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Virginia Politics Blog: March 15, 2009 - March 21, 2009

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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Election 2008/President  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Robert F. McDonnell , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Governor's Race Fact Checker , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Eric Cantor , John McCain , Robert F. McDonnell , Sarah Palin , Thomas M. Davis III , Tim Craig , Virginia Notebook  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Election 2009 , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Terry McAuliffe , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Election 2009 , Tim Craig  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , Gerald E. Connolly , Polls  
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