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Virginia Politics Blog: March 8, 2009 - March 14, 2009

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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Robert F. McDonnell , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Robert F. McDonnell , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2009 , Kristen Mack , Prince William , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Tim Craig , Virginia Notebook  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Sandhya Somashekhar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Election 2009  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , John W. Warner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran  
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