Archive: April 2009

More Money Pours Into Gov's Race

With just five weeks left before the June 9 primary, national Democratic groups continue to pour more money into Virginia to directly challenge Republican nominee Robert F. McDonnell. The Democratic Governors Association donated another $740,000 to a new group, Common Sense Virginia, to spread the word about what officials there call McDonnell's "conservative legislative record" and his close ties to religious broadcaster Pat Robertson. Officials at Common Sense Virginia said the group will provide counter-programming about McDonnell through TV and Internet ads, canvassing and phone calls....

By Anita Kumar | April 30, 2009; 3:22 PM ET | Comments (2)

Campaign Pork

There were lots of interesting moments at last night's blogger-hosted debate near Virginia Tech. Perhaps the question that seemed to surprise the candidates most came from Fire Dog Lake's Jane Hamsher, who asked the men whether they had ever taken money from Virginia's Smithfield Foods....

By Rosalind Helderman | April 30, 2009; 3:06 PM ET | Comments (1)

A Recessional Debate

Positions are hardening between Virginia's political parties over the issue of $125 million in federal unemployment dollars rejected by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates last month. Today, Democrats launch a weeklong tour to "support Virginia's unemployed," with events at the closed Tultex sweat shirt headquarters in Martinsville and the Danville Workforce Center featuring delegates and delegate candidates signing a petition on the issue. Every Democrat in the state will be highlighting this vote for months to come, convinced voters in a depressed economy will see the decision to turnback federal funds for the unemployed as heartless and out of touch. But Republicans have hardly ceded the issue. Federal bailouts are not exactly universally popular at the moment, and they see the unemployment dollars as an example of federal overreach....

By Rosalind Helderman | April 30, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

McAuliffe's Number One Fan

Terry McAuliffe: He's not just the president of the Terry McAuliffe fan club, he's also a member. This morning we wrote about attempts by the gubernatorial campaigns to make use of Internet tools like Twitter and Facebook to build grassroots networks and keep supporters up to date. Right on cue, a blast went out today encouraging people to join the Terry McAuliffe fan group on Facebook. But, the email is already generating some giggles for the self-referential wording. "Terry became a fan of Terry McAuliffe on Facebook and suggested you become a fan too," the email says. It's good to know he's got that vote locked down....

By Rosalind Helderman | April 29, 2009; 6:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kennedy Matriarch to Host Moran Event

Ethel Kennedy, widow of Robert F. Kennedy, will host a fundraiser in May for Democratic gubernatorial contender Brian Moran. The event will take place May 27 at Hickory Hill, the 19th-century family homestead in McLean where the Kennedys raised their 11 children. McLean is also where Moran rival Terry McAuliffe lives. As matriarch of the Kennedy clan, Ethel Kennedy's decision to host a fundraiser for Moran could boost his standing with Democratic activists -- and serve as a counterweight to former president Bill Clinton, who is stumping for McAuliffe....

By Amy Gardner | April 29, 2009; 9:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Congratulates Specter

Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is crowing about the newest member of his team. In a statement, Kaine said he welcomes longtime Republican Sen. Arlen Specter to the Democratic party "with open arms." Specter announced today that after three decades as a Republican, he had come to believe the party has moved too far to the right and will run for reelection in 2010 as a Democrat. You can read Kaine's full statement, in which he takes Specter's defection as a sign that the Republican party has "lost touch with the American people" here....

By Rosalind Helderman | April 28, 2009; 6:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Thompson Raises $170,000 for McDonnell

For the second time in the last year, former presidential candidate Fred Thompson has helped Republican Robert F. McDonnell raise a heap of cash for his campaign for governor. Thompson brought in $170,000 for McDonnell at a fundraiser Saturday in Charlottesville, according to McDonnell's campaign. The former Tennessee senator headlined an event at the Farmington County Club attended by 75 people. Campaign Finance Database:: Learn more about Bob McDonnell's donors....

By Anita Kumar | April 28, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

A House with No Fredericks?

It looks like the House of Delegates will no longer have a Frederick among its members. Amy Frederick announced this morning that she is withdrawing from the race to replace her husband -- delegate and ousted party chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick -- in his Prince William County district. In an email that blasts House Speaker William J. Howell and the Republican leadership, Frederick said she is "not interested in running for office to serve under broken leadership, where the speaker compromises principle for what he perceives as immediate political gain."...

By Anita Kumar | April 28, 2009; 9:57 AM ET | Comments (3)

Dominion's Hardy Joins Warner's Team

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner has tapped Eva Teig Hardy, a longtime executive at Dominion Virginia Power, one of the most influential companies in the state, to be his interim state director. Warner (D) has been searching for a state director for months, but has not yet found the right permanent person for what he considers a key job on his staff. Instead, he asked Hardy, whose long years of experience make her an ideal, if perhaps overqualifed, candidate, to take on the job while he continues to search for a permanent director. Hardy currently works part-time as a consultant to Dominion and a senior policy advisor at McGuireWoods law firm, but said she will resign from both companies before she starts the job for Warner. Hardy will be paid about $70,000 a year. She will start in June....

By Anita Kumar | April 28, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Energy Plans

Under a Bob McDonnell adminstration, Virginia would be the first state on the eastern seaboard to drill for oil and natural gas 50 miles off the coast, when the feds allow it starting in 2011. The Commonwealth would also be the first in the country to build a nuclear reactor in more than a decade, a facility that will go to Lake Anna. The state would promote its coal industry, plus pursue renewable resources like wind and chicken manure as energy sources. It's all a part of the more is more energy strategy unveiled today by Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling....

By Rosalind Helderman | April 27, 2009; 1:42 PM ET | Comments (6)

The Five House Candidates Who Raised $100,000

Trying to determine which House of Delegates races are shaping up to be the most competitive this fall? Start by checking out the candidates' most recent fundraising numbers. Here are the five candidates who have raised more than $100,000 in the three-month period that ended March 31. The list, compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project, gives us a hint of which races to watch in November....

By Anita Kumar | April 27, 2009; 12:20 PM ET | Comments (2)

A Non-Endorsement Endorsement

So has Terry McAuliffe locked up an endorsement from U.S. Rep. Robert C. Scott, Virginia's only African-American congressman? It would sure seem so from this photo making its way around the blogs, including Blue Virginia. Taken at the opening of McAuliffe's new Virginia Beach office yesterday, it shows McAuliffe with his arm on Scott's back, the two men smiling broadly. Scott is sporting a McAuliffe sticker. But Joni Ivey, Scott's chief of staff, says not so fast. She said the office opening was one of five events Scott attended yesterday, and insisted the congressman has made no formal endorsement in the race....

By Rosalind Helderman | April 27, 2009; 12:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

State GOP in Limbo

In the three weeks since Jeffrey M. Frederick was ousted as state GOP chairman, two of the 12 staff members at the Republican Party of Virginia have resigned. Matthew Kandrach, who headed the party's field operations in Northern Virginia, and Gerry Scimeca, the party's communications direction, have left. Others are waiting to see who will be selected as the new chairman this weekend. The State Central Committee is expected to pick a leader Saturday morning. But party rules require the election of a chairman four weeks later at the Republican state convention May 30....

By Anita Kumar | April 27, 2009; 8:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Moran Raises Failed Company

Waiting to see the first time Terry McAuliffe's investment in failed telecommunications giant Global Crossing would pop up on the campaign trail? Last night was your night. In an otherwise fairly placid debate on education, Brian Moran brought the company up in response to a question about teacher pensions. Moran never mentioned McAuliffe by name and the reference likely went over the heads of most of the 700 teachers in the audience. But it was clearly a veiled slam at the former DNC head and millionaire entrepreneur....

By Rosalind Helderman | April 24, 2009; 4:37 PM ET | Comments (3)

Promises, Promises

All politicians make promises, and that is no different in the Virginia governor's race. But the state's teachers discovered at last night's debate, Terry McAuliffe's pledges are particularly soaring....

By Rosalind Helderman | April 24, 2009; 3:38 PM ET | Comments (3)

Republicans Fight Back on Unemployment Dollars

Facing a growing tide of Democratic attacks, House Republicans today defended their decision to reject $125 million in federal unemployment money, arguing the dollars came with strings that would have been costly to Virginia business and cost jobs. The April 8 vote is becoming a marquee issue on the campaign trail, as all three Democratic gubernatorial and other Democratic leaders looking to win back the Virginia House sense an opportunity to paint Republicans as sympathetic to the troubles of the state's unemployed. Democrats have said they will target Republicans who voted to turn back the money. Joined by the heads of four small businesses, House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and House Majority Caucus Chairman Samuel A. "Sam" Nixon Jr. (R-Chesterfield) insisted that federal rules meant accepting the money required changing Virginia's unemployment insurance program in a way could hurt job-creating businesses....

By Rosalind Helderman | April 23, 2009; 2:39 PM ET | Comments (8)

National GOP Getting Involved in AG's Race

Everyone knew national Republicans would invest heavily in former attorney general's Robert F. McDonnell's campaign for governor. But now, they have even started getting involved in the attorney general's race. Is it because every win is crucial to down-and-out Republicans hoping to turn their party around? Or is because the attorney general's office is always considered a stepping stone to a run for governor? Whatever the reason, prepare for a slew of surrogates to swarm Virginia this spring....

By Anita Kumar | April 23, 2009; 9:31 AM ET | Comments (1)

Fact Checker: Democrats at Candidates' Forum

The three Democrats running for governor have been spending more time participating in debates and forums in recent days, giving them ample opporunity to boast about their records and promise dramatic changes for the state. But occassionally, those off-the-cuff pronouncements can cross from campaign trail bluster into outright embelishment. And at times that was the case last night, when R. Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran participated in a candidates' forum in Richmond. As needed, we'll use this space to step in and attempt to set the record straight. Here's what caught our attention:...

By Anita Kumar | April 22, 2009; 3:42 PM ET | Comments (1)

Moran Responds to Clinton Visit

Brian Moran's been touting his long list of endorsements for some time, but no one on his list has quite the star power of a former president of the United States. Standing next to a Henrico County school board member and a Richmond area delegate at an event to talk about education this afternoon, Moran was asked about the news that President Bill Clinton will be coming to Virginia next week to campaign for longtime friend Terry McAuliffe. He smiled broadly. "This race will be won with Virginia voters," he said. Then, he went through his familiar recitation of his long years of service as a prosecutor and delegate in Virginia. "That's what will win this primary," he said. But McAuliffe said today that Clinton can offer Virginia voters his thoughts as a former governor from another southern state. "If people are focused on jobs, I don't think anyone has...

By Rosalind Helderman | April 22, 2009; 3:35 PM ET | Comments (2)

McAuliffe: Virginia Can Do Better on Job Creation

At an appearance last night before the civil rights organization the Richmond Crusade for Voters, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe had harsh words for Virginia's recent efforts to lure new business to the state. "Why are we losing all this business to six southern states?" he asked, then mentioned several examples -- a Dutch company manufacturing crystals for solar panels in Tennessee, another company that has opened a plant to build turbines and towers for wind farms in Arkansas. "Why did we not bid on that here in Virginia?" he asked. "We should be bidding on every project."...

By Rosalind Helderman | April 22, 2009; 10:50 AM ET | Comments (5)

Clinton To Campaign With McAuliffe

He's coming. After considerable speculation about what role former president Bill Clinton would play in campaigning for his best friend, Terry McAuliffe, the answer should become considerably more clear Monday. Clinton will campaign with the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Richmond and Roanoke. For years, Clinton has made a powerful case for Democratic candidates around the country. But this time it's personal. The two were thick as thieves during Clinton's two presidential bids, and McAuliffe was chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign last year....

By Anita Kumar | April 22, 2009; 10:01 AM ET | Comments (4)

McAuliffe's Top Donor Touched by AIPAC Investigation

Haim Saban, a wealthy California media mogul and Terry McAuliffe's top individual donor in his bid for Virginia governor, was part of an effort to influence a Justice Department investigation of two pro-Israel lobbyists accused of spying, according to a report published this week in The New York Times....

By Amy Gardner | April 21, 2009; 3:44 PM ET | Comments (9)

Virginia Partisans Back Moran

Brian Moran (D) continued to work to separate himself from his Democratic rivals for governor today by touting his endorsement by the Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club. The nod came today partly in recognition of Moran's stand in Sunday's debate, where he was the only one of the three candidates who pledged to work to rescind Virginia's constitutional amendment against gay marriage. Opponents Terry McAuliffe and Creigh Deeds both said they opposed the amendment but begged off promising the two-year legislative battle plus ballot effort needed to overturn it. Moran is gambling that Democratic primary voters will reward his willingness to vocally support gay rights, elsewhere a more mainstream party position. He says he opposes gay marriage but believes the constitutional amendment makes even contract agreements between same-sex partners illegal. But the stance will surely follow him if he wins his party nomination, where the position may be...

By Rosalind Helderman | April 21, 2009; 3:32 PM ET | Comments (2)

Dems Blast McDonnell for Comments

Democrats called on Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell today to clarify comments he made last week about being "sort of unemployed." "We're raising five kids in Virginia, we're feeling a little bit of it as well," McDonnell said in video taped at last week's Shad Planking. "I'm actually now a retired state employee, sort of unemployed myself." C. Richard Cranwell, chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, told reporters today that McDonnell's comments were "disingenous" and puts him out of touch with the 300,000 unemployed residents in Virginia....

By Anita Kumar | April 21, 2009; 12:53 PM ET | Comments (5)

McDonnell Begins Online Ad Campaign

Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell launched a pair of online ads yesterday that will run for one week on the Drudge Report. The ads tout McDonnell's support for federal legislation that would prevent inmates at Guantanamo Bay from being transferred to Virginia. "We see a great response,'' said Tucker Martin, a McDonnell spokesman. "It shows the issue is important to voters." President Obama has vowed to close Guantanamo by January, and the government is reviewing files on the detainees, who number about 240. The administration has strongly indicated that some will be transferred to federal courts, and a senior Justice Department official recently named Alexandria and Manhattan as possible destinations. U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) introduced a bill to prevent federal money from being used to move the inmates to Virginia....

By Anita Kumar | April 21, 2009; 12:16 PM ET | Comments (1)

An Introduction

Howdy Virginia! This is my first posting on the Virginia Politics blog, so I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. I'm Roz Helderman and today I replace Tim Craig as one of the Post's two reporters covering politics and government statewide in Virginia. I am joining Anita Kumar on the beat immediately and will soon be joining her in our Richmond office as well. I've been in exile since 2006, working for the Post across the Potomac. In Maryland, I covered politics and government in Prince George's County, including following a campaign for county executive and a congressional primary that resulted in the ouster of an eight-term incumbent. But really, this is something of a homecoming for me. I spent my first five years at the Washington Post in Virginia. I worked first as a summer intern in our Loudoun County bureau, then covered education in that fast-growing...

By Rosalind Helderman | April 20, 2009; 2:50 PM ET | Comments (5)

GOPAC Lends McDonnell a Hand

GOPAC, a national organization dedicated to electing Republicans to state and local office, launched its first ever multi-media campaign to support Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell. The campaign will air cable TV ads and run ads online using Google search engine advertising, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other media. "There is no candidate in the country more important to GOPAC than Bob McDonnell as he campaigns to serve as Virginia's next governor," Chairman Frank Donatelli said. "He personifies GOPAC's belief that good candidates with good ideas run winning campaigns. GOPAC is fully supportive of Bob McDonnell's candidacy." The first ad, running on cable TV in Northern Virginia and Richmond, began today, but will be brief. Donatelli declined to release the total amount of money to be spent on the campaign....

By Anita Kumar | April 20, 2009; 11:13 AM ET | Comments (7)

McDonnell Opposes Degree for Obama

Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell has stayed mostly silent on conservative social issues -- guns, the sanctity of marriage, school choice -- chosing instead to follow the lead of other statewide officials and tout himself as a moderate. But Democrats are already starting to call attention to McDonnell's recent statement that the University of Notre Dame should not honor President Obama at its May graduation because of his views on abortion. McDonnell, who attended Notre Dame, told WTOP radio that Obama should be allowed to speak, but should not be given an honorary degree because his views "appear to be in great conflict with the Catholic social teaching." McDonnell did disagree with some Catholics who do not think Obama should be allowed to speak. "He's the president of the United States," McDonnell said. "We respect the office. I disagree with him on a number of issues, but I respect...

By Anita Kumar | April 20, 2009; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (3)

Top Kaine Aide Decamps for White House

By Michael D. Shear and Anita Kumar President Obama has named Virginia's Secretary of Technology, Aneesh P. Chopra, to be the nation's first Chief Technology Officer. The president announced the choice in his weekly radio and Internet address today, adding Chopra to a small group of advisers whose aim it to enhance and modernize the delivery of government services. "Aneesh will promote technological innovation to help achieve our most urgent priorities - from creating jobs and reducing health care costs to keeping our nation secure," Obama said in the radio address....

By Matt Mosk | April 18, 2009; 6:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Chopra to White House

Aneesh P. Chopra, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's secretary of technology, will be named President Obama's information technology chief. Obama will make the announcement in his weekly radio address tomorrow, according to sources close to Kaine. Chopra had been under consideration for months for a job in the Obama administration, including technology chief at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Chopra had put in long hours in Washington helping Obama's transition team get him ready for his first day as president job Jan. 20. He was one of about 50 volunteers from across the nation serving on the transition's technology, innovation and government reform policy working group. Chopra did not return messages for comment today. Chopra, former managing director with the Advisory Board Company, a publicly-traded health care think tank serving nearly 2,500 hospitals and health systems, has considered running for office himself....

By Anita Kumar | April 17, 2009; 6:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Opposes Guantanamo Terrorists in Va

Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell said today that he supports legislation that would prevent inmates currently housed at Guantanamo Bay from being transferred to a facility in Virginia. President Obama has vowed to close Guantanamo by January, and the government is reviewing files on the roughly 240 detainees. The administration has strongly indicated that some will be transferred to federal courts, and a senior Justice Department official recently named Alexandria, along with Manhattan, as possible destinations. "The terrorists and enemy combatants currently housed 90 miles from our shores at Guantanamo Bay are some of the most dangerous men in the world,'' McDonnell said. "Now the federal government is considering placing some of these individuals in the middle of a busy Virginia city, just feet away from hotels, apartments, restaurants and shops." U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) introduced a bill that would prevent federal money from being used to move...

By Anita Kumar | April 17, 2009; 5:21 PM ET | Comments (1)

Have Va Dems Found Their Election Issue?

Virginia Democrats hope that the largely party-line vote by Republicans last week to reject $125 million in federal unemployment funds will help carry them to victory in the fall. First, they held a press conference and launched an online petition to pitch their party as the one that can be trusted to help lead workers and businesses out of the recession. Now, Democrats are holding neighborhood canvasses in the districts of nine Republican delegates who voted to reject the federal stimulus money. That includes three in Northern Virginia in Springfield, Sterling and Dumfries. Volunteers will knock on doors to inform voters of their delegates' decision not to accept the money....

By Anita Kumar | April 17, 2009; 1:43 PM ET | Comments (4)

Top McAuliffe Donors Slept in Lincoln Bedroom

Seven people who have given Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe at least $5,000 have slept in the Lincoln Bedroom during the Clinton administration, according to campaign reports released last night. They are: Mark Weiner, former Rhode Island Democratic state chairman and superdelegate ($40,000). Carl Lindner, chairman of the board and founder of American Financial Group and former owner of the Cincinnati Reds ($15,000). Alan M. Leventhal, chairman and chief executive officer of Beacon Capital Partners, an international real estate investment company ($15,000). John Catsimatidis, owner of Gristedes Foods and the Red Apple Group and its subsidiary United Refining Company, which has holdings in aviation and real estate ($5,000). Alan Patricof, co-founder of Apax Partners, Inc., one of the world's leading private equity firms and a finance chairman for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign ($5,000). Stanley Shuman, managing director at investment banking firm Allen & Company ($5,000). Steven Green, vice president and...

By Anita Kumar | April 16, 2009; 8:05 PM ET | Comments (5)

Delegates Defend Internet Use on the Floor

Earlier today Post reporter Amy Gardner posted a video by a student journalist that takes a closer look at footage from the House of Delegates to find what the politicians are browsing on their state-issued laptops, finding several of them -- including Northern Virginia delegates Albert Eisenberg and Robert Brink of Arlington, David Englin of Alexandria, Mark Sickles of Franconia, Dave Albo of Springfield and Kristen Amundson of Mt. Vernon -- shopping, reading the news or on social networking sites. The journalist, Tracy Kennedy of Virginia Commonwealth University, closed the video by suggesting the state might need to block such sites to keep delegates on task. Three of the delegates featured in the video took exception to that assessment. Albo added a comment to this morning's post, explaining that the House was taking a break at the time while waiting for the Senate to act on a bill, and that...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | April 16, 2009; 7:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Money, Money, Money

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran returned $8,500 in contributions from Citigroup and Virginia Commerce Bank -- companies that received taxpayer-funded bailout money, according to campaign filings made public last night. Moran returned the money on the same day that rival Terry McAuliffe first pledged not to take corporate contributions from companies receiving bailout money. The campaign finance reports also show that McAuliffe spent $31,600 on supporter lists and office furniture from Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and $10,700 on office equipment from U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner's campaign....

By Anita Kumar | April 16, 2009; 3:45 PM ET | Comments (4)

Moran Picks Up A Little Labor Support

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran picked up a couple new endorsements, including one with ties to labor. Barbara Easterling, the first woman ever to serve as secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, endorsed Moran, citing recent polling that shows he is the strongest general election candidate against Republican nominee Robert F. McDonnell. "We know Brian will be with us as governor because he always has,'' Easterling said. "In these tough times, working families are facing real tough choices and Brian Moran understands what we're going through. I know he won't stop fighting until he gets us result and that's what we need as governor." Moran's rival Terry McAuliffe has spent decades in Washington working with national Democratic leaders forging close ties to unions, and has receive many of the biggest labor endorsements....

By Anita Kumar | April 16, 2009; 1:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Will Speak to Florida Dems

Timothy M. Kaine, Virginia's governor and new chairman of the Democratic National Commmittee, will be the keynote speaker at the Florida Democrats' Jefferson-Jackson dinner May 30 in Miami Beach. In recent interviews, Kaine has said he spends about one day a week out of town on DNC business. He will work full time as chairman after his term ends in January 2010....

By Anita Kumar | April 16, 2009; 1:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Who Will Be Virginia's Next AG?

Del. Stephen C. Shannon of Fairfax County officially became the Democratic nominee for attorney general yesterday when the state party certified him as the only Democrat filed to run. "As a former prosecutor and a delegate, Steve has a long record of protecting Virginia families and fighting crime,'' said C. Richard Cranwell, chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia.. He'll make an excellent attorney general. Shannon will face one of the three Republicans competing at next month's convention: John Brownlee, a former federal prosecutor; Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax); and David M. Foster, the former chairman of the Arlington County School Board. All four men were at the 61st annual Shad Planking yesterday afternoon. Before the event, Brownlee received the endorsement of Jerry Kilgore, former attorney general and Republican gubernatorial nominee in 2005 who will serve as general chairman of Brownlee's campaign....

By Anita Kumar | April 16, 2009; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (2)

Clinton & Friends Pony Up

Two of former President Bill Clinton's biggest supporters combined to donate half-a-million dollars to Terry McAuliffe's campaign for governor, according to campaign filings made public this evening. The former president pitched in $10,000 of his own towards McAuliffe's substantial haul of $4.2 million. Rivals for the Democratic nomination in the 2009 gubernatorial campaign, Brian Moran and state Sen. Creigh Deeds, turned more to their Virginia neighbors for contributions. Moran raised $807,000 during the three month period that ended March 31. Deeds raised nearly $729,000. A number of longtime Clinton donors appear to have provided the backbone of McAuliffe's fundraising machine, according to data compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project. Hollywood moguls Haim Saban ($251,000) and Stephen Bing ($250,000) topped the list. Other familiar names from the Clinton fundraising team include New York businessman Bernard L. Schwartz ($20,000), former top Hillary Clinton fundraisers Hassan Nemazee ($10,000) and Alan J. Patricof...

By Matt Mosk | April 15, 2009; 6:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

The People's Business

An enterprising student at Virginia Commonwealth University has posted to YouTube an amusing compilation of video footage from this year's General Assembly session showing lawmakers doing anything but the people's business on their state-issued laptops. The video, compiled by Tracy Kennedy from Capital News Service footage of floor sessions in the House chamber, shows lawmakers Facebooking, instant messaging, even shopping for guns. Del. Dave Albo (R-Fairfax) is seen checking out a $3.5 million house for sale in Mason Neck. Democrat Al Eisenberg of Arlington is shown browsing Civil War relics. Democrat Bob Brink, also of Arlington, is seen shopping for furniture at crateandbarrel.com. Some lawmakers are shown reading news clips, but no one is looking at the state's Legislative Information System, an online database of bill status, committee calendars and state code that is presumably a big reason why the state spent hundreds of thousands of dollars issuing the laptops...

By Amy Gardner | April 15, 2009; 3:53 PM ET | Comments (5)

McDonnell Targeted in Online Ads

Common Sense Virginia, a group funded by the Democratic Governors Association, launched an online advertising campaign today designed to inform women about Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell's record on education, health care and abortion rights. "The more Virginia women learn about the real Bob McDonnell, the more they'll realize he's not for us," said Sarah Buckley, a University of Virginia student who is a Common Sense Virginia advisory board member. For at least the next two weeks, the ads will appear on Websites frequently read by women in the state, including Martha Stewart Living, Every Day with Rachel Ray and Women's Entertainment Television....

By Anita Kumar | April 15, 2009; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

Signer Petitions in Question

About 400 of the 13,354 signatures provided to the Virginia State Board of Elections by lieutenant governor candidate Michael Signer are missing required information, according to state and Democratic party officials. If the 4,000 signatures are thrown out, his name would not appear on the ballot. The state requires candidates to submit at least 10,000 signatures, including those of least 400 registered voters in each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts, to be on the June 9 Democratic primary ballot. The state board of elections determined that the notary used by Signer made an error when he did not ensure the addresses of those collecting the signatures were included on the paperwork....

By Anita Kumar | April 15, 2009; 9:47 AM ET | Comments (1)

Tax Day Tea Parties

A series of tea parties will be held today -- tax day -- across Virginia to protest high taxes and big government spending, including recent federal bailout packages. Americans for Prosperity, a group that supports limited government and free trade, called 40,000 Virginians last tonight in an effort to boost turnout at the tea parties. Another 30,000 will be called this morning. "These tea parties are a testament to the growing anger toward politicians who are wasting our money,'' said Ben Marchi, the group's state director....

By Anita Kumar | April 15, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Democratic Candidates Sign Petition

Almost 5,000 Virginians, including all three Democrats running for governor, signed a petition calling for GOP gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell and House Republicans to support an effort to collect $125 million in federal stimulus money for jobless Virginians. The Democratic Party of Virginia launched the petition Monday. Twenty-four hours later, 4,817 Virginians had signed the petition calling for the General Assembly to return to Richmond and vote to accept the money. "Bob McDonnell's opposition to urgent assistance for displaced workers is heartless,'' state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds said. "Bob McDonnell and Virginia Republicans are turning their backs on the Virginians who are hurting the most. It's time to put politics aside and get this done."...

By Anita Kumar | April 14, 2009; 5:46 PM ET | Comments (1)

Wagner Raises $375,000

Former Finance Secretary Jody Wagner (D) raised $375,000 for her campaign for lieutenant governor in the three-month period that ended last month, campaign officials announced today. Wagner, who has more than $410,000 in the bank, boasted that she had raised more than Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who collected more than $300,000 in the same period, though he was barred by law for raising money during the 45-day legislative session. "I'm grateful to have the support of so many grassroots volunteers, elected officials, and party leaders, and I know we all look forward to a common goal of defeating Bill Bolling in November," Wagner said....

By Anita Kumar | April 14, 2009; 3:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Richmond Leaders Endorse McAuliffe

More than a dozen Richmond community activists and leaders announced their support today for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. "We believe that Terry understands urban communities and the issues they face,'' they said in a joint statement. "Terry shares our concerns and will work with our communities to improve inner city schools, youth programs, neighborhood development, infrastructure improvements, voting rights issues and vital redistricting reform...Virginia needs Terry McAuliffe; he's the right man at the right time." Endorsers include: Richmond City Council Marty Jewell; community activists Art Burton, Sharon Burton, Amelia Lightner, John Lloyd, Terry Binford, Hope Murphy Elliott, Reginald Malone, Carrie Cox, Rita Ricks, Regina L. Hatcher and and former school board members William Laffoon, Zarina Fazaldin....

By Anita Kumar | April 14, 2009; 1:14 PM ET | Comments (1)

Moran Strives to Boost Development

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran announced this morning an "Innovation Agenda" to boost research and development and expand biotechnology, green energy technology and universal broadband. "Virginia can be a national leader in research and innovation, growing our economy and creating thousands of new high-tech jobs," Moran said. "With a focus on the technology sector, we can attract investment and create jobs and position Virginia as a leader in the innovation economy. Virginia has the potential to become a national and international leader in innovation, but we have to get to work." Moran's proposal includes incentivizing research and development, establishing a strategic plan for research and development to coordinate the efforts of Virginia's colleges and universities, investing in biotech facilities, creating energy technology parks and building modeling and simulation clusters....

By Anita Kumar | April 14, 2009; 11:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bolling Raises $300,000

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) raised more than $300,000 from 404 contributors in the three-month period that ended last month, campaign officials announced today. Bolling, who was barred from raising money during the 45-day legislative session, has $735,000 in the bank. Since he kicked off his re-election campaign in March 2008, he has raised $1.3 million. "I am honored that hundreds of hard working Virginians have invested more than $300,000 in my reelection campaign in just a few short weeks," Bolling said. "I know that times are tough and people are worried about their budgets and jobs. That makes me appreciate even more the generous support that I have received from so many people." Bolling will face lawyer Patrick Muldoon for the Republican nomination next month. Three Democrats are running: Jon Bowerbank, a businessman from Russell County, Michael Signer, an attorney who worked for former governor Mark R. Warner and...

By Anita Kumar | April 14, 2009; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Raises $2.2 Million

Former attorney general Robert F. McDonnell (R) raised $2.2 million in his campaign for Virginia governor in the three-month period that ended last month, campaign officials said today. McDonnell, who was barred by state law from raising money during most of the legislative session, has $3.5 million cash on hand. "We have far more cash on hand than any of our potential opponents,'' McDonnell campaign manager Phil Cox said. "This is a crucial advantage as we take Bob McDonnell's positive message of new jobs and more opportunities to every voter in Virginia." McDonnell, who raised $1.6 million during the second half of last year, received help from national leaders including Arizona Sen. John McCain, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal....

By Anita Kumar | April 13, 2009; 4:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bloomberg-Backed TV Ad Targets McDonnell

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined with victims and relatives of the Virginia Tech massacre in Arlington today -- just days before the second anniversary of the campus shooting -- to speak against a loophole in state law that allows private sellers at gun shows to sell firearms without conducting background checks. They also aired a preview of a television commercial targeting Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell, who has not supported closing the loophole. "Make no mistake about it. This is not a partisan issue. This is not a geographic issue," Bloomberg said. The issue, he said, is whether lawmakers wants to protect criminals or the public. "Who are you going to support, the good guys or the criminals? You and me or them?" Bloomberg is a major financial contributor to the advocacy association Americans United for Safe Streets, which plans to release the commercial targeting the loophole and...

By Anita Kumar | April 13, 2009; 2:14 PM ET | Comments (18)

Dems Launch Petition on Stimulus

The Democratic Party of Virginia launched this morning a Website calling on Republicans to accept $125 million in federal stimulus money for additional unemployment benefits for jobless Virginians. The General Assembly narrowly rejected the money last week despite pressure from a visibly angry Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The Republican-controlled House of Delegates, a fiscally conservative body that has long opposed fundamental changes to laws that extend such benefits, killed the proposal after members argued it would translate into higher taxes for businesses once the supply of stimulus money was exhausted. The Website specifically targets House Republicans and GOP gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell, who is not in the legislature and did not vote on the bill but has said he opposed accepting the money....

By Anita Kumar | April 13, 2009; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

McAuliffe, Deeds Unveil Education Plans

Two of three Democratic candidates for governor, Terry McAuliffe and R. Creigh Deeds, released proposals this morning to improve Virginia's education system. McAuliffe told reporters on a conference call that he wants to commercialize more research at the state's universities to allow them to lower tuition costs. His proposal also includes providing a less expensive alternative for the first two years of community college, expanding pre-kindergarten programs, allowing high school juniors to bypass their senior year and go straight to college and increase incentives to attract teachers such as raising salaries to the national average. "To attract the employers and jobs we want in the future, we need to ensure that Virginia has the best-educated, best-trained, most skilled workforce in the world," McAuliffe said. "Over the past eight years, we've seen steady progress and better results in education. The challenge for the next governor will be to make better use...

By Anita Kumar | April 13, 2009; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (1)

Moran Leads in Poll

A DailyKos/Research 2000 poll on the governor's race shows that former delegate Brian Moran leads former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe among likely voters in the Democratic primary, 24 percent to 19 percent. State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds had 16 percent. The poll found that Moran was nearly tied with Republican Robert F. McDonnell in a general election. McAuliffe and Deeds each trailed McDonnell by 7 percent. "Not only are we leading in the primary, but, more importantly, this poll confirms that Brian is the strongest Democrat to take on Bob McDonnell in November,'' Moran campaign manager Andrew Roos said. "Virginia Democrats know that we need a fighter and we need a winner come November, and this poll is further evidence that we are running a campaign that will accomplish exactly that."...

By Anita Kumar | April 10, 2009; 5:47 PM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds Raises $600,000

State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds raised more than $600,000 over the past six weeks and has $1.2 million in the bank for his bid to become the Democratic nominee for governor. Deeds (D-Bath) was prohibited by law from raising money during the 45-day legislative session this year. But Deeds is now the second-best funded candidate in the race, trailing Terry McAuliffe. Deeds' fundraising total for the quarter put him on par with one of his Democratic rivals, former delegate Brian Moran (Alexandria), who raised $800,000 during the first three months of the year. Moran resigned from the House last year to focus on his fundraising. Deeds's aides said the candidate received 97 percent of his money in this quarter from within Virginia. "Some people said that it was foolish of me to give up 46 days of campaign fundraising in order to stay and fight for you in the Virginia...

By Mike Semel | April 9, 2009; 4:21 PM ET | Comments (3)

New Anti-GOP PAC, Blog Debuts

A new Virginia-based political action committee created to attack Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell debuted today, unveiling its new Web site and accusing the state's former attorney general of "not accurately portraying himself." The PAC's Web site, TheRealBobMcDonnell.com, features a Hawaiian shirt-clad McDonnell flanked by Republican Party leaders, such as religious broadcaster Pat Robertson, radio host Rush Limbaugh, recently ousted Virginia GOP chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick and former President George W. Bush. "Bob McDonnell represents right-wing special interests and big corporations, not you," the Web site says. Common Sense Virginia has received $100,000 from the Democratic Governors Association, its sole funding to date. The governors association will continue funding the group, officials say, to pay for an "aggressive TV and online campaign," said Yoni Cohen, the group's spokesman. "We do expect to continue raising money, and raise and spend a significant sum," Cohen said. Common Sense Virginia will not...

By Mike Semel | April 9, 2009; 2:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Berates Legislators

A handful of legislators traditionally walk to the governor's third-floor Capitol office when the House and Senate are ready to adjourn a session. In the last year or two, Kaine and legislators have ignored the largely symbolic practice. But last night when legislators were ready to adjourn their one-day session they decided to stick with tradition, partly out of respect for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and what is likely to be his last session during his four-year term. Afterwards, some Republicans wished they skipped the event. A visibly angry and red faced Kaine berated legislators for narrowly rejecting $125 million in federal stimulus money that would have provided additional unemployment benefits to thousands of jobless Virginians....

By Anita Kumar | April 9, 2009; 10:12 AM ET | Comments (5)

McAuliffe Raises $4.2 Million: Moran $800,000

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe raised an impressive $4.2 million in his campaign for Virginia governor in the three-month period that ended last month, campaign officials said today. Rival Brian Moran raised $800,000 in the same period -- more than he raised in the previous six months, but still far less than McAuliffe. "We expect to be outspent, but we also expect to win,'' Moran Campaign Chairwoman Mame Reiley said. "Virginia Democrats have long confirmed that money in and of itself does not sway them to a candidate. Instead, they want someone who is a proven fighter for their families and a leader who can win in November." McAuliffe has spent nearly half of the total amount that he has raised and has about $2.5 million cash on hand. Democrat R. Creigh Deeds did not release his campaign finance reports today....

By Anita Kumar | April 8, 2009; 12:01 PM ET | Comments (4)

Shannon Files Petitions; Raises $270,000

Del. Stephen C. Shannon, the sole Democrat in the race for attorney general, filed the necessary petitions today to get his name on the ballot. Shannon of Fairfax, who was forbidden by law from raising money during the 45-day legislative session this year, received more than $270,000 in the first three months of 2009. He has $900,000 cash on hand. Shannon submitted 14,267 signatures. The state requires candidates to submit at least 10,000 signatures, including those of least 400 registered voters in each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts. Three Republicans seek the nomination for attorney general: Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax); John Brownlee, a former federal prosecutor; and David M. Foster, the former chairman of the Arlington County School Board....

By Anita Kumar | April 8, 2009; 11:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

Armstrong Endorses Wager

Former finance secretary Jody Wagner picked up the endorsement of the highest ranking Democrat in the House of Delegates, Ward L. Armstrong, in her bid for lieutenant governor. Armstrong, the House minority leader, cited Wagner's experience as a member of Timothy M. Kaine and Mark R. Warner's administrations. "Having seen firsthand the work she did in the Warner and Kaine administrations to help fix the state's fiscal problems...I know she has the right experience to balance our budget and maintain Virginia as the best managed state and best state for business,'' Armstrong said. "As an elected official, and more importantly as a Virginian, I trust Jody Wagner to keep Virginia moving forward." Three other Democrats are running: Jon Bowerbank, a businessman from Russell County, Pat Edmonson, a member of the Virginia Beach School Board and Michael Signer, an attorney who worked for former governor Mark R. Warner....

By Anita Kumar | April 8, 2009; 11:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Opposes Unemployment Stimulus

As the General Assembly returns to Richmond today, Democrats are calling on GOP gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell to urge Republican legislators to change Virginia's unemployment system so the state can take advantage of $125 million in federal stimulus money. That's going to be a tough sell. Through his spokesman, McDonnell said he opposes changes that could mean higher taxes for businesses once the stimulus money is exhausted. "Bob McDonnell is highly supportive of the stimulus money being used to compensate displaced full time workers in Virginia,'' said Tucker Martin, McDonnell's spokesman. "However, creating an unfunded federal mandate to permanently expand benefits with one time funding poses an undue hardship on the taxpayers and employers. Thus the long term effect would not be good for economic development."...

By Anita Kumar | April 8, 2009; 10:35 AM ET | Comments (4)

More Endorsements for Moran

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran received the support from several more local elected leaders, and is now far outpassing his rivals R. Creigh Deeds and Terry McAuliffe in endorsements. Moran is hoping his endorsers convince others to support him and get others out to the polls on June 9. It's unclear if the strategy will work on a day when turnout has historically been extremely low in Virginia. Moran received the endorsement of nearly every elected Democrat in the City of Falls Church. "Brian is grounded in our commonwealth and connected to our people,'' Falls Church Mayor Robin Gardner said. "He knows how to fight and win for Virginia families, and that's why I'm standing behind him to be governor." Also endorsing: Councilman Lawrence Webb, Councilman Dan Sze, Commissioner of the Revenue Tom Clinton, Sheriff Steve Bittle, Treasurer Cathy Kaye and former Democratic Committee Chair Edna Frady....

By Anita Kumar | April 8, 2009; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Appoints Melvin To Bench

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) appointed retiring delegate Kenneth R. Melvin (D-Portsmouth) to fill a vacancy on the Portsmouth Circuit Court. "With this appointment, Ken will have another opportunity to build upon his record of dedicated service to the Commonwealth," Kaine said. "I have known and admired Ken for the keen analytical abilities and reasoned judgment he brought to legislative debates. I look forward to his continued service." Melvin, one of the longest-serving members of the House Courts of Justice Committee, is credited with defending civil rights and supporting the disadvantaged. He was elected in 1985 to represent parts of Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Norfolk....

By Anita Kumar | April 8, 2009; 6:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Fights Kaine on Jobless Benefits

By Chris Jenkins The fight over extending jobless benefits to more of Virginia's unemployed workers is coming down to the wire. House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) dug a deeper line in the sand today, reaffirming House leadership's opposition to Gov. Tim Kaine's effort to offer unemployment insurance to workers looking for part time work and those who are in certain kinds of job training programs. The General Assembly will vote on the expansion, which is funded through $125 million in federal stimulus money, during the legislature's one-day reconvene session Wednesday....

By Matt Mosk | April 7, 2009; 7:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Anthony Bedell for RPV Chairman?

An effort is underway to draft Anthony Bedell, chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee, to run for head of the Republican Party of Virginia. His is among many names being floated to replace Jeffrey M. Frederick, who was ousted over the weekend but who has said he may run for the post again. Bedell was only elected to his Fairfax County position in December, after Jim Hyland stepped down. Since then, Northern Virginia Republicans have outperformed expectations in three special elections, including one that installed John Cook (R) in the Braddock District seat vacated by Sharon Bulova (D), who became chairman this year. Some supporters have started a Facebook group called "Draft Anthony Bedell for RPV Chairman," and several GOP blogs have suggested his name. No word yet from Bedell about whether he is interested. UPDATE: Bedell issued this statement Wednesday: "At this time, I am not a candidate...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | April 7, 2009; 9:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

Basketball Bipartisanship

Greg Scanlon, research director for the Democratic Party of Virginia, won Republican guberanatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell's "bracket madness" last night when the University of North Carolina won the college championship. Scanlon came out ahead of 786 other participants, largely because of his selection of Michigan State to advance to the national title game last night. "This guy knows his basketball,'' McDonnell said. "Democratic Party Chairman Dick Cranwell might want to check how much time he spends researching politics versus how much he spends on ESPN.com....Greg's win proves our campaign brings Republicans and Democrats together."...

By Anita Kumar | April 7, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Moran Wins Straw Poll

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran received the majority of votes at the Lee District Democratic Committee straw poll in Fairfax County this weekend. Moran won 47 out of the 50 votes. He also won the Mount Vernon Democratic straw poll in Fairfax in February. "This straw poll continues to show the grassroots momentum building behind Brian," Campaign Chairwoman Mame Reiley said. "He is building this campaign from the bottom up, and this is another demonstration of where local leaders in the Democratic Party stand and that they are working hard to make their support count."...

By Anita Kumar | April 7, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Comstock Raises $120,000

Barbara Comstock, who is running for a House of Delegates seat in Fairfax County in November, has raised $120,000 since mid-January -- a substantial amount of money for a non-incumbent. Comstock, running against Democratic Del. Margaret G. Vanderhye, received donations from more than 300 people. "We are particularly pleased with the support that Barbara's campaign has received financially from her many friends, neighbors, colleagues and supporters,'' said John Hishta, a campaign spokesman. "We have gone beyond our best hopes for this early show of support. We understand that in order to be successful this fall we will need to have the necessary financial resources in order to get our message out." Comstock worked on Capitol Hill for Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) and the Government Reform Committee, ran opposition research for the Republican National Committee and helped Scooter Libby's legal team in his criminal case. Last year, she worked on...

By Anita Kumar | April 7, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Signer Launches LG Campaign

Michael Signer, an attorney who worked for former governor Mark R. Warner, officially launched his campaign for lieutenant governor today in Arlington. Signer began a statewide tour of every region of Virginia, which will include more than 20 stops. "Mike is quickly emerging as the net-roots and grassroots candidate," his spokesman Christian Rickers said. "The number of investors in his campaign represents the strength of his organization and the power of his message." Signer of Arlington was a senior strategist to U.S. Rep Tom Perriello and a deputy counselor to Warner. He is currently a senior national security policy fellow at the think tank Third Way and a principal of the Truman National Security Project. Three other Democrats are running: Jon Bowerbank, a businessman from Russell County, Pat Edmonson, a member of the Virginia Beach School Board and former Finance Secretary Jody Wagner....

By Anita Kumar | April 6, 2009; 6:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds Files Petitions

Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds' campaign filed 15,942 signatures with the Virginia State Board of Elections today to get his name on the June 9 primary ballot. The state requires candidates to submit at least 10,000 signatures, including those of least 400 registered voters in each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts. "We are excited with our tremendous showing of grassroots support to get on the ballot on June 9th," Deeds said. "This puts us on the way to securing the nomination and beating Bob McDonnell in November." His Democratic rivals, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran, submitted their petitions March 24 on the first day candidates were eligible to file....

By Anita Kumar | April 6, 2009; 5:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Group Gives McDonnell $1 Million

Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell received $1 million from the Republican Governor's Association last month for his campaign, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. "Everyone knows this is an important race with national implications,'' said Tucker Martin, McDonnell's spokesman. "We welcome the strong support of the Republican Governor's Association. They are helping us take Bob McDonnell's positive message of new jobs and more opportunities to every voter in every region of Virginia." Other groups that have donated large amounts in the governor's race include the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees and the Firefighters Interested in Registration and Education. They contributed a total of $475,000 to Democrat Terry McAuliffe. "Terry's proud to have the support of working men and women across Virginia, including members of AFSCME and fire fighters,'' said Lis Smith, McAuliffe's spokeswoman. "As this report shows, the national Republican Party has made good on...

By Anita Kumar | April 6, 2009; 3:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds Will Not Speak At Shad Planking

Democrat gubernatorial candidate Sen. R. Creigh Deeds will not appear at next week's Shad Planking, a longtime Virginia tradition where politicians come to see and be seen. Deeds' decision is surprising because appearing at the Shad Planking is considered a must-do for statewide candidates. "It's highly unusual,'' said Robert W. Bain, chairman of the Wakefield Ruritan Club, which organizes the event. The three other gubernatorial candidates -- Democrats Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran and Republican Robert F. McDonnell -- will attend....

By Anita Kumar | April 6, 2009; 1:52 PM ET | Comments (2)

GOP Searches for a New Leader

Virginia Republicans are considering selecting either Pat Mullins of Louisa County or Alexandra Liddy Bourne of Fairfax County as their new state party chairman May 2. Until then, First Vice Chairman Mike Thomas, a leader in the movement to remove Jeffrey M. Frederick yesterday will serve as interim party chairman, a post he has held three times since 2003. Thomas, a consultant at the McGuire Woods, said he will not run to complete Frederick's four-year term. But don't count Frederick out just yet....

By Anita Kumar | April 5, 2009; 1:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Meeting to Remove Frederick Begins

The Republican State Central Committee began meeting this morning to determine whether to remove Jeffrey M. Frederick as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. Sixty-seven members of the 77-member were present. Another 10 sent proxies. But the committee rejected one of the proxies because he did not live in the correct district. Frederick supporters believe the person carrying proxy want to keep the chairman and scrambled to find someone to replace him. Fifty-seven members of those present at the meeting are needed to remove Frederick. If the proxy is replaced, 58 members will be needed. Dozens of supporters gathered outside Marriott west of Richmond holding signs in support of Frederick before the 10 a.m. meeting began. "Elected, not selected,'' they chanted. The meeting, which is taking place behind closed doors, is expected to last much of the day. Members will hear from both sides, who were passing around thick...

By Anita Kumar | April 4, 2009; 11:19 AM ET | Comments (1)

BGR, Rogers Helped Warner Too

Last week, Democratic gubernatorial Brian Moran blasted his rival Terry McAuliffe for attending a Washington fundraiser hosted by BGR Group, a lobbying firm founded in part by Republican Ed Rogers. But it turns out BGR and Rogers hosted a fundraiser for another Virginia Democrat. A fundraiser honoring U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner of Virginia was held in October 2008 when the former governor was running for Senate. The invitation included Rogers, along with nine other lobbyists with BGR, including former Bush aide Eric Burgeson, Lanny Griffith, who worked in the George H.W. Bush White House and Bob Wood, chief of staff to former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. Moran criticized McAuliffe last week for his relationship with Rogers, who helped carry the Republican message on TV last year with pointed references to President Obama's middle name, Hussein. So what does Moran say now?...

By Anita Kumar | April 3, 2009; 8:17 PM ET | Comments (2)

Huckabee On the Hot Seat -- Again

Did Mike Huckabee's visit to Virginia this week end up helping or hurting Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell? For the second day in a row, the former Aksanas governor and presidential candidate has come under fire by state Democrats for comments made earlier this week while campaigning with McDonnell. Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds and C. Richard Cranwell, chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, called on McDonnell to apologize for Huckabee's remark that Northern Virginians "aren't necessarily thinking the same way folks like you and me think." "They may never have fully understood how hard it is for a lot of people to put a paycheck together, to be able to feed a family," he said....

By Anita Kumar | April 3, 2009; 3:27 PM ET | Comments (4)

McAuliffe Rolls Out Homeownership Plan

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe unveiled a plan today to encourage residents to buy home and keep homeowners in their houses. His plan includes educating consumers on financial issues, creating savings accounts and a commonwealth-funded revolving loan program for homebuyers and protecting consumers from predatory lending practices. "The severity of the current financial crisis overall, and the mortgage crisis in particular, undermines the most basic part of the American dream: homeownership," McAuliffe said. "Much is happening at the federal level to address the mortgage crisis and under Governor Kaine, Virginia has taken bold and aggressive steps to address the issues raised in the current crisis. We need to look beyond the crisis and keep our eye on the long-term goal: increasing homeownership for all in a sensible and realistic way." McAuliffe also proposes limiting mortgage companies' ability to collect high-spread premiums and charge prepayment penalties, prohibiting foreclosure rescuers from gaining...

By Anita Kumar | April 3, 2009; 3:07 PM ET | Comments (2)

Wagner's Adds to Endorsement List

Former secretary of finance Jody Wager announced 60 more endorsements today from elected officials and local leaders in her campaign for lieutenant governor. They include Del. Delores L. McQuinn (D-Richmond) Del. Paul F. Nichols (D-Prince William), Lynchbug Mayor Joan Foster, Covington Mayor Mayor Stephanie R. Clark, Charlottesville Mayor David Norris and Quantico Mayor Iris Tharp. Wagner now has the support of 45 members of the General Assembly, 14 Mayors and hundreds of grassroots activists and volunteers. The remainder of the endorsements from today are below:...

By Anita Kumar | April 3, 2009; 2:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

McAuliffe Blasts McDonnell

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe criticized Republican nominee Robert F. McDonnell today McAuliffe for standing by silently while his surrogate Mike Huckabee encouraged Republicans to keep voters from the poll on Election Day. Huckabee, former governor of Arkanses and presidential candidate in 2008, jokingly told supporters at a McDonnell campaign rally this week: "You have two jobs. One, get all those people who are going to vote for Bob out to the polls and vote. If they're not going to vote for Bob, you have another job. Let the air out of their tires and do not let them out of their driveway on Election Day. Keep 'em home. Do the Lord's work, my friend. I'm giving you an opportunity...yes, do the right thing." Members of the audience laughed. McAuliffe told reporters that as chairman of the Democratic National Committee he started the Voting Rights Institute, designed to highlight the...

By Anita Kumar | April 2, 2009; 3:53 PM ET | Comments (12)

McDonnell's Eventful Flight

The four-seater plane carrying Robert F. McDonnell bounced through rain and fog last night on the short trip from the Eastern Shore to Frederickburg, where the Republican gubernatorial nominee was headed for a rally. Curly Byler, the 88-year-old father of Gary C. Byler, chairman of the 2nd Congressional District Republican Committee in Virginia Beach, flew the plane in and out of the clouds and circled the area before he was able to land the plane in bad weather. Curly Byler has been flying for 70 years. He has flown Virginia gubernatorial candidates for three decades. Gary C. Byler said his father cheated death eight times while flying, including once when he ran out of gas and another time when he flew through a hurricane in Florida. "My dad flies in ridiculous conditions,'' Gary Byler said. "Nothing bothers him."...

By Anita Kumar | April 2, 2009; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (1)

McAuliffe Unveils Health, Education Plans

This morning, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe rolled out plans to make healthcare more affordable, increase access to higher education and secure retirement savings. "Our economic struggles have not been evenly distributed around Virginia - some communities, some industries, have been hit much harder than others," McAuliffe said. "But Virginians everywhere can see what is happening, and they wonder how it may affect them. State government cannot solve all of our problems. But it should be an ally to the aspirations and goals of its citizens." The three Democratic candidates for governor are feverishly campaigning across the state, releasing policy proposals several times a week. Yesterday, McAuliffe and rival Brian Moran unveiled proposals to lure Hollywood film crews to the state and boost the number of businesses owned by women and minorities. Today, McAuliffe proposed offering unemployed workers low-interest loans to help buy health insurance or allowing them to buy...

By Anita Kumar | April 2, 2009; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (1)

Moran's Endorsement List Grows

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran continues to receive endorsements almost daily from elected officials and local Democratic groups across the state. Moran, a former delegate, and state Sen. Creigh Deeds, to a lesser extent, clearly have the support of many of local Democratic officials in Virginia. Newcomer Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee has announced a limited number of endorsements but says he approaches them in a different way -- trying to solicit support from local activists. The June 9 election may test how powerful and effective local endorsement is in a Democratic primary....

By Anita Kumar | April 1, 2009; 11:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds Asks SCC to Reject Rate Hike

Energy has quickly become one of the top issues in the contest for the Democratic nomination for governor. The three candidates took similar approaches to the news yesterday afternoon that Dominion Virginia Power is seeking to raise electricity rates 6.9 percent during the next 14 months. But only state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds called on the State Corporation Commission to reject the proposed increase. "This is the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression, and it's simply not the time to ask Virginia families to pay more for their monthly energy bill,'' he said. "It's time to put the middle class first again. I call on the Virginia State Corporation Commission to reject this rate increase on Virginia's working families."...

By Anita Kumar | April 1, 2009; 10:04 AM ET | Comments (2)

 

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