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Virginia Politics Blog: May 10, 2009 - May 16, 2009

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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Election 2009  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , James P. Moran Jr.  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Election 2009 , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Debates , Election 2009  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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