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Virginia Politics Blog: November 16, 2008 - November 22, 2008

Moran Picks up Endorsements

Del. Brian J. Moran (Alexandria), a Democratic candidate for governor, announced today he has been endorsed by a majority of the members on the state party's steering committee. The individual endorsements do not reflect a collective decision from the committee, but Moran has picked up support from several longtime party activists and local district chairs. The list of officials now backing Moran include: party secretary Pixie Bell, George Burke, 11th District Chair, Sandra Brandt, 2nd District Chair, Marjorie Clark, 7th District Chair, Audrey Collins, 4th District Chair, . Kerry Donley, Immediate Past Chair,. Treasurer Abbi Easter, Rich Galecki, 10th District Chair, Margo Horner, 8th District Chair, Frank Leone, Jr., DNC Member, Gene Magruder, Chair of the Va. Association of Democratic Chairs, Suzette Matthews, 1st District Chair, Evelyn Morris-Harris, Chair of the Democratic Black Caucus of Va., Rachel Rifkind, Chair of the Women's Caucus and Justin Wilson, vice chair of Technology...

By Tim Craig  |  November 20, 2008; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Tim Craig  
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Virginia Is Still for Lovers

It was a family affair at the state Capitol this afternoon. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and his father-in-law, former governor Linwood Holton, kicked off the 40th anniversary of the state's well-known slogan Virginia is for Lovers to a standing-room only crowd in the ornate Jefferson Room. Supporters wore flashing red heart buttons. Holton was governor as the state began using the catchy, but then-controversial, slogan to attract more young tourists to Virginia. He quickly became its chief promoter, handing out Virginia is for Lovers buttons. "I wasn't quite sure what the reaction was going to be when I first saw that slogan,'' Holton said....

By Anita Kumar  |  November 19, 2008; 6:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Kaine and Obama Trade Emails

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and President-Elect Barack Obama have not spoken by phone since the Nov. 4 election but the two friends have traded a number of emails. Kaine said today that Obama and his transition staff have not asked him about serving in the new Cabinet. "I'm here,'' he said. "I'm not going anywhere." Kaine, who was a national co-chairman of Obama's campaign and on his short list for vice president, said he continues to shoot down rumors that he will leave the Governor's Mansion for a job in the administration. He said he doesn't know why people don't believe him. "Why is that? Because I'm in politics?'' he said. "I said I wasn't going to do it. Find an example of me saying equivocally one thing and then doing the opposite." In recent days, Kaine has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Democratic National Committee Chairman...

By Anita Kumar  |  November 19, 2008; 4:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Virginia Notebook: Jeff Frederick vs. McCain Camp

As Virginia Republicans continue to assess their Nov. 4 losses and plot their comeback in time for the 2009 state races, one big obstacle hangs over them: coordination. The 2008 presidential and congressional races exposed a huge discrepancy in how the Democrats worked with other Democrats compared with how Republicans worked together....

By Tim Craig  |  November 19, 2008; 11:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Moran May Seek Two Jobs (Updated)

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) is considering running simultaneously this spring for both his House of Delegates seat as well as the Democratic nomination for governor. Jesse F. Ferguson, Moran's communications director, said Moran will decide by Jan. 1 whether he plans to seek both positions. If Moran runs for both jobs, he would be all but guaranteed a job in 2010 if he loses his race for governor. If he wins the Democratic nomination for governor, Moran would most likely have to give up his House seat this summer, allowing the local Democratic comittee to decide the nominee for his House seat. Ferguson said Moran is contemplating seeking reelection to the House as well as run for governor because the Alexandria Democratic Committee asked him to. But Susan B. Kellom, chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, said Moran approached her about seeking both jobs. "That is a decision Brian...

By Tim Craig  |  November 19, 2008; 9:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Tim Craig  
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Kaine's Biggest Donor Endorses McAuliffe

In a major coup, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's largest financial backer said today he will support Terry McAuliffe's bid for the Democratic nomination for governor of Virginia. Billionaire Randal J. Kirk has contributed more than $600,000 to Kaine since he took office in 2006. Kirk, an investment and pharmaceutical mogul in Radford, also recently gave the Virginia Democratic Party $100,000. In an interview today, Kirk said he will support McAuliffe if he officially enters the race. Kirk said McAuliffe, a former businessman and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is best suited to manage Virginia's economy and carry on the policies of Kaine and former governor Mark R. Warner (D). "I think the main issue for Virginia is the main issue nationally, which is the economy," said Kirk, who also supported President-Elect Barack Obama. "I think Terry McAuliffe can move the dial in a significant way."...

By Tim Craig  |  November 18, 2008; 5:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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McDonnell's Made-For-TV Event

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the GOP nominee for governor, is starting to flex the big advantage he will have in next year's campaign by being the only candidate in the race who currently holds a statewide office. McDonnell held an event for the media today, which drew nearly a dozen television crews and print reporters, to unveil a new video aimed at preventing youths from joining gangs. McDonnell was flanked with a made-for-television, mutli-racial, backdrop of law enforcement officials. "It's a wake-up call against gang violence," McDonnell said of the 25-minute video, which will be distributed to law enforcement agencies and the media. "It's tough, its straight talk and its hard-hitting." In producing the video, McDonnell worked closely with Richmond Commonwealth Attorney Michael Herring. Herring, an African-American Democrat, praised McDonnell's office for its efforts in combating gang violence....

By Tim Craig  |  November 18, 2008; 4:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Robert F. McDonnell , Tim Craig  
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Petersburg, The Little Town That Could

Here is a piece of post-election trivia to ponder. Virginia's Petersburg appears to have given President-Elect Barack Obama his third best showing of any incorporated city or county in the lower 48 states, according to Politico's map of election results. Petersburg, where African-Americans make up about 80 percent of the population, gave Obama 88.7 percent of its votes. Petersburg fell just short of supplying Obama with his second biggest percentage margin. That distinction goes to Prince Georges County, Maryland, where Obama got 88.9 percent of the vote. Obama appears to have performed the best in the District of Columbia, where he got an astounding 93 percent of the vote. The following cities and counties finished just behind Petersburg: Bronx County New York,(88.2 percent) Jefferson County Mississippi (87.9 percent), Baltimore Maryland (87.3 percent), Macon County Alabama, (86.9 percent), Menominee County Wisconsin (86.9 percent), Manhattan County, New York (85 percent), Starr County...

By Tim Craig  |  November 18, 2008; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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AG Race: Brownlee Announces Support, Foster To Enter Race

Republican John Brownlee, the former top prosecutor for Virginia's western district, announced today that he has received support for his bid for state attorney general from 75 sheriffs and Commonwealth's attorneys. "Virginia's law enforcement community has made it clear that they want a conservative prosecutor to serve as Virginia's next attorney general,'' he wrote in an email to supporters. "These brave leaders understand that protecting our citizens and making our neighborhoods safer are the top priorities for the next Attorney General." The list of supporters includes officials from Southside, Southwest, the Shenandoah Valley and central Virginia. But few from the state's two most populous areas, Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. David M. Foster, former chairman of the Arlington County School Board, will hold a news conference tomorrow morning in Richmond to announce his candidacy for the GOP nomination for attorney general. State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax) has also announced...

By Anita Kumar  |  November 18, 2008; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Judge May Count Late Absentee Ballots

A federal judge is considering whether to force the state to count thousands of late overseas absentee ballots -- a decision that may affect Virginia's voting procedures in future elections. However U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams decides the case, it probably will not alter the outcome of any contests in the Nov. 4 election. But the ruling will provide an opportunity for every voter to be heard, said attorneys who filed a lawsuit seeking to mandate the count. "A candidate has the right not just to win or lose, but to see his or her votes counted,'' said William Hurd, a lawyer for defeated Republican presidential candidate John McCain. McCain's campaign filed the suit before the election, but Williams removed the campaign from the case Monday because he said it did not have standing to sue. Instead, the U.S. Department of Justice will serve as the plaintiff. The department...

By Anita Kumar  |  November 17, 2008; 6:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Moran and McAuliffe Camps Trade Charges

The first skirmish has developed between the campaign teams of Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) and Terry McAuliffe, both potential Democratic candidates for governor next year. Mo Elleithee, a senior McAuliffe advisor, sent out a statement today condemning what he calls Moran's "surprisingly negative" tone when it comes to McAuliffe's potential candidacy. Earlier today, Jesse Ferguson, a Moran spokesman, sent out a statement titled "Virginians Respond to McAuliffe Candidacy." Ferguson's memo included snippets of recent editorials and columns that have been written about McAuliffe, including a Richmond Times Dispatch column comparing McAuliffe to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R). Last week, when McAuliffe announced he will spend the next two months deciding on whether he plans to formally enter the race, Moran's campaign took a swipe at the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee by noting Florida Democrats had encouraged him to run for governor in that state in 2005....

By Tim Craig  |  November 17, 2008; 3:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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Warner Names Chief of Staff

Mark R. Warner (D) announced today that he hired Capitol Hill veteran Luke Albee to serve as his chief of staff in January after he is sworn in as Virginia's junior senator. Albee has been a Senate aide for two decades, including 11 as chief of staff to Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Judiciary Committee and one of the Senate's most senior members. "I am pleased to have someone with Luke Albee's experience working with us in the Senate," Warner said in a statement. "Luke has earned respect from both sides of the aisle, and he's widely known for his ability to bring people together to create common-sense solutions." Albee, 48, left the Hill in 2005 to join the political consulting firm Ricchetti, Inc....

By Anita Kumar  |  November 17, 2008; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Mark Warner  
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A New Frederick

Jeffrey M. Frederick, state GOP chairman and a Prince William delegate, and his wife, Amy, had a second daughter. Isabel Mary Frederick was born at 1:20 a.m. on Nov. 11th. They have another daughter, Gracie, a regular visitor to the Capitol....

By Anita Kumar  |  November 17, 2008; 10:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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