Archive: May 2009

Moran Strong in Fairfax

Former delegate Brian Moran has won the latest gubernatorial straw poll -- that most uncertain of grassroots political gauges that we all spend too much time studying. Just as interesting, perhaps, is the fact that Terry McAuliffe came in third. This time, the straw poll was in Fairfax County, Virginia's largest community and a critical battleground for the primary next Tuesday. (At last, we can start saying next Tuesday!) The setting was the Fairfax County Democratic Committee's annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner at the McLean Hilton. Moran won 166 votes compared to 123 for Creigh Deeds and 117 for Terry McAuliffe. The results give Moran, from Alexandria, more bragging rights for a strong position in his homebase of Northern Virginia. They also keep alive talk that Deeds has been surging in recent days, following his endorsement by this newspaper on May 22. Finally, the results fuel recent speculation that McAuliffe's lead is...

By Amy Gardner | May 31, 2009; 10:13 PM ET | Comments (2)

Kaine Rallies Fla Dems

While Virginia Republicans spent the weekend getting energized for the state's off-year elections this fall, Gov. Tim Kaine flew to Miami Beach to try to set the groundwork for Democratic wins across the nation next year. Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was the keynote speaker at the Democrats' Jefferson-Jackson dinner last night in Florida, where five statewide offices are on the ballot next year. Kaine told the crowd of 1,100 that he was looking forward to helping the Democrats win back the Florida governor's mansion -- which will be vacated by Republican Charlie Crist who plans to run for U.S. Senate -- in one of the nation's battleground states. "I understand your current governor has decided that he's had enough after a couple of years. The economy is tough, and there's tough decisions to be made and he wants to leave those to somebody else. Hey, we're...

By Anita Kumar | May 31, 2009; 5:20 PM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds Picks Up More Newspaper Support

Creigh Deeds was endorsed by the newspapers in Martinsville and Bristol today, a week after our colleagues on the editorial board at the Washington Post did the same. It's not particularly surprising for Deeds to receive backing in the south and southwest parts of the state, where he is expected to do better than his Northern Virginia-based opponents, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran. But it is fair to note that, so far, Deeds has picked up support from the only three daily newspapers that have endorsed in the Democratic primary. Several major newspapers in the state, including the Richmond Times Dispatch and the Virginian Pilot in Norfolk, will not endorse. Newspaper endorsements, especially those in Martinsville and Bristol, are not likely to change a lot of votes. But it helps perpetuate Deeds' message that he has seen momentum in the last few weeks and definitely should not be counted out....

By Anita Kumar | May 31, 2009; 4:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Target: Terry

Bob McDonnell never mentioned his Democratic rivals by name in his speech today officially accepting the Republican nomination for governor. He didn't have to. Enough other prominent Republicans made it clear this weekend at the state GOP convention in Richmond that they think former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe will win the primary next month and compete against McDonnell in the general election. Here's what U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the House minority and an all around popular guy at the convention, said about McAuliffe: "He saw Virginia's governship pop up on ebay and he wants to buy it,'' he told more than 10,000 cheering Republicans. "We won't let him do that."...

By Anita Kumar | May 30, 2009; 8:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Excerpts: McDonnell's Acceptance Speech

Read the full prepared text of the acceptance speech by GOP governor's race nominee Bob McDonnell right here. Excerpts: As I look across this sea of great Republicans, at the largest convention in 15 years, I'm immensely honored that you have put your trust and faith in me. You have allowed me to represent our vision and aspirations in one of the most pivotal elections in Virginia history, to stand on the shoulders of Governor's Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry to govern in the cradle of democracy. And I will not let you down....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | May 30, 2009; 4:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bolling, Cuccinelli, Mullins Win at GOP Convention

The votes have been tallied at the Republican Party of Virginia convention in Richmond. Incumbent Bill Bolling is the party's nominee for lieutenant governor, while Fairfax State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli held off two challengers to win the right to represent the party in the attorney general race. Louisa County chairman Pat Mullins, who had served as interim party chair since Prince Williams delegate Jeffrey Frederick was pushed out earlier this year, officially won the job, beating grassroots-backed social conservative Bill Stanley, the Franklin County Chairman. Prior to moving to Louisa County, Mullins for many years had been a party leader in Fairfax County....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | May 30, 2009; 3:52 PM ET | Comments (8)

LIVE: The GOP Convention

The state Republican convention will kick off shortly at the Richmond Coliseum (where people are not allowed to bring in bottled water, but they are allowed to bring in guns). More than 10,000 delegates have gathered here for an event that seems a lot like a national political convention complete with colorful political signs, campaign literature covering seats, cardboard cutouts of Mitt Romney, campaign buttons that declare "No Bama." Bob McDonnell, the former attorney general, will officially accept his party's nomination for governor this morning. Delegates will pick Republican candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general, and chose a new party chairman. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling faces Alexandria lawyer Patrick Muldoon. Former federal prosecutor John Brownlee, Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II of Fairfax and David M. Foster, former chairman of the Arlington County School Board, are running for attorney general. Pat Mullins, a longtime Fairfax County GOP leader tapped by the...

By Anita Kumar | May 30, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Last Chapter on the McAuliffe Business Plan

With a week and half left before the primary election, Terry McAuliffe has put out the last chapter of his oft-referenced "Business Plan for Virginia." Chapter Six is entitled "Paying for the Business Plan" and was posted to the campaign's website yesterday, without the accompanying news release that came with chapters one through five. In the chapter, McAuliffe puts price tags on some of the proposal's he's been touting, identifies some areas of possible cost savings for the state, and prioritizes some of his ideas onto an immediate "to do" list and others onto a "let's get to this when the recession ends" list. You can read it here....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 30, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Romney Talks Up Va's Importance

Sadly, Mitt Romney decided not to announce his 2012 candidacy for president of the United States in Virginia tonight -- much to the disappointment of reporters and supporters. Romney, who has spent two days in the state campaigning for Virginia's top Republicans Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling, sidestepped questions at a press conference about whether he would run for president in 2012. "2012 is a horizon way too distant to make calls on at this time,'' he said. "I'm going to be working hard to get Republicans elected this year and in 2010." The former Massachusetts governor received an enthusiastic welcome when he appeared later at the sold-out Commonwealth Gala as a kick off of the annual state GOP convention in Richmond. The audience of about 1,300 -- some who were seated at tables out of sight oustide the ballroom -- gave him a standing ovation....

By Anita Kumar | May 29, 2009; 9:05 PM ET | Comments (1)

An Ad Scorecard, Part II

We told you a bit earlier how much the Democrats are spending on TV ads in the hotly-contested three-way gubernatorial primary. So where does Bob McDonnell fit in? McDonnell, who will officially accept the Republican nomination tomorrow, is outspending all of the Democrats -- even though the general election hasn't even started yet. And he is about spend a lot more. In just over two weeks, McDonenell has aired a whopping $1.2 million worth of spots all over the state, including pricey Northern Virginia, according to sources familiar with the purchase. He will spend another $700,000 In spots -- more than half in Northern Virginia -- in the nine-day period starting Monday following the state GOP convention, sources say....

By Anita Kumar | May 29, 2009; 7:36 PM ET | Comments (0)

Republicans Gather In Richmond

More than 10,000 party activists from around Virginia are traveling to Richmond for a two-day state convention that kicks off this afternoon at the Coliseum. Mitt Romney, who's considering another run for president in 2012, will be the headliner at the sold-out Commonwealth Gala -- one of the party's biggest fundraisers. Last year, then-Vice President Dick Cheney spokes to a few hundred attendees. This year, the former Massachusetts governor has attracted a crowd of 1,300. So many people wanted to attend the dinner that they are moving the media into the hall and setting up large-screen TVs....

By Anita Kumar | May 29, 2009; 4:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

An Ad Scorecard

So how dramatically is Brian Moran now being outspent on television ads by both Creigh Deeds and Terry McAuliffe? As of May 27, Moran had aired a mere $43,000 worth of spots in Norfolk and Richmond. Meanwhile, McAuliffe had spent $900,000, in every Virginia market except the D.C. suburbs and Deeds had spent almost $400,000. Those figures come from Evan Tracey, who tracks such things for the Campaign Media Analysis Group. Tracey says the gap between McAuliffe and Deeds has been narrowing. He says all of Deeds money has come within the last 30 days; McAuliffe's has spent about $535,000 in that time. And over the last two weeks, McAuliffe has outspent Deeds only $280,000 to $200,000....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 29, 2009; 2:46 PM ET | Comments (1)

New McAuliffe Ad Features Clinton

After picking up the endorsement of Virginia's largest black newspaper yesterday and the civil rights group the Crusade for Voters last week, Terry McAuliffe today is pressing his advantage in the African American community with a radio ad in Richmond and Norfolk noting the endorsements and featuring President Bill Clinton saying McAuliffe is "made for this moment in history." McAuliffe clearly is confident that any resentments sparked during last year's presidential primary campaign, when Clinton's heated rhetoric leading to the South Carolina primary upset many black voters, are now long past. After all, Hillary Clinton and Obama appear close. Assuming McAuliffe is right, the ads not only could draw votes from a key constituency but could help boost his friend Clinton's image as well, suggesting that last year's unpleasantness has not permanently damaged his once-stellar reputation in the black community. Hear the ad here:...

By Rosalind Helderman | May 29, 2009; 2:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Excerpts: Creigh Deeds Takes Post Readers' Questions

Governor's race Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds stopped by washingtonpost.com today to answer some readers' questions and discuss his campaigns and policies. Excerpts are below. His opponents, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran, also have done washingtonpost.com discussions -- read McAuliffe's here or Moran's here. Excerpts: Roanoke, Va.: Mr. Deeds, how do you plan to pay for the estimated $1 billion per year needed for new roads' construction in Virginia? Creigh Deeds: That's an excellent question, and one that has befuddled Governors and the General Assembly for years. I'm not running for dictator, I'm running for Governor. I intend to bring people from all parts of the state and from both political parties to build consensus around a transportation solution. There is not a more central issue related to getting our economy moving again than finding a statewide solution to transportation....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | May 29, 2009; 2:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds Takes Reader Questions Today

Democratic governor candidate Creigh Deeds will be coming online at washingtonpost.com today to take readers questions about the campaign and what he intends to do if sent to Richmond. State Sen. Deeds will answer questions starting at noon ET today; submit questions for him here....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | May 29, 2009; 10:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

National GOP Targets Va Congressmen

The mid-term elections aren't until 2010, but that hasn't stopped national Republicans from starting to try to reclaim a pair of U.S. House seats that they lost last November. The National Republican Congressional Committee began broadcasting radio ads today targeting U.S. Reps. Glenn Nye in Hampton Roads and Tom Perriello in the southern part of the state. The ad, Accountability Offensive, criticizes Nye and Perriello for supporting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has been under fire recently for her conflicting claims that the Bush administration mislead her on its interrogation techniques....

By Anita Kumar | May 29, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Common Sense Virginia Hits McDonnell Again

For the moment, at least, it seems the Democratic political action committee Common Sense Virginia, and its patron saint, the Democratic Governor's Association, has virtually endless money to spend softening the ground for whichever Democrat the party nominates in the June 9 primary. Yesterday, the group announced yet another huge ad buy in Northern Virginia, a significant six-figure expenditure for another week of commercials slamming Republican Bob McDonnell....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 29, 2009; 5:30 AM ET | Comments (3)

Connolly Endorses Keam in 35th District House Race

U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) has endorsed Mark L. Keam in the four-man race for the Democratic nomination in the House of Delegates' 35th District. Connolly's endorsement comes a day after one of Keam's opponents, Roy J. Baldwin, criticized Keam for his work as a federal lobbyist for Verizon. Keam is a former chief counsel to Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and also worked stints at the Federal Communications Commission and Small Business Administration. Keam is also a Korean-born immigrant, a potential advantage in increasingly diverse and Democrat-leaning Fairfax County. And he has raised more money than the other three contenders, according to the Virginia Public Access Project....

By Amy Gardner | May 28, 2009; 9:05 PM ET | Comments (1)

Nader Accuses McAuliffe of Suppressing Votes

Consumer activist Ralph Nader accused Terry McAuliffe Thursday of orchestrating an effort to remove him from the presidential ballot in 2004 when McAuliffe was chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Nader said that McAuliffe offered him an unspecified amount of money to campaign in 31 states if Nader would agree to pull his campaign in 19 battleground states. "When you get a call like that, first of all it's inappropriate,'' Nader said in an interview. "The other thing is if you don't immediately say no, it's like taffy, you get stuck with it." The latest charge against McAuliffe, who is in a hotly-contested three-way Democratic primary for governor, calls into question -- again -- whether his political career is a liability for him as a candidate....

By Anita Kumar | May 28, 2009; 3:38 PM ET | Comments (95)

McDonnell Unveils Anti-Gang Plan

Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell unveiled a multi-part plan to address gang violence this afternoon as the former attorney general portrayed himself as the choice law-and-order candidate. "We have seen the presence of gangs in Northern Virginia that we never thought we would see," McDonnell said. "It is time to intensify our efforts." McDonnell, speaking outside the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg, outlined a broad policy proposal, which included the expansion of Virginia's Gang Reduction and Intervention Program (GRIP); increased federal, and possibly state, funding for the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force; the creation of "gang-free zones" in public areas outside of schools, including bus stops, hospitals and community centers; the creation of a state anti-gang coordinator underneath the Virginia Secretary of Public Safety to centralize state policing efforts; and tougher state penalties for gang recruitment....

By Derek Kravitz | May 28, 2009; 3:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bad Blood Between McAuliffe and Plotkin?

If there was any strategy at play when Terry McAuliffe jabbed at Mark Plotkin over a bit of ancient history during an interview earlier this year, it didn't seem to have worked. Anyone wondering why Plotkin slammed McAuliffe on drive time radio this morning -- urging voters to support any other candidate but him -- may benefit from a little of the back story. McAuliffe showed up late for his February appearance on WTOP's The Politics Program with Mark Plotkin, then proceeded to rib the pugnacious Washington political commentator over some old business from the candidate's years as a banker. You can listen to the exchange by clicking the image below: AUDIO | McAuliffe Says He Declined Radio Host's Bank Loan McAuliffe became chairman of Federal City National Bank back in 1988, and joked on the air about declining to give Plotkin a loan. "You're just mad I turned you...

By Michael Laris | May 28, 2009; 3:04 PM ET | Comments (2)

McAuliffe Wooing Black Voters

Terry McAuliffe scores another small victory with black voters. McAuliffe was endorsed by the Richmond Free Press, a free newspaper in the capital city that caters to the African American community. "He demonstrated his concern for the black community, showing up at events in our community as he did in other communities-and following up to assure that he means what he says,'' the newspaper writes in a lengthy editorial published today. Last week, McAuliffe gotthe backing of the Richmond Crusade for Voters, a civil rights group. In what is expected to be a low turnout primary, African American voters will play a crucial role in the June 9 primary. McAuliffe, Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran have launched aggressive campaigns to woo the state's African American voters through radio ads, endorsements and events....

By Anita Kumar | May 28, 2009; 2:43 PM ET | Comments (2)

Did McAuliffe Break His Pledge?

Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran are accusing rival Terry McAuliffe of breaking the pledge (he loves to repeat) to not go negative in a primary against fellow Democrats. But his latest campaign mailer, just arriving in mailboxes in Northern Virginia, offers a comparison of the three candidates that seems, well, kind of negative. The mailer compares the three Democrats and one Republican in the race for governor on four issues -- payday lending, campaign finance, lobby reform and renewable energy standard. Deeds' campaign said McAuliffe's "deceptive" mailer shows he is running scared because recent polls show Deeds is gaining ground while Moran's camp says it shows McAuliffe can't be trusted. Click the image below to see the ad....

By Anita Kumar | May 28, 2009; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (7)

Camelot on Display for Moran

There are quite a number of Terry McAuliffe signs along the roadways of tony McLean leading to to Ethel Kennedy's famed Hickory Hill estate, but behind the door of the stately white mansion--complete with Barack Obama sticker on its open glass door--it was all about Brian Moran last night, as we wrote in this morning's Post. Well, Brian Moran and, of course, always the Kennedys. The home is absolutely full of Kennedy mementos, on every wall, on every graceful table and mantle, which guests at the Moran fundraiser last night soaked in with abandon. Paintings and etchings and drawings of Ethel Kennedy's husband Robert and, of course, his brother President John, all got snapped with camera phones, as guests munched on shrimp skewers and tiny rolls of roast beef....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 28, 2009; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (3)

Plotkin Disses McAuliffe

Just what did Terry McAuliffe do to Mark Plotkin? Plotkin blasted McAuliffe on WTOP radio this morning as part of a scathing commentary in which he urged Virginains to vote for Brian Moran or Creigh Deeds and not -- under any circumstances -- McAuliffe. He slammed McAuliffe for his lack of ties to Virginia, his interest in fundraising and his "exaggerations." He ended simply with this line: "The Democratic primary for governor is Tuesday, June 9. Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds are qualified to be governor. Terry McAuliffe is not." Plotkin has been miffed since McAuliffe canceled his appearance on his radio show a couple weeks ago. He was the only one of the three candidates who did not appear. McAuiffe's spokeswoman Elisabeth Smith's only reaction today was this: "Terry has the record of creating thousands of jobs and turning around struggling businesses. That's the record that Virginias are looking...

By Anita Kumar | May 28, 2009; 8:07 AM ET | Comments (7)

McDonnell Can't Wait to Talk About Card Check

We told you yesterday how much Bob McDonnell was loving each of his Democratic rivals being forced to share their views on card check. McDonnell wants to turn card check into the issue this year -- and he sure is doing his best. He talks about it everywhere he goes. Check out today's effort. A video of Democrats Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran explaining -- sort of -- if they support card check....

By Anita Kumar | May 27, 2009; 4:01 PM ET | Comments (5)

Anti-Tax Group Target Dem Healthcare Plan

Who says candidates are the only ones airing TV ads these days? Americans for Prosperity, an anti-tax group that supports limited government and free trade, started an advertising blitz on TV across Virginia today to cricitize the Democrats' yet-to-be released healthcare plan. The advertising campaign is part of a national effort to get the word out about potential changes that the group says could result in long waits for surgery and difficulty getting prescription drugs. In Virginia, the group is spending $250,000 over two weeks in every one of the state's media markets, including pricey Northern Virginia....

By Anita Kumar | May 27, 2009; 1:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Gears Up for General Election

With the Democratic primary less than two weeks away, Republican Bob McDonnell is starting to prepare for a high-profile battle in the general election. McDonnell's campaign has hired Crystal Cameron -- mostly recently the morning anchor at WVIR TV station in Charlottesville -- as his press secretary. (Just another journalist leaving the industry.) Cameron, 31, spent a dozen years as a reporter, producer and anchor in TV news in Florida and Virginia. After settling in, she will be McDonnell's primary spokeswoman. The campaign also hired Taylor Thornley, 22, who worked on Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign last year, to serve as press assistant for the campaign. ...

By Anita Kumar | May 27, 2009; 11:25 AM ET | Comments (1)

Ticketmate Byrne Backs Deeds

Suddenly, it seems as like state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds is all about Fairfax. It's a message reinforced by an endorsement today by former congresswoman Leslie Byrne. After RSVP-ing "no" to yesterday's Virginia FREE luncheon in Tyson's, Deeds made a last minute switch and attended. He was with the Fairfax Democratic Committee last night and will meet with county teachers on Thursday. And today, he's joining Leslie Byrne, who was the first woman elected to Congress from Virginia, representing--yes, that's right--Fairfax....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 27, 2009; 10:51 AM ET | Comments (4)

Live Blog: Virginia FREE Luncheon

Good Afternoon. Today we come to you live from the Ritz-Carlton Tyson's Corner, where all four men seeking the governor's mansion in Virginia are about to begin addressing a roomful of business leaders and electeds for the Virginia Free lunch. The room is packed. Folks are now munching on salad. And Clayton Roberts is now reading the lengthy list of influential folks in the audience. We'll get started with a live blog in just a couple minutes, when the speechifying begins and keep with it as long as our technology holds out....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 26, 2009; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (2)

Kaine Praises Sotomayor

Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, predicted an easy Senate confirmation for Sonia Sotomayor, the appeals court judge who President Obama nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court this morning. "There's going to be a vigorous discussion. That's the way it ought to be,'' Kaine said on his monthly call-in show on WTOP. But "I think the demonstrated track record of success is going to carry the day for this nominee." Kaine pointed out that Sotomayor was previously nominated by both Republican and Democratic presidents and was twice confirmed by the Senate....

By Anita Kumar | May 26, 2009; 11:05 AM ET | Comments (1)

Warner's Firsthand Look at War

While most of us were at cookouts this Memorial Day weekend, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner jetted off to Baghdad to visit with Virginia soldiers and chat with the Iraqi prime minister, the U.S ambassador and top U.S. military commanders in Iraq. "I understand how difficult it is to be deployed away from family and loved ones, especially on a holiday such as this one, and I wish each of you a safe and speedy return to the States," Warner told troops. The congressional delegation -- which includes Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island -- spent Saturday and Sunday in Iraq, where temperatures reached 115 degrees They will make several other stops in the region before returning to the United States Friday....

By Anita Kumar | May 26, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

GOP Establishment Endorses Mullins

Jeff Frederick may not be running for GOP chairman this week but that doesn't mean the race isn't going to be the same establishment vs. grassroots battle it was last year when Frederick won and this year when Frederick was ousted. Tonight, Pat Mullins, the chairman who succeeded Frederick, announced that he had received the support of Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell, the state's five GOP congressmen and House Speaker Bill Howell. "Pat provides our party with a dedicated conservative leader who comes from the grassroots of our party and understands what it takes to win in a competitive state,'' McDonnell said. But Jeb Wilkinson, Mullins' campaign manager, said Mullins is supported by many people in addition to elected officials, including grassroots activists who supported Frederick....

By Anita Kumar | May 25, 2009; 9:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

How Much Pie Can One Man Eat?

It's a good question for political candidates on Memorial Day weekend two weeks before an election, as they cram in as many barbecues and parades and festivals and fish fries as they can stomach, engaging in classic retail politics before voters go to the polls. In the case of Brian Moran this weekend, it was a quite literal question. Moran took part in a pie eating contest at the Strawberry Festival in Virginia Beach on Saturday, where he endeavored to eat as much of a strawberry pie (natch) as he could in 90 seconds. He came in third. Of five. We caught up with Moran today, a full 48 hours later, at the Viva Vienna festival in Fairfax, where he was still sporting a scrape on his nose from the pie tin....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 25, 2009; 5:05 PM ET | Comments (6)

Romney's Whirlwind Weekend in Va

Mitt Romney, who's considering another run for president in 2012, will spend the weekend right here in the Old Dominion helping the state's top Republicans get elected. The former Massachusetts governor will be the headliner at the sold-out Commonwealth Gala in downtown Richmond Friday night as part of the annual state GOP convention. He will be featured at a trio of fundraisers across the state for Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who was Romney's campaign in Virginia last year before he dropped out of the race. He will also make an appearance at an Arlington business forum on the Employee Free Choice Act, the federal legislation that would make it easier to form a union. Romney is hoping he won't be forgotten in Virginia -- now a swing state in presidential elections -- come 2012....

By Anita Kumar | May 25, 2009; 1:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

More Fodder for Turnout Debate

Will turnout in the Democratic gubernatorial primary June 9 be low? high? And who benefits? If it's all activists, the theory goes, Brian Moran gains an edge. If a broader electorate shows up, perhaps that's to Terry McAuliffe's advantage, since his message is reaching the most Virginians on radio and TV. If the rural parts vote more, that might be to Creigh Deeds' advantage. Here's some new corn feed to throw into the trough. In Arlington, political numbers-cruncher Frank O'Leary (the county treasurer by day) is pretty excited that absentee balloting is on a trajectory to exceed past primary elections (excluding last year's historic presidential contest)....

By Amy Gardner | May 24, 2009; 3:00 PM ET | Comments (6)

Crusade Endorsement Problems, Part II

A few days ago, we told you how angry state Sen. Henry Marsh was about the Richmond Crusade for Voters endorsement of Terry McAuliffe for governor. Turns out he is not the only one. Two other influential African Americans, State Sen. Don McEachin and Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, both longtime members of the storied civil rights group, join Marsh in accusing the Crusade of allowing non-members to vote at last Tuesday's endorsement meeting. "It is a tainted endorsement,'' McEachin said....

By Anita Kumar | May 23, 2009; 6:00 PM ET | Comments (4)

Deeds Bobbles Minimum Wage Question

Okay, so it couldn't be a perfect day for Creigh Deeds. Yesterday morning, he snagged some momentum with the endorsement of our colleagues on the editorial board of the Washington Post. But not long after, he had a little flub on the Politics Hour with Mark Plotkin on WTOP that's got the bloggers twittering. In response to a question about the minimum wage, it sure sounded like Deeds didn't know what the the minimum wage currently is in Virginia. Price of milk anyone?...

By Rosalind Helderman | May 23, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Awww, Cute: Baby News for Steve Shannon

Democratic AG candidate Steve Shannon's campaign manager just announced that Shannon's wife Abby gave birth to the couple's third child today. Baby Owen was born at 8 pound, 5 ounces. Mom and baby are doing well and manager Roman Levit wrote in an email to supporters that Shannon his wife feel blessed by their new arrival....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 22, 2009; 5:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Sings. Yes, Really.

Gov. Tim Kaine played the harmonica and sang a couple songs last night in front of a few hundred people at his last fundraiser for his political action committee. A casually dressed Kaine was joined by Boyd Tinsley, a violinist with the Dave Matthews Band, on stage in the park outside the historic Maymont house in Richmond....

By Anita Kumar | May 22, 2009; 2:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Connolly Blasts McDonnell

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) lambastes Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell this week over the state's refusal to accept $125 million in federal stimulus money for unemployed Virginians. "I would challenge you to explain to a single Virginia family why their economic security is less important than your party's political ambitions, and that Virginians facing the devastation of unemployment and the concomitant consequences of foreclosure, loss of healthcare, and creditworthiness for the partisan gain of the Republican Party and its gubematorial aspirants," Connolly wrote in a letter to McDonnell. The Republican-led House of Delegates voted 53 to 46, largely along party lines, last month to reject the funds. McDonnell supported that decision....

By Anita Kumar | May 22, 2009; 11:55 AM ET | Email a Comment

Post Ed Board Endorses Deeds

It's got to be a particularly sunny day in Charlottesville at the headquarters of Creigh Deeds. That's because our colleagues on the editorial board of the Washington Post endorsed Deeds this morning for the Democratic nomination for governor. Just to be clear, the ed board operates entirely separately from those of us on the news side. We provided no input for their decision; we got our first look at the editorial, like everyone else, over our morning coffee. (Or, rather, on our laptops last night just after midnight.) But this still seems a potentially important development in the race worth examining....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 22, 2009; 8:02 AM ET | Comments (3)

McAuliffe Leads in Poll

A DailyKos/Research 2000 poll on the governor's race today shows that Terry McAuliffe leads opponents Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds among likely voters in the Democratic primary. The former chairman of the Democratic National Committee had 36 percent compared to 22 percent for Moran and 13 percent for Deeds. McAuliffe showed a huge gain, while Moran and Deeds remained virtually steady, since the last poll was conducted. In early April, the same poll showed that Moran was ahead of the other two among likely voters....

By Anita Kumar | May 21, 2009; 5:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Moran, Deeds Question McDonnell on Redistricting

Well, that didn't take long. Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds are already scoffing at Bob McDonnell's endorsement today of some kind of bipartisan commission on legislative redistricting. They both note that McDonnell has a long history of opposition to the idea when it's been advanced by Democrats in the state legislature. Not that McDonnell said anything else in his conference call with reporters this afternoon. He was noted his past opposition but said he had come to believe the parties should work together to redraw legislative lines....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 21, 2009; 5:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

Moran vs. Moran

Last week, Democratic candidates for governor, R. Creigh Deeds and Terry McAuliffe, said they oppose inmates from Guantanamo Bay detention facility being housed in Virginia. But their rival Brian Moran refused to say. Until today. Today, Moran told reporters on a conference call that he, too, opposes housing inmates in Virginia and as governor, his first priority would be to keep residents safe. The decision puts him at odds with his brother, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, who last weekend raised some eyebrows that he would be open to inmates being housed in Virginia though he would not prefer it....

By Anita Kumar | May 21, 2009; 4:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Veterans Plan by Moran, Open Government by McDonnell

Some interesting policy roll-outs today on both sides of the aisle. In the morning, Brian Moran put out a plan to provide more benefits for Virginia veterans and this afternoon brought together the duo of Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling with a series of good government proposals, including endorsing bipartisan legislative redistricting and a two-term governor....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 21, 2009; 2:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Attacks McAuliffe On Union Ties

Republicans are blasting Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe for touting this week that he hired all union workers in Florida because they say that violates the state's right-to-work law. "I've gone into states like Florida -- right-to-work," McAuliffe said this week in a debate hosted by the Washington Post and News Channel 8 at Northern Virginia Community College's Annandale campus."And hired all union workers." Florida, Virginia and 20 other states have laws that so not alow union membership to be a condition of employment. "Terry McAuliffe either doesn't know or doesn't care what the letter and spirit of right-to-work laws are if he brags about discriminating against non-union workers," said party chairman Pat Mullins. "Requiring all workers to be unionized is against the policy of Virginia and it is shocking that he would boast about breaking it." The GOP and Republican gubernatorial nominee have been hammering Democrats for their union...

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

Update: McAuliffe's Endorsement Marred in Controversy

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe won the endorsement of the Richmond Crusade for Voters, a civil rights group well known for getting voters to the polls. But tonight, longtime Crusade member, state Sen. Henry Marsh, accused the group of a series of "irregularities" that he said "reflect poorly on the Crusade and diminish the credibility of this historic organization." Marsh, who is campaigning for McAuliffe's rival R. Creigh Deeds, accused the Crusade of allowing non-members and members who had not attended the required number of meetings to vote and permitting relatives and candidates' staff to serve on the committe that made endorsement recommendations....

By Anita Kumar | May 20, 2009; 6:15 PM ET | Comments (1)

Fact Checker: Dominion Rate Increase

All three Democrats running for governor claimed in yesterday's debate that they oppose Dominion Virginia Power's March proposal to raise electricity rates 6.9 percent to pay for equipment, salaries, plant construction and conservation projects. That's not exactly true. Only state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds called on the State Corporation Commission to reject the rate increase. His rivals Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran did not. Deeds immediately issued a press release after Dominion announced the proposal. "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 | May 20, 2009; 6:11 PM ET | Comments (1)

DGA Spends Another $750,000

The Democratic Governors Association has given another $750,000 to Common Sense Virginia, a political action committee set up to oppose Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell, according to state reports. The DGA has now contributed nearly $3 million to Common Sense Virginia, which formed to spread the word about what it calls McDonnell's "conservative legislative record" and his close ties to religious broadcaster Pat Robertson. Common Sense Virginia is airing TV ads across the state that criticize McDonnell for opposing the state accepting millions of dollars in federa stimulus money....

By Anita Kumar | May 20, 2009; 5:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

Excerpts: Terry McAuliffe Takes Post Readers' Questions

Governor's race Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe stopped by washingtonpost.com today to answer some readers' questions and discuss his campaigns and policies. Excerpts are below. Fellow candidate Brian Moran took questions earlier today; Creigh Deeds will be by online at noon on May 29. Excerpts Alexandria, Va.: Brian Moran in the chat earlier today declared himself - a potential governor of the Old Dominion -- as a fan of the Boston Red Sox. Sir, I ask as an undecided Democratic voter, your preference as a baseball fan. Terry McAuliffe: Honestly, with the limited time I have now, the most baseball I watch -- and my favorite -- is my son Peter's little league games. Arlington, Va.: One of my concerns about your candidacy is that it will heighten already partisan politics in Virginia due to your national profile and previous political work. Any thoughts about whether that would be true, and,...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | May 20, 2009; 4:12 PM ET | Comments (1)

Where's the Jobs Plan?

Bob McDonnell calls himself a "jobs governor." So Common Sense Virginia, a political action committee funded by the Democratic Governors Association, wants to know why the Republican gubernatorial nominee has yet to unveil a plan to create jobs. The group launched the "No Jobs Bob" clock on its Website to track the number of days, hours, minutes and seconds since McDonnell declared himself the "Jobs Governor" without offering a jobs plan. "Bob McDonnell is ready to deny help to Virginians struggling in challenging times, but McDonnell is not ready to create jobs in our commonwealth," said John Tyler, who recently lost his job and serves on the Common Sense Virginia advisory board. "No Jobs Bob likes to talk the talk, but for more than a year on the campaign trail, McDonnell hasn't walked the walk."...

By Anita Kumar | May 20, 2009; 3:20 PM ET | Comments (3)

Excerpts: Brian Moran Takes Post Readers' Questions

Governor's race Democratic candidate Brian Moran stopped by washingtonpost.com today to answer some readers' questions and discuss his campaigns and policies. Excerpts are below. His opponents, Terry McAuliffe and Creigh Deeds, also will be doing washingtonpost.com discussions -- McAuliffe today at 3 p.m. (submit questions) and Deeds on May 29. Excerpts: Fairfax County, Va.: I worked all last year on the Obama campaign as a volunteer in northern Virginia. I am still angry that Terry McAuliffe pointedly left Denver before President Obama's acceptance speech. But even before he entered the race, I was torn between you and Creigh Deeds on electability. Creigh seems like a more Jim-Webb-style, middle of the road, centrist candidate who people from other parts of the state can identify with. Why do you feel a northern Virginian with progressive views, such as yourself, can defeat McDonnell? I would love to be convinced you can -- please...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | May 20, 2009; 12:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

Moran, McAuliffe Take Readers Questions Today

Democratic governor candidates Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe will be coming online at washingtonpost.com today to take readers questions about the campaign and what they intend to do if sent to Richmond. Former State Del. Moran will answer questions starting at 11:30 a.m. ET today; submit questions for him here. Former Democratic National Committee chairman McAuliffe will answer questions starting at 3 p.m. ET today; submit questions for him here. State Sen. Creigh Deeds will be taking readers questions on May 29....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | May 20, 2009; 8:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Video: Debate-goers Offer Reactions

  Play Video VIDEO | Virginia Voters React to Dem. Debate...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | May 20, 2009; 2:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

Moran Airs Negative Ad

Brian Moran will begin airing his first television ad tonight during a broadcast of today's primary debate between the three Democratic candidates for governor. And no surprise Moran went negative. Moran's ad hits hard at rival Terry McAuliffe's claims that he would bring a successful businessman background to the governor's mansion. Moran signaled that this would be a central theme for the closing days of the campaign: McAuliffe is not what he says he is. The ad will air in Hampton Roads and Richmond....

By Anita Kumar | May 19, 2009; 6:49 PM ET | Comments (2)

Full Video: Democratic Governor's Race Candidates Debate

Play Video VIDEO | Democratic Gov. Candidates Square Off...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | May 19, 2009; 6:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Moran: Helped Bring Payday Lending in Virginia?

McAuliffe just accused Moran of supporting legislation that allowed payday lending into the state. It's true, but at the time most lawmakers thought the bill would regulate the industry and prevent it from preying too deeply on the poor. Moran voted for a bill in 2002 that opened Virginia to payday lending. Lawmakers from both parties thought the bill would license and regulate the industry, but instead payday operators quickly multiplied. Three years later, Moran did vote to enact some of the nation's most stringent reforms of the payday loan industry, though many opponents did not think it went far enough. Since 1996, Moran has taken $30,200 in donations from lending or consumer credit companies....

By Amy Gardner | May 19, 2009; 2:47 PM ET | Comments (5)

Live Blog: From the Washington Post Debate, Part II

Still with us? We're live in Annandale at the Washington Post debate. 2:57 p.m.: And that's it folks. Thanks for joining us. 2:56 p.m.: This debate it's Deeds with a more negative closing. Virginians don't want a governor who stands with Donald Trump and Wall Street (that's Terry) or a governor who stands with lobbyists under federal investigation. (that's moran) 2:53p.m.: Moran thanks the Washington Post. No, Brian, thank you. His closing is about his record--he's got a record of working to help people and that's what he would bring to the governor's mansion. This is a very different closing than his one at the last debate hosted by Virginia bloggers--much more about himself, much less about McAuliffe. (Maybe he's already hit those points in a debate that's focused a lot on McAuliffe.) 2:52 p.m.: Closing statements. McAuliffe says read his business plan. He's a candidate who will shake things...

By Rosalind Helderman | May 19, 2009; 2:39 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Blog: The Washington Post Debate

Greetings from the Ernst Community Cultural Center on the lovely Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College. Our moderators for this afternoon's shindig are Chris Cillizza and News Channel 8's Bruce DePuyt. On my left, is Anita Kumar, on my right Amy Gardner. Just call us the Angels of Washington Post Virginia coverage. (Hello Charlie -- I do mean you, editor Matt Mosk.) I'll be live blogging this debate beginning at 2 p.m. Hit refresh frequently starting then to get the latest. 1:58: Okay, we're about to begin. The candidates have taken the stage. We've got Moran on the left, Deeds in the middle (seems to always happen at these debates) and McAuliffe on our far right. Let's get ready to rumble. 2:00 p.m. We're going right to questions. No opening statements at this baby. First question, posed by Chris Cillizza: What would you do differently to get sustained transportation...

By Rosalind Helderman | May 19, 2009; 2:34 PM ET | Comments (7)

McAuliffe: No to Dominion Money?

McAuliffe again claimed today that he is accepting no money from Dominion, the state's biggest energy provider. While technically true, McAuliffe didn't volunteer (but opponent Creigh Deeds did in his rebuttal) that he held a campaign event at the home of a former president of the electric utility. McAuliffe has also accepted money from current and former employees of Dominion. McAuliffe has not accepted any donations directly from Dominion, but he attended a gathering in his honor last week at the home of Thomas E. Capps, the company's retired president and chief executive officer. Capps donated $2,500 to his campaign. Eva Teig Hardy, a former executive and chief lobbyist for the company, contributed $7,750. Another executive Christopher B. Rivers contributed $1,700....

By Amy Gardner | May 19, 2009; 2:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Moran: I Led Efforts on Equality Issues

Answering a question about same-sex marriages, candidate Brian Moran said he led efforts in the state House of Delegates to protect the rights of gays and lesbians in Virginia. While Moran has made it a major plank of his campaign to overturn a state constitutional amendment passed in 2006 banning same-sex marriages in Virginia, he voted yes to a proposal (put forth by Republican Bob McDonnell, the former delegate and attorney general who will face the winner of the Democratic gubernatorial primary) urging the Congress to pass a federal constitutional amendment. Moran says he voted against that proposal too, and his campaign says the one vote in favor was in the middle of the process and does not reflect his true feelings on the issue....

By Amy Gardner | May 19, 2009; 2:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

McAuliffe: I Created Thousands of Jobs

Terry McAuliffe talked again today about how he has created thousands of jobs, and he made a new claim that many of those jobs are union jobs. McAuliffe led a home-building company in Florida that did, indeed, create thousands of jobs in the construction trades. And most of those jobs were union. But McAuliffe never created jobs in Virginia, despite claiming on the campaign trail that he started five businesses here. (McAuliffe did create five businesses in Virginia, but all are investment partnerships registered to his home address in McLean, and none has employees)....

By Amy Gardner | May 19, 2009; 2:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

McAuliffe: Virginia To Lose Federal Highway Dollars?

In our first fact-checker item of today's debate at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, we'll take a look at a statement Terry McAuliffe made, not for the first time, that Virginia could soon lose federal highway dollars if it doesn't find new sources of transportation revenue. It's true. Part of the discussion about Virginia's transportation crisis has revolved around that that more and more of the state's investment in highways has gone toward maintenance and repair rather than new construction. If the state allows its expenditure on construction to dip too low, it will miss out on federal highway dollars that are available on a matching basis to the states. Currently, Virginia is eligible for about $1 billion in matching federal dollars, but it must spend about $200 million of its own money to qualify. It's generally viewed as a good bargain -- $4 of federal money for every...

By Amy Gardner | May 19, 2009; 2:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Showdown in Annandale

The stakes couldn't be higher for today's Democratic gubernatorial debate, sponsored by the Washington Post. The debate, which will be held in front of a live audience of Northern Virginia Community College students and others at the Annandale campus of the school, will offer all three candidates a final chance to distinguish themselves on issues--and an opportunity to speak directly to Northern Virginians. There may be more Democrats up here than in anywhere else in the state, but because the television market is so expensive, voters hear directly from the candidates far less often than in RoVa. You'll be able to watch the debate live here starting at 2 p.m. It will also air this evening at 8 p.m. on News Channel 8....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 19, 2009; 10:41 AM ET | Comments (2)

Steele To Hold Rally With McDonnell

Michael Steele, the controversial chairman of the Republican National Committee, will hold his first rally with Virginia GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell Saturday. Steele, the party's first black chairman drew strong criticism in the weeks following his January election for a series of political gaffes, but that has subsided in recent weeks. "We are honored to have Chairman Steele joining us on the campaign trail in Bristol on Saturday,'' said Tucker Martin, McDonnell's spokesman. "Together, Bob and the Chairman are going to let voters in Southwest Virginia know about Bob's commitment to growing our economy and creating good jobs all across the Commonwealth." McDonnell and Steele will campaign together in the Republican friendly city of Bristol in southwest Virginia on the Tennessee border, where both men are expected to be greeted warmly....

By Anita Kumar | May 19, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Kenny Alexander Did Not Approve This Ad

Del. Kenneth Cooper Alexander (D-Norfolk), chair of the legislative black caucus, asked Brian Moran to take his name off those radio ads blasting Terry McAuliffe for opposing Barack Obama in the presidential primary campaign, which we wrote about this morning. The Moran camp confirms they removed Alexander's name from the ads, an original version of which was to air with a tag in Hampton Roads that told voters that Alexander "urges you to vote for Brian Moran for Governor." Alexander said he still supports Moran for govenor but asked that his name be taken off after he learned that the ad included profanity--it notes that McAuliffe once joked that Obama could "kiss my ass" (a line that came on the Daily Show, it should be noted.) But the delegate said, beyond the profanity, he also didn't want to be associated with the ad's negative tone....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 19, 2009; 5:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Webb Says No to Detainees in Virginia

Virginia's senior U.S. senator, Democrat Jim Webb, told George Stephanopoulous of ABC's "This Week" yesterday that he opposes the release of detainees from the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, onto U.S. soil. Webb's remarks added to the chorus of Virginia political leaders who have positioned themselves against the possibility that as many as 17 Chinese Muslims known as Uighurs might be released into a Uighur community in Fairfax County. "It can be argued that they were simply conducting dissident activities against the government of China," Webb said. "On the other hand, they accepted training from al-Qaeda, and as a result, they have taken part in terrorism. I don't believe they should come to the United States."...

By Amy Gardner | May 18, 2009; 9:39 PM ET | Comments (2)

McAuliffe Gets Some Obama Star Power

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, who has been hammered in recent days about his efforts to defeat Barack Obama in last year's presidential race, found a way to fight back today in a big way. McAuliffe annnounced an endorsement from former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, one of Obama's earliest supporters and one of his national campaign co-chairmen. "I was impressed by the time and energy Terry put into traveling across Virginia and the country on Barack Obama's behalf during the general election,'' Daschle said in a statement. "From the day Hillary Clinton ended her historic bid for president, Terry worked tirelessly to unify our party around Barack Obama and get him elected President. His energy and enthusiasm were tremendous assets on the campaign trail and we were grateful to have him on our side....

By Anita Kumar | May 18, 2009; 2:26 PM ET | Comments (6)

The Policy Rollouts Continue

State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds used the unveiling of his energy plan this afternoon as an opportunity to take a subtle jab or two at his Democratic rivals for governor, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran. Deeds didn't actually mention either of them by name, but criticized those who are fixated on using chicken waste to produce energy (McAuliffe) and those who oppose coal plants (Moran). "No Democrat is better prepared to lead on energy than I am,'' Deeds said. Deeds plan includes offering grants to companies that weatherize the homes of low-income families, establish biofuel plants in economically stressed areas and offering tax exemptions for solar and wind projects....

By Anita Kumar | May 18, 2009; 2:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Plans a Jam Session

Looking for a chance to see Gov. Tim Kaine play the harmonica? Kaine will hold a jam session with Boyd Tinsley, a violinist with the Dave Matthews Band, as part of his political action committee's big annual fundraiser Thursday night. The event at Maymont -- a popular Richmond venue that includes a historical house and a 100-acre park -- will be the last fundraiser for Moving Virginia Forward before the Democratic primary June 9. Tickets are $100....

By Anita Kumar | May 18, 2009; 1:36 PM ET | Comments (0)

Moran To Go On TV

For those of you wondering (like us) when Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Brian Moran would start airing TV ads, you finally have your answer. His campaign has bought air time starting this week in Norfolk and Richmond, according to several sources familiar with the purchase. But the buy is substantially smaller than what his rivals have bought in those markets. Moran has been spending money quickly and had the least money in the bank as of the reporting period. It shows. He is the last to go on the air. Terry McAuliffe has been on and off TV since January. R. Creigh Deeds has been up for two weeks. Even Republican Robert F. McDonnell, who faces no opposition for his party's nomination, went on air last week across the state and in pricey Northern Virginia....

By Anita Kumar | May 17, 2009; 10:00 PM ET | Comments (5)

Kaine Takes on Steele

Should Gov. Tim Kaine become a Republican? So says Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, with whom Kaine clashed for the first time on a Sunday morning talk show this morning. Wearing his hat as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Kaine appeared on NBC's Meet the Press alongside Steele to discuss national issues like health care, torture and abortion....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 17, 2009; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (9)

Bowerbank: I Didn't Want to Go Negative

Jon Bowerbank, the Russell County supervisor who surprised many Democrats yesterday by dropping out of the race for the lieutenant governor nomination, was as upbeat and cheerful as ever last night at the Arlington County Democratic Committee's Jefferson Jackson dinner in Ballston. Bowerbank was happy to talk about his decision, and he cited two reasons for it. First, he was on track to lose (his exact phrase: "The business model wasn't working.") And second, to change that fact, Bowerbank would have had to resort to a negative campaign against Jody Wagner, the presumed front-runner in a contest that also features Mike Signer. "I just didn't want to do that," Bowerbank said....

By Amy Gardner | May 16, 2009; 8:25 PM ET | Comments (1)

Moran to Drug Companies: Stop Embarrassing Me

Democratic Rep. Jim Moran wants to stop blushing when he's watching a Capitals game with his grandkids. Moran, who turns 65 tomorrow, sent a letter this week to three drug manufacturers who make drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, or ED, urging them to tone down their television ads, which he and other parents and grandparents he knows are tired of viewing with children in the room. Earlier this year, Moran introduced legislation that would require such ads to meet more stringent decency standards. He did so in 2005 as well, but at the time a verbal agreement was reached with some of the bigger manufacturers to tone down their ads and limit their airtime before 10 p.m. Lately, Moran said, the companies have been kicking their airtime back up....

By Amy Gardner | May 15, 2009; 5:58 PM ET | Comments (2)

A Bit More on Finances

The Republican State Leadership Committee says it too has now resolved its issues with the State Board of Elections. The committee received a letter from the board yesterday warning it that it's recent financial disclosure forms might be incomplete since they showed expenditures but no donations of more than $2,500 during the period May 1 to 5. Out-of-state groups are required by law to report the donations. Once they have received the board's letter, they have 10 days to respond or face an automatic fine. Carrie Cantrell, a spokeswoman for the group, said they have now responded--assuring the board that they did not, in fact, receive any donations more than $2,500 during those days. Cantrell said the group will face no fine....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 15, 2009; 5:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds, Signer Discuss Their Campaigns

Democratic primary candidates Creigh Deeds (governor's race) and Mike Signer (lieutenant governor's race stopped by The Post's offices today and took questions from Post reporter Rosalind Helderman about their resumes, campaigns and plans if elected. Watch the videos after the jump....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | May 15, 2009; 4:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bowerbank Ends LG Campaign

Jon Bowerbank, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, announced today that he is suspending his campaign less than four weeks before the June 9 primary. Bowerbank, a member of the Russell County Board of Supervisors, said he wanted to spend more time with his family and his employees at his company in southwest Virginia. "I believe Virginia and the Democratic Party need someone who can devote their full attention and energy to the job of being the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor," he said in a statement. Bowerbank endorsed former Finance Secretary Jody Wagner. She will compete against Michael Signer, an attorney who worked for former governor Mark R. Warner....

By Anita Kumar | May 15, 2009; 4:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds on the Radio

First Creigh Deeds followed Terry McAuliffe onto television--now he's looking to match-up on the radio dial as well. Deeds' new radio ad, airing on urban radio stations in Hampton Roads and Richmond, is designed to counter McAuliffe's ads calling for an end to payday lending in Virginia. Payday lenders prey on the disadvantaged and are particularly despised in African-American communities, a key Democratic constituency. McAuliffe's ads named no names but criticized the General Assembly for passing a 2002 law that made payday lending possible and for delaying on cracking down. Both Deeds and Brian Moran were in the legislature at the time and voted for the measure, which it was thought at the time would actually impose new regulations on the lenders....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 15, 2009; 10:55 AM ET | Comments (3)

Brink, Whipple for Hope in the 47th House District

Del. Bob Brink and Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple have endorsed Patrick Hope in the five-man Democratic primary to replace Al Eisenberg in the 47th House District in Arlington. The endorsement could make a difference in such a crowded field, particularly in an election likely to be dominated by activist voters who know Brink and Whipple personally. The nod also comes, perhaps not coincidentally, on the heels of former president Bill Clinton's endorsement of Adam Parkhomenko -- an endorsement that caused some Arlington Democrats to grumble privately about Clinton's entrance into a local primary contest....

By Amy Gardner | May 15, 2009; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (11)

Moran Snags A Kennedy

Another Kennedy is announcing support for Brian Moran's campaign for governor. Already, Ethel Kennedy, Robert F.'s widow, has announced she will host a Moran fundraiser later this month. Now, U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy is backing the Massachusetts-born former delegate as well. In a statement, Kennedy said that Moran is the one candidate in the race that "represents the same values, the same principles, and the same ideals that I have stood and fought for throughout my career in public service."...

By Rosalind Helderman | May 15, 2009; 9:29 AM ET | Comments (2)

McDonnell's Political Ties Endure

Bob McDonnell still remains close with many of his old political friends. Tonight, the Republican gubernatorial nominee attended a fundraiser at the Fairfax County home of Kevin Gentry, one of the founders of a now defunct group that found itself playing a cameo in the coverage of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. According to a 2005 report, in The Washington Post, the group funded a range of secret political efforts, including one by Abramoff. The Faith and Family Alliance was used as a pass-through to fund a campaign against an Internet gambling ban and to attack U.S. Rep. Eric I. Cantor in his 2000 primary race, according to the Washington Post report. No one involved in the group was ever accused of any wrongdoing in connection with its activities. While McDonnell, then a state delegate from Virginia Beach, provided legal advice and his law firm did work for the group,...

By Anita Kumar | May 14, 2009; 7:45 PM ET | Comments (2)

SBE Sends More Disclosure Letters

The State Board of Election promised to take a closer look at the financial disclosures forms of the big out-of-state groups pouring money into the Virginia gubernatorial race, after discussing the Democratic Governor's Association's forms were incomplete. And now it has. After examining submissions, Elections Secretary Nancy Rodrigues said today that the board sent letters today to three organizations, warning them that their submissions might be incomplete. Rodrigues said one of those groups, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, has already satisfied the board that its submission is, in fact, complete. The board is waiting to hear back from the other two, she said, the Presidential Coalition LLC, which supports conservative candidates including Bob McDonnell, and the Republican Party Leadership Committee....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 14, 2009; 6:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Blog: Greensprings Democratic Club--Now Complete

Greetings from Springfield, where all three men running for the Democratic nomination for governor in Virginia are participating in a forum hosted by the Democratic Club of the Greensprings Retirement Community. We're trying something new here today--a live blog of the forum. 2:13 p.m.: The director of the community just welcomed us, noting that there is a precinct located right here at Greensprings, with the highest turnout of any precinct in Virginia. "Every person you meet here is a registered voter, and every person is going to vote," he said. 2:16 p.m.: The head of the club is now explaining the rules for this forum--each candidate will first speak. Then there will be a question and answer period with questions submitted by the audience. The candidates agreed they will not speak about their opponents or their positions--only themselves. 2:20: McAuliffe's up first. He starts by noting he was in Norfolk...

By Rosalind Helderman | May 14, 2009; 4:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

Moran Sidesteps the Gitmo Issue

U.S. Rep. Jim Moran raised some eyebrows earlier this week when he wrote that he would be open to inmates from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility being housed in Virginia (though he would not prefer it). So we thought we'd ask his little brother, gubernatial candidate Brian Moran, what he thought? But we didn't really get much of an answer. "I have tremendous confidence in the leadership of President Obama,'' Moran said in a statement. "I look forward to his recommended plans and will evaluate them once they are released. It's important that we put a premium on protecting the community of Alexandria and preserving our local resources while ensuring everyone's legal rights."...

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

GOP Who?

Here's one word you won't here in Bob McDonnell's new ad, featuring cameos by his wife and five children, nor in his earlier ad about his experience: Republican. Not once does the former attorney general mention that he's seeking the governor's mansion as the GOP's soon-to-be nominee. It used to be Democrats in Virginia who played that game, running for statewide office without mentioning their party affiliation. That it's now the Republican says a lot about how purple the state has become--and how much the GOP may be worried theirs is a damaged brand, particularly in liberal Northern Virginia....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 14, 2009; 12:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

On NoVa TV, It's All About McDonnell

The big political race of the moment might be the Democratic primary for governor, but for Northern Virginia television watchers, it feels more like September. That's because none of the three men seeking the Democratic nomination have yet gone on air in the expensive D.C. television market, but, as of today, Bob McDonnell is up and running. McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the Republican's buy is a significant foray onto both cable and broadcast. He's got two ads running, one a variation of the "experience" ad running elsewhere in the state, but with a specific note of what McDonnell learned growing up in Fairfax. The other is a light-hearted positive spot focused on McDonnell's family--a little reminiscent of the Gov. Tim Kaine's spot with his kids four years ago....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 14, 2009; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Werkheiser Blasts Albo

If Democrat Greg Werkheiser's open letter today to Republican Del. Dave Albo of southeastern Fairfax County is any indication, voters of the 42nd House District are in for a high-energy election year. Werkheiser, who is challenging Albo for the second time after an unsuccessful bid four years ago, distributed a pointed and lengthy attack on Albo for sending out a mail piece to supporters that is "chock full of lies" about whether Werkheiser lives in the district, works there, and would do a good job representing its residents if elected in November. In Albo's letter, which he said he sent to about 1,200 supporters inviting them to his campaign kickoff event June 4 at the Springfield Country Club, the 16-year incumbent suggested that Werkheiser lives in Petersburg and that his business, the nonprofit Phoenix Project, focuses on helping the poor in other parts of the state but not Northern Virginia....

By Amy Gardner | May 13, 2009; 6:45 PM ET | Comments (3)

Baldwin Says He Voted, Accuses Keam of Spreading Misinformation

Did Roy Baldwin vote in last year's historic race for president? Yes, say Fairfax County elections officials and supporters of Baldwin (D), who is running for the House of Delegates in Virginia's 35th District. Rokey Suleman, the county's general registrar, says a clerical error led to a mistake in the public record that shows Baldwin turned in an unmarked absentee ballot last October. "I am certain he voted in that election," said Suleman. Meanwhile, Baldwin's supporters are accusing Mark Keam, one of his opponents for the Democratic nomination, of conducting a push-poll suggesting that Baldwin did not vote. A Keam spokeswoman today said the campaign would not comment on "internal information" such as polls....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | May 13, 2009; 6:24 PM ET | Comments (4)

The Future of Virginia Education: What Do You Think?

Each of the candidates for Virginia governor has now released their education plan for the state. Bob McDonnell's proposal includes expanding the state's two- and four-year institutions -- particularly awarding more degrees in high-demand technical fields -- lowering administrative costs at K-12 schools, and encouraging public-private partnerships to boost research and economic development. Both Terry McAuliffe and Creigh Deeds (pdf files) focus their plans on -- among other things -- increasing teacher pay, lowering the cost of attending Virginia's colleges, and expanding pre-kindergarten. Big points in Brian Moran's plan (pdf) includes expanding community college, increasing research at Virginia's universities, and boosting teacher pay to the national average. Whose plan do you think is best? Which of these proposals should take top priority? If you were running for governor, what would your education plan include? Make your pitch and discuss the issue with other readers in the comments....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | May 13, 2009; 4:13 PM ET | Comments (2)

State Drops Fine Against National Dems

On Tuesday night, State Board of Elections officials announced they were fining the Democratic Governors Association $2,500 for failing to comply with state campaign finance laws involving the group's donations in the governor's race. On Wednesday, they changed their mind. So what happened? Well, besides some obvious confusion within the State Board of Elections, the DGA gave the state the updated records it needed to comply with the law. That doesn't mean some Republicans aren't going to speculate that the state agency run by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, decided to play politics....

By Anita Kumar | May 13, 2009; 2:47 PM ET | Comments (2)

New GOP Leader Disparages Obama, Va Dems

Will Pat Mullins, the new chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, turn out to be another Jeff Frederick? Democrats are hopeful after hearing about comments Mullins made in a speech to more than 100 Republicans in Virginia Beach Monday night. Mullins said he is glad he is not a Democrat so he doesn't have "to defend a President who goes overseas and bows to dictators that would like to destroy this country." Mullins was also quick to criticize Virginia's three top Democrats -- Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, Sen. Mark R. Warner and Sen. James Webb, who he called an "embarrassment." In a recording obtained by the Washington Post, Mullins told members of the audience all the reasons that he was "excited I'm not a Democrat." Here are some excerpts......

By Anita Kumar | May 13, 2009; 12:44 PM ET | Comments (1)

Wilder...Will He or Won't He?

L. Douglas Wilder, the nation's first elected black governor who is being wooed by all four candidates in the governor's race, sure likes to keep everyone guessing. Four weeks before the June 9 primary, Wilder still won't say whether he will endorse anyone. He said he may follow the lead of the state's top three Democrats -- Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and U.S. Sens. James Webb and Mark R. Warner -- and sit out the primary. "If (Kaine) won't, Webb hasn't, Warner hasn't, why should I? Why?'' Wilder asked In a recent interview at his office at Virginia Commonwealth University. "Why should I endorse anyone?"...

By Anita Kumar | May 13, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

Deeds Lays Off Staff

State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, a Democratic candidate for governor, has laid off about five campaign staffers in order to keep airing TV ads four weeks before the June 9 primary. Deeds now has 25 staffers across the state and six offices in Charlottesville, Richmond, Hampton Roads, Roanoke, Southside and Northern Virginia. Campaign officials refused to disclose how many staffers were fired but a month ago Deeds had 29 employees. "With so much of the electorate still undecided, we've had to reassess our strategy and shift some of our resources so we can communicate Creigh's message to as many Virginians as possible,'' said Joe Abbey, Deeds campaign manager. The layoffs are bad news for a campaign that has raised the least amount of money....

By Anita Kumar | May 13, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

National Dems to Appeal State Fine

The State Board of Elections will fine the Democratic Governors Association $2,500 tomorrow for failing to comply with state campaign finance laws involving the group's donations in the governor's race. The DGA has contributed $2.15 million to Common Sense Virginia, a political action committee that is running TV ads attacking Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell across the state. Virginia law requires out-of-state groups to report all donations it has received to the Board of Elections when it receives them if they are contributing more than $2,500 to PAC. DGA has not reported donations since April 15....

By Anita Kumar | May 12, 2009; 8:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

Submit Questions for Democratic Gov Candidates' Last Debate

A week from today, The Washington Post will host the fifth and final debate between the Democratic candidates vying to be the next governor of Virginia. The Post wants your questions for the candidates; if we choose yours, you'll be invited to attend the debate, which will be at 2 p.m. on Northern Virginia Community College's Annadale campus. Submit your questions here....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | May 12, 2009; 2:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds in Minor Car Crash

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. R. Creigh Deeds was involved a minor car accident Saturday evening in Louisa County that sent two passengers of a car he rear-ended to the hospital for minor medical attention. According to a statement released by his campaign this morning, Deeds was alone in his vehicle and driving himself home to Bath County at the time. He was driving westward on Route 22 after a Fredericksburg campaign event when he hit a passenger vehicle. The two passengers of the other car were taken to a Charlottesville-area hospital for precautionary medical attention and released that evening, his campaign said. Deeds was uninjured. His campaign confirmed that Deeds was issued a $30 ticket for following the vehicle too closely. His spokeswoman said he was not on his cell phone at the time. In fact, she said that when Deeds went to call 911 to report the accident, he...

By Rosalind Helderman | May 12, 2009; 9:50 AM ET | Comments (6)

will.i.am in Arlington

Though local media reported underwhelming turnout at some of Terry McAuliffe's daytime events with singer will.i.am yesterday, McAuliffe got an enthusiastic crowd of around 350 at the singer's final event at the Clarendon Ballroom last night. "I could be doing a lot of things with my time--making songs for my colleagues in the height of Boom-Boom Pow," the singer told media before taking the stage. That'd be will.i.am's latest single, currently ranked one in the country. "I could be in Hollywood trying to get a new film. But it's improtant that I'm here with Terry McAuliffe, because I really believe it's going to take us all to turn America around."...

By Rosalind Helderman | May 12, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

McAuliffe Fundraiser Revives Union Issue

A fundraising event for Terry McAuliffe in North Carolina last month has thrust into public view a bit political history McAuliffe might not want revived during his run for governor: His one-time role in the reelection of a Teamsters union president. The 1996 union campaign resulted in a criminal conviction for a Teamsters official over illegal fundraising practices. McAuliffe, who at the time was a top fundraiser for President Clinton, was never charged in connection with the incident. But Richard Sullivan, then finance director for the Democratic National Committee testified at a five-week federal trial of Teamsters official William W. Hamilton Jr. that McAuliffe had encouraged him to find a Democratic donor to contribute to Teamsters' president Ron Carey's reelection campaign in exchange for Teamsters' contributions to the party. No such donor swap, which would have been illegal, took place. There is apparently no bad blood between McAuliffe and Sullivan....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 11, 2009; 4:43 PM ET | Comments (1)

McDonnell on TV

Bob McDonnell has now hit the airwaves, buying broadcast and cable ads on stations in Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, Harrisonburg-Charlottesville and the tri-cities area. McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the campaign has spent more than $200,000 on the buy, a significant figure, though far less than a Democratic political action committee has spent recently on ads attacking him....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 11, 2009; 2:22 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Money Keeps Rolling In...

National groups are reporting that they are spending an astonishing $1.6 million this week in the Virginia's governors race. The Republican Governors Association reports giving another $750,000 to GOP nominee Bob McDonnell. The Democratic Governors Association reports giving another $850,000 to Common Sense Virginia, a political action committee set up to oppose McDonnell. Both McDonnell and Common Sense Virginia are airing TV ads across the state....

By Anita Kumar | May 11, 2009; 1:29 PM ET | Comments (1)

You Say He's Just A...

First Bill Clinton does robocalls for Arlington Democratic candidate Adam Parkhomenko. Now hip-hop star Biz Markie is wading into the Virginia governor's race. That's right, Biz, who will perform tonight at the Clarendon Ballroom along with rapper will.i.am for Terry McAuliffe, recorded a phone call for McAuliffe to advertise the events. Biz Markie gets down with the Rev. Al Sharpton in Boston on the eve of the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Click the player below to hear Markie's robocall for the 2009 Terry McAuliffe Campaign for Virginia Governor   According to an Arlington resident who received the call, the hip-hop star best known for the '80s hit "You Say He's Just a Friend," introduced himself as the "diabolical Biz Markie" and then invited recipients to attend....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 11, 2009; 12:07 PM ET | Comments (8)

Two Fronts Against McAuliffe

Campaigns for Democratic gubernatorial candidates Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds are pursuing a two-front effort to push back today against Terry McAuliffe, as he airs new radio ads and opens new campaign offices. It's hard to say if public polls out showing McAuliffe ahead are accurate, but both Moran and Deeds are spending considerable time mounting an offense against him. For Deeds, the subject is new McAuliffe ads airing in urban radio markets that say McAuliffe is the only candidate to call for an end to payday lending in Virginia and blasts the General Assembly for a 2002 law that made the high-interest lending easier in the state. Both Moran and Deeds were in the legislature at the time, but Deeds' campaign is crying foul, noting that all three candidates have now called to end the unpopular lending. "It's inaccurate to say he's the only one wants to get payday...

By Anita Kumar | May 8, 2009; 3:25 PM ET | Comments (3)

Oops!

Looks like someone is playing a trick on Tim Kaine, Virginia's governor and chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Click on www.timkaine.com and you'll see what we mean. Instead of being sent to a site devoted to Kaine or Democrats, you get sent to the homepage of Steve Lonegan, a Republican candidate for governor in New Jersey. Virginia and New Jersey are the only two states with governor's races this year. As DNC chairman, Kaine is tasked with trying to keep both governor's mansions Democratic. How long until Kaine gets this fixed?...

By Anita Kumar | May 8, 2009; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (1)

Hamilton to Kaine: "I'm Appalled"

Del. Phillip Hamilton, a Newport News Republican who is chairman of the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee, told Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today that he was "appalled" hackers were able to access millions of personal pharmaceutical records they say they stole from the state's prescription drug database. The FBI and State Police are searching for hackers who demanded that the state pay them a $10 million ransom by yesterday for the return of 8 million patient records and 35 million prescriptions collected by the Prescription Monitoring Program. "I am appalled that, given concerns over identity theft and computer hackers, a breach of security for the prescription drug monitoring program was even a remote possibility,'' Hamilton wrote in a letter to Kaine today. "I would have thought that sufficient security firewalls would have been in place to protect the identity of those legally receiving prescription drugs." Hamilton wrote that he...

By Anita Kumar | May 8, 2009; 10:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Fights Back with TV Ads

It seems like Bob McDonnell is being attacked almost daily these days. Now, the Republican nominee for governor has decided to fight back. McDonnell will begin airing TV ads Monday. His campaign has bought air time for one week in Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, Charlottesville and Tri-Cities, according to several sources familiar with the purchase. McDonnell declined to comment today....

By Anita Kumar | May 7, 2009; 3:15 PM ET | Comments (5)

$500,000 More to Attack McDonnell

This is getting serious. It's only May and national Democrats have already sunk more than $1 million into attacking Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell. Today, the Democratic Governors Association reported to the state that it donated another $505,000 to Common Sense Virginia, a group formed to spread the word about what it calls McDonnell's "conservative legislative record" and his close ties to religious broadcaster Pat Robertson. The DGA had previously given the group $854,000....

By Anita Kumar | May 7, 2009; 2:45 PM ET | Comments (3)

The Return of Jim Gilmore

Who is the Republican public official most frequently mentioned by the Democratic gubernatorial candidates besides, of course, Bob McDonnell? Former governor Jim Gilmore. They blame the one-time presidential candidate and former U.S. Senate hopeful every chance they get for Virginia's economic and financial woes --- and stress that electing McDonnell will bring about similar problems. Gilmore, who has been defending his record in letters to the editor and columns, praised McDonnell this week....

By Anita Kumar | May 7, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

McAuliffe Wades Into It

Democratic gubernatorial contender Terry McAuliffe harvested algae today. Need we say more?...

By Amy Gardner | May 6, 2009; 5:47 PM ET | Comments (6)

GOP vs. GOP

The infighting among Republicans is not over yet. Bill Stanley, leader of the Franklin County Republican Committee, announced today that he will run for state GOP chairman against Pat Mullins on May 30 at the state convention. "Our party must be driven and guided from the grassroots up and not the top down,'' he said in a statement. "While we must give all those who work on our party's behalf their due, the Republican Party must not permit the judgment of the few to instruct or override the will of the many. The position of chairman must be elected, not anointed." Stanley sounds a little like ousted chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick, doesn't he?...

By Anita Kumar | May 6, 2009; 5:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Leaky Tweets Sink...

Are there no secrets anymore? One of the mysteries of the Virginia gubernatorial campaign thus far has been when Republican Bob McDonnell will take to the television airwaves, particularly now that a Democratic political action committee has bought $550,000 in commercial time to slam him statewide. We may now have a piece of the answer--thanks to a 23-year old film production assistant in Boston.Yesterday, one Jonathan Paula twittered the following to his roughly 1,000 followers: I work 45 hours a week as an assistant editor in Boston editing political campaign commercials. Right now: Bob McDonnell for VA Gov...

By Rosalind Helderman | May 6, 2009; 2:14 PM ET | Comments (4)

Springsteen Wins Close Vienna Race

Howard Springsteen edged out incumbent Dan Dellinger in last night's close election for Vienna Town Council, according to Fairfax County results. Springsteen was ahead of Dellinger by a vote last night, but the results were too close to call because of a provisional ballot that could not be counted until this morning. The ballot was deemed valid, and it threw another vote to Springsteen, who declared victory this morning with a two-vote lead over Dellinger. "I have a lot of respect for Dan Dellinger," Springsteen said today. "It shows every vote counts." Springsteen, a New Jersey native with a dog named Boss, is not related to "the Boss."...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | May 6, 2009; 11:53 AM ET | Comments (7)

GOP Gains Seats in Alexandria

One Republican and an independent backed by the GOP won seats on the Alexandria City Council tonight. The six-member council has been the exclusive domain of Democrats since 2003. Frank Fannon IV (R) and Alicia R. Hughes (I) succeeded even though the city went 72 percent for President Obama last year. It is just the latest Northern Virginia race in which Republicans outperformed expectations, giving hope to party leaders that they may yet take the governor's mansion in November despite two successive Democratic administrations....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | May 5, 2009; 9:04 PM ET | Comments (2)

Vienna Election Cliffhanger

Incumbent George Lovelace and challenger Laurie DiRocco won two of the three seats up in today's Vienna town election, according to unofficial results from the Fairfax County Office of Elections. One vote separates the third and fourth place candidates, incumbent Dan Dellinger and and challenger Howard Springsteen. Springsteen is ahead with 793 votes, but there was one provisional ballot cast, and Fairfax County officials will not determine its validity until tomorrow under Virginia law. If it's a tie, the Board of Elections will flip a coin, draw a name out of a hat or otherwise determine the winner. Really....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | May 5, 2009; 7:54 PM ET | Comments (4)

Dueling Polls

By Jon Cohen Eager to tamp down a bubbling storyline that Terry McAuliffe has a double-digit lead in the three-way contest for the Democratic nomination for Virginia Governor, former delegate Brian Moran's campaign today released its own poll showing the two locked in a very close race. Campaigns poll a lot, but release their internal data infrequently, usually in an effort to nudge coverage their way or attract support. The move comes on the heels of a second publicly-released poll putting McAuliffe, former chair of the Democratic National Committee, atop the field. Those two polls - one by SurveyUSA, and the new one by PublicPolicyPolling (PPP) - use automated telephone calls to gather data, a newer methodology that remains controversial. (The Washington Post does not typically report these types of polls.)...

By Matt Mosk | May 5, 2009; 6:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Farm Team Asks Moran to Alter Ad

Brian Moran's campaign has been slapped on the wrist by the organizers of the recent Farm Team debate in Williamsburg, for using video from the event in a You Tube campaign spot in violation of the debate's rules. Campaigns had agreed they would not use video or audio from the event and Susan Platt, a Farm Team founder, emailed Moran today to complain. Jesse Ferguson, a Moran spokesman, said this evening that the video used only a short clip from the event and it will be removed. "It's not fair for one campaign to break the rules when the other two have abided by them," Platt said in an interview....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 5, 2009; 5:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Big Labor Helped Republicans Too

Every time the Democratic Governors Association (and its Virginia-based arm Common Sense Virginia) attacks Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell, his staff is quick to point out that that the groups are funded by big unions. Phil Cox, McDonnell's campaign manager, even sent out a fundraising letter today with a subject line "National Unions Attack Bob McDonnell" to combat Common Sense Virginia's new advertsing campaign. Not so fast. It turns out the Republican Governors Association has received plenty of money from them too....

By Anita Kumar | May 5, 2009; 5:45 PM ET | Comments (2)

Hold the Politics

First, a Virginia burger. Next up, shad. President Obama and Vice President Biden today crossed the Potomac to grab lunch in the Commonwealth at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington. Have your own Virginia-themed caption for this photo? Suggest away in the comments section....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 5, 2009; 3:14 PM ET | Comments (1)

Group Launches Anti-McDonnell TV Ads

The most expensive ad campaign of the Virginia governor's race so far is not from the three Democrats running in the June primary. It's from Common Sense Virginia, a new group that formed with money from the Democratic Governors Association to oppose Republican Robert F. McDonnell. The group is spending more than half a million dollars on broadcast and cable TV in Northern Virginia, Richmond, Norfolk and Roanoke starting today. They are the first ads in the governor's race to be aired in Northern Virginia. The ad, "Empty," highlights McDonnell's opposition to Virginia's acceptance of $125 million in federal stimulus money for additional unemployment benefits to thousands of Virginians....

By Anita Kumar | May 5, 2009; 9:29 AM ET | Comments (5)

Hackers Break Into State Prescriptions Database, Demand Ransom

Security Fix blogger Brian Krebs reports that hackers last week broke into a Virginia state Web site used by pharmacists to track prescription drug abuse. They deleted records on more than 8 million patients and replaced the site's homepage with a ransom note demanding $10 million for the return of the records, according to a posting on Wikileaks.org, an online clearinghouse for leaked documents. Wikileaks reports that the Web site for the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program was defaced last week with a message claiming that the database of prescriptions had been bundled into an encrypted, password-protected file. Wikileaks has published a copy of the ransom note left in place of the PMP home page, a message that claims the state of Virginia would need to pay the demand in order to gain access to a password needed to unlock those records, See the full post over at the Security Fix...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | May 4, 2009; 6:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Yes, McAuliffe, Can?

First Bill Clinton, now will.I.am. The Terry McAuliffe camp has announced that musician, actor, Fergie-friend and all-around-cool guy will.I.am will campaign with McAuliffe campaign at a series of events on May 11. Singer will.i.am performs at the Neighborhood InauguralBall in Washington on Jan. 20. (AP Photo) Besides once again adding a sheen of celeb excitement to the campaign, the will.i.am appearances may be designed to innocolate McAuliffe against charges that he was not sufficiently supportive of President Obama, given McAuliffe's role as Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman....

By Rosalind Helderman | May 4, 2009; 2:24 PM ET | Comments (10)

Frederick Declines to Run for GOP Leader

Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell is breathing a sigh of relief this afternoon. Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick, ousted chairman of the Republican Party, just announced that he will not run for party leader at the state convention later this month. McDonnell supported Frederick's removal last month and, according to Republican leaders, had told Frederick that he would support his re-election campaign for House of Delegates if he agreed not to run for chairman. Frederick of Prince William County said today he would not run for re-election to the House. His wife Amy planned to run, but last week she withdrew from the race....

By Anita Kumar | May 4, 2009; 1:18 PM ET | Comments (1)

Is McDonnell Looking to Wilder for Support?

Is Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell looking for an endorsement from former Democratic governor L. Douglas Wilder? McDonnell and Wilder, who have had a good working relationship for years, are having lunch today, according to sources close to McDonnell. All three Democratic candidates -- R. Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran -- have already met with Wilder, the nation's first elected black governor, to seek an endorsement and advice on how to run a successful statewide campaign....

By Anita Kumar | May 4, 2009; 12:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds Goes Up on Air

Gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds has been saving his pennies, while his Democratic rivals Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran have been spending at a fast pace. Now we know why. Deeds began airing two TV ads today in four markets -- Hampton Roads, Richmond, Roanoke and Bristol -- in Virginia. McAuliffe has aired ads on and off for months, but Moran has not aired any. See below to watch Deeds' two new ads:...

By Anita Kumar | May 4, 2009; 11:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bill Clinton Steps Into Arlington Delegate Race

Former President Bill Clinton has endorsed Adam Parkhomenko, one of five candidates for the House of Delegates' 47th District seat in Arlington. If that feels like a nice get for Parkhomenko, it is: The longtime aide to Hillary Clinton (he was Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle's top assistant) has parlayed his political relationships into a healthy list of campaign donors and endorsements that have distinguished him from his four opponents in the June 9 primary. But the Clinton call has also irked some local Arlington Democrats who are supporting other candidates. Parkhomenko, a lifelong Arlington resident, is just 23. He is not universally viewed by local activists as the best candidate for the job. Even those who are neutral in the race said they were surprised by the endorsement. Del. Bob Brink of the adjacent 48th District is among them, but Brink also wondered whether in the end it...

By Amy Gardner | May 4, 2009; 11:19 AM ET | Comments (16)

McAuliffe's Business Background: For and Against

Democratic gubernatorial contender Brian Moran wasn't the only one ready to respond to a Washington Post article published today on rival Terry McAuliffe's background mingling business and politics. At 1:22 a.m., a few hours after the story posted to the Post's web page, Moran spokesman Jesse Ferguson issued a blistering press release highlighting the article's premise that McAuliffe's history of intricate partnerships and investments, often with political associates, could prove to be a liability in the governor's race. But wait: Flash back to 10:51 p.m. yesterday, less than two hours after the story appeared. That's when Team McAuliffe hit the send button on an extensive dissertation defending his business bio (and circling back nicely to his campaign themes of creating jobs, supporting President Obama and listening to the Virginia grassroots). If McAuliffe's response appears a bit defensive, it certainly wins the prize for thoroughness and speed. Or maybe awards should...

By Amy Gardner | May 3, 2009; 9:58 AM ET | Comments (13)

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 | Comments (5)

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 | Comments (2)

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 | Comments (3)

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 | Comments (1)

 

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