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Virginia Politics Blog: June 28, 2009 - July 4, 2009

Surovell Officially Nominated

Scott Surovell, the former chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, was formally named the party's nominee in the race for the 44th House of Delegates district today. Surovell threw his name in the ring after Del. Kris Amundson (D) announced late last month that she would not run for reelection this year for financial reasons. Surovell now faces off against Republican Jay McConville and Independent Green Party candidate Glenda Gail Parker in the fall....

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  July 3, 2009; 7:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Election 2009 , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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GOP Visits Bath

An interesting dispatch from Bath County, the home of gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds. Just a few days after Deeds' June 9 primary victory, a stranger showed up at the Bath County Courthouse, asking to review Deeds personal and legal records. Bath is the Virginia's second least populated county. There aren't a lot of strangers there. So the young man attracted a bit of attention from the clerks at the courthouse and then from Chris Singleton, Bath's part-time Commonwealth Attorney, who just happens to be Deeds' former law partner. Who was he? He was Republican operative Jared Wheeler, and he spent a couple solid days sifting through records in the county courthouse. Though he attracted attention, the folks in Bath said they were careful to give Wheeler everything he asked for and be as helpful as they could....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  July 3, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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GOP Ramps Up

While Democrats spent their spring preoccupied with a grueling, three-way primary for governor, Republicans quietly started opening field offices around the state to get ready for the November election. The so-called "victory" offices -- a joint venture of the Republican Party of Virginia and the Republican National Committee -- will number 20 by the end of this week. So far, about 30 staffers have been hired to identify voters, promote the Republican ticket (three statewide offices and House of Delegates) and eventually work to get people to the polls in all corners of the state. In Northern Virginia, offices are located in Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties. By comparison, Democrats -- who were waiting on a nominee for the top of the ticket -- have about five coordinated campaign offices in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond....

By Anita Kumar  |  July 2, 2009; 4:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009  
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Caps Owner Leonsis Shoots for Deeds

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds snagged a big name to head his "Business for Deeds" group today, joining Sen. Mark Warner on a perch overlooking the Capitals ice skating rink in Ballston to announce that Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis has agreed to take the job. Leonsis, a former AOL top executive who is also majority owner of the Washington Mystics is tight with Warner and has donated to both Democrats and Republicans (though, per the Virginia Public Access Project, more to Ds than to Rs). But as Warner joked at the event, Leonsis couldn't be persuaded to take on the same role for Warner's campaign, so it is something of a coup. But Leonsis said he had met with Deeds and determined him he'd be good for business in the state, providing necessary improvements for education and transportation. "He's someone who's listening and will follow the tradition that Mark...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  July 2, 2009; 1:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Mr. Connolly Goes to Washington

U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) is pretty happy this week about his first major legislative victory in the House of Representatives: a bill that affords financial protections to deployed service personnel. Connolly, who today was anointed president of the House's freshman class, pushed the bill (which, to the chagrin of his staff, he named the HADD Act, for Helping Active Duty Deployed) through in a speedy 10 days, he said. The law makes it illegal for cell phone companies and landlords to charge early termination fees against service members who have to back out of contracts because they are deployed. Connolly introduced the measure on behalf of a group of veterans of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan who visited him on Capitol Hill. "One guy told a horror story," he said. "It took him seven months of personally going to the office to get out of his telephone contract....

By Amy Gardner  |  July 1, 2009; 7:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Gerald E. Connolly  
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Obama in Annandale, Deeds in Hampton Roads

President Obama came calling in Virginia today, hosting a forum on health care at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale. Gov. Tim Kaine was on stage for a portion of the event, and tons of Virginia Democratic luminaries were in the crowd, from Sen. Mark Warner to U.S. Reps Gerry Connolly, Bobby Scott and Jim Moran. But Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds was not around. Was he invited? Deeds says yes. In an interview this afternoon, Deeds said he would have liked to be at the health care forum but had already agreed to address secondary school principals in Williamsburg this morning and then had other appointments in the Hampton Roads area....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  July 1, 2009; 3:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Barack Obama , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Gerald E. Connolly , James P. Moran Jr. , Mark Warner , Rosalind Helderman  
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Deeds, McDonnell Pledge to Release Schedule

With all this talk about Gov. Tim Kaine's refusal to release his political schedule, we wondered what the men wanting to replace him think about the ongoing debate. Both Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell told us that they would disclose complete schedules, including political activities, if elected. Deeds was careful not to criticize the man whose coattails he is trying to ride into the governor's mansion, but made it clear he would handle the situation differently. We tried to get Deeds directly on this topic, but he would not make himself available. His spokesman Jared Leopold said: "Creigh Deeds is committed to transparency in government."...

By Anita Kumar  |  July 1, 2009; 11:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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McDonnell Challenges Deeds to 10 Debates-Updated

Republican Bob McDonnell sent a letter to Democrat Creigh Deeds this morning asking for 10 gubernatorial debates across the state. The two have already agreed to a July 25 debate at the Homestead resort in Deeds' home county of Bath. McDonnell sent Deeds a schedule of debates that would start July 25 and conclude with a final debate at the University of Virginia on Oct. 20, two weeks before Election Day. Each would be available on TV, radio or Internet. "Virginians are tired of sound bite campaigns,'' McDonnell said in a statement. "They want to know where the candidates stand on the issues of today. And they want to hear this directly from the candidates." We are awaiting a response from the Deeds campaign and will let you know when we get it. UPDATE: Deeds said this afternoon that he is eager to debate McDonnell but he had not yet...

By Anita Kumar  |  July 1, 2009; 11:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Va. Democratic Party Hit With Fine

The Democratic Party of Virginia has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission, related to deficiencies in the party's financial disclosure forms dating to 2006. The FEC reports that they found problems with DPV's financial disclosure forms through routine reviews of their filings. The FEC said it sent DPV 31 different requests for additional information related to its 2006 filings, of which the party failed to respond, responded inadequately or responded late to 16. Problems included mathematical discrepancies and some excessive or impermissible contributions....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 30, 2009; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Moran Bags It--For a Good Cause

Attention on aisle 3: Yes, Safeway shoppers, that is U.S. Rep. James P. Moran. Moran is bagging groceries today at the Safeway at the Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria from noon to 1. Why? Well, because who doesn't enjoy having a powerful person bag their groceries? Also, to help out Safeway's annual campaign to fight prostate cancer. The company raises money each year to aide prostate cancer research--it's raised almost $42 million over the last nine years. Appearances like Moran's raise awareness and encourage giving....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 30, 2009; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  James P. Moran Jr. , Rosalind Helderman  
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Kaine Appears With Obama, Raises Money

This time it wasn't so difficult to find Gov. Tim Kaine. We just looked at President Obama's schedule. Kaine will appear with Obama tomorrow at a healthcare townhall at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale. Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, spent Monday in New York and Washington on party business. Tonight, he will appear at a fundraising reception for Del. David Poisson at the Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls....

By Anita Kumar  |  June 30, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Deeds Wins SEIU Support

The first endorsements of the general election are starting to roll in. Today, Democrat Creigh Deeds won the support of the Service Employees International Union, which has more than 5,000 members in Virginia. SEIU will be the first in a long line of labor unions standing behind Deeds. "Hardworking women and men simply cannot afford to slip any farther behind in this economy, and they want their next governor to not just understand their concerns but to fight for them,'' SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger said. "Senator Deeds has an impressive record fighting on behalf of working families and has earned his reputation as a consensus builder who the working families of Virginia can count on."...

By Anita Kumar  |  June 30, 2009; 9:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Kaine: Governor of NJ?

Vice President Joe Biden, well known for his verbal gaffes, accidently introduced Tim Kaine as the "great governor of New Jersey" this weekend at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington. You'd think Biden would remember Kaine a little bit better. Not only is Virginia's governor chairman of the Democratic National Committee, he was one of the three finalists for the job Biden eventually won. The event wasn't a total loss for Kaine. The chairman helped the DNC raise $1 million at the 10th annual LGBT Leadership Council fundraiser....

By Anita Kumar  |  June 29, 2009; 8:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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State GOP Disappointed in Kaine

Pat Mullins, leader of the state GOP, said this morning that he is "disappointed" that Gov. Tim Kaine refused to release his full calendar, which would include his work as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. But, Mullins said, the Republican Party has decided not to pursue the Freedom of Information Act request further in court. "As a Virginia resident, I continue to believe that the people have the right to know where their elected governor is, especially when he leaves the boundaries of the commonwealth for political business unrelated to the concerns of the taxpayers of Virginia,'' Mullins said. Repeated attempts to review Kaine's schedule by the Washington Post have been unsuccessful. The requests made through the governor's office, the DNC and Kaine's political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward, have been denied or gone unanswered....

By Anita Kumar  |  June 29, 2009; 9:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Hot and Heavy House Races This Year

The paperwork is in and the names are filed, and it's official: 2009 will be the most competitive election year in Virginia in more than a decade. According to an analysis by the Virginia Public Access Project, 57 of 100 House districts in Virginia feature major-party challenges -- a higher number than any other year going back to 1997. It's not saying much in a state with a pretty sorry record on such matters -- i.e. 33 competitive races two years ago -- but it's something. Democrats, just six seats shy of taking back the House after a decade in the minority, are gunning for the usual suspects this year: Dave Albo and Tom Rust in Fairfax; Bob Marshall and Jeff Frederick's open seat in Prince William; Phil Hamilton in Newport News; and others. (They missed challenge opportunities in the 31st and 33rd districts, though, where Scott Lingamfelter of Prince...

By Amy Gardner  |  June 29, 2009; 8:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009  
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