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Virginia Politics Blog: January 4, 2009 - January 10, 2009

McAuliffe Announces Work Days

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said today that he will participate in a series of work days around the state to get a firsthand look at the economy from the perspective of working Virginians. McAuliffe will take on different jobs starting with bussing tables Monday at Roger Brown's Restaurant and Sports Bar in Portsmouth. "I know that when it comes to getting our economy back on track, not every good idea comes from Richmond," McAuliffe said. "I'm looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work alongside Virginians from all walks of life, as we find a way to get our economy moving again." McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, faces state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath County and former state delegate Brian J. Moran of Alexandria in a June 9 Democratic primary....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 10, 2009; 5:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Eric Cantor , Terry McAuliffe  
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Chairman Kaine

President-elect Barak Obama sent an email to supporters across the nation officially announcing his selection of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine as chairman of Democratic National Committee. "As Governor of Virginia, Tim was known for his intelligence, integrity, and strong economic leadership," Obama wrote in his fundraising letter. "He has a record of putting public service above partisanship, and he knows that reaching across party lines is the way to achieve progress for all Americans." The full text is below:...

By Anita Kumar  |  January 10, 2009; 1:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Timothy M. Kaine  
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House Will Broadcast Floor Sessions

Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) announced today that the House of Delegates will implement live video streaming of floor proceedings with the 45-day legislative session that starts Wednesday. "The House of Delegates is an essential institution in our representative democracy," Howell said. "Online video broadcasts provide not only a window into the seriousness and solution-oriented nature of the legislative process, but also a responsible and unfiltered method of allowing more Virginians to see the House at work doing the people's business." Howell instructed the House Clerk's Office to make House floor proceedings accessible on the Internet. The video will be broadcast using cameras currently installed and operated in the House chamber....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 9, 2009; 10:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2009  
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Bowerbank Endorsed By Party Leaders

Jon Bowerbank, a wealthy businessman from Russell County, announced endorsements today from nine Democratic party chairmen in his bid for lieutenant governor. "Jon Bowerbank's experience as the founder of his own business makes him the ideal candidate for lieutenant governor in these challenging economic times," said said EJ Scott, Manassas/Manassas Park City chairman. Bowerbank, owner of an energy services company that employs hundreds of people, serves as a member of the Russell County Board of Supervisors. "It is a great pleasure to see so many Democratic leaders coming out to support this campaign,'' Bowerbank said. "It is clear that the Virginia Democrats are behind our cause and ready to take back the lieutenant governor's office this November."...

By Anita Kumar  |  January 9, 2009; 9:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Never Too Early for 2010

Virginia's congressional delegation was just sworn in on Tuesday, but interest groups and both political parties are already sending signals that the state will be ground zero in the 2010 congressional elections. With Democratic U.S. Reps. Tom Perriello and Glenn Nye representing traditional GOP-leaning districts, they will likely be top targets in 2010. On Tuesday, the conservative group Americans for Limited Government sent out a statement blasting Nye for voting for several procedural rule changes that the group says will "silence" GOP dissent. "Congressman Nye has chosen to serve Nancy Pelosi over the people in his own district," said Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government. "Congressman Nye deserves nothing but scorn for deliberately undermining the spirit and letter of the two-party system." But while conservatives spend the next 18 months trying to undermine Nye and Perriello, both of whom will likely have well-funded GOP challengers, Democrats may target...

By Tim Craig  |  January 9, 2009; 2:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Novelist John Grisham Backs McAuliffe

Novelist John Grisham, who owns a home near Charlottesville, is backing Terry McAuliffe's bid for the Democratic nomination for governor, according to the Charlottesville Daily Progress. According to the newspaper, Grisham said he and his wife support McAuliffe because they say he modernized the party when he was chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Grisham also told the newspaper that he thinks McAuliffe is the only Democrat who can defeat Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the GOP nominee, in the fall. Grisham, who introduced McAuliffe at a town hall in Charlottesville Wednesday, has close political and personal ties to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D). Grisham has contributed about $150,000 to Kaine's political efforts since 2005, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Grisham and his wife were also major supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) during last year's campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. McAuliffe had served as...

By Tim Craig  |  January 8, 2009; 5:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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Democrats Hit McDonnell Over Giuliani

The Virginia Democratic Party released a video today responding to Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell's decision to highlight an endorsement from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R). In the video, the state party attempts to connect McDonnell to Giuliani's speech at the Republican National Convention in which he mocks President-elect Barack Obama for being a community organizer. At this early stage of the governor's race, Virginia Democrats still view Obama, who carried the state with nearly 53 percent of the vote, as an asset. McDonnell is hoping that Giuliani and other national Republicans can help him counteract Obama by reaching out to suburban voters. But Democrats believe Giuliani, who moved to the right last year when he ran for the GOP nomination for president, now appeals to only a very small pool of Virginia voters....

By Tim Craig  |  January 8, 2009; 3:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Robert F. McDonnell , Tim Craig  
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Armstrong Hosts McAuliffe for Sleepover

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe will be spending the night tonight at the spacious Martinsville home of House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry), who is a close ally of McAuliffe's rival for the nomination, Brian J. Moran. During the sleepover, McAuliffe and Armstrong are expected to discuss McAuliffe's plans to help Democrats pick up the six seats needed to regain control of the House of Delegates. But Armstrong stresses the meeting shouldn't be viewed as an indication he is having second thoughts about Moran's candidacy. Armstrong said any statewide Democratic candidate is welcome to stay at his house when they travel to southern Virginia. "He said, he is coming to Martinsville and asked me where is a good place to stay?" Armstrong said. "I said, 'my house to save money, you will have fun'." The late night drinking, however, may be tempered because Armstrong is battling a cold. Still,...

By Tim Craig  |  January 8, 2009; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Tim Craig  
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House GOP Challenges Senate Democrats

House Republicans are calling on Senate Democrats to limit their salaries and expenses to the ones that GOP delegates recently agreed to in a meeting last month. In a letter to Senate leaders, House Republican Caucus Chairman Samuel A. Nixon Jr. (R-Chesterfield) wrote that the Senate could save taxpayers more than $100,000 if it enacted the same changes for the legislative session beginning Wednesday. Nixon asks senators to agree to a two percent reduction to bring their salaries to $17,640 and a daily session per diem rate of $135. The Senate's per diem rate is $169. "These changes can be enacted quickly. Doing so would send an important signal to the citizens of the Commonwealth,'' Nixon wrote. "It would demonstrate that legislators in both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly not only are willing to come together but also are prepared to lead by example during this time of serious...

By Anita Kumar  |  January 8, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2009  
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Giuliani Helps McDonnell Raise $70,000

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani helped Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, raise $70,000 at a fundraiser last night in the District. About 100 people attended. Giuliani will host another event for McDonnell tomorrow in New York and is expected to be involved in other activities later in the spring....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 7, 2009; 4:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Michael Signer Looking at LG Race

Michael Signer, an attorney who served as deputy counselor to Mark R. Warner (D) when he was governor, is considering entering the race for the Democratic nomination for lietenant governor. In an email to campaign professionals, Signer said he is searching for a campaign manager. "As you may have heard by now, I'm planning on entering the primary for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia this June," the email states. "I'm looking for a campaign manager who could run an aggressive, resourceful, insurgent statewide campaign -- ideally someone with strong experience in caucuses and field organizing and creatively using the internet on a campaign." According to his bio, Signer is a veteran of John Edwards' 2004 campaign for the Democratic nomination. Signer had also been associate communications director of Wesley Clark's 2004 presidential campaign. He later served as Clark's Virginia State Director. Signer is also a former aide to Sen. R. Creigh...

By Tim Craig  |  January 7, 2009; 4:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Virginia Notebook: Democratic Ball Waltzes Past Law

The 2009 election cycle is shaping up as the Year of the Dollar Sign. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and Virginia Democrats have decided they can have a fundraiser during the legislative session. If it proceeds, it could further loosen the state's campaign finance laws. And if there were ever a year in which Virginians should care about campaign finance, it's 2009....

By Tim Craig  |  January 7, 2009; 2:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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McAuliffe Aims High in Crucial Ground Game

Terry McAuliffe, who kicked off his campaign for governor today, said he will be deploying "dozens and dozens" of field organizers across Virginia in the coming weeks. McAuliffe says he is trying to build off President-elect Barack Obama's successful effort in organizing Virginia Democrats last year. McAuliffe said his organizers will fan out across the state, positioning themselves in small and medium-sized cities. "We are going to have probably the biggest ground game you will ever see in a gubernatorial race anywhere in the country," McAuliffe said....

By Tim Craig  |  January 7, 2009; 2:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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Kaine Appoints New Communications Director

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) has hired Lynda Tran to serve as his communications director for his final year in office. Tran, 30, has worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for eight years, most recently as assistant director of communications. She has also served as national communications director for SEIU's property services division and led numerous advocacy campaigns. "I am happy to have someone with Lynda's skills and experience to guide my communications team," Kaine said. "The ability of my administration to effectively express solutions to challenges is of paramount importance, and I am confident that Lynda will maintain the high standards expected by the public and the media." Tran replaces Delacey Skinner, who left recently to join Terry McAuliffe's campaign for governor. Tran will begin work immediately....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 7, 2009; 10:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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McAuliffe Begins Airing Radio Ads

On the day he officially kicks off his campaign for governor, Terry McAuliffe began airing his first radio ad. In the ad called Join, McAuliffe introduces himself to Virginians and talks about his focus on improving the state's economy. He invites listeners to join him at a town hall meeting. "Our next governor has to have what it takes to create jobs and grow our economy," McAuliffe says. "To build on the progress of Tim Kaine and Mark Warner - governors with business and executive experience who know that not every good idea comes from Richmond." The 60-second ad is running on adult urban contemporary, gospel and religious radio stations in the Norfolk and Richmond media markets....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 7, 2009; 9:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Terry McAuliffe  
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Knight, McQuinn Prevail

Barry D. Knight, a Republican who operates one of Virginia's largest hog farms, easily defeated his Democratic opponent in today's special election to fill former GOP delegate Terrie L. Suit's House seat in Virginia Beach. With all the precincts reporting, Knight received 83 percent of the vote. John M. Lacomb, who at age 24 was one of the youngest persons ever to be nominated by a major party for a House seat, received 17 percent of the vote. The election was called after Suit resigned this fall to become a lobbyist. In a separate special election to succeed Democrat Dwight Jones, who resigned from the House after being elected mayor of Richmond, Delores L. McQuinn won her race against a write-in candidate. McQuinn, a Democrat who will represent parts of Richmond, received 73 percent of the vote. Given long standing voting patterns in both districts, Knight and McQuinn were both...

By Tim Craig  |  January 6, 2009; 7:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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Moran Gets Support in Arlington

Former Del. Brian J. Moran (D) received a slew of endorsements from elected leaders in Arlington County today in his race for governor. Those endorsing Moran cited his proven record of leadership in Virginia and his record of fighting for families. They include members of the General Assembly, Board of Supervisors and School Board, the commissioner of the revenue, clerk of court, treasurer and commonwealth's attorney. Moran is running against Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) and Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, in the June 9 primary....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 6, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran  
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Warner Announces New Staff

Former governor Mark R. Warner (D), who will be sworn in tomorrow as Virginia's junior senator tomorrow, announced additional staff appointments. "These individuals bring a unique blend of skills, including knowledge of Capitol Hill and experience in the Virginia Governor's Office, and they are prepared to work together to make our U.S. Senate office accessible and effective for the people of Virginia,'' Warner said. Jonathan Davidson, chief of staff to Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Maryland), will become chief policy advisor and legislative director. Courtney Dozier, who has worked for state legislative caucuses in Virginia, Wisconsin and Iowa and worked on Warner's campaign, will serve as outreach director. Kevin Hall, who served as press secretary for Warner and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, will serve as communications director. Kelly Thomasson, who worked for Warner in several capacities for several years, will serve as projects coordinator....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 5, 2009; 4:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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History Repeats Itself

Virginia Democrats say they are not worried that Gov. Timothy M. Kaine will neglect his job as governor while serving as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. But in December 2000, when then President-elect George W. Bush named Gov. James S. Gilmore chairman of the Republican National Committee Democrats, sang a different tune. Lawrence H. Framme III, the then co-chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, told the Washington Post at the time that the RNC job is sure to distract Gilmore. "It's just going to be another year of the governor not being here to solve the fiscal crisis facing the commonwealth," he said....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 5, 2009; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Fishwick Drops Out of AG Race

John P. Fiscwick Jr., a Roanoke attorney, announced this afternoon he is abandoning his bid for the Democratic nomination for attorney general. Fishwick's decision means Del. Steve Shannon (D-Fairfax) is currently running unopposed for the nomination. Fishwick, who entered the race two months ago, said in a statement he had raised over $160,000 for his campaign but has decided he wants to remain in the private sector. "For now, my role should remain in the aggressive private practice of law, fighting against injustice and for people whose lives and livelihood depend on that representation," Fishwick said. "I made this decision only after the most difficult deliberation." Fishwick faced an uphill climb to the nomination. Although he is well-known in the Roanoke Valley, he would have had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to broaden his appeal in vote-rich Northern Virginia, where Shannon resides, and in Hampton Roads....

By Tim Craig  |  January 5, 2009; 1:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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The Death of the "Virginia Democrat?"

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's expected appointment as the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee will likely undermine the Democratic candidates for governor ability to distance themselves from the national party. Ever since Senator-elect Mark R. Warner (D) ran for governor in 2001, Virginia Democrats have gone out their way to stress that they are different from the national, more liberal, wing of the party. That branding of a "Virginia Democrat" - pro-business, socially moderate - was then used by Kaine during his race for governor in 2005. It also helped Sen. James Webb in 2006. But now the head of the Virginia Democratic Party will also be in charge of the national committee. When the eventual Democratic nominee for governor takes on Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the GOP nominee, this fall, they won't be able to position themselves as somehow different than the national party without first distancing...

By Tim Craig  |  January 5, 2009; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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McAuliffe Announces Staff

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe announced his leadership team this morning. Many of them worked on the campaigns of Democrats Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, former governor Mark R. Warner and Sen. James Webb. Mike Henry, who served as campaign manager for Kaine's gubernatorial campaign in 2005 and Warner's senate campaign in 2008, will be McAuliffe's camapign manager. He also has worked to elect Democrats statewide, to elect Democratic senators across the nation and served as deputy campaign manager for Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. "We're proud to have assembled an all-star team that has experience winning elections in Virginia," Henry said. "But we're even more proud to be working for a candidate who will bring the right kind of leadership to Richmond and get our economy back on track." The staff list is below:...

By Anita Kumar  |  January 5, 2009; 9:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Terry McAuliffe  
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Republicans Attack Kaine on DNC Post

Virginia Republicans wasted little time in criticizing Gov. Timothy M. Kaine for taking on the job of chairman of the Democratic National Committee during his final year in office. The news broke the week before the General Assembly returns to Richmond for a 45-day legislative session that will be largely focused on trimming the $77-billion budget by $3 billion. "Now is not a time for more partisanship from our Governor, but a time for leadership, to cross party lines and provide solid, common sense solutions for Virginians who are hurting and worried about their future,'' Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. "This is the wrong move and sends the wrong signal to the people of Virginia at such a critical time." Kaine had previously told reporters that he was not interested in the DNC job, and would not leave the Governor's Mansion early for a...

By Anita Kumar  |  January 5, 2009; 7:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2009 , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Kaine To Be DNC Chairman

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine will become chairman of the Democratic National Committee later this month, serving as the top political messenger for Barack Obama's administration even while he finishes his final year in the governor's mansion, sources told Post reporter Michael Shear. Kaine, who emerged as one of Obama's vice presidential finalists this summer, will operate from Richmond in a part-time capacity until January 2010, when he will become the full-time DNC chairman. Kaine is constitutionally barred from running for reelection. Obama transition aides declined to comment today, and Kaine aides did not return calls seeking comment. Two sources said Obama will announce his choice of Kaine for the post later this week. Read the full story here....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 4, 2009; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Timothy M. Kaine  
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