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Virginia Politics Blog: December 28, 2008 - January 3, 2009

Denslow Leaves Governor's Office

Suzette P. Denslow, a top aide to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), is leaving Capitol Square to become chief of staff to Dwight C. Jones, a former Democratic House member who was elected Richmond's mayor in November. Barbara W. Reese, deputy secretary of transportation and former VDOT chief financial officer, will replace Denslow, according to sources close to the governor's office. Denslow, who serves as Kaine's legislative director and deputy policy director, has had a long history in state and local government. She worked for former Democratic governors Mark R. Warner and L. Douglas Wilder as well as the Virginia Municipal League and the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 2, 2009; 11:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Another Democrat Enters LG Race

Rich Savage, a Democratic political advisor in Richmond, announced today that he will run for lieutenant governor in November. As part of the announcement, Savage unveiled a 10-point education plan that includes tuition forgiveness for graduates who serve as teachers for five years. "As Lt. Governor, I will dedicate my fullest efforts to rebuilding our intellectual infrastructure to ensure that Virginia students are prepared to compete for jobs in the global marketplace with students from India, China and Europe," he said. "Virginia needs leaders who will answer the call to lead, take charge during these tough times, and provide new ideas to meet the challenges we face." Former Finance Secretary Jody Wagner and Jon Bowerbank, a wealthy businessman from Russell County, are also seeking the Democratic nomination. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) will face lawyer Patrick Muldoon for the Republican nomination....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 2, 2009; 3:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Election 2009 , Jody Wagner  
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Moran Challenges Rivals To Curb Fundraising

This morning on WTOP radio, former Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) called on his two rivals for the Democratic nomination for governor to refuse contributions from out-of-state donors. "This election should be about who has a proven record of fighting for Virginia families and a vision for where to take the state," Moran said. "It should not be an election about who can raise more money from national donors. Virginia Democrats should choose our nominee." Moran asked Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) and Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to make the pledge and continue it through the June 9 primary. Moran is targeting McAuliffe, who is expected to announce Tuesday that he is running for governor. If he runs, he would likely be able to tap his personal funds and national fundraising network to raise millions of dollars quickly....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 2, 2009; 3:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe  
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McDonnell Reaches Out To Wilder

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, sent out a statement today praising Democrat L. Douglas Wilder, the nation's first elected black governor who is ending his tenure as Richmond mayor today. "As the nation's first African-American Governor, Wilder made history. He governed Virginia well during a period of economic difficulty, and ensured that the Commonwealth would be well positioned to benefit from economic recovery,'' McDonnell said. "L. Douglas Wilder has dedicated his life to public service, and his contributions to Virginia will long be remembered." None of the three Democratic candidates for governor sent out a statement on Wilder. Wilder, who did not run for re-election, has been a fixture in Virginia politics for four decades. The charismatic, often flamboyant Wilder was known as an outspoken, sometimes combative Democrat who was not shy about breaking ranks with his party....

By Anita Kumar  |  December 31, 2008; 5:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , James Gilmore III , James Webb , Robert F. McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe  
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Fundraising Deadline Approaches

Candidates running for statewide office in 2009 are sending a flurry of last-minute emails to supporters to raise the last bit of money before tonight's fundraising deadline. Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, sent out an email with the subject line: "Only 24 hours left!" "While our Republican team is united, the Democrats are waging a costly, contentious nomination battle,'' McDonnell wrote. "With your help , we have a great opportunity to build our organization and spread our message." Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) and Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) are running for the Democratic nomination. Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is expected to announce Tuesday that he is running. "Every single donation shows the strength of our organization and helps us build momentum,'' Deeds wrote in his email to supporters....

By Anita Kumar  |  December 31, 2008; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe  
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Republicans Target Democratic District

Northern Virginia Republicans, already facing an uphill battle to win a House seat in a largely Democratic district in Alexandria, are upset it took until today to get a list of voters seeking absentee ballots. Chris Marston, chairman of the Alexandria Republican party, said he had been asking for the lists -- which are public record -- from the Fairfax and Alexandria registrars since Dec. 19. A State Board of Elections glitch prevented them from receiving lists until today. Republicans are looking to target the more than 300 voters who requested absentee ballots in the special election Jan. 13 in the hopes that they can sway enough of them to make a difference in what is expected to be a low-turnout election. Democrat Charniele Herring, who was homeless as a teenager but rose to become an attorney and civic activist, will face Joe Murray, a special assistant to U.S. Rep....

By Anita Kumar  |  December 30, 2008; 8:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009 , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Chopra Volunteering for Obama

Aneesh P. Chopra, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's secretary of technology, has been putting in long hours in Washington helping President-elect Barack Obama's transition team get ready for his first day on the job Jan. 20. Chopra is one of about 50 volunteers from across the nation serving on the transition's technology, innovation and government reform policy working group. Their primary responsibility is to support Obama's policy agenda by preparing briefing documents. "We need the new administration to be ready on day one,'' Chopra said. "I'm honored to be amongst a number of talented volunteers to lend a helping hand."...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 30, 2008; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , Timothy M. Kaine  
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GOP May Lodge Complaint Against Kaine

Republicans are considering lodging a complaint against Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), who they say is violating state law by raising money during next month's legislative session. Kaine, along with Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) and Sen.-elect Mark R. Warner (D), are hosting a Virginia inaugural ball Jan. 19 at the Westin Arlington Gateway. The 45-day session begins Jan. 14. The black-tie event, which sold-out in hours, is a fundraiser for the Virginia Democratic Party and the Arlington Democratic Party. Tickets are $200 but donors can be listed as sponsors for a $10,000 contribution. House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem) said Kaine is violating both "the spirit and the letter of the law." "The event is taking place during session,'' he said. "They knew or should have known that this was a violation of state law."...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 29, 2008; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2009 , James Webb , Mark Warner , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Deeds Wants Cheaper Homegrown Meat

With Brian J. Moran no longer serving in the House of Delegates, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) has the field to himself when it comes to pushing legislation in the General Assembly. Deeds' new role as the lone legislator in the governor's race gives him an opportunity to grab the spotlight during the 45-day legislative session that begins next month. He can either find one, overarching issue to pursue that will generate statewide headlines or he can push several issues simultaneously that are targeted at specific blocs of voters. It appears he may be embracing the latter strategy. Deeds' first stab at making his mark appears aimed at making inroads with the farmers market crowd, who have a reputation for skewing to the left and being more politically active then the typical Kroger's shopper....

By Tim Craig  |  December 29, 2008; 4:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Tim Craig  
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