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Virginia Politics Blog: May 24, 2009 - May 30, 2009

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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Anita Kumar, Brian J. Moran, Creigh Deeds, Election 2009, Eric Cantor, Robert F. McDonnell, Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Election 2009, Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race, Election 2009, Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race, 2009 Governor's Race, 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race, Anita Kumar, Bill Bolling, Election 2009, Ken Cuccinelli, Robert F. McDonnell  
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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 S. Helderman  | May 30, 2009; 6:00 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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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Anita Kumar, Election 2009, Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Anita Kumar, Brian J. Moran, Campaign Ads, Creigh Deeds, Election 2009, Robert F. McDonnell, Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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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 S. Helderman  | May 29, 2009; 2:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Brian J. Moran, Campaign Ads, Creigh Deeds, Election 2009, Rosalind Helderman, Terry McAuliffe  
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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 S. Helderman  | May 29, 2009; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Rosalind Helderman, Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Creigh Deeds  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Creigh Deeds  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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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 S. Helderman  | May 29, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Campaign Ads, Election 2009, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Amy Gardner, Election 2009, General Assembly 2009, Gerald E. Connolly  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (95)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Anita Kumar, Election 2009, Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Derek Kravitz, Frank R. Wolf, Loudoun County, Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Anita Kumar, Brian J. Moran, Creigh Deeds, Election 2009, Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Anita Kumar, Brian J. Moran, Creigh Deeds, Election 2009, Terry McAuliffe  
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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 S. Helderman  | May 28, 2009; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Brian J. Moran, Creigh Deeds, Election 2009, Rosalind Helderman, Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Anita Kumar, Brian J. Moran, Creigh Deeds, Election 2009, Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Anita Kumar, Brian J. Moran, Creigh Deeds, Election 2009, Robert F. McDonnell, Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Anita Kumar, Election 2009, Robert F. McDonnell  
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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 S. Helderman  | May 27, 2009; 10:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Brian J. Moran, Creigh Deeds, Leslie L. Byrne, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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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 S. Helderman  | May 26, 2009; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, 2009 Governor's Race Fact Checker, Bill Bolling, Brian J. Moran, Creigh Deeds, Election 2009, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Barack Obama, Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Mark Warner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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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 S. Helderman  | May 25, 2009; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Brian J. Moran, Creigh Deeds, Election 2009, Rosalind Helderman, Terry McAuliffe  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Anita Kumar, Bill Bolling, Election 2009, Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Amy Gardner, Election 2009  
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