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Virginia Politics Blog: January 11, 2009 - January 17, 2009

House Continues Bickering, Day 3

The House of Delegates spent an hour today bickering about whether legislators and statewide elected officials should be allowed to attend events in which money is raised during the annual legislative session. For the third straight year, the House passed a bill that would ban lawmakers and statewide officials from attending fundraising events sponsored by a political party, lobbyist or campaign contributors during the legislative session. The target: The state Democratic party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. The Feb. 7 event will be held at the Richmond Convention Center. Even though they complained about the bill, the majority of Democrats voted to send the bill to the Senate, mindful of how that vote might look come Election Day. The Democrat-controlled Senate is expected to kill the bill. Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairax) said House Democrats who voted for the bill and then attend the "J-J Dinner" would be "hypocrites."...

By Anita Kumar  |  January 16, 2009; 5:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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House GOP Blasts Saslaw

House Republicans are attacking Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D) for refusing to reduce senators' salaries and expenses the way the delegates in the House did. "We're fully capable of running the Senate, and they can run the House,'' Saslaw said. In a recent letter to Saslaw, House Republican Caucus Chairman Samuel A. Nixon Jr. (R-Chesterfield) asked the Senate to reduce their salaries by two percent to bring them down salaries to $17,640 and a daily session per diem rate of $135. The Senate's per diem rate is $169. Saslaw told Nixon his answer this week. "That's silly and grandstanding,'' Saslaw said....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 16, 2009; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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McAuliffe Learns "Colors Matter" at UVA

Bob Gibson, a former reporter for Charlottesville's Daily Progress who continues to blog for the newspaper, reports Terry McAuliffe showed up at last night's University of Virginia game against North Carolina. When he took his seat, McAuliffe apparently realized he was wearing the wrong color of blue sweater for a Virginia game against the Tar Heels. So McAuliffe apparently dispatched someone to the concessions stand to buy some Virginia merchandise. Gibson gives a first-hand account of McAuliffe being a quick study in realizing "colors matter," especially for a politician battling perceptions that he is not an authentic Virginian....

By Tim Craig  |  January 16, 2009; 2:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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Big Checks Escape Deeds, Moran

Terry McAuliffe appears to be the only Democratic candidate for governor who is having luck collecting big checks from donors during the economic downturn, according to campaign finance reports. McAuliffe collected twice as many campaign contributions of at least $25,000 as Deeds and Moran were able to combined. The distinction is all the more striking because McAuliffe collected his money in six weeks. Moran and Deeds had six months, although both scaled back their fundraising during the fall presidential campaign. Moran's brother, U.S. Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.), was his largest contributor during the reporting period. James Moran's congressional campaign wrote Brian Moran a $50,000 check in mid December. Moran also collected four $25,000 contributions during the reporting period, according to the Virginia Public Access Project....

By Tim Craig  |  January 16, 2009; 11:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , James P. Moran Jr. , Tim Craig  
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Deeds Misses Third Day of Session

Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) has been taking subtle swipes at his rival for the Democratic nomination for governor, Brian Moran, over his decision to give up his House seat. Deeds often notes he is "staying to fight" for Democratic principles in the General Assembly, an apparent effort to highlight Moran's choice to leave so he can campaign and fundraise. But on the third of the legislative session, a Democratic senator stood up on floor to announce that Deeds was away on "pressing, personal business." In other words, Deeds was on the campaign trail. According to his campaign schedule, Deeds is attending a prayer service today at Dar Al-Hiraj Mosque in Fairfax County. The mosque is a focal point of Northern Virginia's politically active Muslim community. Deeds did not miss any votes. Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax), a Deeds supporter, delayed action on bills today. The floor session...

By Tim Craig  |  January 16, 2009; 11:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Tim Craig  
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NoVa Democrats Celebrate Inauguration

Fairfax Democrats will hold a pre-inaugural Denim to Diamonds ball Saturday night with all three of the party's candidates for governor, Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Sens. Jim Webb and Mark R. Warner were invited, and several state legislators are likely to attend. More than 500 people are attending the Fairfax County Democratic Committee's Blue Jeans ball at the Richard J Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale. The party expects to raise more than $40,000. Today, after a lively debate, the Republican-led House of Delegates gave preliminary approval to a bill that, if already in effect, would have banned state legislators and statewide officials from this event -- and all other fundraising events sponsored by a political party, lobbyist or campaign contributors during the legislative session....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 15, 2009; 8:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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The Money Race is On. Stay Tuned.

Thursday is the deadline for both state candidates to file campaign finance reports with the State Board of Elections for July 1 to December 31 fundraising period . As the tallies for elected officials, parties and campaign committees are released over the next 36 hours, we will be updating this post. Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, raised $1.6 million during the reporting period, including $1 million since mid November. He has about $2 million in the bank. McDonnell has added about $800,000 to his cash-on-hand total since June. State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath), a Democratic candidate for governor, raised $658,000 during the reporting period. Deeds has $891,000 in the bank, about $250,000 more than he had on hand six months ago. Brian Moran, a Democratic candidate for governor, says he raised $755,000 during the second half of 2008. Moran has raised a total of...

By Tim Craig  |  January 15, 2009; 1:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race  
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McAuliffe Snags Two $100,000 Checks

Terry McAuliffe, a Democratic candidate for governor, already has two contributors who have given $100,000 to his campaign, according to campaign finance reports. McAuliffe, who has so far raised about $950,000, collected $100,000 checks from Radford businessman Randal J. Kirk and Ed Haddock, a Richmond native who is now a businessman in Florida. Novelist John Grisham, Huda A. Farouki, a finance and shipping mogul, John Raffaelli, a Washington attorney and lobbyist who lives in Alexandria, and Premium Distributors LLC each gave McAuliffe $50,000. Eight of McAuliffe's donors gave $25,000....

By Tim Craig  |  January 15, 2009; 12:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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School Board Member Announces Runs for LG

Pat Edmonson, a member of the Virginia Beach School Board since 2006, announced she will run for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor this year. Edmonson, who has worked for several non-profit gruops, serves as vice chairwoman of the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee. Former Finance Secretary Jody Wagner, Jon Bowerbank, a wealthy businessman from Russell County and Rich Savage, a Democratic political advisor in Richmond are also seeking the Democratic nomination. The annoucement wasn't good news for Wagner. She and Edmonson are both from the Hampton Roads area, which means they could split money, support and votes. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) will face lawyer Patrick Muldoon for the Republican nomination....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 15, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Republicans Target Democratic Fundraising

The Republican-controlled House didn't waste any time in targeting Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the incoming Democratic National Committee chairman, and his colleagues in the General Assembly. The House Privileges and Elections Committee voted 12 to 8, along partisian lines, to send a bill that would ban lawmakers or statewide officials from attending fundraising events sponsored by a political party, lobbyist or campaign contributors during the legislative session. "People should know money does not influence our business,'' said Del. Christopher B. Saxman (R-Staunton), who introduced the bill. In recent weeks, Republicans criticized Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), who they say is violating current state law by raising money Monday during in the second week of the legislative session....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 14, 2009; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , General Assembly 2009 , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Plum Elected House Democratic Caucus Leader

In a surprising move, House Democrats chose Del. Kenneth R. Plum (D-Fairfax) over Del. Kristen J. Amundson (D-Fairfax) to be their caucus chairman, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the House. Amundson congratulated Plum afterward and said the Democratic caucus' goal remains the same no matter who is in charge: To win the six seats the party needs to take control of the Republican-led House. The caucus deadlocked in three votes yesterday. Today, Plum narrowly won, after two new Democratic delegates were included in the vote behind closed doors. Del. Mark D. Sickles (D-Fairfax) said the close votes were the result of disagreements over personality differences between Plum and Amundson, and nothing else....

By Anita Kumar  |  January 14, 2009; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009  
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Herring-Murray Result Will Linger for Weeks

With Democrat Charniele Herring clinging to a 16-vote lead over Republican Joe Murray in the special House election to replace Brian Moran, it appears as if Northern Virginia Democrats have a bit of election fatigue. No, Moran shouldn't be blamed for failing to do more to prevent Democrats from suffering an embarrassing result in a district that President-Elect Barack Obama carried with 75 percent of the vote two months ago. As a candidate for governor in a tough race, Moran didn't have the luxury of personally visiting Alexandria Democrats around the holidays to remind them to vote in a special election. But the Virginia Democratic Party was outflanked by the GOP. Murray won the absentee ballot precinct with nearly 80 percent of the vote, a clear sign that Herring and the Democrats got beat in the all-important organizing effort.....

By Tim Craig  |  January 13, 2009; 11:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
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Jody Wagner Raises $400,000

Jody W. Wagner, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, announced today she raised $400,000 for her campaign during the second half of 2008. Wagner will report she has $285,000 in the bank. Wagner, who entered the race in August, is facing Richmond political consultant Rich Savage and Jon Bowerbank, a wealthy businessman from Southwest Virginia, for the nomination. Wagner is the first Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor to release their fundraising numbers. Bowerbank's report will be especially interesting. When he announced his candidacy in May, Bowerbank dumped $223,000 of his own money into his campaign. Bowerbank's only two contributors were his employees, but Democratic officials say he has since stepped up his outreach to donors, including attending a fundraiser last week in Fairfax County....

By Tim Craig  |  January 13, 2009; 5:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Edwards for AG?

A week after Roanoke attorney John P. Fiscwick Jr. dropped out of the race for attorney general, another Democrat may be considering a run. Sen. John S. Edwards (D-Roanoke), who unsuccessfully ran for Democratic nominee for attorney general in 2001 and considered a run in 2005, may be considering running again. Edwards refuses to say whether he will jump into a nomination fight with Del. Stephen C. Shannon (D-Fairfax). He was seen last night at a Richmond restaurant with political consultant Craig Bieber; Rich Savage, a Democratic political advisor who is running for lieutenant governor; and Eric Payne, chairman of the Richmond City Democratic Committee. When asked at the restaurant by a reporter if he was running, Edwards would not say,...

By Anita Kumar  |  January 13, 2009; 2:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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Armstrong Shifts Crime Commission to the Right

With Brian Moran's resignation from the House of Delegates, the Virginia Crime Commission appears to have shifted slightly to the right. House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry), who represents rural Southern Virginia, replaced Moran on the 13-member commission. The appointment puts considerable pressure on Armstrong, who has to balance the wishes of his constituents against his role as a statewide spokesman for his party, including its liberal base in Northern Virginia. In his first real test as a member, Armstrong voted today against having the crime commission recommend that the General Assembly close the so-called gun show loophole. Armstrong's vote resulted in the commission deadlocking on whether to make a recommendation. Moran had supported the closure of the loophole. According to Washington Post reporter Fredrick Kunkle, Armstrong noted a large gun show is held annually in his district. He said the show was important to the local economy. House...

By Tim Craig  |  January 13, 2009; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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Senators Form New Caucus

Four state senators -- Richard H. Stuart (R-Westmoreland), Jill Vogel (R-Winchester), Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk) and John Miller (D-Newport News) -- have formed the Commonwealth Caucus to try to put Virginia above party affiliation. "The people of Virginia are interested in performance, not partisanship," Miller said. "There are good ideas on both sides of the aisle. If we want to govern effectively, we must reach across the aisle to get things done." The caucus plans to work to ensure partisan politics is removed from redistricting, selecting judges and protecting the Chesapeake Bay and other natural resources. "While I will not compromise my conservative beliefs, I am committed to the three core positions of this caucus,'' Vogel said. "Our mission is to combat the gridlock that we faced last session and our new caucus will now make the difference on these key votes."...

By Anita Kumar  |  January 13, 2009; 10:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Moran Rolls Out Aggressive Energy Plan

Former Del. Brian Moran, a Democratic candidate for governor this year, announced his support of a mandatory commitment to renewable and alternative energy in the hopes of creating thousands of jobs across the state. Currently, Virginia has a voluntary goal of getting 12 percent of the state's energy from renewable resources. Moran's plan, which would more than double the current standard and make it mandatory, calls for a 25 percent mandatory standard by 2025. It would put Virginia in the top ten states nationally. "I have proposed a bold step, which will make Virginia a leader in renewable energy," Moran said. "The next governor needs to be looking toward the future and creating an environment which will attract good high-paying green jobs, and help Virginia grow in the green economy. My commitment to our environment and our economy is too strong to do anything less."...

By Anita Kumar  |  January 13, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Terry McAuliffe  
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McAuliffe Raises $1 million in 6 weeks

Terry McAuliffe announced today he's raised nearly $1 million since mid November for his campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor. In a memo to donors, McAuliffe said he doubled his goal of $500,000. The memo said almost all of the money came from people who own homes or businesses in Virginia. McAuliffe's campaign estimates that less than $40,000 came from out of state. Campaign finance reports for July 1 to December 31 are due Thursday. McAuliffe becomes the first candidate to release his number. But his big number will likely send shudders through his opponents' campaigns. During the first six months of 2008, Democratic candidate Brian J. Moran took in about $1.4 million, although some of that money was transferred from an old political account. Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), also a Democratic candidate for governor next year, raised $783,000 in the January to June 2008 reporting period. Attorney...

By Tim Craig  |  January 12, 2009; 2:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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Boucher Endorses Bowerbank

U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher (D) endorsed Jon Bowerbank, a wealthy businessman from Russell County, who is running for the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor this year. Boucher, who called Bowerbank a longtime friend, said that his record of job creation and experience in the energy sector make him the best candidate. Both men are from southwest Virginia, and Bowerbank has given Boucher campaign contributions over the years. "As an entrepreneur in Russell County, Jon has demonstrated his ability to create high paying jobs,'' Boucher said. "He has two decades of experience meeting the challenges of the energy sector. Jon's commitment to economic development, finding energy solutions, and investing in our infrastructure will be an asset to Virginia when he is elected lieutenant governor."...

By Anita Kumar  |  January 12, 2009; 2:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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Moran Hires Campaign Manager

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian J. Moran will announce today he's hired a campaign manager, according to officials close to the campaign. Andrew Roos, who oversaw Jack Markell's successful campaign for governor in Delaware last year, will become Moran's campaign manager. Mame Reiley had been overseeing Moran's campaign, but he always planned on bringing on someone else to assume the role of manager. Reiley will continue to be the chair of Moran's effort and head his finance operation. Steve Jarding will also continue to serve as Moran's senior strategist. As manager of Markell's campaign, Roos helped Markell upset then former Delaware Lt. Gov. John Carney in the Democratic primary. In that race, Carney started off the campaign with a big lead but Markell closed the gap after strong fundraising and an aggressive effort to organize voters. "Roos has won primaries, and that is what we were looking for," said one Democratic...

By Tim Craig  |  January 12, 2009; 10:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Tim Craig  
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Kate Hanley Gives Generously to Bulova

Secretary of the Commonwealth Katherine K. Hanley, a former chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, is playing an aggressive role in trying to make sure a Democrat wins her old job. According to campaign finance reports, Hanley donated $4,000 last week to Braddock District Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D), who is running against Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity (R) in the Fairfax chairman's race. Hanley's donation last week is on top of the $1,000 she gave Bulova last month. Hanley served as the chairwoman of the Fairfax Board from 1995 to 2003. In 2006, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) asked her to join his cabinet....

By Tim Craig  |  January 12, 2009; 10:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Alexandria GOP Not Conceding Moran's Seat

Northern Virginia Republicans are dumping surprising resources into Tuesday's special election to replace former delegate Brian J. Moran (D), who stepped down last month to focus on his bid for governor. Given the strong Democratic tilt of Alexandria, Democratic nominee Charnielle Herring is heavily favored to defeat Republican Joseph Murray. But Murray appears to be remaining competitive with Herring in the money race in the final days of the election. As of Jan. 2, Herring reported she had $13,365 in the bank. Murray, however, received an influx of support last week from Alexandria Republicans, according to campaign finance reports. On Tuesday, Murray reported a $6,200 in-kind donation from the Alexandria Republican City Committee. On Friday, Murray reported he's also received $10,000 from Chris Marston, the chairman of the Alexandria Republican Committee. The Fund for America Opportunity, a Washington-based political action committee, also gave Murray $2,000 last week. Murray's late-money frustrates...

By Tim Craig  |  January 11, 2009; 5:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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Loudoun Supervisor Eyes Tom Rust's Seat

Washington Post reporter Christopher Twarowski reported in Sunday's editions that Loudoun County Supervisor Stevens Miller (D-Dulles) is considering challenging Del. Thomas Davis Rust (R-Fairfax) this year. But Miller first has to find a new house in the 86th District, a process that is ongoing. "I would like to run," Miller told Twarowski. "I can't commit to the project unless I can legally run for it, and I can't do that until I live inside the 86th District." Miller's housing search, which centers in the Oak Grove area, underscores the obstacles facing Democrats as they try to unseat Rust. Although his district has been trending Democratic - President-elect Barack Obama carried it with 63 percent of the vote inthis year - Rust has proven to be a formidable opponent. In 2007, Rust was reelected with 53 percent of the vote against a well-funded Democratic challenger. If Miller were to get the...

By Tim Craig  |  January 11, 2009; 4:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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