Archive: February 2009

Another House Retirement

Del. William H. Fralin Jr., who has represented Roanoke since 2004, announced today on the House of Delegates floor that he will not seek re-election in November. Fralin, 46, is the fifth delegate to announce his retirement this year. Others include Dels. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William), Albert C. Eisenberg (D-Arlington), Frank D. Hargrove Sr. (R-Hanover) and Kenneth R. Melvin (D-Portsmouth) All 100 seats will be on the ballot in November....

By Anita Kumar | February 28, 2009; 10:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine and The Men Who Want to Replace Him

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) said this week that he told all three Democratic candidates for govenor -- Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and former delegate Brian Moran -- that he will make himself available to them if they need campaign advice. But in an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors, Kaine, the new DNC chairman, said he plans to stay neutral in the race until after the June 9 primary. What about Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell? Kaine said that he and McDonnell had a good working relationship before McDonnell resigned last week as attorney general to campaign full time. He said McDonnell even called him before President Obama's historic inauguration last month to ask for tickets for him and his family. "I'm just glad he wanted to go,'' Kaine said. McDonnell, who talks frequently about how well he and Kaine...

By Anita Kumar | February 28, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Asks Rivals to Support Drilling

Former Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell called on his three rivals for governor to join him in writing a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to ask for the exploration of Virginia's offshore energy resources. The decision comes after Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) sent a letter to Salazar asking for a delay in developing energy resources off the Virginia coast. The 25-year-old federal moratorium on energy exploration and development off the coast of Virginia expired last year. The leasing of rights off the coast is scheduled for 2011. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, said drilling will create thousands of jobs and produce hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. A delay, he said, would eliminate Virginia's ability to start drilling before other Atlantic states. "I urge the Democratic candidates for governor to put aside their pandering to special interests and do what's right for Virginia families,'' McDonnell...

By Anita Kumar | February 27, 2009; 12:37 PM ET | Comments (3)

McConnell Helps McDonnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will host a fundraiser next month for former attorney general Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor. The St. Patrick's Day event will be held March 13 at the Alexandria home of Ed Gillespie, McDonnell's general chairman who previously served as counselor to George W. Bush and chairman of the Republican National Committee. National Republicans are investing heavily in McDonnell's campaign as they fight to win back the governor's mansion in a state that has been trending from red to blue. Former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani have already hosted fundraisers. Former presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, will travel to Virginia to campaign for McDonnell March 25. "Everybody who cares about the Republican party nationally and everybody who wants to run for president in 2012 will be in Virginia'' this...

By Anita Kumar | February 27, 2009; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Would Accept Stimulus

More than 50 local leaders from Virginia called on former attorney general Robert F. McDonnell, the GOP nominee for governor, to pledge he would accept federal money from the stimulus package that was recently signed into law by President Obama. In a letter and later conference call, which was organized by the Democratic Party of Virginia, the local leaders said "our cities and counties depend on this immediate economic investment." The local leaders were responding to recent statements by McDonnell that the stimulus "would not be good long term for America." But in a meeting with Washington Post editors and reporters on Thursday, McDonnell said he would accept the federal money if he is elected governor. "The money is coming from Virginia taxpayers, frankly it's coming from the children of Virginia taxpayers," McDonnell said. "I think we ought to take it to the maximum degree as possible."...

By Tim Craig | February 27, 2009; 10:55 AM ET | Comments (2)

Kaine Says House Democrats Face Uphill Fight

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said last night he thinks there is a 40 percent chance his party will pick up the six seats needed this fall to retake control of the House of Delegates. In a wide ranging interview with Washington Post editors and reporters, Kaine conceded Democrats face an uphill task this year to retake the House but said the odds are not daunting enough to dissuade him from taking on the challenge. Kaine noted, at this stage of the 2007 cycle, few would have predicted Democrats would have been able to retake the state Senate. Democrats retook the Senate that year after they picked up four seats. "What are the chances on the House side that we are going to win? I would say maybe 40 percent," Kaine said. "But that is a good enough percentage to say 'lets go...

By Tim Craig | February 26, 2009; 1:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mims Selected AG

The General Assembly unanimously confirmed William C. Mims, a former Republican legislator from Loudoun County, as Virginia's attorney general. Mims, chief deputy attorney general, will replace Robert F. McDonnell (R), who stepped down last week to campaign for governor. He will be sworn in tomorrow. "I am honored to serve as Attorney General following Bob McDonnell," Mims said. "Bob McDonnell was an exceptional Attorney General, and I plan to continue his legacy by providing the very best legal services for Virginia's citizens." Mims, 51, served three terms in the House and two state terms in the Senate, will finish McDonnell's term, which ends in January. He said he will not run for re-election. "Today's unanimous confirmation vote demonstrates the high regard in which Bill is held by leaders from both political parties,'' McDonnell said in a statement. "He is beloved by the staff at the office, widely respected in the...

By Anita Kumar | February 26, 2009; 12:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Judge Edwards?

Sen. John S. Edwards (D-Roanoke) is one of five candidates recommended by the Virginia Bar Association for a judgeship on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. More than 20 candidates had expressed interest in the post. President Obama will make the appointment and the U.S. Senate will confirm the selection. Edwards. who unsuccessfully ran for Democratic nominee for attorney general in 2001 and considered a run in 2005, also may be considering running again. He would face Del. Stephen C. Shannon (D-Fairfax) in the June 9 primary. Three Republicans are already in the race. State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax), John Brownlee, the former top prosecutor for Virginia's western district, and David M. Foster, former chairman of the Arlington County School Board....

By Anita Kumar | February 26, 2009; 11:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

McAuliffe Looks To General Election

In a fundraising letter sent yesterday, gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe ignored his Democratic opponents and instead went after Republican nominee Robert F. McDonnell. "It seems like every time we get a chance to put aside partisanship and get things done, Bob McDonnell chooses ideology over what's best for the Commonwealth,'' McAuliffe said. "Maybe that's why I heard Republicans are going to throw the kitchen sink into Virginia to help his campaign. Sure enough, Bob's planning to bring in people like Sean Hannity, John McCain and Sarah Palin in order to fuel it." McDonnell's spokesman Tucker Martin countered McAuliffe's accusations. "Bob McDonnell has a record of building bipartisan coalitions to help Virginia,'' he said. "Chairman McAuliffe is a career partisan who has a record of professional fundraising to help the national Democratic Party. This defines empty rhetoric."...

By Anita Kumar | February 26, 2009; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (1)

Moran Woos Southwest Virginia

Former delegate Brian Moran and his wife, Karyn, are on separate campaign swings this week through Southwest Virginia as he tries to reinforce an image that he can compete in every part of the state. Moran, who lives in Alexandria, plans stops in more than a half-dozen cities and counties between now and Friday. At his first stop today in Pulaski County, Moran was endorsed by Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Fleenor and Sheriff Jim Davis. "Brian has fought alongside us for over a decade; he's no stranger to Pulaski Democrats," Fleenor said. "He fought alongside Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and is ready to fight for the hard-working men and women of this region in the Governor's office." At an event tomorrow in Smyth County, Moran will be joined by his wife. On Monday, Karyn Moran kicked off her own six-day tour of Southwest Virginia....

By Tim Craig | February 25, 2009; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (1)

Longtime Delegate To Retire

Del. Kenneth R. Melvin (D-Portsmouth) announced today that he will retire from the House of Delegates after 24 years. Melvin, one of the longest-serving members of the Courts of Justice Committee, is credited with defending civil rights and supporting the disadvantaged. "Ken Melvin has one of the sharpest legal minds of anyone I've ever had the privilege to work with," House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry) said. "He has devoted his career to the equal and fair distribution of the law, and this House will not be the same without him." Melvin, elected to the House in 1985, and represents parts of Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Norfolk....

By Anita Kumar | February 24, 2009; 1:33 PM ET | Comments (0)

DisAbility Votes Hopes to Have Impact in Fall

Momentum for political action has continued to build among advocates for people with disabilities since the General Assembly's failure to pass a measure mandating insurance coverage for autistic children. Martha J. Toomey, founder of Mary's Family.org, a nonprofit that is a support group for children with all disabilities, said the high-profile battle in Richmond over covering autistic children has given a welcome boost to her recently created PAC for families with children who have any sort of disability. "One woman called from Norfolk and wanted to get involved," Toomey said. "Word's getting out." As a nonprofit, Mary's Family could not advocate in political campaigns. So Toomey, of Orlean, and Mary Dotson, of Vienna, created disAbility Votes in January to influence political campaigns on behalf of all people with disabilities. Both were scheduled to make the rounds meeting with lawmakers in Richmond on Thursday....

By Tim Craig | February 24, 2009; 12:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Senate Blocks Ban on Fundraising at Mansion

The Democratic-controlled Senate has failed to act on a bill that would outlaw fundraising for political candidates and causes at the Executive Mansion, which is the oldest occupied governor's mansion in the United States. Two weeks ago, the House unanimously approved a bill by House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem) that banned the solicitation of funds at the mansion for any purpose "other than for charity." Griffith put in the bill after The Farm Team, a political action committee formed to help Democratic women seek elected office, posted a solicitation on a liberal fundraising Web site last month seeking donations from $25 to $1,000 to attend a series of events in Richmond, including at the Governor's Mansion. Officials at the Farm Team quickly admitted they made a mistake by posting the solicitation. They said they never intended to give off the appearance they planned to raise money at the...

By Tim Craig | February 23, 2009; 5:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Moran, Wagner Prevail in Fairfax Straw Poll

Former delegate Brian Moran, a candidate for governor, and Jody Wagner, a candidate for lieutenant governor, came out on top at this weekend's Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee straw poll in Fairfax County. According to party leaders, Moran won the straw poll with 83 votes. State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) came in second with 43 votes. Terry McAuliffe, also a Democratic candidate for governor, received 33 votes. Deeds and Moran spoke at the event. McAuliffe was invited to speak, but he did not attend. In the lieutenant governor's race, Wagner beat her nearest opponent by 18 votes. Wagner received 62 votes compared to Jon Bowerbank's 44 votes. Pat Edmonson, a Virginia Beach school board member, came in third with 18 votes. Attorney Michael Signer received 15 votes. Richmond-based political strategist Rich Savage got 10 votes....

By Tim Craig | February 23, 2009; 2:40 PM ET | Comments (4)

Cuccinelli Claims He Has Edge in AG Race

The race for the GOP nomination for Attorney General is underway because local county and city committees have begun holding mass meetings to determine their nominees to the state convention in late May. The county-by-county contest can be maddening for journalists and political observers to follow, but Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax) claims he has jumped into an early lead in the hunt for delegates. In an email to supporters, Cuccinelli said he is almost running even with one of his rivals for the nomination, Dave Foster, in Alexandria. In Henry County, Cuccinelli said he and another GOP candidate for Attorney General, John Brownlee, are also locked in a close fight for delegates. In Bath County, Cuccinelli said he has secured 80 percent of the delegates. He also claims an 80 percent showing in Waynesboro. In Lancaster County, Cuccinelli said "only two delegates of over 30 are committed to any other...

By Tim Craig | February 23, 2009; 9:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Shannon Snags Labor Support

The Washington Area Building Trades Council announced on Friday it is endorsing Del. Steve Shannon (D-Fairfax) in the race for Attorney General. The Council is made up a 15 unions, including workers in the Washington area who serve as plumbers, electricians, painters and roofers. "Steve Shannon has fought for working families since his first day in the General Assembly, just as he did as a Virginia prosecutor," said Vance Ayres, Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the Washington D.C. Building Trades Council. "He will be a leader for Virginia families as our next Attorney General." Shannon, who is so far running unopposed for the Democratic nomination, also recently picked up support from Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim....

By Tim Craig | February 23, 2009; 9:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell's Last Day

Robert F. McDonnell (R) officially steps down today as the state's 44th attorney general to campaign full time for governor. Employees will throw a party for McDonnell this afternoon. Three of them will move with him to the campaign office -- J. Tucker Martin, communications director, as well as his scheduler and deputy scheduler. In a statement released by McDonnell's office, a slew of prominent state and national leaders praised him for his work over the last three years. The varied group includes Bill Leighty, former chief of staff to Democratic Govs. Mark R. Warner and Timothy M. Kaine, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., City of Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Herring (who just endorsed Democratic candidate Brian Moran for governor) and Chuck Curran, chief counsel for AOL. "It has been a distinct pleasure to have served at a time that Bob McDonnell was Attorney General,'' Leighty...

By Anita Kumar | February 20, 2009; 12:43 PM ET | Comments (1)

Moran Picks Up Support in Prince William

Many of Prince William County's Democratic leaders today endorsed Brian Moran's bid for governor. Although Republicans still dominate local government in Prince William County, Moran picked up support from county supervisors John Jenkins and Frank Principi, Del. Paul Nichols, former delegate David Brickley, Occoquan Mayor Earnie Porta and former county attorney Sharon Pandak. Pete Frisbie, the chairman of the county Democratic committee, and party activist and former supervisor Hilda Barg also endorsed Moran. In a series of speeches inside a fire station in Dale City, the party leaders said Moran was the best candidate for governor because he is "grounded" in Virginia and has a record of public service. They also stressed they believe Moran is the Democrat who can win Prince William County, a key general election battleground, in the fall. "Twenty years ago, he was out there fighting as a Democrat when it was really hard to fight...

By Tim Craig | February 19, 2009; 2:02 PM ET | Comments (2)

McAuliffe Receives Support

Former Democratic National Committee ChairmanTerry McAuliffe announced today that his campaign for governor has received endorsements from Democratic leaders from across the state. In supporting him, the leaders cited McAuliffe's vision for turning Virginia's economy around and their belief that McAuliffe is best qualified to carry on the tradition of leadership set by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and former Gov. Mark R. Warner. "We Democrats have made such incredible gains over the past seven years, specifically because we have stayed focused on delivering results for Virginians," said Jim Turpin, vice chairman of finance for the Virginia Democratic Party. "Terry is the candidate in this race who is best qualified to get Virginia's economy back on track, and that's the result voters are looking for." McAuliffe is running against state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath and former delegate Brian Moran of Alexandria. Both men have been running for governor for...

By Anita Kumar | February 19, 2009; 12:25 PM ET | Comments (5)

John Warner Knighted for Service

Former U.S. Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) will be made an honorary Knight Commander by Queen Elizabeth II. The award is in recognition of Warner's service to strengthening the alliance between the United States and United Kingdom, particularly in fighting threats to national security around the world, according to a press release from the British Ambassador. "John Warner has spent his life in the service of the American people,'' British Ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald said. "Throughout his long and distinguished career he has been a constant and unstinting friend of the United Kingdom, working with us on issues ranging from defense cooperation to the Northern Ireland peace process."...

By Anita Kumar | February 19, 2009; 12:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia Notebook: Republicans Assess Opposition

It's no secret that Virginia Republicans are hungry to win this year's governor's race, and they say they think Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell will be a formidable GOP nominee. Given McDonnell's expected strengths, some Virginia Democrats may decide to support the Democratic candidate who they think has the best chance to defeat him. But Democratic activists are divided about whether Terry McAuliffe, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath) or former delegate Brian Moran stands the best chance against McDonnell. So, to help Democrats figure out what the opposition is thinking, Virginia Notebook spent a day asking randomly selected Virginia GOP leaders which Democratic candidate they fear most as an opponent. Here are some of their answers. Yes, these are Republicans, so Democrats will have to decide whether the answers reflect a bit of reverse psychology....

By Tim Craig | February 18, 2009; 1:40 PM ET | Comments (1)

Firefighters Make it Official

The Virginia Professional Firefighters Association, an influential labor organization, officially endorsed Terry McAuliffe in the Democratic primary for governor today at an event in Richmond. R. Michael Mohler, the president of the association, said the union trusts McAuliffe to create more jobs as governor and run a vigorous campaign this year that will also help Democrats retake control of the House of Delegates. "We understand the connection between a strong economy and our jobs," Mohler told about 100 union members, who were wearing yellow "Firefighters for McAuliffe" t-shirts. "We have to turn the power of the legislature over to the Democrats. We intend to take on Bill Howell ....We are going to take him out. The person who can do that is with us today, the person with us today obviously has the financial resources, he's got the network, he's got the vision, he's got the energy to get out...

By Tim Craig | February 18, 2009; 12:32 PM ET | Comments (2)

Play Ball!

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, state legislators, lobbyists and staffers squared off at a charity basketball game tonight at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Kaine and his staff, many wearing blue "Kainiac" T-shirts, faced Richmond's lobbyists. Spotted on the court: Transportation Secretary Pierce Homer, Technology Secretary Aneesh Chopra, Kaine's chief counsel Larry Roberts, Keith Hare of the Medical Society of Virginia, and Keenan Caldwell of the American Cancer Society, among others. After the Kainiacs lost to the lobbyists, the House of Delegates played the Senate. But only three senators showed up and staffers and others including one reporter had to help fill out their team....

By Anita Kumar | February 17, 2009; 9:17 PM ET | Comments (1)

Democrats Collect McAuliffe's Check

Terry McAuliffe has written the Democratic Party of Virginia a check for $74,750 for the 39 tables he purchased at last week's Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner, according to fundraising records. The money, which came from McAuliffe's campaign account, amounts to one-tenth of the total money the state party claims it raised at the dinner. Excluding transfers from Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's (D) political action committee and other national and local Democratic committees, McAuliffe's check appears to rank in the top 15 in terms of largest contribution the party has received at one time dating back to 1997, according to records available on the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks money in state politics. McAuliffe apparently did not get a break on the cost of the tables even though he helped the state party raise $100,000 last fall so it could buy the building that houses its Richmond headquarters....

By Tim Craig | February 17, 2009; 2:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Will Speak at Gala

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor this year, will speak at the Republican Governors Association annual gala Monday in Washington. The gala is the RGA's largest event of the year and is attended by most of the nation's Republican governors. Govs. Charlie Crist of Florida, Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Haley Barbour of Mississippi will be the featured speakers. McDonnell and New Jersey's former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie will also speak....

By Anita Kumar | February 17, 2009; 8:55 AM ET | Comments (2)

Virginia Firefighters Likely To Endorse McAuliffe

The Virginia Professional Firefighters Association, an influential labor organization, will apparently endorse Terry McAuliffe in the Democratic primary for governor, according to sources familiar with the decision. In recent days, the leadership of the VPFF has been sending signals to Brian Moran and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, also candidates for the nomination, that the firefighters union was going to get behind McAuliffe. Now, the Henrico Professional Firefighters Union has a statement on its website saying the state association will make its endorsement of McAuliffe official on Wednesday at the State Capitol. "President Mohler has notified the other candidates that we are endorsing Terry McAuliffe ...We need as many members there as possible," the announcement states. "We have a goal of assembling 200 people (please bring friends, family or anyone else willing to come.) We will have the yellow and gold trademark t-shirts for people to wear. I understand that Terry...

By Tim Craig | February 16, 2009; 3:59 PM ET | Comments (9)

Spruill's Son Hopes to Unseat Del. Howell

The Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks money in state politics, is keeping tabs on who has filed to run for the House of Delegates this year. Among the more notable entrants is Lionell Spruil Jr., the son of Del. Lionell Spruill Sr. (D-Chesepeake). Delegate Spruill's son is challenging Del. Algie T. Howell Jr. (D-Norfolk) in the Democratic Primary. "I've been noticing and listening to a lot of the people in the community that I live and they are not really happy with the performance of our current legislature," said Lionell Spruill Jr. "They want a real leader. I am not saying (Howell's) not that, but I think they deserve better, and I am offering it to them." When he was asked if his father will help him try to unseat Howell, Lionell Spruill Jr. said, "that's between my father and I." There is also an interesting race shaping up...

By Tim Craig | February 16, 2009; 1:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Whose PAC is It?

Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick, the chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, and his wife, Amy, may have figured out a way to get around the prohibition against raising money during the legislative session. On Friday, Frederick announced in an email that he will not seek reelection this year but he encouraged supporters to lobby Amy to seek the GOP nomination to replace him. Frederick directed his supporters to www.voteamy.com "to send her your encouragement before she makes a final decision about whether to enter the race." On the VoteAmy website, supporters are also asked to make a financial contribution to Virginia's Future PAC. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks money in state politics, Frederick set up the PAC in 2004 to give out campaign funds to Republicans. Last year, Frederick used the PAC to help finance his bid for state party chairman. With Frederick now directing supporters...

By Tim Craig | February 15, 2009; 3:14 PM ET | Comments (2)

A Night of Laughs At VCCA Dinner

Style Weekly, Richmond's alternative newspaper, has put together a video of the speeches given by the four candidates for governor at the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association dinner. At the event, which was held Wednesday, Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the soon to be GOP nominee for governor, and the three Democratic candidates all roasted each other, the press and themselves. Style Weekly offers up snippets of some of the jokes, including the harsh joke that McAuliffe landed on Joe Trippi, who is one of Moran's senior advisors....

By Tim Craig | February 13, 2009; 6:28 PM ET | Comments (1)

McAuliffe's Wealth Comes Into Focus (Sort of)

Terry McAuliffe, a Democratic candidate for governor, has filed a financial disclosure form, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. The documents show McAuliffe has a net worth of at least $5.8 million. But McAuliffe is likely worth considerably more because candidates in Virginia do not have to report the exact value of an investment that tops $250,000. McAuliffe reports 21 investments of at least $250,000. McAuliffe also has six investments whose value range from $50,001 to $250,000 and six whose value range from $10,001 to $50,000 According to published reports, McAuliffe is likely worth at least of tens of millions of dollars. As the campaign unfolds, how McAuliffe made his fortune will likely become a big part of the debate. By comparison, Democratic candidate Brian J. Moran has only two investments whose value range from $50,001 to $250,000. Moran also reports one asset of between $10,000 and $50,000. Sen....

By Tim Craig | February 13, 2009; 11:19 AM ET | Comments (11)

Gillespie To Be McDonnell's Chairman

Ed Gillespie, former counselor to President George W. Bush and chairman of the Republican National Committee, will serve as chairman of Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R)'s campaign for governor this year. Gillespie, a former lobbyist and a fixture in national Republican politics for two decades, will be involved in every aspect of strategy, policy development, communications and fundraising, according to senior campaign officials. The Fairfax County resident will also be a frequent surrogate for McDonnell across the state and nation. His involvement is further proof that Republcians are investing heavily in McDonnell's campaign as they fight to win back the governor's mansion in a state that has been trending from red to blue. "Bob McDonnell is the right person to lead Virginia forward in these challenging times,'' Gillespie said in a statement. "His record of bringing people together to get things done is exactly what we need right now."...

By Anita Kumar | February 13, 2009; 9:27 AM ET | Comments (1)

Frederick Urges Wife to Run for Seat

Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William), chairman of the state GOP, is keeping his pledge to not seek re-election in November, but is trying to convince his wife, Amy, to run for his seat. In a letter this morning, Frederick asks supporters to help urge his wife to run by visiting www.VoteAmy.com. "While Amy hasn't yet made a final decision yet, she is leaning towards running but could use some extra convincing,'' he wrote. "As a mom and someone who has spent her career and life working for those less fortunate and providing a voice to those that needed one, I think she'd make a great delegate." Fredrerick is completing his third two-year term. He vowed not to run for a fourth term if elected chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. His wife is a frequent visitor to Richmond and is often seen on the House floor with the...

By Anita Kumar | February 13, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (4)

Candidates For Governor Meet The Press

The four candidates for governor will speak tonight at the annual Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association dinner in Richmond. Attorney General Robert McDonnell, the soon-to-be GOP nominee, and all three Democrats vying for their party's nomination will address about 120 State House reporters, legislators and their aides, political consultants and lobbyists. Several other candidates for statewide office and the leadership of both the Virginia Republican and Democratic parties are also expected to attend. The event marks the second time that all four candidates for governor will share the same stage. They also spoke to the Richmond press corps in December at the annual Associated Press Day. At tonight's dinner, former Washington Post reporter Robert H. Melton and the late James H. Latimer of the Richmond Times Dispatch will be inducted into the association's Hall of Fame, which honors journalists who excelled in coverage of state politics and government. Their names will...

By Tim Craig | February 11, 2009; 5:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Petersburg Officials Endorse Moran

Most of the elected officials who represent Petersburg, a majority black city south of Richmond, announced today they are supporting Brian Moran's bid for the Democratic nomination for governor. Moran was endorsed by: Petersburg Mayor Annie M. Mickens, Vice Mayor Horace Webb, Sheriff Vanessa Crawford, state Del. Rosalyn Dance and three city council members. "We face tough challenges in the next few years and we need someone with a proven record of fighting for people as our next Governor," Mickens said. Although it has only 32,000 residents, Petersburg is an important component of the Democratic base in Virginia. Last year, President Obama won 89 percent of the vote in Petersburg, where African Americans account for 80 percent of the population. On Tuesday, Moran was also endorsed by a prominent African-American official in Richmond, Commonwealth Attorney Michael N. Herring....

By Tim Craig | February 11, 2009; 2:07 PM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia Notebook: JJ Dinner Serves Up Answers

A week ago, Virginia Notebook outlined 14 questions that would be answered at the state Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner, which took place Saturday at the Richmond Convention Center. Former president Bill Clinton headlined the event, but much of the focus was on the party's candidates for governor: Terry McAuliffe, Brian Moran and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath). Here are the answers:...

By Tim Craig | February 11, 2009; 11:14 AM ET | Comments (0)

Moon Wins Firehouse Primary in Fairfax County

Fairfax County School Board member Ilryong Moon defeated community activist Janyce N. Hedetniemi and the Rev. Ronald F. Christian in a "firehouse" primary yesterday and today for the Democratic nomination for the county's Braddock District supervisor seat. Moon now faces Republican John Cook, 45, a lawyer and community activist, and Carey C. Campbell, an independent who ran unsuccessfully in the chairman's race, in a special election scheduled for March 10. The three are vying to replace Democrat Sharon S. Bulova, who narrowly defeated Supervisor Pat S. Herrity (R-Springfield) to become chairman of the Board of Supervisors. Bulova replaced Democrat Gerald E. Connolly, now in Congress. Scott A. Surovell, chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, reported that Moon earned 1,528 votes, Hedetniemi earned 1,073 votes and Christian earned 92 votes in the firehouse primary. The fate of an additional eight uncounted votes was uncertain, but they won't change the outcome,...

By Amy Gardner | February 10, 2009; 11:16 PM ET | Comments (8)

Republicans Seek More Control in Senate

Republicans tried to gain more power in the Democratic-controlled Senate today by attempting to persuade a Democrat to vote with them on a change that would have given Republicans more representation on two key committees. Republican leaders proposed adding their own co-chairman to the Finance and Courts of Justice committees and adding another Republican senator to Courts of Justice. If Sen. Ralph S. Northam (D-Norfolk) had voted for the change, the chamber would have split 20 to 20 and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) would have broken the tie in favor of the Republicans....

By Anita Kumar | February 10, 2009; 11:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine and Obama Will Appear in Fairfax County

President Obama and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine will pay a visit to the site of the final segment of the Fairfax County Parkway tomorrow in an effort to highlight the potential impact of billions of new dollars for infrastructure projects. Obama and Kaine, who is also the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will go to the Engineer Proving Ground, where the last leg of the parkway is under construction. Construction of new roads and repair of old ones has been a struggle in Virginia and elsewhere as states find themselves without the funds to pay for the expensive construction. Obama has said the infrastructure spending in the stimulus bill that passed the Senate and House in different versions would help create millions of jobs....

By Tim Craig | February 10, 2009; 10:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds Hires Campaign Staff

State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds hired Brooke Borkenhagen to serve as communications director and spokesperson for his gubernatorial campaign. Borkenhagen served as press secretary at the Iowa Democratic Party during the 2008 general election cycle. She was a press aide to Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) and North Dakota spokesperson for Obama for America in the lead up to the North Dakota caucus. Peter Jackson, who had served as executive director of the Future Deeds political action committee and Deed's spokesman, will become senior advisor for communications. Jackson worked on Deeds' 2005 campaign for attorney general. "Brooke and Peter bring a wide-range of experience to our team and will fill crucial roles communicating Senator Deeds' message of creating opportunity in every corner of Virginia," Deeds' camapaign manager Joe Abbey said....

By Anita Kumar | February 10, 2009; 6:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

House Democrats Support Shannon

Del. Stephen C. Shannon (D-Fairfax), the only announced Democratic candidate for the attorney general, receive support from the top two Democratic leaders in the House of Delegates. House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong and Del. Kenneth R. Plum (D-Fairfax), chairman of the Democratic caucus, endorsed Shannon. "I'm proud to support Steve because, when it comes to protecting children, Steve has been a leader since before his election to the House of Delegates," Armstrong said. "As a former prosecutor and as a dad, Steve knows what it takes to keep our kids safe." Sen. John S. Edwards (D-Roanoke) is considering running, but has not made a decision....

By Anita Kumar | February 10, 2009; 11:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

Congressmen Respond to Moran's JJ Speech

Two Virginia Democratic congressmen indicated today they were uncomfortable with Brian Moran's attacks on Terry McAuliffe at the state party's Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner Although he never mentioned McAuliffe by name, Moran took multiple swipes at McAuliffe. When asked if Moran's criticisms of McAuliffe during the dinner were appropriate, U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va) replied: "Primaries can be hard fought and rough-in-tumble affairs and my own experience is trying to stay positive is the better course in the long run." Connolly, who is neutral in the primary, declined further comment. U.S. Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott noted there was a smattering of boos when Moran stated during his speech, "We need a fighter, not a fundraiser." "Did you hear the public reaction?" Scott asked. "McAuliffe, and to a certain extent, Deeds were positive, had a positive agenda and Moran when he gave his criticisms he got booed. Have you...

By Tim Craig | February 9, 2009; 3:12 PM ET | Comments (8)

GOP Congressmen Apparently Boycott Kaine Event

Virginia Democratic leaders say the Republicans members of Virginia's congressional delegation boycotted a meeting with Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today at the Governor's Mansion. Kaine hosted the congressional delegation for an annual meeting to talk about state and federal issues. U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and James Webb, both Democrats, and five of the six Democratic House members from Virginia attended. But Kaine said the state's five GOP House members failed to show because the topic of the meeting was President Obama's proposed stimulus package. "Virginia has had a long history of bipartisan work when it comes to issues that transcends politics and affect the people of Virginia," Webb said. "This is the way that a delegation should work, and for the Republican members of this delegation to decide to boycott a meeting that would benefit their constituents through their participation is something that I think is very regrettable, and...

By Tim Craig | February 9, 2009; 1:47 PM ET | Comments (3)

McAuliffe Celebrates Birthday By Raising Money

Terry McAuliffe, a Democratic candidate for governor, turns 52 today. To celebrate, McAuliffe will be hosting a "Birthday Bash" fundraiser Tuesday night at the Westin Arlington Gateway. Tickets range from $52 for "young professionals" to $5,200 for a host sponsor. Virginia politicians have been mixing birthdays and fundraisers for years. In September, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran celebrated his 49th birthday by hosting a fundraiser. Last year, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, also a candidate for the nomination, held a $100 a plate fundraiser to celebrate his 50th birthday. Deeds turned 51 last month. There will also likely be plenty of GOP money raised around June 15. Both Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who is running for reelection, celebrate their birthdays on that day. Bolling will be turning 52 while McDonnell will be turning 55....

By Tim Craig | February 9, 2009; 11:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

Are Republicans Fundraising Too?

For weeks, Republican legislators have been attacking their Democratic colleagues for attending fundraisers during the annual legislative session. Now, Democrats are calling Republicans hypocrites for doing the same thing. Fliers being distributed at the state Capitol and notices on the Internet publicize several Lincoln-Reagan Day dinners this month featuring Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and other delegates and senators. "It turns out that House Republicans may have been soliciting funds during session,'' said Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the state Democratic party. "It's time for House Republicans to stop the political games and start focusing on the issues that matter to middle-class families in Virginia." G. Paul Nardo, the speaker's chief of staff, said that when Howell saw his name on a draft flier of Stafford County's event he asked for it to be removed. Some of the fliers are still being distributed though....

By Anita Kumar | February 9, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Warner Ends Year With $1.1 Million in Bank

Sen. Mark R. Warner (D) spent $12.5 million last year in his successful campaign against Republican James S. Gilmore III, according to recently released campaign finance reports. But Warner still has $1.1 million in the bank, even though he is not up for reelection until 2014. Warner totally dominated Gilmore in the money race last year. Gilmore raised and spent about $2.4 million on his campaign. In the 11th Congressional District, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va) raised and spent about $2 million in his race. Connolly ended the year with $25,000 in the bank. In the 5th Congressional District, Rep Tom Perriello (D-Va.) raised and spent about $1.8 million in his surprise upset of former congressman Virgil Goode, a Republican. Goode raised $1.9 million, but still reports a balance of $165,000. Perriello won by just 727 votes, which raises the question of whether Goode could be prevailed if he had...

By Tim Craig | February 9, 2009; 10:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Moran Finds his Rhythm at JJ (But So Does McAuliffe)

At the Jefferson Jackson Day dinner last night, former delegate Brian Moran tried to pivot the race for the Democratic nomination for governor back on his terms, delivering a solid address that positioned himself as the politically mature, safe candidate in the race. In a speech that took a surprising number of swipes as his rival for the nomination, Terry McAuliffe, Moran argued the stakes are too high for Democrats to risk the party's future with the new kid on the block. "This campaign will be about who can win in November," Moran said. "It took us a generation to build this party. ... This was no overnight success -- the real leaders of our party served and fought for people first. " A few hours later, McAuliffe was trying to send a signal that he, not Moran, will be the one defining the terms of who prevails in the...

By Tim Craig | February 8, 2009; 4:21 PM ET | Comments (9)

Armstrong Skips JJ Dinner

Many Democratic legislators attended tonight's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner but one of their leaders, House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry), was noticeably absent. Republican legislators have criticized their Democratic colleagues for attending the event in past years because state law bans fundraising during the legislative session. "I don't vote for a bill that bans attendance at such events or citicize the speaker for participating in his own and then show up at JJ,'' Armstrong wrote in an email. 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....

By Anita Kumar | February 7, 2009; 8:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Democrats Party at the JJ

About 3,000 Democrats clad in black tie and ballgowns gathered in downtown Richmond for the party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner. Each paid at least $175 per seat, generating the state party $700,000. Former President Bill Clinton, the keynote speaker, received a standing ovation as he took the stage shortly at 7:30 p.m. after being introduced by Del. Lionell Spruill Sr. (D-Chesapeake). Clinton mentioned Virginia's many recent Democratic wins, which includes back-to-back governors, U.S. Senate seats and the majority of U.S. House seats. Republicans "have to go back to the drawing board just as we did and it may take them years to figure out,'' Clinton said. "I hope it does." Clinton mentioned all the state's prominent Democrats, including Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, U.S. Sens. James Webb and Mark R. Warner. He even gave a shout out to Saron S. Bulova, elected chairwoman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this...

By Anita Kumar | February 7, 2009; 7:35 PM ET | Comments (3)

Bowerbank Receives Support

Forty Democratic leaders and elected officials, many from southern Virginia, endorsed Jon Bowerbank for lieutenant governor today. "There is no candidate more qualified for lieutenant governor than Jon Bowerbank,'' Del. Clarence E. "Bud" Phillips (D-Dickenson) said. "Jon's business experience and expertise in the energy sector are unparalleled, and that's exactly the experience and expertise that we need in Virginia's government. If we want a Democrat in the lieutenant governor's office come November, we need Jon Bowerbank as our candidate." Bowerbank, a wealthy businessman from Russell County, faces former Finance Secretary Jody Wagner, political advisor Rich Savage and Pat Edmonson, a member of the Virginia Beach School Board, for the Democratic nomination. "Today's endorsements confirm the incredible amount of excitement and energy around this campaign,'' Bowerbank said. "As more and more people hear our message of common sense solutions to our economic, energy, and infrastructure challenges, our campaign gains more and...

By Anita Kumar | February 7, 2009; 4:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Anti-Smoking Groups Had Been Targeting Howell

Some Republicans are questioning whether House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) was worried about his own reelection chances when he decided to craft a deal with Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) to ban smoking in most bars and restaurants. According to GOP delegates, Howell stressed during a closed-door House Republican caucus meeting Wednesday that the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and American Lung Association had dispatched a paid organizer to his district. Officials close to the organizations confirm that an organizer had been working in Howell's district to "educate" the public about his previous opposition to an indoor smoking ban. Howell's district, which includes parts of Fredericksburg and Stafford County, has traditionally voted Republican. But in the November election, President Obama received 50 percent of the vote while Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) carried it with 62 percent of the vote. Other Republicans caution that Howell's decision to back...

By Tim Craig | February 6, 2009; 4:12 PM ET | Comments (3)

McDonnell Opposes Smoking Ban

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the soon-to-be GOP nominee for governor, will not be supporting the proposed smoking ban floating through the General Assembly, according to his staff. J. Tucker Martin, a McDonnell spokesman, said the attorney general is happy that House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) tried to work out a compromise but believes 'the free market" should decide if smoking is banned in bars and restaurants. "He generally believes this is an issue that should be solved by the free market and not government," Martin said. McDonnell's stance could embolden some House and Senate Republicans to vote against the proposal. It also keeps McDonnell in good standing with his party's conservative base, many of whom are outraged that Howell brokered a deal with Kaine....

By Tim Craig | February 6, 2009; 9:58 AM ET | Comments (10)

Legislators Targeted On Smoking Ban

Americans for Prosperity, a group that supports limited government and free trade, has hired a company to make tens of thousands of phone calls to the offices of a dozen legislators to pressure them to vote against a smoking ban. Targeted legislators include Republicans and Democrats who may be considering voting for a smoking ban this year because it is being supported by Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D). "Our members are upset that the Speaker has chosen to trust big government to solve our problems instead of consumers," said Ben Marchi, the group's state director. "This is a consumer rights issue. This is the government telling consumers they aren't smart enough to decide for themselves where to patron."...

By Anita Kumar | February 5, 2009; 9:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mayors Support Wagner

Six mayor endorsed former finance secretary Jody Wagner today in her race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. Bill Euille of Alexandria, James Holley of Portmouth, Linda Johnson of Suffolk, Mimi Elrod of Lexington, Faye Prichard of Ashland and Annie Mickens of Petersburg said they support Wagner because of her history working for former governor Mark R. Warner and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and focus on economic development. "As mayors, we're on the front line every day dealing with this national economic crisis," Euille said. "We need leaders in state government who can help turn this economy around."...

By Anita Kumar | February 5, 2009; 9:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Smoking Ban: What Do You Think?

Vote in the poll below, and explain your vote in the comments. poll by twiigs.com...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | February 5, 2009; 2:46 PM ET | Comments (28)

Spruill Apologizes For Muslim Remark

Del. Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake) apologized today for saying on the House floor yesterday that he doesn't like to hear prayers of different religions, "especially those of the Muslim faith that I don't care too much about." Spruill, who is also a member of the Democratic National Committee, issued his apology moments after his employer, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran, urged him to do so. Beside being a delegate and a DNC member, Spruill is a paid consultant for the Moran campaign when the General Assembly is not in session. Moran is paying Spruill $7,500 a month to do outreach in the African-American community, although his salary is suspended during the 45-day legislative session. During a House floor debate Wednesday, Spruill spoke out against a bill that would allow state police chaplains to use "Jesus" in public prayers. After Spruill's comment about Muslims were reported on in the Virginian Pilot, some...

By Tim Craig | February 5, 2009; 2:36 PM ET | Comments (10)

Spruill's Remarks About Muslims Make News

Could Del. Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake), who serves as senior advisor to former delegate Brian Moran, turn into a distraction for his boss' campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor? During a debate on the House floor yesterday, Spruill spoke out about a proposed law that would allow state police chaplains to use Jesus' name in public prayers. According to the Virginian Pilot, Spruill announced his opposition to the law but then said he doesn't like to hear prayers of different religions, "especially those of the Muslim faith that I don't care too much about." When the Pilot asked him later about his remarks, Spruill said he didn't mean to offend Muslims but maintains he doesn't like how they end their prayer. The Pilot article did not mention Spruill's connection to Moran. But the episode underscores the potential pitfalls associated with Moran's decision to put another elected official on his payroll....

By Tim Craig | February 5, 2009; 10:40 AM ET | Comments (5)

Governor, Legislative Leaders Agree to Restaurant Smoking Ban

Virginia, a leading grower of tobacco in the U.S., will ban smoking in most restaurants and bars in an agreement announced today by Gov. Kaine. Only private clubs and restaurants, or those with an independently ventilated smoking room, would not be affected. The text of the governor's press release follows. RICHMOND--Governor Timothy M. Kaine and key leaders in the General Assembly today announced a landmark agreement to pass a statewide smoking ban in Virginia's bars and restaurants. The legislation will ban smoking in nearly all restaurants across the Commonwealth, allowing narrow exceptions for private clubs and restaurants with a designated smoking room that is physically separated and independently ventilated from non-smoking dining areas....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | February 5, 2009; 10:38 AM ET | Comments (4)

Huckabee Endorses Cuccinelli

Former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee endorsed state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax) in his race for the Republican nomination for attorney general this year. "Ken Cuccinelli is a rare breed of leader who boldly stands up for conservative principles,'' Huckabee wrote in an email. "I would have been honored to have served alongside a leader like Ken." Huckabee mentioned that Cuccinelli is "pro-life" and drafted the Senate parental consent law, which passed in 2003, supports the Second Amendment and will fight for lower taxes and to slow down the growth of government. "Virginia is blessed to have such a capable and proven leader like Ken,'' Huckabee wrote. "I am committed to doing what I can to help make sure the people of Virginia have Ken as their next attorney general." Cuccinelli faces John Brownlee, the former top prosecutor for Virginia's western district, and David M. Foster,...

By Anita Kumar | February 4, 2009; 5:59 PM ET | Comments (1)

Romney Will Assist Comstock

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney will host a fundraiser this month for Barbara Comstock, who is running for a House of Delegates seat in Fairfax County in November. Comstock, a fixture in Republican circles inside the Beltway, is running against Democratic Del. Margaret G. Vanderhye. Comstock, who worked on Romney's presidential campaign last year, is now a lobbyist in the District. She has lived in McLean for more than 25 years. Comstock worked on Capitol Hill for Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) and the Government Reform Committee, ran opposition research for the Republican National Committee and helped Scooter Libby's legal team in his criminal case....

By Anita Kumar | February 4, 2009; 5:30 PM ET | Comments (1)

Virginia Notebook: Democratic Dinner Holds Answers

The Virginia Democratic Party will have its annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner Saturday at the Richmond Convention Center. Former president Bill Clinton will headline the fundraiser. A who's who of elected officials and party leaders and activists will attend. But the focus will be on the three Democratic candidates for governor: Terry McAuliffe, Brian J. Moran and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath). Here are 15 questions that the dinner should help to answer. Check back next week for the answers....

By Tim Craig | February 4, 2009; 2:04 PM ET | Comments (1)

Candidates For Fairfax Board Waste No Time

The provisional ballots still aren't counted in yesterday's special election for Fairfax County board chairman, but already a new gaggle of candidates are launching campaigns to replace Democrat Sharon S. Bulova in the board's Braddock District seat. According to unofficial results, Bulova narrowly defeated Republican Pat S. Herrity to replace Democrat Gerald E. Connolly, who is now in Congress. Herrity has not yet conceded, however, and county election officials are still canvassing the results. Rokey Suleman, the general registrar, said he does not expect the results to change dramatically, meaning Bulova is likely to be certified the winner with no option of a recount for Herrity. In the meantime, state Democrats are celebrating Bulova's victory as a sign of momentum heading into the fall elections for governor and the House of Delegates. And local leaders are positioning themselves to replace Bulova....

By Amy Gardner | February 4, 2009; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (3)

McAuliffe's Media Campaign Expands to Richmond

Terry McAuliffe, a Democratic candidate for governor, will expand his television advertising campaign to the Richmond market tomorrow, according to sources familar with his ad buy. McAuliffe's Richmond ad buy, however, is relatively small. Sources say he purchased about $15,000 in airtime. McAuliffe kicked off his media campaign last week by buying $30,000 in air time in the Norfolk market. On Sunday, McAuliffe aired an ad in Hampton Roads during the Super Bowl. McAuliffe is also airing radio ads in Richmond and Norfolk. McAuliffe's rivals for the Democratic nomination, Brian Moran and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), have not yet started a paid media campaign....

By Tim Craig | February 4, 2009; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (1)

UPDATED: McCain Will Campaign for McDonnell

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, said today that former presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, will travel to Virginia to campaign for him next month. McCain and McDonnell will appear together at the McLean home of R. Carter Pate, McCain's Virginia finance chairman on March 25. McDonnell also said he expects to travel across the nation, including Texas, Chicago, Palm Beach and New York, for fundraisers. "I have been fortunate to get some pretty broad support from some major political leaders,'' he said. Mike Huckabee, the guitar-playing Baptist preacher and former Arkansas governor, will appear with McDonnell in the spring. Govs. Sarah Palin (Alaka), Rick Perry (Tex.), Charlie Crist (Fla.) and Mark Sanford (S.C.) are all expected to host fundraisers for McDonnell, GOP sources said....

By Anita Kumar | February 3, 2009; 10:27 PM ET | Comments (1)

McAuliffe Unveils More Radio Ads

Terry McAuliffe, a Democratic candidate for governor, released two new radio ads today that are aimed at winning over African-American voters. The ads, which focus on McAuliffe's pledge to create more jobs, will air on black radio stations in Richmond and Norfolk. In both spots, McAuliffe tries to preempt critics who argue he does not have deep enough roots in state and local politics. "Virginia has been my home for nearly twenty years; it's where my wife Dorothy and I are raising our five children," McAuliffe states. "I've listened to your needs and know what families are facing."...

By Tim Craig | February 3, 2009; 5:36 PM ET | Comments (2)

Senator Edwards "Leaning Towards" Run for AG

Sen. John S. Edwards (D-Roanoke) said today he is strongly considering entering this year's race for the Democratic nomination for attorney general. "I am leaning towards it," said Edwards, adding he will officially announce his plans when the legislative session ends Feb. 28. In 2001, Edwards unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination for attorney general. He also flirted with a run in 2005. Last month, Edwards was spotted at a Richmond restaurant plotting campaign strategy. If he enters the race, Edwards will face Del. Steve Shannon (D-Fairfax) in the June 9 primary. Shannon has already amassed a hefty war chest; he had about $750,000 in the bank as of Dec. 31. But Edwards said he still thinks there is room for another candidate in the race, although he added "I have nothing bad to say against (Shannon) at all." If Edwards runs, it will be the first time in decades...

By Tim Craig | February 3, 2009; 3:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Resigns To Run for Governor

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, told his staff in an email today that he was resigning to campaign full-time as of Feb. 20. "To ensure that Virginia's citizens have the full time Attorney General they deserve I am, in keeping with Virginia political tradition, resigning as Attorney General,'' McDonnell wrote. In the email sent at 8 a.m., McDonnell calls serving as attorney general "the highest professional honor of my life." "This has been a very difficult decision to make because of my love for this office and all of you,'' he wrote....

By Anita Kumar | February 3, 2009; 9:18 AM ET | Comments (14)

Fairfax Special Election Is On

Weather may be an impediment for those wishing to vote today in the special election for chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. But the election will proceed, Rokey Suleman, the county's general registrar, said early this morning. Suleman was up at 2 a.m. to talk with state highway officials and the State Board of Elections about whether today's forecast warranted a postponement. "The reports look good through the close of polls," he said. "The weather service says we dodged a bullet. It's going to snow but the roads will just be wet."...

By Amy Gardner | February 3, 2009; 4:45 AM ET | Comments (1)

Republicans Rally for Herrity

The Republican Party of Virginia sent out an urgent email alert encouraging supporters to help the GOP win tomorrow's special election for Fairfax County board chairman. "Tomorrow Republicans can make history and help push back against the pro-Obama Democrats who are attempting to take control of Virginia,'' according to the email. "But we need YOU to take action NOW!" Republican Supervisor Pat S. Herrity (Springfield) will face Democrat Sharon S. Bulova (Braddock), the vice chairman of the Board of Supervisors, and two independents in tomorrow's election. They are competing to replace Democrat Gerald E. Connolly, who won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in November. "Virginia Democrats...have been very clear, if they lose this election, it will put a BIG damper on their plans to build on the Obama momentum and take back the Virginia House in next November's elections,'' according to the email....

By Anita Kumar | February 2, 2009; 5:22 PM ET | Comments (9)

McDonnell Helps Push Herrity to Finish Line

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R) gave $25,000 last week to Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity (Springfield), the GOP nominee in tomorrow's contest for Board Chairman. Herrity has not yet reported the donation to the State Board of Elections, but McDonnell advisors say it was delivered last week. The contest between Herrity and Supervisor Sharon S. Bulova (D-Braddock), the Democratic nominee, has become a crucial grudge match between Virginia Republicans and Democrats. A Herrity win would be an embarrassing setback for Virginia Democrats as they prepare for this year's races for governor and the House of Delegates. McDonnell, the GOP nominee for governor, has little to lose by taking an active role in Herrity's race. Considering the Democratic tilt of Fairfax County, the pressure is on Virginia Democrats to pull out a victory for Bulova. But if Herrity pulls out a surprise win, McDonnell can take part of the credit....

By Tim Craig | February 2, 2009; 2:07 PM ET | Comments (0)

McAuliffe Airs Ad During Super Bowl

Terry McAuliffe, a Democratic candidate for governor, aired a campaign commercial in Hampton Roads during the Super Bowl, according to a GOP strategist who saw the ad. The 30-second ad aired on Norfolk's NBC affiliate at 9:07 p.m. just after the conclusion of the 3rd Quarter. A McAuliffe spokesman confirmed the ad buy, but was unable to say how much it cost to purchase the airtime. McAuliffe began airing television ads in Hampton Roads last week, which is believed to be the earliest that any statewide candidate in Virginia has ever launched a paid media campaign. McAuliffe now also probably becomes the first statewide candidate to ever air a campaign commercial during the Super Bowl. Last year, President Obama made news when he aired a commerical in some markets during the Super Bowl, which occurred a few days before Super Tuesday. In McAuliffe's case, he is advertising for a Democratic...

By Tim Craig | February 1, 2009; 9:54 PM ET | Comments (3)

 

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