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Virginia Politics Blog: April 19, 2009 - April 25, 2009

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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  General Assembly 2009 , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Governor's Race Fact Checker , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Terry McAuliffe  
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