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Virginia Politics Blog: April 26, 2009 - May 2, 2009

Mullins Selected GOP Leader

The Republican State Central Committee selected Pat Mullins, Louisa County's Republican chairman and the former longtime leader in Fairfax, as the party's new chairman at a meeting in Richmond this morning. For months, the leadership conflict has split the party and overshadowed Republican efforts to win the governor's mansion in a campaign that is viewed by many to be a harbinger for federal midterm elections in 2010. Party rules require Mullins to run again later this month when 8,000 to 10,000 activists gather in Richmond for the party's state convention May 30. Ousted chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick has said he will probably run for chairman again at the convention, but has made no formal announcement....

By Anita Kumar  |  May 2, 2009; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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More on Moran's Gay Marriage Voting Record

Increasingly, former Del. Brian Moran has been trying to portray himself as the Democratic gubernatorial candidate most friendly on gay rights. It's a strategy we explored in depth a few days ago. But at Wednesday night's debate, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds highlighted a bit of Moran's record that doesn't seem to quite fit the strategy. In 2004, Moran cast a vote in favor of a resolution sponsored by now Republican nominee Bob McDonnell that encouraged the U.S. Congress to adopt an amendment to the federal constitution banning both gay marriages and civil unions. The voting history on the resolution, a companion to a senate resolution sponsored by now attorney general candidate Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, is complex. Moran had three opportunities to vote on the issue during the 2004 legislative session. Once, the General Assembly's records showed that he did not vote. Next, he voted against the resolution. But on...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 1, 2009; 2:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Rosalind Helderman  
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Clinton to Campaign in NoVa

Former President Bill Clinton, who showed up on the campaign trail Monday for the first time stumping for his old friend Terry McAuliffe, will soon be bringing his star power to Northern Virginia as well. Clinton will make an appearance in the vote-rich Washington suburbs on May 13, according to McAuliffe's campaign. Details have not yet been announced. He will appear in Norfolk the following day....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 1, 2009; 1:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Terry McAuliffe  
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Kaine on Supreme News

Gov. Tim Kaine promised this morning that the DNC will work to help get President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court confirmed, whoever that person may be. Confirmation of a nominee to the high court is always one of the highest tests of the political skills of a White House and as head of the Democratic party, Kaine will certainly play a role. "He's a former constitutional law professor," Kaine said of Obama, reacting to this morning's news that Justice David H. Souter is planning retirement. "He is somebody who has a unqiue capacity to try pick the right person for this job. And it is certainly the case that when he does, we'll be out there, trying being supportive."...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 1, 2009; 10:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Rosalind Helderman , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Mark Warner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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