Archive: March 2009

A Little Rock from Little Rock

Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, and Mike Huckabee, former presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor, had an impromptu jam session at a fundraiser last night in Bristol attended by 130 people. Huckabee headlined fundraisers for McDonnell in Roanoke and Bristol yesterday and in Virginia Beach today. He helped raise $360,000 at the three events. Huckabee is playing the bass guitar and yes, that's McDonnell on the drums....

By Anita Kumar | March 31, 2009; 7:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Another Union Backs McAuliffe

Terry McAuliffe, who has spent decades in Washington working with national Democratic leaders and forging close ties to unions, received another in a series of labor endorsements today in his race for governor. The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, AFL-CIO, was the latest to announce its support of McAuliffe, citing his approach to create and protect jobs. "Like millions of other Americans, Boilermakers are nervous about the economy and about their future, and their children's future,'' Boilermakers International President Newton B. Jones said. "There is uncertainty and concern, but also hope. We believe our best days are ahead of us and Terry is the best answer to Virginia's need for a leader who can take on some very tough challenges and build a stronger economy." In recent weeks, McAuliffe has been endorsed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest...

By Anita Kumar | March 31, 2009; 6:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Terry's Travels

View Larger Map Anita Kumar today reports on the frequent, far-flung fundraising trips. Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe has made in the run-up to the governor's race primary in June. Use the map above to check out his 2009 out-of-state itinerary so far....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | March 31, 2009; 12:02 AM ET | Comments (2)

Frederick Hires Attorneys for Fight

Jeffrey M. Frederick, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, hired two longtime Republicans to defend him Saturday in his fight against the party's governing board. Lawyers A.J. Dudley, chairman of the 9th House of Delegates legislative district and former federal law clerk (whose dad was a member of the House) and William Stanley, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Committee who worked on the Paula Jones sexual harrassment case against former president Bill Clinton, were retained yesterday. The State Central Committee has scheduled an emergency meeting to vote on whether to remove Frederick, who is opposed by nearly every top-ranking Republican officeholder in Virginia. Dudley said in an interview today that Frederick will not resign this week, but he is still seeking "a fair resolution is in everyone's best interest."...

By Anita Kumar | March 30, 2009; 3:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

Union Endorses McAuliffe

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe was endorsed this morning by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest union in the AFL-CIO. AFSCME, which has more than 10,000 members in Virginia, cited McAuliffe's leadership, business experience and vision, calling him the candidate best equipped to get the state's economy back on track. "In these tough economic times, it is more critical than ever that we work to grow the economy," AFSCME International President Gerald W. McEntee said. "Terry McAuliffe...will work to address rising unemployment head-on by creating new jobs and new opportunities throughout the Commonwealth. Not only do we support his vision of a stronger Virginia, we will be proud to work with him to make it happen."...

By Anita Kumar | March 30, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Romney, Hannity Headline GOP Convention

Mitt Romney, former presidential candidate and former governor of Massachusetts, will speak at the state Republican convention in May. Romney will headline the Commonwealth Gala at the Richmond Downtown Marriott on May 29. Talk show host Sean Hannity will speak the next day at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. About 8,000 to 10,000 activists are expected to attend the convention. Former state attorney general Robert F. McDonnell has already been certified the GOP nominee for governor. But delegates will chose their nominees for lieutenant governor and attorney general....

By Anita Kumar | March 30, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

McDonnell's First Stop

More than 500 enthusiastic supporters turned out in Annandale today to cheer on Republican Robert F. McDonnell as he officially began his campaign for governor. U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf and former congressman Tom Davis greeted McDonnell, his wife, Maureen, a former Washington Redskins cheerleader, and all of his five children at a fire station. Eldest daughter Jeanine, 28, a former Army lieutenant who served in Iraq, introduced him. McDonnell began his six-day "New Jobs, More Opportunities" tour of the state with a mostly positive speech outlining broad policy goals that focus on creating jobs and boosting the economy, partly by cutting bureaucratic red tape to allow Virginians to open a business in 48 hours. He mentioned jobs 19 times. "To every Virginian who has lost their job, to every small-business owner trying to make payroll, to every retiree afraid to look at their retirement account, to every homeowner struggling...

By Anita Kumar | March 28, 2009; 9:11 PM ET | Comments (2)

McDonnell Kicks Off Campaign

Former attorney general Robert F. McDonnell officially kicks off his campaign for governor this morning at a rally at an Annandale fire station. Several hundreds of supporters are expected to attend. Later today, McDonnell will knock on doors on Wagon Wheel Road in the Mount Vernon section of Fairfax County to speak to potential voters on the street where he lived from age 8 until he left for college. He will then fly to Richmond, Virginia Beach and Roanoke. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) and others elected officials are expected to attend today's events. Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will join McDonnell on Monday. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, will embark on a six-day tour of the state that will include visits to every region of Virginia. See below for the full schedule:...

By Anita Kumar | March 28, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (6)

Moran Endorsed by Ebbin, Young Dems

Del. Adam P. Ebbin, the highest-ranking openly gay elected official in Virginia and the only openly gay member of the General Assembly, endorsed Democrat Brian Moran for governor. Ebbin cited Moran's long-term commitment to fighting discrimination and his opposition to the Virginia marriage amendment, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and was passed by voters in 2006. "Brian Moran has always been a leader in the fight against discrimination, even when it wasn't popular," Ebbin said. Moran, a former delegate, had been endorsed by the Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club and received the support of Equality Virginia PAC....

By Anita Kumar | March 28, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Hall to Retire From House

Del. Franklin P. Hall (D-Richmond) will retire next month after more than three decades in the House. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will appoint Hall to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. "Frank Hall has been a friend and colleague for many years, and has faithfully served the people of Virginia for several decades," Kaine said. "He brings a wealth of experience and talent to his new job, having represented clients before the ABC Commission during more than 40 years as an attorney." Hall has represented the Richmond area since 1975 and was Democratic leader from 2002 to 2008. His last day in the House will be April 14....

By Anita Kumar | March 27, 2009; 4:15 PM ET | Comments (2)

Gingrich Headlines Bolling Kickoff

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich will headline Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's campaign kickoff gala in Richmond on April 17. Gingrich, who served as speaker from 1995 to 1999, co-authored the 1994 Contract with America, a detailed plan of action for Congress, and helped end four decades of Democratic majorities in the House. Bolling will face lawyer Patrick Muldoon for the Republican nomination. Four Democrats are running: Jon Bowerbank, a businessman from Russell County, Pat Edmonson, a member of the Virginia Beach School Board, Michael Signer, an attorney who worked for former governor Mark R. Warner and former Finance Secretary Jody Wagner....

By Anita Kumar | March 27, 2009; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (1)

Foster Endorsed by Va Beach Mayor

David M. Foster, former chairman of the Arlington School Board, was endorsed by the mayor of the state's largest city, Virginia Beach's Will Sessoms, for the Republican nomination of attorney general. "As mayor of Virginia Beach, I know that Dave Foster will be the attorney general we need to cut red tape, bring jobs to Virginia and help get the economy moving again," Sessoms said. Foster faces John Brownlee, the former top prosecutor for Virginia's western district, and state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax) at a Republican convention in May. Only one Democrat, Del. Stephen C. Shannon (D-Fairfax), has announced his intention to run. "I'm elated that Will Sessoms is backing my candidacy," Foster said. "His endorsement is a significant breakthrough and sends a clear signal to Republicans dedicated to strengthening our party and achieving a solid victory for the entire GOP ticket next November."...

By Anita Kumar | March 27, 2009; 10:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Webb Introduces Criminal Justice Bill

Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) today introduced a bill that would create a bipartisan commission on criminal justice reform. Webb has been an outspoken critic of the nation's drug laws and its approach toward incarceration, even though Virginia is considered a law-and-order state. In a statement on his Web site, he called the criminal justice system a "national disgrace."...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | March 26, 2009; 6:13 PM ET | Comments (4)

McAuliffe Calls for Ban on Lobbyist Gifts

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe proposed today a complete ban on gifts from lobbyists to Virginia lawmakers and members of the executive branch. He also said he would create a state-run Website that would detail lawmakers' campaign contributions, bills and the state budget. Those items are already available on various Websites but McAuliffe said he would put them all together in a more user friendly way. McAuliffe's plan also calls for an online database of government contracts and improved ethics courses. "As we work to grow our economy and create jobs across the Commonwealth, we must lead by example and demonstrate to taxpayers that their money is being spent fairly and wisely," McAuliffe said. McAuliffe also pledged not to take any corporate contributions from companies receiving taxpayer-funded bailout money....

By Anita Kumar | March 26, 2009; 3:23 PM ET | Comments (3)

Moran Unveils Economic Recovery Plan

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran announced today an economic stimulus and recovery plan that will focus on growing small businesses and creating local jobs by cutting taxes, tying the minimum wage to inflation and appointing a watchdog over federal stimulus money. Moran made the announcement at a barber shop in Richmond as part of his economic recovery tour that began Friday in Charlottesville and included stops in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia. "People are struggling today, and they need us to take real action to fix our economy," Moran said. "We're going to grow this economy from the bottom up, not the top down. It's time we started investing in Main Street, not just Wall Street, and help our small businesses create jobs." Moran's plan includes creating a small business job creation tax credit, eliminating the corporate income tax for small businesses, assembling an economic strike force to focus on...

By Anita Kumar | March 26, 2009; 2:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

McAuliffe's Ties to Lobbyists

Terry McAuliffe's ties to lobbyists go beyond the political friendships that prompted a group of supporters to host a fundraiser for him this week in the offices of the BGR Group, a prominent Washington lobbying firm. For nearly 10 years, McAuliffe was the managing partner of a law firm with its own thriving lobbying practice. The Washington Post reported this morning on Brian Moran's criticism of the fundraiser and effort to tar McAuliffe's long history as a Washington political insider. That history includes his affiliation with the Washington law firm, McAuliffe Kelly Raffaelli, where he was managing partner until his departure in 1994. Although McAuliffe did not lobby himself, news clips and federal lobbying disclosure forms show that others with the firm represented the nuclear power industry, a chemical company, the telecommunications industry, fast-food chains and the foreign governments of Taiwan, India and Turkey. The company came under fire for...

By Amy Gardner | March 26, 2009; 2:32 AM ET | Comments (2)

Virginia Notebook: The Campaign Managers

If you were running for the Democratic nomination for governor, would you rather your campaign be run by: a.) someone who has a long track record of winning races for Virginia Democrats in general elections but has never managed a successful hard-fought primary contest? b.) someone who has never worked in Virginia but who has a record of winning Democratic primaries? c.) someone who has not managed a statewide campaign but is viewed as a rising star in the Virginia Democratic consulting world? If you think you know the best answer, you might be able, as well as anyone, to predict the winner of the June 9 Democratic primary....

By Tim Craig | March 25, 2009; 5:08 PM ET | Comments (6)

Democratic Candidates Agree to Five Debates

Democratic gubernatorial candidates R. Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran announced today that they will participate in five debates and three joint appearances before the June 9 primary. The Washington Post and washingtonpost.com will host the last debate, along with Northern Virginia Community College, on May 19 in Annandale. Deeds campaign manager Joe Abbey, McAuliffe campaign manager Mike Henry and Moran general consultant Steve Jarding released the following joint statement: "We are pleased to announce this debate and joint appearance schedule in the run-up to the June 9th primary to pick our next Democratic governor of Virginia. Our campaigns worked together to schedule as many joint appearances and debates as possible all across the Commonwealth. Our candidates - Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe, and Brian Moran - look forward to having several spirited debates on the important issues facing Virginians." A full list of debates and appearances is below:...

By Anita Kumar | March 25, 2009; 3:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

Moran Chides McAuliffe on Fundraiser

Democratic gubernatorial Brian Moran criticized his rival Terry McAuliffe for attending a Washington fundraiser last night hosted by the prestigious BGR lobbying firm founded by Republicans Ed Rogers and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, now vice-chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Rogers has worked to defeat Democrats nationwide, including Barack Obama in the presidential race. He attacked Obama in several national TV appearances last year. "Rogers joined Rush Limbaugh and others in raising racially and religiously charged attacks against then Senator Obama,'' said Andrew Roos, Moran's campaign manager. "It's sad that in the same week Terry McAuliffe aired a radio ad claiming credit for helping to elect Barack Obama, he's holding a fundraiser with someone who did everything he could to defeat him."...

By Anita Kumar | March 25, 2009; 2:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Dems Blast Cook Speech

Fairfax County Democratic Chairman Scott Surovell has written a scathing critique of the speech that John C. Cook (R) made last week when he was sworn in as the new Braddock District representative on the Board of Supervisors. In his impassioned speech, Cook called it a "moral outrage" that illegal boarding houses exist in Fairfax County. In criticizing the county's efforts to buy affordable housing complexes, he invoked the notorious public housing project Cabrini Green, saying "we do not need to bring that kind of blight to the center of Fairfax County." In his blog entry today, Surovell accuses Cook of "race-baiting" and "law and order demogoguery." Today, Cook said his speech was optimistic and positive. "There was absolutely nothing racist about it and I would take great offense to that suggestion," he said. See the speech here (about 10 minutes in) and Surovell's blog entry here....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | March 25, 2009; 12:45 PM ET | Comments (5)

McAuliffe Swamps Rivals in Staff, Offices

Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe turned heads when he announced that he has already hired 98 staffers -- a record amount this early in a statewide campaign in Virginia. That's more than three times as much as his rivals. Here's a rundown of staff and offices for all four gubernatorial candidates: Terry McAuliffe (D): 98 staffers, 8 offices Offices are in McLean, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Loudoun, Richmond, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, Charlottesville. Two more offices in Hampton and Fredericksburg will open this week. R. Creigh Deeds (D): 29 staffers, 4 offices Offices are in Charlottesville, Richmond, Portsmouth and Alexandria. Two more offices will be open in the coming days. Brian Moran (D): 25 staffers, 3 offices Offices are in Alexandria, Arlington and Richmond. Robert F. McDonnell (R): 30 staffers, 1 office Office is in Richmond....

By Anita Kumar | March 25, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Dwight Jones Endorses Jody Wagner

Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, who is also a minister at a black church in the city, announced today he is endorsing Jody W. Wagner in the race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. Jones, a former delegate who was elected mayor last year, praised Wagner's previous service in both Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's and former governor Mark R. Warner's administrations. "As a member of the House of Delegates for fifteen years, I was in a unique position to see how remarkable the work done by Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, and Jody Wagner was to fix the mess left by the Gilmore years, and get the Commonwealth moving again," Jones said. Its rare for a newly-elected officeholder to become heavily engaged in a contested Democratic primary. But Jones has also decided to wade into the primary for governor by endorsing his former colleague, former delegate Brian Moran....

By Tim Craig | March 25, 2009; 9:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

McCain Raises $250,000 for McDonnell

Former presidential nominee John McCain is expected to bring in $250,000 for Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, at a fundraiser to be held tonight in Virginia, according to McDonnell's campaign. The Arizona senator will headline an event at the McLean home of R. Carter Pate, McCain's Virginia finance chairman. Next up: Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate, will appear at fundraisers in Roanoke, Bristol and Virginia Beach early next week. The next campaign finance reports from the candidates for governor include donations through the end of March. They are due April 15....

By Anita Kumar | March 25, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Biden, Kaine Talk Stimulus

Vice President Joe Biden (D) spoke to several governors, including Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), earlier today about implementating the federal economic stimulus package. Governors on the conference call included those from Arkansas, Nebraska, Utah, Oregon, North Carolina and Virginia. Eight mayors, but none from Virginia, were on a second call. Virginia is expected to receive about $5 billion from the federal package. Legislators used about $1.5 billion to help cover a $3.7 billion shortfall in the two-year, $77 billion budget....

By Anita Kumar | March 24, 2009; 5:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Moran Files 16,928 Signatures

A few hours after Terry McAuliffe submitted his petition to try to get on the Democratic primary ballot, Brian Moran announced that he has also filed his signatures today with the State Board of Elections. Earlier today, Moran was widely expected to file his petition around noon to try to compete with McAuliffe for the first spot on the ballot. Shortly before noon, however, Moran's campaign announced it needed more time to make sure its signatures were properly notarized. This issue was apparently quickly resolved. Moran sent out a statement this afternoon saying he submitted 16,928 signatures to the State Board of Elections. McAuliffe submitted 17,243 signatures. Only 10,000 valid signatures are needed to qualify for the ballot....

By Tim Craig | March 24, 2009; 4:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

McAuliffe Hires Local Fox Reporter

Allyson Wilson, who had been a free-lance reporter for Fox 5 in Washington, has left her job and is now a traveling press secretary for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. Wilson, 31, had been a regular face on Washington's Fox affiliate for nearly three years. She has also worked as a reporter and anchor in Memphis, Huntsville, Ala, and Savannah, Ga. But Wilson said today she wanted to "learn a new skill set" because of the economic turmoil in the media industry. Wilson said she was drawn to McAuliffe's energy and enthusiasm. "I was looking in the paper one day and was reading about him and I was excited about his momentum," Wilson said. "So I sent him my resume without there even being a job posting." Wilson will work with Lis Smith, McAuliffe's press secretary. McAuliffe now has 98 paid staffers, which is likely a record for a gubernatorial...

By Tim Craig | March 24, 2009; 1:31 PM ET | Comments (8)

McAuliffe Is First to Submit Petitions, May Get Top Spot

Terry McAuliffe, a Democratic candidate for governor, and Jody W. Wagner, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, were the first candidates today to submit the needed petitions to get on the ballot for the June 9 Democratic primary. To secure a spot on the ballot, candidates need to submit at least 10,000 signatures, including the signatures of at least 400 registered voters in each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts. If McAuliffe and Wagner's signatures are verified, they will both gain the top spots on the ballot. McAuliffe said he submitted 17,243 valid signatures. Wagner said she submitted 17,858....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | March 24, 2009; 12:39 PM ET | Comments (13)

Who Will Be First?

Democratic candidates for governor Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe will stop in Richmond today to turn in the signatures needed to be on the primary ballot June 9. In Virginia, the candidate who turns in his petitions first gets their name on the ballot first. McAuliffe and Moran both plan to be at the state Board Board of Elections office just before noon -- the first time the signatures will be accepted. The three Democratic candidates have until April 10 to submit 10,000 signatures (including 400 from each congressional district) to the state. State sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath will not turn in petitions today. He is expected to do so later in the month, ensuring that he will be last on the ballot....

By Anita Kumar | March 24, 2009; 8:31 AM ET | Comments (2)

McAuliffe Unveils Business Plan

Terry McAuliffe, a Democratic candidate for governor, said today that he would use infrastructure development grants, tax credits and exemptions and other financial assistance to help bring more jobs to Virginia. "There's no such thing as a Republican job or a Democratic job - we simply need to bring people together to create good jobs, and that's what I've been doing my whole life," McAuliffe said. "My Business Plan for Virginia is really a jobs plan - my number one priority as governor will be to create, attract, and keep good jobs with good wages and benefits for every Virginia family." Speaking from Danville, McAuliffe announced that he would create a pilot project to award tax incentives to companies that create jobs that offer benefits, such as health insurance, and are in high-growth industries, such as energy, as well as allow some companies to defer their taxes. He also pledged...

By Anita Kumar | March 23, 2009; 3:37 PM ET | Comments (3)

Obama Supporters To Canvass in Va

Organizing for America, the group that worked to help elect President Obama last year, will begin canvassing in Virginia and across the nation tomorrow to support Obama's proposed budget. Volunteers will knock on doors and talk to residents at homes and businesses in Norfolk, Richmond, Arlington, Leesburg, Gainesville and Chesapeake. "The President has a bold plan to invest in America's future and get our economy moving again, and now he needs our help to turn his budget into law,'' said Mitch Stewart, director of Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee. "That's why it's so important for Americans on Saturday to go door-to-door and talk to their neighbors about the President's plan and ask them for their support."...

By Anita Kumar | March 20, 2009; 5:39 PM ET | Comments (3)

Huckabee Raises Money for McDonnell

Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate, will spend two days in Virginia at the end of March to help Robert F. McDonnell raise money for his gubernatorial campaign. Huckabee will headline fundraisers in Roanoke and Bristol on March 30 and in Virginia Beach on March 31. The Baptist preacher and TV host will play the bass guitar. A succession of national GOP figures have already helped McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor....

By Anita Kumar | March 20, 2009; 2:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell, Bolling Snub SEIU

GOP gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), announced today they will not fill out the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) questionnaire because, they say, the organization wants to undermine Virginia's right-to-work law. "The SEIU's opposition to Virginia's Right to Work law and their advocacy for Card Check puts them on the wrong side of the best interests of both Virginia's workers and employers," McDonnell said. "I will not answer a questionnaire from a group that is openly hostile to secret ballot elections and free choice as to whether to join a union when a worker gets a job." The SEIU uses its questionnaire, which is due today, to help it determine which candidates it should back in this year's state races. The SEIU traditionally supports Democratic candidates, but by ignoring the questionnaire McDonnell and Bolling are sending another signal they plan...

By Tim Craig | March 20, 2009; 1:45 PM ET | Comments (3)

Fact Checker: Change McAuliffe Can Believe In

Terry McAuliffe, a Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia, released a new 60-second radio ad this week in which in the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee appears to claim some credit for helping get President Obama elected last year. In his ad, McAuliffe uses Obama's name to make a direct appeal to African-Americans, who make up 20 percent of the state's population and even larger share of the Democratic primary electorate. "Did you know that Terry McAuliffe fought to protect voting rights and led the effort to give Democrats in our region a stronger voice in deciding the party's presidential nominee?" a female asks in the ad, which is airing on black radio stations in Hampton Roads and Richmond. "That's right," a male says. "Terry McAuliffe defended our rights and was the leader who brought us together and united the party. And in 2008 our voices were heard...

By Tim Craig | March 20, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

Frederick Takes On Several Local GOP Chairs

Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William) appears to be in full campaign mode as he fights to hold onto his job as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. Frederick now has a rapid response strategy, a sign both he and his critics are engaged in a heated public relations battle. Earlier today, conservative blogs reported that nine local Republican committee chairman, including Fairfax chair Anthony Bedell, joined the growing list of GOP officials who want Frederick to resign. "After reflecting on recent events, we have concluded that it is time for new leadership of our Party so that we can unify, and win this November," said the letter, which was also signed by the chairmen of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesterfield, Henrico, Stafford, Hanover, Rockingham and Chesapeake GOP committees Within hours, Frederick released his response. He noted "only nine" chairmen signed the letter and they represent just "7 percent of...

By Tim Craig | March 19, 2009; 10:19 PM ET | Comments (1)

Virginia Notebook: GOP Fights Over Its 'Roots'

Even by Virginia Republican standards, the battle over whether Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (Prince William) should be replaced as state party chairman is divisive and brutal, and the wounds it creates could have far-reaching consequences for the GOP in an election year. Both sides in the dispute have crafted a strategy that revolves around the phrase "grass roots." Unfortunately for Virginia Republicans, there appears to be a huge disconnect over who makes up the grass roots. And if a party doesn't know who its most loyal supporters are, can it really rebound from a string of election defeats? Or is this a case in which most party leaders know full well who their most loyal supporters are, but they don't like what they see?...

By Tim Craig | March 18, 2009; 2:16 PM ET | Comments (8)

McAuliffe Unveils New Ad Mentioning Obama

Terry McAuliffe released a new 60-second radio ad today that is aimed at African-American voters in the Richmond and Hampton Roads media markets. In the ad, McAuliffe says he fought when he was chairman of the Democratic National Committee earlier this decade to protect voting rights and he takes credit for helping to elect President Obama last year. "Did you know that Terry McAuliffe fought to protect voting rights and led the effort to give Democrats in our region a stronger voice in deciding the party's presidential nominee?" a female asks in the ad. "That's right," a male says. "Terry McAuliffe defended our rights and was the leader who brought us together and united the party. And in 2008 our voices were heard when we elected our president, Barack Obama."...

By Tim Craig | March 18, 2009; 2:01 PM ET | Comments (3)

McAuliffe Wins Fairfax Straw Poll

Former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe overwhelmingly won an informal straw poll in Fairfax County tonight against his two Democratic rivals for governor, Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds. At a jam-packed St. Patrick's Day party hosted by U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), McAuliffe earned 58 percent of votes, Moran took 30 percent and Deeds earned 12 percent. Connolly told the crowd of about 1,400 that a total of 934 ballots were cast. If nothing else, the vote sprinkled a healthy pinch of fish food into Virginia's political aquarium. McAuliffe outshined his rivals in both organization and spirit at the event, arranging for donors to purchase 400 tickets for his guests, staffing the party with 60 paid campaign workers and prompting the loudest cheers when he spoke to the crowd....

By Amy Gardner | March 17, 2009; 9:50 PM ET | Comments (22)

Moran Wins Support in Fairfax

A majority of the Democrats on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and county school board announced today they are supporting Brian Moran's bid for governor. At an event in Fairfax City, Moran was also endorsed by several delegates and the City of Fairfax Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Local 2702. "I know Brian and he's a strong fighter for our community. He has worked hard to get results and understands the needs of local government," said Supervisor Penny Gross, who represents the Mason District. "For 20 years Brian's been fighting for our community, now we're going to fight for him." With more than 1 million residents, Fairfax County will play a crucial role in this year's election. In the 2006 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, just under one out of every fourth vote was cast in Fairfax County. Moran, who used to represents a small part of Fairfax County...

By Tim Craig | March 17, 2009; 2:53 PM ET | Comments (4)

Frederick Fights Back; The Battle is Set for April 4

Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick is digging for a fight to keep his job as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, sending out a memo today that paints his critics as GOP "insiders" responsible for the party's dramatic decline in recent years. In the lengthy statement, Frederick vows he "will not back down" even though nearly every top ranking GOP officeholder in the state is calling for him to be ousted. Frederick is billing the looming clash as a contest between the party's grassroots versus the "small minority" who want to turn the Virginia GOP "into a rubber stamp for its long-time insiders." "For years, the Virginia Republican Party had been run from the top down, with consultants and lobbyists providing far more input into the direction of our party than the grassroots," said Frederick, who blamed national and Virginia party leaders for losing control of the U.S. Senate and...

By Tim Craig | March 17, 2009; 11:45 AM ET | Comments (3)

Endorsements for Deeds, McAuliffe

Sen. Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell), who is part of a very politically active family in Southwest Virginia, announced today he is endorsing Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. In announcing his decision, Puckett took a subtle swipe at Brian Moran, who resigned from the House of Delegates in December to focus on his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor. "Creigh Deeds is in this process to serve and get things done for Virginia," Puckett said. "That's what Creigh has done in the Virginia Senate and that's what he'll do as Governor. During the most serious economic crisis in our lifetime, Creigh didn't walk away from the tough decisions." Meanwhile, the third candidate in the race, Terry McAuliffe, also announced today he's picked up more than a dozen new endorsements. The new McAuliffe supporter with the highest profile is Del. Kenneth Plum...

By Tim Craig | March 16, 2009; 3:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

Moran Begs for Campaign Donations

Brian J. Moran sent out over the weekend an urgent appeal for campaign donations to help him counter Terry McAuliffe in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. In a letter, which was designed to appear hand-written, Moran said he needs money fast to respond to McAuliffe's television advertising campaign. "Please forgive the unusual nature of this letter," the first sentence reads. "Circumstances dictate that I be both brief and urgent at the same time. You have been a good friend to me and this campaign...I am hoping you will take me at my word when I say I really need your help." Moran then goes on to accuse McAuliffe of preparing to run television ads that "will range from subtly disingenuous to outright misrepresentations and distortions." McAuliffe has so far not run an overtly negative ad against Moran, but the letter calls McAuliffe's advertising campaign "dangerous." "In the...

By Tim Craig | March 16, 2009; 1:59 PM ET | Comments (4)

Howell Joins Effort to Oust Frederick

House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) has joined the growing list of GOP officeholders who are calling for Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William) to be ousted as chairman of the state party. In a letter sent to members of the State Central Committee over the the weekend, Howell said the Virginia GOP needs "consistent, credible leadership." "With its current chairman, we have serious reservations about how effictively the state party can help us accomplish our goals and persuade a majority of Virginia voters that Republicans have the right ideas and policy prescriptions," Howell wrote. The letter, which suggests Frederick would harm GOP efforts to retain control of the House this year, was also signed by House Majority Whip M. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and Del. Samuel A. Nixon Jr., the chair of the House GOP caucus. As of now, House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem) and Lt. Gov....

By Tim Craig | March 16, 2009; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (2)

Moran Unveils "Efficient Virginia" Plan

Former delegate Brian Moran unveiled a three-part plan to promote government innovation and reform, which he said will help Virginia maintain its ranking as the best managed state. Moran's proposal calls for more efficiency in government, reforms to the budgeting and procurement process and additional steps to promote technology while curbing wasteful spending. For example, Moran wants all state government travel to be booked online. "I will bring my experience in state government, as a small business owner and my commitment to the taxpayers to make sure we remain the best managed to state in America," Moran said. To promote innovation, Moran want to create a new task force to identify possible reforms in state government. Moran is also vowing to continue efforts to streamline the procurement process, and he promises "results-orientated budgeting."...

By Tim Craig | March 16, 2009; 11:39 AM ET | Comments (1)

Connolly St. Patrick's Day Straw Poll Tuesday

U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) will hold his annual St. Patrick's Day party Tuesday at the Kena Temple in Fairfax featuring the usual fare of corned beef, cabbage and a Democratic straw poll. Connolly is expecting upwards of 500 guests. The straw poll will measure support for candidates in this year's contested Democratic primaries for governor and lieutenant governor. Most Democratic statewide candidates are expected to attend, organizers said. For tickets, contact Donald Brownlee at 703-267-6888. The event will run from 7 to 9:30 p.m. in the ballroom of the Kena Temple, 9001 Arlington Blvd., Fairfax....

By Amy Gardner | March 16, 2009; 8:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Congressmen Ask For Frederick's Resignation

All five Republicans who represent Virginia in Congress today called on Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick to resign as chairman of the state party, the latest salvo in a worsening feud that has turned into a major election-year distraction for the GOP. In a letter sent to Frederick today, the five congressman said he needs to be step down immediately to salvage the party's chances in this year's governor's race. "For the good of the Republican Party of Virginia, we write today asking that you step aside as chairman," the letter stated. "With November's election rapidly approaching, it is essential that our party be unified as we work to regain control of the governor's mansion and retain control of the House Delegates." The letter was signed by U.S. Reps. Eric Cantor, Frank R. Wolf, Robert Goodlate, Robert Wittman and Randy Forbes. But Frederick is vowing fight to fight to keep his...

By Tim Craig | March 13, 2009; 3:35 PM ET | Comments (4)

McDonnell, Bolling Not United On Frederick Front

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling ( R) may be running as a team this year, but they have adopted separate approaches when it comes to the question of whether Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick ( R) should be replaced as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. McDonnell is supporting efforts on the GOP state central committee to remove Frederick for incompetence. But Bolling has decided to stay out of the fight. "Our position is that this is something between State Central and Frederick," said Randy Marcus, Bolling's chief of staff. "We are not for it. We are not against it. We have enough on our plate right now."...

By Tim Craig | March 13, 2009; 2:00 PM ET | Comments (3)

Cuccinelli Speaks About Frederick Saga

State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax), a GOP candidate for attorney general with deep ties to social conservatives, said he is "staying out" of the battle over whether Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William) should be replaced as chairman of the state party. But Cuccinelli warns supporters of the effort to remove Frederick need to be very careful in not only laying out their case against Frederick but also in how they craft a plan for selecting a new chairman should he be removed. "It is incumbent on those who are bringing this effort forward to have a plan that would be acceptable, setting emotion aside, for Jeff Frederick supporters in how we proceed in managing the party," Cuccinelli said. "If all of this is viewed as just an attempt to steal the last election (for chairman) it will be horribly damaging ...They also needs to be thinking ahead about...

By Tim Craig | March 13, 2009; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (1)

Frederick Supporters Go After McDonnell, Mike Thomas

Shaun Dakin, who operates the Stop Political Calls blog, has just received the audio of the robo call sent out today in support of Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick in his campaign to remain chairman of the Virginia Republican Party. The call is a clear signal that Frederick supporters are mounting an agressive campaign to keep him as chairman. The automated caller appears to suggest that McDonnell and Mike Thomas, the first vice-chairman of the state party, are elitists who are "taking orders from tax raising, anti-gun, pro-abortion officeholders in Richmond." In a letter to members of the Republican State Central Committee, who will decide on April 4 whether to remove the chairman, Frederick said he did not authorize the robocall. "I want to make it emphatically and clearly known that in no way did I have or had any involvement in the planning or execution of these calls, nor did...

By Tim Craig | March 12, 2009; 4:16 PM ET | Comments (3)

Frederick Calls for Job Security -- His Own

Jeffrey M. Frederick promised to fight for the Virginia Republican party chairmanship. Signs of his public campaign surfaced this afternoon when the party faithful received robo calls urging them to stick with him. The calls, which appear to be sent to people who attended the party convention, say Richmond elitists are behind the effort to oust him. The culprits are pro-tax, anti-gun and pro-choice, according to the recorded message. And it explicitly calls out GOP gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell, who waded into battle over Frederick's fitness to serve. Earlier this month the state party's governing body asked Del. Frederick (R-Prince William) to resign after a series of missteps, internal squabbles and the party's election losses last year. Frederick faces a vote to remove him at an emergency state central committee meeting next month. Frederick campaigned for the job of chairman last year as a young, energetic leader who blamed...

By Kristen Mack | March 12, 2009; 3:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Virgil Goode Plans Possible Comeback

Former GOP Congressman Virgil H. Goode Jr. filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission yesterday so he can raise money for a possible rematch with U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello next year (D-Va.), according to FEC records. Perriello, a rising star in the Virginia Democratic Party, narrowly defeated Goode in November. Perriello represents the culturally conservative 5th congressional district, which stretches from Charlottesville to Danville. Given its traditional Republican leanings in federal races, Perriello is expected to be a top target for Republicans next year. A few days after he took office in January, conservative interest groups began airing television ads in his district trying to connect him to President Obama's policies. Goode's decision to file with the FEC was first reported today in The Hill newspaper, which covers Capitol Hill. Although he can now legally raise money, Goode has yet to state publicly whether he plans to run again....

By Tim Craig | March 12, 2009; 3:29 PM ET | Comments (1)

McAuliffe Picks Up Support from Bloggers

The three Democratic activists and bloggers who founded the "Draft James Webb" movement in 2006, which arguably is one of the reasons Democrats won back control of the U.S. Senate that year, announced today they are endorsing Terry McAuliffe's bid for the Democratic nomination for governor. In a posting on the Blue Virginia blog, Josh Chernila, Lee Diamond and Lowell Feld said they are impressed with McAuliffe's message and his chances for success this fall against former attorney general Robert F. McDonnell, the GOP nominee. "McAuliffe has a solid grasp of issues, takes strong progressive stands and is able to communicate and fund his message," Chernila said. In recent months, McAuliffe has been making an aggressive push to win over liberal bloggers in Virginia, a state with some of the most active state-level Democratic blogs in the country. Feld was one the founders and longtime keepers of the popular Raising...

By Tim Craig | March 12, 2009; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (5)

Virginia Notebook: McDonnell Gambles On Frederick

With the three Democratic candidates for governor battling for their party's nomination, GOP candidate Robert F. McDonnell was in a posture that many statewide candidates can only dream about. McDonnell is running unopposed for his party's nomination and has all spring to prepare for the general election as the Democrats attack one another. He also appeared to have the luxury of a unified conservative base that is relatively enthusiastic about his candidacy, leaving him the freedom to reach out to moderate swing voters who might decide the November election. Despite all this, the McDonnell campaign apparently couldn't resist wading into an ugly, internal party battle over Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick's fitness to serve as chairman of the Virginia Republican Party. McDonnell joined in efforts to oust the party leader. Frederick (Prince William) has vowed to fight for his job. The looming battle could set up the kind of split that...

By Tim Craig | March 11, 2009; 5:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Wins Fairfax Supervisor Seat

Republican John Cook narrowly defeated Democrat Ilryong Moon in the race to fill an open seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, according to unofficial returns counted today. Moon has not conceded the race. Cook's 89-vote victory, from among more than 12,000 votes cast, falls outside the margin that would require the state to pay for a recount, elections officials said. Cook's victory in Democratic-leaning Fairfax could be an important symbolic boost to Virginia Republicans heading into the 2009 races for governor and House of Delegates. "I am honored to have been selected by my Braddock District neighbors to serve as their next supervisor," Cook said. "I look forward to bringing new and innovative ideas to the problems we face and bring fiscal responsibility to our county government." The outcome comes after a day of drama as elections officials tried to extract vote totals from a touch-screen voting machine...

By Tim Craig | March 11, 2009; 4:21 PM ET | Comments (4)

Cranwell Will Seek Reelection As Party Chair

C. Richard Cranwell, the chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, has decided he will seek reelection as chairman when the state central committee meets in June. Cranwell initially had been planning on giving up the job he's held since 2005. But in a letter to Democratic officials sent today, Cranwell said he wants to run again because it is a "critical time in Virginia history." "This November, we will face a stark choice between one of the three qualified Democrats who will continue to move Virginia forward and a Republican candidate who threatens to move us back to the failed days of the Gilmore administration," Cranwell wrote. Cranwell also appears to be taking advantage of the upheaval within the Republican Party of Virginia....

By Tim Craig | March 11, 2009; 1:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

McAuliffe Unveils Energy Plan

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe unveiled his detailed energy proposal today, the first section of what he is calling his "business plan for Virginia." At an event in Richmond, McAuliffe said he's got "big ideas" to make Virginia energy efficient and to grow the state's economy through the creation of green jobs. "The is the most aggressive plan that has been put out in Virginia and one of the most aggressive plans in the country," McAuliffe said. He later added, "I don't want to follow other states, I want to lead other states. It's time for Virginia to be the number one renewable energy state in the country." McAuliffe wants to require that 25 percent of the state's energy needs come from renewable energy by 2025. He also wants to offer new incentives to businesses that purchase renewable energy equipment such as solar panels. McAuliffe would put a heavy emphasis...

By Tim Craig | March 11, 2009; 12:46 PM ET | Comments (4)

Moran Loses an Endorsement

Former delegate Flora Crittenden said she did not endorse Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran in the June 9 primary, even though he used her name in a press release earlier this week. Crittenden, a well-respected Democrat who represented Hampton Roads for a decade before retiring in 2003, said that she "did not authorize the Moran for Governor Campaign to release my name as an endorser of his candidacy." Crittenden was listed on a press release Monday along with more than a dozen former or current elected leaders in the Hampton Roads region. "Brian Moran holds Flora Crittenden in the absolute highest regard, and appreciates the support she has given him in the past,'' said Jesse Ferguson, a spokesman for Moran. "Our staff thought we had confirmation of her public support, but this appears to be a miscommunication and we apologized to former delegate Crittenden for any inconvenience."...

By Anita Kumar | March 11, 2009; 10:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

John Warner to Return to D.C. Law Firm

Former U.S senator John W. Warner, a Virginia Republican, announced today that he will return to the Washington law firm Hogan & Hartson, where he was a partner until launching a long career in public service in 1969. Warner left his Senate seat in January after 30 years in office; before that, he was undersecretary and secretary of the U.S. Navy. A graduate of the University of Virginia law school, Warner will return to Hogan & Hartson as a partner concentrating on national security, international trade and global climate issues. "People say I will be a rainmaker," Warner said. "And, well, yes, I will probably bring a few showers. But what I want to do is to work with the younger lawyers to inspire them to try to achieve the goals in life that they have. In return, I ask them to invigorate me so that I can press on...

By Amy Gardner | March 11, 2009; 10:17 AM ET | Comments (1)

McDonnell Opposes Card-Check Legislation

Former attorney general Robert F. McDonnell, the GOP nominee for governor, said today he will campaign vigorously against efforts in Congress to approve the Employee Free Choice Act that would make it easier to form a union. In a conference call with reporters, McDonnell said the proposed legislation would undermine Virginia's status as a right-to-work state. "I have come to say today this is not good for Virginia, this is not good for our free enterprise system," McDonnell said. " We don't want to turn Virginia into southern Michigan." Under the legislation, which is a top priority of organized labor, workers could decide to unionize without holding secret elections. McDonnell said the bill "goes very, very much against the spirit of American democracy." McDonnell's statements could help him win over some members of the state's influential business community. Earlier today, a group of business leaders from Virginia traveled to Washington...

By Tim Craig | March 10, 2009; 5:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

McAuliffe's Endorsement List Shortens

Last month, gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe unveiled a list of 14 party activists from across the state who endorsed him in the Democratic primary. But at least one of them never did. Anita Hartke, chairwoman of Culpeper County Democratic Committee and candidate for Congress last year, said in an interview that she did not endorse McAuliffe over rivals R. Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran. Hartke, whose father was a U.S. senator from Indiana, said she will not endorse any candidate in the June 9 primary. "I believe we have three outstanding leaders with vision and drive running for governor in Virginia,'' she said....

By Anita Kumar | March 10, 2009; 3:15 PM ET | Comments (1)

Senate GOP Wants Jeff Frederick Removed

The GOP leaders in the state Senate have endorsed the effort to oust Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (Prince William) as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. In a letter to Mike Thomas, vice chairman of the state party, the Senate GOP leaders said Frederick's "lack of judgment was hurting" the party. "An overwhelming majority of our caucus has expressed concern over the state of affairs at the Republican Party of Virginia in recent months and has lost confidence in Delegate Frederick's leadership," the letter states. "Heading into such an important year, it is critical that our state party have the full confidence of our candidates, our elected officials, and our grassroots. Like you, we are convinced that the only way to ensure this change is a change in leadership at RPV." The letter was signed by Sen. Minority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Stephen D. Newman,...

By Tim Craig | March 10, 2009; 3:06 PM ET | Comments (2)

McDonnell Appears on Vietnamese TV

Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell is trying to make inroads in the state's Asian community through a series of meet-and-greet events. Check out this clip from SBTN, a Vietnamese station available in the United States through DISH and local cable networks, from a March 3 appearance at the Tower Club in McLean. (McDonnell's part is in English)....

By Anita Kumar | March 10, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Former Congressman Endorses McAuliffe

Former U.S. Rep. Owen Pickett (D-Va.) endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe today. Pickett, who represented the Hampton Roads area from 1987 to 2001 and has been an advocate for the region's military installations, cited McAuliffe's decades of experience creating jobs and turning around businesses. "Terry McAuliffe has the dynamic leadership qualities and visionary problem solving ability that Virginia needs today to deal with the serious economic challenges confronting us, " Pickett said. "Whether it's his commitment to keeping the nuclear carriers in Norfolk or developing Virginia's green industry, Terry will bring the innovative ideas that we need in Richmond to create and keep good jobs here in the Commonwealth."...

By Anita Kumar | March 9, 2009; 7:49 PM ET | Comments (1)

Democrats Help Moon in Fairfax

Democratic candidates for governor will help School Board member Ilryong Moon (D) in tomorrow's special election to fill a spot on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds will make phone calls at the Moon campaign headquarters in Annandale. Former delegate Brian Moran has sent staff to help Moon's campaign tonight and Moran will be at his headquarters tomorrow morning to make calls. Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAulifee helped with canvassing and has made his headquarters available tomorrow. "We need to elect Ilryong Moon to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday," Deeds said. "The enthusiasm of Ilryong's volunteers is one of the greatest assets of his campaign. I look forward to joining his grassroots team to help get out the vote for Ilryong in the Braddock district." The race pits Moon against lawyer and community activist John Cook (R) and accountant Carey C. Campbell,...

By Anita Kumar | March 9, 2009; 3:08 PM ET | Comments (3)

Hogan Will Not Run for Re-Election

Del. Clarke N. Hogan (R-Charlotte) announced this weekend that he will not run for re-election in November. Hogan, a friend of House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and a powerful budget conferee, has represented the southcentral part of the state since 2001. Hogan did not immediately return calls today. But he told the Gazette Virginian in Halifax County that he made the decision after considering the responsibilities of owning and operating a business, Ontario Hardwood, during tough economic times. "We are dealing with the toughest economy we have seen in 60 years, since the Great Depression that requires anyone who has a business to spend all of their focus on that business,'' he told the newspaper. "I see this decision as dealing with the reality of the environment."...

By Anita Kumar | March 9, 2009; 1:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hampton Roads Leaders Endorse Moran

Former delegate Brian Moran was endorsed today by several local elected leaders in Hampton Roads. The leaders cited Moran's proven record of fighting for people, his policy plans and his grassroots campaign. The list includes Sheriffs Bob McCabe of Norfolk and BJ Roberts of Hampton; Virginia Beach School Board Members Brent McKenzie and Todd Davidson; Commissioners of the Revenue Sharon McDonald of Norfolk and Ross Mugler of Hampton; City Councilman Bryan Collins of Chesapeake; Clerks of Court George Schaefer of Norfolk and Cynthia Morrison of Portsmouth; and several former and current members of the House of Delegates. "I am proud to have the grassroots support of local leaders from across Hampton Roads," Moran said. "These officials have worked with Mark Warner and Tim Kaine so I'm honored that they see that style of leadership in me. I look forward to working with them to move Virginia forward."...

By Anita Kumar | March 9, 2009; 12:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

Shannon Picks Up Support for AG

Del. Stephen C. Shannon (D-Fairfax) announced today that his campaign for attorney general has picked up the support of the Ironworkers and United Transportation unions. "Steve has a long record of fighting to protect working families," Ironworkers Local 5 Business Manager Kendall Martin said. "Steve has fought to protect Virginia's families his entire adult life, whether it was as a prosecutor going after criminals who target children, or a legislator working to protect our families, Virginians could always count on Steve to do what's right." United Transportation Union Virginia Legislative Director Walter Yeatts credited Shannon with founding Virginia's first AMBER Alert system to recover abducted kids, prosecuting criminals who attacked children and fighting to create more jobs....

By Anita Kumar | March 6, 2009; 3:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

McAuliffe's Packed Schedule

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe attended a fundraiser last night at the Hollywood home of Haim Saban, a billionaire entertainment magnate and longtime supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton. It's part of a packed schedule that is taking the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee across the state and nation. Unlike his Democratic opponents, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds and former delegate Brian Moran, McAuliffe has the national contacts to raise money across the United States. Check out his schedule this week:...

By Anita Kumar | March 6, 2009; 2:35 PM ET | Comments (2)

Moran Gets Support of Williamsburg Mayor

Williamsburg Mayor Jeanne Zeidler announced her support of candidate Brian Moran in the Democratic primary for governor. Zeidler cited Moran's proven record of working on transportation solutions and his plans to expand health care for every Virginia child. "Brian Moran has a 20-year record of fighting for the people of Virginia," Zeidler said. "He will work hard for transportation solutions, to invest in education and to expand health care to every Virginia child...Brian's the type of leader who will wake up each and every day fighting for the people of Virginia and make our children his top priority." Moran is running against state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe in the June 9 primary....

By Anita Kumar | March 6, 2009; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Savage Suspends LG Campaign

Rich Savage, a Democratic political advisor in Richmond, announced today that he is dropping out of the race for lieutenant governor in November. "The worsening economic downturn presents too great a financial hurdle for my campaign to overcome,'' Savage said in a statement. Savage jumped into the race in January by unveiling a 10-point education plan that included tuition forgiveness for graduates who serve as teachers for five years. "The necessity of rebuilding our state's intellectual infrastructure does not end with my campaign,'' Savage said. "I call on the candidates who remain in the race - all of them good people and capable leaders - to seize the mantle of education reform. I will certainly continue to speak out for innovative solutions to the challenges that our schools face." Savage is the founder of Media Directions, Inc., a political advertising firm that has done work for Democratic candidates in Virginia...

By Anita Kumar | March 6, 2009; 10:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Frederick Names Rensin GOP Finance Chair

Despite the attempted coup to oust him as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William) moved today to strengthen the state party's fundraising efforts. Frederick announced today he is appointing David K. Rensin, one the top GOP donors in Virginia, to be the party's new finance chairman. Rensin, a technology mogul, has donated more than $1.5 million to GOP candidates in Virginia since 2007. He was the single largest GOP donor during the 2007 campaigns for the House and Senate, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Rensin, president of Herndon-based RealityMobile, has strong ties to the conservative wing of the party. He is also Frederick's top donor, giving him $120,000 over the past two years, according to VPAP. "I can't express enough how excited I am that my good friend and dedicated supporter of our Republican team, Dave Rensin, has accepted this critical...

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

Frederick Asked to Resign

The Virginia Republican party's governing body has asked state chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick to resign after a series of missteps, internal disagreements and the party's election losses last year. Frederick (R-Prince William) has not said whether he will resign or face a vote to remove him at an emergency state central committee meeting next month. He and his spokesman did not return phone calls today. Frederick campaigned for the job of chairman last year as a young, energetic leader who blamed his predecessor for failures at the polls. But many now consider his short tenure a failure. In November, Republicans lost a U.S. Senate seat, three U.S. House seats and their 44-year-old hold on Virginia's 13 presidential electoral votes. Frederick's critics said his lackluster fundraising, his disputes with Sen. John McCain's campaign team and his ill-timed remark comparing Sen. Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden did nothing to help....

By Anita Kumar | March 5, 2009; 2:04 PM ET | Comments (8)

Kaine Will Keep State PAC; Brooks Set to Take Over

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will continue to operate his Virginia political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward, even has he expands into his new role as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Now that the legislative session is over, the state PAC will begin raising money to try to influence the outcome of state races. "We finished our year plan and we will begin our effort," said Charlie Kelly, executive director of Moving Virginia Forward. "We are in the organizing stages." One of the first changes at the PAC will be a new executive director. Dave Brooks, the PAC's finance director, will be taking over from Kelly as the executive director. It's unclear whether Kelly plans to remain in Richmond or move into a new role with Kaine at the DNC. Legal experts say Kaine will have to work hard to keep his Virginia PAC seperate from his DNC activities....

By Tim Craig | March 5, 2009; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Roberts to Join Kaine at DNC

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's chief counselor Larry Roberts will be leaving the administration to join his boss at the Democratic National Committee in Washington, according to sources close to the governor. Roberts, who was chairman of Kaine's 2005 gubernatorial campaign, will become senior advisor to the chairman. President Obama picked Kaine to serve as DNC chairman for a four-year term starting in January. Mark Rubin, senior advisor to the governor, will replace Roberts, sources say...

By Anita Kumar | March 4, 2009; 9:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Responds to Democrats' Attack

Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell accused the Democratic Party of Virginia of duping more than 50 local leaders into attacking him by providing them with false information about his stance on the stimulus package. Last week, on a conference call organized by the Democratic party, the leaders called on McDonnell to pledge he would accept the federal stimulus package, but McDonnell had already said he would accept the money if elected governor. "I am sorry the Democratic Party of Virginia leadership in Richmond gave you erroneous information, and asked you to launch an attack unsupported by the facts,'' McDonnell wrote in a letter to local leaders today. "Certainly every campaign should be characterized by full, open, and vigorous debate over the policy issues of the day. But when a political party ignores widely available public information in order to score political points that is not responsible. I am sure...

By Anita Kumar | March 4, 2009; 8:05 PM ET | Comments (1)

McAuliffe On The Move

While state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds and former delegate Brian Moran continue to look for a few headlines in Virginia, their Democratic rival for governor has been traveling across the United States this week. The Chicago Sun-Times reported yesterday that Terry McAuliffe attended a fundraiser at a Chicago restuarant Monday night. Hosts include J.B. Pritzker, whose family founded the Hyatt hotel chain, and attorney Kevin O'Keefe, a longtime friend of Hillary Rodham Clinton who headed Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in Illinois. Tonight, McAuliffe will be in Phoenix for a happy hour event with the Arizona Democratic Council....

By Anita Kumar | March 4, 2009; 5:30 PM ET | Comments (3)

Stafford Supervisor Drops Campaign Against Howell

The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star is reporting that Stafford County Supervisor George Schwartz has dropped his bid to challenge House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) this year. Last month, Schwartz entered the race by saying he was "ready for the next challenge" and wanted to go to Richmond to take on "special interests." Democrats quickly took notice of Schwartz's campaign. Although Howell represents a GOP-leaning district, President Obama received 50 percent of the vote in it last year. According to the Free-Lance Star, Schwartz said today he is dropping out of the race because the campaign "was overtaking his work as a supervisor." He said he cannot run a "targeted, full-time race" while simultaneously tending to county business, according to the newspaper. Its unclear if any other prominent Stafford County Democrat will step in to challenge Howell....

By Tim Craig | March 4, 2009; 3:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Cuccinelli Stays Away From Two-Term Pledge

If there is one person who is probably paying close attention to the race for the GOP nomination for attorney general, it's Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R). After deciding last year not to run for governor this year, Bolling will be the early favorite to win the GOP nomination for governor in 2013. But Bolling's path to the nomination could hinge on whether a Republican wins this year's race for attorney general. If recent history is any guide, a Republican attorney general will also be a strong contender for the nomination for governor in 2013. But John Brownlee, a GOP candidate for attorney general, pledged over the weekend he will not challenge Bolling in 2013 if he is elected this year. "If Bill and I are both fortunate enough to win this November, I will be prepared to endorse Bill for Governor the moment he decides to run for that...

By Tim Craig | March 4, 2009; 2:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Moran Set To Begin Radio Ad in Hampton Roads

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran will launch his first radio ad tomorrow, according to sources to familiar with his strategy. The ad will target African-American voters in Hampton Roads. In the ad, former delegate Mary Christian of Hampton praises Moran for his service. "As someone who served side-by-side with Brian for more than a decade, I can tell you personally that he's always been there and will always be there for us," said Christian, who in 1985 was elected the first African-American delegate from Hampton since Reconstruction. "Brian Moran grew up working class and he knows what it means to struggle." Moran's decision to launch a radio campaign comes six weeks after Terry McAuliffe, also a candidate for the nomination, begain airing radio and television ads in Hampton Roads. McAuliffe's ads have also largely been targeted at black voters....

By Tim Craig | March 3, 2009; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

Foster Said Va Beach Supports Him in AG Race

David M. Foster, a Republican candidate for attorney general, claims he's won a majority of the delegates to the state GOP convention from Virginia Beach. Foster said Virginia Beach will have the second highest number of total delegates to convention on May 29 to 30 behind Fairfax County. I'm excited that our campaign is continuing to build on the momentum we started in Alexandria," said Foster, referring to his claim that he also won a majority of delegates from Alexandria. "This victory in Virginia Beach should make it clear that Republicans statewide are responding to my message of common sense conservative solutions to the real problems Virginians face."...

By Tim Craig | March 3, 2009; 11:12 AM ET | Comments (1)

Goodlatte Endorses Brownlee

John Brownlee, the former top prosecutor for Virginia's western district, announced today that U.S. Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.) endorsed him in the race for attorney general. "I have known John Brownlee for many years. I know him to be a dedicated public servant, a good family man and a solid conservative,'' Goodlatte wrote. "John's conservative values, his military service and - especially - his prosecutorial experience uniquely qualify him for the position of attorney general." Brownlee faces two other Republicans -- state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax) and David M. Foster, former chairman of the Arlington County School Board. Only one Democrat, Del. Stephen C. Shannon (D-Fairfax), has announced his intention to run. Brownlee also is being supported by Jerry Falwell, Jr., chancellor of Liberty University in Lynchburg....

By Anita Kumar | March 2, 2009; 8:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

 

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