond is not doing what needs to be done in terms of forward thinking, big bold ideas and if I decide to run I will be all about big, bold ideas." In...

By Tim Craig  |  November 10, 2008; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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Google Exec. Donates to Kaine

Eric Schmidt, the chairman and chief executive officer of GOOGLE, appears to have made his first foray into Virginia politics. Schmidt, a supporter of President-Elect. Barack Obama, donated $10,000 to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's political action committee on Oct. 31, according to the State Board of Elections. Schmidt made the donation to Moving Virginia Forward one day after he campaigned for Obama at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, it's the first time Schmidt has given any money to a Virginia political candidate or committee....

By Tim Craig  |  November 10, 2008; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Frederick Hopes Obama Brings in Cash

Less than one week after Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) became the President-Elect, the Virginia Republican Party is using the outcome of the election to try to raise money for a party that suffered a humiliating defeat at the polls. On Nov. 4, Obama became the first Democratic nominee in 44 years to carry the Virginia and the party picked up one Senate and three House seats. The poor showing for the GOP has caused some party insiders to grumble that Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (Prince William) failed his first test as chairman of the Virginia Republican Party. But Frederick is trying to capitalize on Obama's victory. Over the weekend, he sent out a fund-raising appeal warning donors the country will undergo "a radical shift" unless they donate to the state party. Frederick's appeal is based on a series of unsubstantiated rumors, including statements that Obama has already offered jobs in...

By Tim Craig  |  November 10, 2008; 11:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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