Archive: July 2009

Kaine's Weekend Travel and More

View Kaine's Travel Adventures in a larger map. KEY: Blue markers are DNC trips, red markers are official state trips, and purple markers included a mix of both or are unclear at this time. Gov. Tim Kaine will jet off to posh Martha's Vineyard tomorrow morning as part of his job as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He will return from the island Sunday night. In keeping with his recent promise to reveal his whereabouts (which came after pressure by the media and others to tell us where he spends his time), Kaine's office released his travels for the second half of July this evening. His out-of-state travel included trips to San Francisco (July 25-26), Seattle (July 26-27), Portland (July 27) and Chicago (July 28-29.) He also reported spending part of July 25 in Washington. The trips were taken in a time period that spanned Wednesday to Saturday. Much...

By Anita Kumar | July 31, 2009; 6:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Connolly on Health Care

Is this a YouTube friendly speaking aide or what? Rep. Gerald E. Connolly took to the floor of the House of Representatives today to push for health care reform, accompanied by a sign featuring Sen. Jim Demint's now famous Obama-Waterloo quote. And that baby is bright. Take a look at Connolly's speech here....

By Rosalind Helderman | July 31, 2009; 5:40 PM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds, McDonnell and a Roomful of Farmers

Creigh Deeds has operated on farm animals. Bob McDonnell has not. That's one of the things we learned this afternoon when Deeds and McDonnell made their pitches to Virginia farmers at a candidates' forum designed to determine which of the men is the "most farm and forestry friendly." Deeds relished the opportunity to talk up his rural roots in Bath County, his 18 years service on the General Assembly's agriculture committees and his long record on issues important to farmers. He doesn't often get to tout that part of his record (bills creating a board to promote the state's sheep industry, classifying potbellied pigs as companion animals and guaranteeing the right to hunt and fish) when he campaigns around the state but Friday's event gave him the chance. "You've got to remember I grew up on a farm,'' Deeds said. "You won't find too many candidates for statewide office who...

By Anita Kumar | July 31, 2009; 3:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Secures a Vote -- or Two

We're guessing Bob McDonnell won over at least one potential voter yesterday with his visit to a facility that aids veterans in central Virginia. Yolanda Dean, the founder of the aptly named Compassion House, wrote a letter that was printed in the Culpeper newspaper asking McDonnell and Creigh Deeds which of them she should vote for -- and encouraging them to pay her a visit. McDonnell's wife, Maureen, saw the letter and convinced her husband to go. McDonnell, who served in the military, visited yesterday and spoke about his veterans plan. Dean was so impressed with his scheduled visit that she wrote a follow up letter to the newspaper last week. "Bob McDonnell is right to bring to light the importance of supporting those who have fought to keep us safe," she said yesterday. We're not sure, but we'd bet Dean casts a ballot for McDonnell come November....

By Anita Kumar | July 31, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Griffith Jumps In

Move over Michael Phelps. Make some room in the water for Morgan Griffith. Yes, that is none other than the Virginia House majority leader pictured at a swimming competition at the Salem YMCA this week. Check out the expression on his face! Our friends at the Roanoke Times describe Griffith's long history as a swimmer in this feature story from Sunday's paper. Who knew?...

By Anita Kumar | July 31, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Blame Game

Today, Gov. Tim Kaine blamed U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor for doing his part in closing 18 of the state's highway rest stops last week due to a budget shortfall. On his monthly radio program on WRVA in Richmond and the Virginia News Network, Kaine accused Cantor (a frequent foe of Kaine's friend, President Barack Obama) of encouraging Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee to vote against a Kaine request that would allow private businesses to operate rest stops. Federal law specifies that the rest areas must be run by the state, but Kaine was seeking a waiver as part of a last-minute effort to prevent the rest stops from closing. U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R) supported the waiver and offered the amendment. "The solution is easy and won't cost a penny,'' Kaine said. The decision to close the rest stops -- made by the Commonwealth Transportation Board -- has...

By Anita Kumar | July 30, 2009; 4:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds Picks Up Another Kaine Staffer

A familiar face has joined the Deeds campaign. Jeff Tiller, the always enegetic and helpful deputy press secretary to Gov. Tim Kaine, started his new gig today in Creigh Deeds' press shop. Tiller left Virginia last summer to work on Barack Obama's advance team but he obviously couldn't keep away. Other Kaine staffers working for Deeds include Matt Felan, who served as the executive director of Kaine's political action committee Moving Virginia Forward, and Kevin Hall, his former press secretary, who is working on and off as an communications advisor....

By Anita Kumar | July 30, 2009; 4:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Get to Know Your Candidates

Today we introduce the first installment of what will be a regular though occasional feature here on the blog, where we pose light-hearted, personal questions to Virginia's two gubernatorial candidates to help you better know them. Today's question: If you were invited to share a beer with the President of the United States, what kind of beer would you request and why? Creigh Deeds campaign spokesman Jared Leopold put the question to his guy and came back with this answer: "Creigh would drink what he always drinks, Budweiser," he said. "He's a consistent guy." From Bob McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin we learn the Republican would ask for a Coors Light, also his regular beer selection. Both campaigns declined to provide any memorable stories involving their candidates consumption of their beverage of choice. "Any good stories he has are locked away until after Election Day," Martin joked. We welcome your suggestions...

By Rosalind Helderman | July 30, 2009; 2:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Dems: Stim Bill Pulled Economy from Brink

The RNC gave us Jerry Kilgore yesterday. Today the DNC presents Rep. Gerald Connolly and Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Richard Cranwell, slamming Rep. Eric Cantor and Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell for not supporting President Obama's stimulus package. Or the recovery bill, as they call it. Cantor, they say, has touted jobs that will be created through building high speed rail in Virginia, funded with stiumulus money. McDonnell has recently spoken flatteringly of the impact of tax cuts pushed by George Bush. "You can't have it both ways. You can't on the national stage say this is a bad bill...but when it comes to my district I want a big chunk of that money. I want to be there with all four paws and snout in the trough," Connolly said. It's the start of a hot August of efforts by the national parties to target politicians they believe...

By Rosalind Helderman | July 30, 2009; 1:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Battleground Bristol

Residents of Bristol, Va. should be feeling pretty popular these days. The small city on the Tennessee border is the place President Obama came to kick off his general election campaign last June. Then Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele made a special stop there in May to campaign with Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell. And today Obama is returning to Bristol, to hold a town hall meeting to push health care reform. Bristol, a place with high unemployment and easy access to the tri-city media market, is a good place for politicians looking to address the issues of depressed rural communities. For today, it's also conveniently close to Raleigh, North Carolina where Obama was making an earlier stop to pitch his reform package as a way to protect Americans from corporate insurance companies....

By Rosalind Helderman | July 29, 2009; 2:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Stolle Appears Victorious

Word from Gov. Tim Kaine's Office this morning is that the governor would "not object" to a bill dealing with compensation for Arthur Whitfield, who spent 22 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle (R-Virginia Beach) had been pushing the issue and wanted it addressed at the Aug. 19 special session. And it looks like the retiring senator will likely get his way. With possible objections from Kaine cleared, not to mention gubernatorial candidates Sen. R. Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell both backing the idea, seems likely the bill will get taken up. Next question: What other worthy causes will lawmakers believe deserve similar consideration? Here's what Kaine spokeswoman Lynda Tran had to say on the issue via email this morning: "Governor Kaine's top priority is to ensure the Special Session addresses the public safety issues raised by the recent decision in the...

By Rosalind Helderman | July 29, 2009; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (3)

Stolle Threatens Special Session Filibuster

There are some interesting politics developing around what had been assumed likely to be a routine and quickie special legislative session scheduled for next month. The session was called by Gov. Tim Kaine to make legislative fixes in response to a recent Supreme Court decision that requires live testimony, rather than written reports, in court cases that use certain scientific evidence. Without the fixes, Kaine has said some DUI and other offenders would walk on technicalities. When Kaine announced he was calling, he said he did so with the agreement of both parties that the session would last one day and legislators would consider only bills on this one topic, likely with legislative language agreed upon in advance. Enter retiring and respected Republican Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle (R-Virginia Beach)....

By Rosalind Helderman | July 28, 2009; 5:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Zings Palin

Democrats can do two jobs at once, Republicans can't even handle one. That seemed to be the message from Gov. Tim Kaine, speaking on the monthly Ask the Governor program on WTOP today. Queried by reporter Mark Plotkin about whether he would resign as governor or resign as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, as demanded by the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, Kaine shot back. "Heck no!" he said. "People elected me to be governor and I'm doing it every day." Then, he added a little dig at former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. "Now, I know Republicans seem to like this governor resigning thing. I think a prominent Republican governor resigned the other day. I'm keeping my four-year commitment to the Virginia voters who put me in office." Snark!...

By Rosalind Helderman | July 28, 2009; 11:24 AM ET | Comments (2)

More on Guns and Gubs

Just when you thought you knew everything about guns and gubernatorial candidates Robert F. McDonnell (R) and state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D), we offer, courtesy of both campaigns, a few more bullet points. As part of Monday's story on guns and the gubernatorial campaign, we asked the candidates where they stood on several gun related issues besides the so-called gun show loophole. Campaign answers are after the jump....

By Rosalind Helderman | July 28, 2009; 8:04 AM ET | Comments (1)

Goode Out, But Count On Stiff Challenge to Perriello

The GOP clearly believes Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello is vulnerable -- but the man Perriello beat for the job won't be the guy carrying the Republican flag in 2010. The Martinsville Bulletin reports that former Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. says he doesn't plan to run for the seat in 2010. But someone's clearly going to do so. That's the clear signal from new Republican National Committee radio ads running in Perriello's district, hitting him on health care. It's part of a $1 million, multiweek effort by the RNC targeting 60 Democratic representatives in swing districts. Also on the list in Virginia: Reps. Glenn Nye and Rick Boucher. The ads instruct listeners to call the targeted lawmakers and tell them "to say no to this dangerous experiment." Dems aren't taking such efforts lying down. President Obama will hold a town hall to push health care reform in Bristol later this...

By Rosalind Helderman | July 27, 2009; 2:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Shift on One-Gun-a-Month

Maybe Creigh Deeds' campaign should send a copy of this story by my colleague Freddy Kunkle, filed this weekend from Virginia's biggest gun show, to former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. Why? Because in the story, Republican Bob McDonnell says his position on Virginia's law limiting handgun purchases to one a month has changed. He voted for it in the legislature; now he says it should be repealed. That law was a signature achievement of Wilder's. That Deeds opposed it--and McDonnell supported it--was one reason Wilder withheld his endorsement from Deeds during the 2005 race for attorney general between the two....

By Rosalind Helderman | July 27, 2009; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (3)

Photos From the Debate

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, left, laughs along with Democratic opponent State Sen. Creigh Deeds, prior to the Virginia Bar Association debate at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Va., on Saturday, July 25, 2009. Timekeeper Steve Busch has his back to camera. (Steve Helber/The Associated Press) See more photos after the jump....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | July 25, 2009; 1:20 PM ET | Comments (3)

Live Blog: The Virginia Bar Association Debate

We come to you live from the historic Homestead, where Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell will be debating today live. The ballroom is full. The TV cameras are lined up. Follow to the jump for our live analysis as the event unfolds....

By Rosalind Helderman | July 25, 2009; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (9)

Race Takes Shape

What had been a pretty sleepy campaign for governor woke up this week, with a number of important developments culminating in Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell's first debate this morning at the Homestead in rural Bath County. The week saw some big endorsements--and non-endorsements. First, Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine's second biggest donor announced she was supporting Republican McDonnell. Deeds countered with the support of some moderate Republicans and the less surprising news that the Virginia Education Association is backing him. Good feeling from those nods was erased at week's end by news that former Democratic Gov. L. Douglas Wilder said he remains neutral, White House pressure or no. We also saw some major policy roll outs--a jobs plan from Deeds, a transportation plan from McDonnell. All of this will be grist for what should be a vigorous engagement between the two candidates in front of the Virginia Bar Association. The...

By Rosalind Helderman | July 25, 2009; 5:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Wilder: Deeds Has Not Yet Asked

In an interview this afternoon, former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder expanded on earlier comments about his meeting this week with White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard, as well as his decision to rebuff the White House's request for him to get on board for Democrat Creigh Deeds. Among other things, Wilder says Deeds hasn't really yet asked for his endorsement. He said the two last sat down in the fall, when Deeds specifically told him he had not come seeking support but merely to talk about the race. The two now have a meeting scheduled for August, but have not spoken since Deeds won the June 9 primary. "Suppose the last thing you hear him say is 'I'm not asking for your support, I'm just coming to be here.' And then you don't hear anything else. How would you feel?" he said. In contrast, Republican Bob McDonnell has come calling...

By Rosalind Helderman | July 24, 2009; 1:33 PM ET | Comments (0)

Wilder's Nod Remains Elusive

So what exactly was the White House thinking? Sending a top envoy to pressure former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder to endorse Creigh Deeds three full months before Election Day, in a week when it would look particularly badly for Deeds if news of such a meeting leaked and wasn't followed quickly by an endorsement? Anyone with even a passing familiarity with Virginia politics and Wilder's role in them knows Wilder likes nothing more than withholding his nod, forcing months of personal wooing and press reports about his intentions. That's not to mention the fact that he has a history of tension with Deeds, whose candidacy for attorney general in 2005 Wilder declined to back because of the rural Democrat's strong support of gun rights. And yet still there is news this morning, first reported by Politico, that the White House sent political director Patrick Gaspard to Richmond on Wednesday to...

By Rosalind Helderman | July 24, 2009; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds and McDonnell Prep for Saturday

With just a day left before their first debate, gubernatorial candidates R. Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell are huddled with aides practicing and prepping for battle. It's not the first time the two men have clashed. They took part in a series of skirmishes in 2005 when the two were running for attorney general, so they have a pretty good idea of one another's temperament. Helping them get ready--debate sparring partners. For the Deeds camp, David Hallock Jr., former deputy counsel to Gov. Mark Warner, is playing the part of McDonnell. Pretending to be a Republican should come easy to Hallock. He played Jerry Kilgore when Gov. Tim Kaine was prepping for debates in 2005 and then acted as Jim Gilmore for Warner when the two were running last year for the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, McDonnell's got several helpers. One person who has been serving as his Deeds: campaign chairman...

By Rosalind Helderman | July 24, 2009; 5:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds Pulls in the President

President Barack Obama will travel across the river on Aug. 6 for a fundraiser for Democratic gubernatorial contender Creigh Deeds at the McLean Hilton, the Deeds campaign confirmed this evening. Obama will also appear at some kind of public function that day, Deeds spokeman Jared Leopold said. Invitations for the fundraiser went out a couple of days ago. "Creigh appreciated it when President Obama called him the day after the primary and we're looking forward to campaigning with him in Virginia," Leopold said. Undoubtedly, the value of a picture of Deeds and Obama together in Virginia depends on who's talking -- and may change if Obama's popularity does between now and November....

By Rosalind Helderman | July 23, 2009; 7:10 PM ET | Comments (1)

Elleithee Back in the Game

Mo Elleithee, Terry McAuliffe's communications guru during the Democratic primary for governor, has returned from the wilderness. Okay, he wasn't really in the wilderness. He was luxuriating on the Caribbean island territory of Anguilla, probably having loads more fun than the rest of us. And he's still on Jody Wagner's team in the lieutenant governor's race. In the meantime, Elleithee has signed on as senior communications advisor for the state Democratic Party as well as Gov. Tim Kaine's PAC, Moving Virginia Forward. As the the party's newest spokesman, Elleithee noted that this represents his fourth head-to-head against Republican Tim Murtaugh, who signed on just recently with the state GOP. The two battled previously in the George Allen-Chuck Robb Senate race in 2000 and Mark Earley-Mark Warner and Jerry Kilgore-Tim Kaine governor's races in 2001 and 2005, respectively. Elleithee points all this out, needless to say, because he's currently ahead two...

By Amy Gardner | July 23, 2009; 5:46 PM ET | Comments (2)

Another Update In Virginia's 11th Congressional District

Here's the post from Republican Paul Miller's personal Facebook page about not running. It sounds like the state GOP is behind Keith Fimian because, as the founder of a successful home inspection business, he can inject his own money into the race (just as he did last year against Democrat Gerry Connolly). I wanted to let you all know I've decided to end my campaign for the 11th congressional district seat in Virginia. This is one of the hardest decisions I've had to make because I am not a quitter and doing so feels like quitting. It has become apparent this week that the Virginia Republican party wants a self-funding candidate. I would have thought as a party we could have seen that in recent elections self-funding doesn't mean a candidate can buy the election. We saw this most recently in the Democratic Gubernatorial primary race where self-funding was trumped...

By Amy Gardner | July 23, 2009; 4:24 PM ET | Comments (1)

In Virginia's 11th: Lots of Activity

UPDATE: Two sources say Paul Miller decided today that he is NOT running for Congress next year. Republican Keith Fimian, the founder of a national home-inspection business, announced this week that he is planning for a rematch against Democrat Gerry Connolly in Northern Virginia's 11th Congressional District. But wait! Fimian is not the only Republican eager to challenge Connolly, who is just six months into his first term in Congress. Although Connolly beat Fimian resoundingly last November (55 percent to 43 percent), he did so in a historic election year when much of the heavy turnout favored Barack Obama (and therefore Connolly too). That's one reason why Paul Miller, a Capitol Hill lobbyist, is also pondering a run. Miller hasn't formally announced, but he has set up a "Paul Miller for Congress" Facebook page. Remember: Republican Tom Davis held the 11th District for 14 years, and Davis helped redraw the...

By Amy Gardner | July 23, 2009; 4:18 PM ET | Comments (3)

More on Republicans for Deeds (and Other Endorsement News)

Among the seven Republicans who announced their support for Democrat Creigh Deeds for governor yesterday, the two "surprising" endorsements weren't really that surprising after all. Marty Williams, the longtime Republican state senator from Newport News, and Brandon Bell, the two-term senator from Roanoke, had never before endorsed a Democrat for statewide office. But both faced primary challenges from the right in 2007, and both lost -- without any support from Republican Bob McDonnell. Sure, there's plenty of precedent for statewide officeholders (McDonnell was attorney general at the time) to stay out of primary battles. But in this case, two prominent Republicans were facing challengers who derived much of their support from the conservative wing of their local parties. (One of them, unknown Tricia Stall of Newport News, went on to lose to Democrat John Miller.) In other words, Williams and Bell were not conservative enough for some in their districts....

By Amy Gardner | July 23, 2009; 1:42 PM ET | Comments (1)

What Would You Ask at Governor's Race Debate?

Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell will meet for their first debate on Saturday morning. What's on the agenda? That's up to the Virginia Bar Association, which is hosting the meeting, as well as the men themselves. They'll have an opportunity to lob a few questions at one another. We're curious in hearing McDonnell and Deeds engage directly about how to break the impasse on transportation funding. And these are lawyers doing the asking--we'd like to know how the candidates, lawyers themselves, propose to deal with a Supreme Court decision requiring live testimony in DUI and drug cases. What would you like to hear answered? Let us know in the comments section....

By Rosalind Helderman | July 23, 2009; 10:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Discusses Travel Records

At a morning press conference chock full of news, Gov. Tim Kaine rejected Republican accusations that he is spending too much time working as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Kaine released records yesterday that track his whereabouts since he took on the second job. He promised to release a similar summary monthly from now on, after weeks of resisting calls to be more open about his DNC travels. Kaine said he works on state business all the time, even when he is traveling for the DNC. Republicans, he said, would have complained if his records showed he was working one hour a week for the DNC. But he said he is comfortable with his division of labor. "I am working pretty much all the time. I never am anywhere where I'm not working on state business. I'm taking material with me, on the cell phone, on the BlackBerry, looking...

By Rosalind Helderman | July 22, 2009; 3:17 PM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Lawmakers Back Deeds

First Democrat Sheila Johnson endorses Republican Bob McDonnell for governor. Now, Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds had countered with some Republicans of his own. Deeds announced today he has the backing of eight former senators and delegates, seven of them Republicans and one a former Republican who then ran for the House as an independent. Most are familiar names--Republicans who grew disenchanted with their party's leadership and had previously formed coalitions with Democrats, including former Gov. Mark Warner. Two--former Sen. Brandon Bell (R-Roanoke) and former Sen. Marty Williams (R-Newport News)--have not before endorsed Democrats in statewide races. Read more about the endorsers and get a full list here....

By Rosalind Helderman | July 22, 2009; 1:56 PM ET | Comments (1)

Statement From Gov. Kaine on the Recovery of Cho's Records

RICHMOND - Governor Timothy M. Kaine released the following statement today on the recovery of the Cook Counseling Center records of Seung Hui Cho: "During the course of the investigation in the aftermath of the shootings at Virginia Tech, it was learned that Seung Hui Cho's counseling file from the Cook Counseling Center on the Virginia Tech campus could not be found. The file has now been recovered from the home of a former employee who left the counseling center a number of months before the shooting. There is an investigation under way to determine how the file was removed from the Cook Counseling Center. "The file was recovered in connection with a pending civil suit, and while I cannot comment on the circumstances of its recovery, we feel it is imperative that the file be made public as quickly as possible. The panel that conducted the review under my...

By Mike McPhate | July 22, 2009; 12:23 PM ET | Comments (1)

Kaine Calls Special Session

At a 9 a.m. press conference, Va. Gov. Tim Kaine called the legislature into special session on Aug. 19 to deal with U.S. Supreme court ruling on DUI court cases. The special session had become an issue in the Attorney General race, with Republican Ken Cuccinelli campaigning for the Assembly to be called back and Democrat Steve Shannon remaining noncommittal. Because both are members of the State Assembly (as is Creigh Deeds, the Democrat in the governor's race), Kaine's decision will have an impact on their ability to campaign. Read the full article....

By Washington Post Editors | July 22, 2009; 9:13 AM ET | Comments (1)

Kaine Concedes on Travel Data

View Kaine's Travel Adventures in a larger map. KEY: Blue markers are DNC trips, red markers are official state trips, and purple markers included a mix of both or are unclear at this time. Late breaking news today from Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's office. In a statement, his spokeswoman said he will from now on issue a monthly report indicating where he has spent each day of the previous month. The information will indicate how much traveling the governor is doing in his part-time job as head of the Democratic National Committee. The concession comes after weeks of pressure from media organizations and state Republicans. It also comes on the day the Virginia State Police were legally required to respond to public information requests about the travel of Kaine's security detail. The governor's office released information about his whereabouts since January 1. Stay tuned for more information about what it...

By Rosalind Helderman | July 21, 2009; 4:52 PM ET | Comments (1)

Debate Dance Part II

3, 4, 10...How many times should Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds debate? The McDonnell camp has now put out its full statement on this morning's announcement by Deeds that he would be attending 10 forums and debates. McDonnell's side says the events include only four debates. He has renewed his call for 10 full scale debates. "We hope the Deeds campaign will agree to a schedule of ten real debates available live to the public. We look forward to sitting down with them to put together this schedule," said McDonnell spokeswoman Crystal Cameron in a statement....

By Rosalind Helderman | July 21, 2009; 1:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Debate Dance Goes On

Okay, so we know Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds will debate on Saturday at the Homestead, at an event sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association. Where and when and how else will they meet? The campaigns continue to spar. The Deeds' camp today released a list of 10 forums and debates he will participate in and challenged McDonnell to appear as well. This comes after earlier this month McDonnell asked Deeds to participate in 10 events and then criticized him for not immediately agreeing. This seems a pretty smart strategy by Deeds. He essentially takes up the McDonnell challenge but insists on choosing the times and places of their meetings. Which is exactly what Deeds' people had said they would do when they declined to immediately agree to the McDonnell request earlier this month. Will McDonnell agree to appear at these events? We'll let you know. Details of the Deeds'...

By Rosalind Helderman | July 21, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Potty Politics, Part II

Even as the clock ticks down on the life of 18 rest stops set to close tonight across Virginia, lawmakers, statewide officials and even political candidates are weighing in. U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) worked the ranks of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation pretty heavily on Friday, trying to attach an amendment to this year's transportation spending bill that would allow Virginia to privatize its rest stops. The move would have kept the facilities open -- and opened them up to the Sbarros, Starbucks and Cinnabons that we all know and love on our journeys through Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. Enter the fast-food lobby, which pressured members of the subcommittee to leave well enough alone so as not to kill the McDonald's and Wawa franchisees with strategic locations just off some of the exit ramps of Virginia's federal highway system. It's a...

By Amy Gardner | July 20, 2009; 7:45 PM ET | Comments (7)

BET Co-Founder Backs McDonnell

Sheila Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television and the former chairwoman of Democratic Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's inaugural committee, crossed party lines today to endorse Republican Bob McDonnell as Kaine's successor, arguing that McDonnell would do a better job of spurring economic development in Virginia. Her nod comes as McDonnell and Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds compete furiously to capture support from Virginia's moderate business community. It is a constituency that was lured from the GOP by former Gov. Mark Warner, who persuaded executives that he would bring his business acumen -- honed in Virginia's telecommunications industry -- to efficiently manage state government. Johnson, who has been Kaine's second largest individual donor and has contributed more than $600,000 to Kaine since 2000 (Adding Feathers to Her Cap -- Post, January 2006), said her decision came after meeting with both Deeds and McDonnell and coming to...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | July 20, 2009; 3:24 PM ET | Comments (11)

Potty Politics

And you thought rest stops were just a convenient place to break up a long road trip, use the facilities and grab a Mr. Pibb from the vending machine. Rest areas have become a hot political issue after VDOT announced that it will be shuttering 18 of the roadside respites, beginning tonight, as a cost-saving measure. The decision has provoked criticism from those who say Virginia's tourism industry will suffer (you know, all those pamphlets). More importantly, they say, it will rob the highways of some of a safe space for a drowsy driver to take a break before getting back on the road. No fewer than three politicians have sent out alerts to the media today demanding that the rest areas be kept open. Lieutenant Gov. Bill Bolling has suggested using paving money to keep the rest stops operating. Rep. Frank Wolf (R) sent a letter to Gov. Timothy...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | July 20, 2009; 2:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell-Deeds: The Week Ahead

This week in the governor's race will see its first official action in a while, although Virginians will have to wait until Saturday to get it. At 11 a.m., Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell will meet at The Homestead resort in Hot Springs for their first debate -- though the first of how many remains undetermined, with McDonnell asking Deeds to participate in 10 and Deeds leaning toward as few as three, a number typical of past races. The event is hosted by the Virginia Bar Association, which traditionally gets the first debate in major statewide races, holding them at the Homestead or the Greenbrier resorts. The debate will be streamed live online, and we'll have live coverage here on washingtonpost.com as well. Aside from that the candidates have, as with recent weeks, announced few public events. Deeds will present his plan for the economy, which he hadn't...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | July 20, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine and Trump Golf Pairing? Not So, Says Governor

Despite rumors circulated by Loudoun Democrats that a potential golf outing with Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and developer/TV personality Donald Trump was in the works, don't expect a tee time between the two anytime soon. David Brooks, executive director of Kaine's political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward, said Kaine did not speak to the Donald, has no plans to speak to him and has no golf outing planned. Period. "Reports of any interaction between the governor and Mr. Trump are inaccurate and untrue," Brooks said. "The governor never spoke with Mr. Trump and currently has no plans for interaction in the future." That puts it to rest with a certainty not unlike Trump's signature catch phrase, ("You're fired!")....

By Derek Kravitz | July 18, 2009; 9:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

More Fallout from Va. Candidate's 'Bullet' Remark

By Fredrick Kunkle Del. Stephen C. Shannon on Friday denounced the fiery remarks made by Catherine Crabill, the Republican candidate for the House of Delegates from Northern Neck who suggested that bullets might advance political agendas when ballots don't. "This type of incendiary rhetoric is not only divisive, it's downright reckless," Shannon said. Shannon, the Democratic candidate for Attorney General, also thinks his opponent should denounce Crabill's remarks....

By Matt Mosk | July 18, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

Tee Time for Kaine and Trump?

UPDATE at 3:15 p.m. to include details about the fundraiser at Trump National Golf Course and clarify that Kaine and Trump never met in person By Derek Kravitz During an otherwise sleepy summer of campaigning in Loudoun County, the talk among Democratic party faithful is of a rather odd potential golf outing. The participants? Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and developer Donald Trump....

By Derek Kravitz | July 17, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

Delegate Candidate: Fight Dems With Ballots Before It Comes to Bullets

UPDATE 6:17 P.M. with reactions from Crabill's general election opponent and the state Democratic Party, as well as an examination of Crabill's view that the government was involved in the Oklahoma City bombing. A Virginia Republican's fierce call to resist President Obama's political agenda -- with bullets if necessary -- ignited an outcry on the Internet yesterday, and forced her to clarify that she was not looking to incite any violence. Appearing at a "Tea Party" rally on Wednesday to protest President Obama's expansion of government, Catherine Crabill, a political neophyte running for the House of Delegates in the Northern Neck, quoted from a March 1775 speech by Patrick Henry and then went further, calling on Americans to resist the course Obama has set for the country. "We have a chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box," Crabill said....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | July 16, 2009; 6:17 PM ET | Comments (17)

More Money Tidbits

Del. Phil Hamilton (R) of Newport News emailed me to point out that, in addition to the $180,000 he's got in his campaign account, his leadership PAC, Leading VA Forward, has $78,000 on hand. So his advantage against Democratic challenger Robin Abbott is bigger than I suggested earlier today. (As an aside, and this is not directed only at you, Phil, but is there a machine that spits out the names of these PACs? How many combinations of the words moving, leading, Virginia, Dominion, forward and together ARE there? An endless number, apparently.) Secondly, I left out the 34th House District, which runs from McLean to the Loudoun County line along the Potomac River. First-term Democrat Margie Vanderhye raised $70,000 in June, bringing her total on hand to $123,000. But here's the real news: Vanderhye's Republican challenger, Barbara Comstock, raised $44,000 and has $167,000 in the bank. This race is...

By Amy Gardner | July 16, 2009; 5:33 PM ET | Comments (3)

Miscellaneous Slicin' and Dicin' (Part III)

And now, the bits and pieces from the latest Virginia money reports. Down the ballot, candidates collected a pale shadow of the millions rolling in for Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell, but here's the overview. For attorney general, Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Steve Shannon brought in virtually the same amount, $292,000 and $285,000, respectively. Shannon remains far ahead in cash on hand, with $1.3 million compared to Cuccinelli's $333,000. For lieutenant governor, incumbent Republican Bill Bolling retains a cash advantage, taking in $366,000 and bringing his on-hand total to $1.1 million. Democrat Jody Wagner raised $232,000 but spent $317,000, including a big chunk of television in the final days of her primary against Mike Signer. Wagner's new total in the bank: $188,000. Here's an interesting tidbit, courtesy of my intrepid colleague Tim Craig, who hasn't broken his addiction to VPAP or Virginia politics in general: Terry McAuliffe gave himself...

By Amy Gardner | July 16, 2009; 8:22 AM ET | Comments (2)

Slicin' and Dicin', Part II

Everybody knows by now that Democrat R. Creigh Deeds won the latest money race yesterday by raising nearly twice as much, $3.2 million, than rival Bob McDonnell, in June. Here are a few other tidbits that might interest you: Just as the McDonnell folks predicted, Deeds got a ton of money from unions: $500,000 from AFSCME, $100,000 from SEIU, $20,000 from the Virginia AFL-CIO, $10,000 from IBEW Local #26, $5,000 from the Virginia UAW. Expect this issue to resurface time and again as McDonnell tries to tie Deeds to unions, the card-check issue and the sanctity of right-to-work. Mark Warner (the man, not the PAC) gave Deeds $25,000. You might expect Warner to throw himself behind the Democratic nominee now that the primary is over. But $25,000? It's the largest single check Warner's cut for a candidate (aside from himself) since Don Beyer ran for governor in 1999. That "golden...

By Amy Gardner | July 16, 2009; 6:59 AM ET | Comments (1)

Slicin' and Dicin' the Money Reports, Part I

Republican Bob McDonnell spilled some ink yesterday talking not only about how much more money he has in the bank than his gubernatorial rival, Democrat Creigh Deeds, but also comparing how many of his donations came from Virginia in the most recent reporting period. It's not quite the same picture that emerges from McDonnell's campaign finance filings for the period from May 28 to June 30, which were made public today. McDonnell's on-hand advantage is real: He's got nearly $5 million compared to Deeds's $2.7 million. But the numbers, compiled by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project, show that McDonnell spent almost exactly what he raised ($1.82 million versus $1.79 million), meaning the amount of cash he has on hand remains virtually unchanged. The numbers also show that the two biggest sources of money remain, by a long shot, the Republican Governors Association ($1.95 million) and the Republican National Committee...

By Amy Gardner | July 15, 2009; 7:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Wants Wal-Mart Away From Battlefield

By Fredrick Kunkle Threatened with the possibility that an army of cashiers with barcode-reading guns could invade hallowed ground near one of the Civil War's most hellish battles, Virginia's two most powerful political foes have united in a bipartisan stand to relocate a proposed WalMart in Orange County. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R) -- who have been on warring sides of many state issues -- have written to the local Board of Supervisors asking them to help WalMart find an alternative site farther from the Wilderness battlefield. "[W]e strongly encourage your Board to work closely with Wal-Mart to find an appropriate alternative site for the proposed retail center in the vicinity of the proposed site yet situated outside the boundaries of Wilderness Battlefield and out of the view of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park," says the July 13 letter...

By Matt Mosk | July 15, 2009; 4:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

GOP: Kaine Inattention Kept $1B Apple Deal Out of State

Three Virginia Republicans say Gov. Tim Kaine's inattention to a tax issue cost Virginia a shot at an Apple computer data center that North Carolina landed. The delegates scolded Kaine on Wednesday for not taking steps to fix a flawed amendment that could have exempted Apple from sales taxes on equipment needed for its $1 billion expansion. Apple considered sites in Southside Virginia, a region hit hard by unemployment. The Republicans said Kaine was too distracted by partisan duties. It's the latest in a series of Republican attacks on Kaine's dual roles as governor and Democratic National Committee chairman. Kaine spokeswoman Lynda Tran noted that Virginia recently secured the Hilton headquarters and ranks among the best states for business. -- The Associated Press...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | July 15, 2009; 12:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Raises $1.8M in June

Republican Bob McDonnell announced today that he raised $1.8 million in June, little more than half what Democrat Creigh Deeds posted yesterday in what everyone expects to be a pricey Virginia governor's race. You wouldn't know that McDonnell underperformed his rival from a quick glance at his press release, which touts the fact that McDonnell has almost $5 million in the bank -- "far more money" from "far more donors" than rival Deeds. It's not a bad point -- cash on hand is an crucial indicator of the spending power of a campaign -- but Deeds just emerged from an expensive primary. And neither campaign is spending a ton of money just yet, so if Deeds continues his June trajectory of outraising McDonnell nearly two-to-one, his nest egg quickly will overtake McDonnell's....

By Amy Gardner | July 14, 2009; 11:49 AM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds Raises $3.4 Million

Creigh Deeds, who has spent much of his time since the June 9 primary raising money, announced today that he collected $3.4 million during the one-month fundraising period that ends June 30. It's more than Tim Kaine and Mark Warner accumulated in a similar time period during their gubernatorial races, according to the announcement, which also touted the fact that 63 percent of the nearly $5 million Deeds has raised this year came from within Virginia. GOP nominee Bob McDonnell's spokeswoman, Crystal Cameron, said the former attorney general's campaign would release his campaign finance numbers tomorrow. She also took a swing at Deeds for accepting support from unions. "Creigh promised the unions that he would be a good partner, and it looks like his partners are paying him well," she said....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | July 13, 2009; 5:28 PM ET | Comments (6)

Update: Surovell Hits Ground Running -- and Collecting

Scott Surovell, the outgoing chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee who is running against Republican Jay McConville in the 44th House District, announced today that he collected an astonishing $82,000 in his first seven days in the race. See corrections to numbers on McConville at the bottom of this posting. Surovell, who jumped in quickly after incumbent Democrat Kristen Amundson announced late last month that she would step down, was described recently by fellow Fairfax Democrat Ken Plum as the "energizer bunny" of Northern Virginia politics. He also has deep roots in the Mount Vernon-based 44th District, where he grew up, went to high school and cut his political teeth as chairman of the local Democratic political committee. Surovell's biggest donations have come from Amundson ($10,000), and from his law firm, his dad, state Sen. Toddy Puller and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association ($5,000 each), he said. But Surovell...

By Amy Gardner | July 13, 2009; 4:04 PM ET | Comments (4)

Obama Machine Heads to Reston Tonight

Folks from President Obama's grassroots political machine, Organizing for America, will host a meeting in Reston tonight to take questions and ideas from supporters and volunteers as part of a national listening tour. The meeting will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Fairfax's North County Government Center, at 12000 Bowman Towne Drive in Reston. Participants will be asked to offer ideas on how to support President Obama's priorities locally, notably health care reform, and how to make their voices heard in Washington. Organizing for America, which operates under the umbrella of the Democratic National Committee, carries the goal of building on the grassroots network that Obama built during last year's presidential campaign and using it to advance his policy agenda....

By Amy Gardner | July 13, 2009; 2:40 PM ET | Comments (2)

Biden To Appear With Deeds

Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Virginia next week to campaign with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds. Biden and Deeds will appear at a fundraiser together Thursday in Richmond at the home of Leon and Lisa Roday. Leon Roday is a senior vice president at Genworth Financial....

By Anita Kumar | July 10, 2009; 7:55 PM ET | Comments (5)

Virginia Receives Another Accolade

The accolades keep coming. Tim Kaine (and Mark Warner before him) loves to tell people about all the various awards, rankings and compliments the state has received on his watch. He just got one more reason to gloat. Virginia was ranked among the "Five Best States to Start a Business" by U.S. News & World Report this week. "The latest accolades accorded the commonwealth demonstrate that Virginia remains a power player among business-friendly states," Kaine said. "As we work to get our economy back on track, it's great to be recognized for continuing to attract innovative businesses to Virginia." The magazine said Virginia "mixes the highly educated workforce and technological sophistication'" and is known for its low taxes. "This state boasts the highest number of information technology jobs in non-IT industries as a total share of jobs, which indicates that Virginia's businesses are more technologically advanced than businesses in other...

By Anita Kumar | July 10, 2009; 6:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Debate to be Available Online

For years, the Virginia Bar Association has hosted the first debate between statewide candidates, either at the Homestead or Greenbrier resorts. This year is no exception. But for the first time, everyone will be able to watch the debate instead of just the few hundred lawyers attending the association's annual meeting. This time, the association in conjunction with the soon-to-be-launched Web site, VirginiaTalks.com, will offer a free, live and interactive statewide broadcast of the debate to be held July 25 at 11 a.m. Viewers of the live streaming video will be able to join a simultaneous, online discussion during the debate and to submit questions that may be asked during the debate. The debate will be available online through Election Day. "We're honored to partner with the Virginia Bar Association to provide access to this debate across the Commonwealth and beyond," said Jason Roop, editor in chief of VirginiaTalks.com. "The...

By Anita Kumar | July 10, 2009; 3:33 PM ET | Comments (2)

Deeds Son Charged with Alcohol Possession

Gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds' 20-year-old son was charged with alcohol possession May 30 for drinking at a party in his native Bath County. Austin Creigh Deeds, a student at the College of William and Mary, has an arraignment set for next Wednesday, and a court date Sept. 9. He faces a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Deeds has four children. His spokesman Jared Leopold simply said the incident was a "family matter." See the court document here.pdf...

By Anita Kumar | July 10, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (32)

Henry Joins Shannon's Campaign

Mike Henry is back. Henry, who has a long track record of winning races for Democrats in general elections in Virginia and is seen as one of the driving forces behind the party's recent successes in the state, has signed on to manage Steve Shannon's campaign for attorney general. It's a major coup for Shannon. Henry, of course, finds himself unexpectedly free after managing Terry McAuliffe's losing gubernatorial campaign. We hear he will start his new job Monday....

By Anita Kumar | July 9, 2009; 10:35 PM ET | Comments (2)

Healthcare Fight Comes to Va

Americans for Prosperity, an anti-tax group that supports limited government and free trade, started its second advertising blitz on TV across Virginia today to oppose the Democrats' healthcare plan. The ads are part of a $1.3-million, one-week buy in a dozen states targeting senators, including U.S. Sen. Mark Warner. Meanwhile, Organizing for America, an arm of the Democratic National Committee that is lobbying for President Obama's agenda, has moved into Virginia with the immediate goal of garnering grassroots support for his healthcare plan. Three staffers are based in Richmond and Northern Virginia....

By Anita Kumar | July 9, 2009; 9:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Hugo Calls on Kaine to Resign

Del. Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax) called on Gov. Tim Kaine to resign after reading today about how he is spending one and half days of his week working for the Democratic National Committee. Hugo said Kaine should not have accepted the job of DNC chairman in January and called on him to resign as governor if he wants to continue working for the national party. "Virginia deserves a full-time govenor,'' Hugo said. Kaine said in an interview this week he typically spends one day a week traveling as his party's national chairman to attend fundraisers and policy events another half a day working at the DNC headquarters in Washington. Kaine was asked by reporters this morning at an unrelated press conference about his travel schedule. He refused again to release a full schedule. "We always release public scheduling and we will continue to,'' he said. "We just don't notice private...

By Anita Kumar | July 9, 2009; 1:05 PM ET | Comments (3)

Updated: McDonnell Takes Swipe at Kaine

Republican Bob McDonnell used the announcement of his jobs plan Thursday to attack the man he wants to replace. McDonnell complained that Gov. Tim Kaine (D) has not used all the money available to him through the governor's opportunity fund to help attract new businesses to the state. He said the account has a balance of $11 million. "If I was governor, I would be dispersing that money immediately,'' he said. The plan, unveiled by McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, calls for doubling the fund and broadening rules to allow companies that generate additional state and local tax revenue to qualify. "The governor's opportunity fund can be a powerful weapon in the fight to attract new employers to the commonwealth. And fight is the right word,'' McDonnell said. "We are competing against every other state, and increasingly many other nations, for the private companies that bring with them high...

By Anita Kumar | July 9, 2009; 12:25 PM ET | Comments (4)

Kaine Devoting 30 Percent of Work Week to DNC

RICHMOND -- Timothy M. Kaine said he has been spending a day and a half of each workweek handling fundraising and policy matters for the Democratic National Committee, a departure from his pledge to conduct most of his national party work by phone and fax and restrict it largely to evenings and weekends while he is governor of Virginia. In an interview in his office on Capitol Square, Kaine said he typically spends one day a week traveling as his party's national chairman and half a day working at the party's headquarters in Washington. But Kaine said he remains in constant contact with staff from the governor's office by cellphone and e-mail when he is gone. To help, he said, he began carrying a BlackBerry. "I'm an around-the-clock governor," he said as he prepared to fly to Minnesota on Friday on party business. "There is no state where the governor...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | July 9, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Palin Tweets Allen

Days after surprising just about everyone with her resignation, and just back from a salmon fishing trip with her family, the almost-former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin has been tweeting away. Just this morning, Palin sent this message to her 87,083 followers: "Couple of thoughts for the day on beautiful bright AK morn: You have to sacrifice to win. That's my philosophy in 6 words. - George Allen." That turned some heads in Virginia, where we all wondered which George Allen she was quoting: The former Republican governor and U.S. senator? Or his legendary Redskins football coach father? All signs point to the quote belonging to dad -- but figuring it out is more difficult than it appears (though the quote can be found in the book "Knowledge in a Nutshell")...

By Anita Kumar | July 8, 2009; 12:58 PM ET | Comments (2)

Updated: McDonnell on Palin

Republican Bob McDonnell told the folks at ABCNews.com yesterday that Gov. Sarah Palin would be a "good spokesman" if she still wants to come to Virginia to campaign for him this year. "She was a successful governor in Alaska,'' he said. "She was a popular governor in Alaska, got a lot of things done on taxes, and government regulation and ethics, and you know, those are some of the things that I'm interested in getting done here in Virginia." Palin has raised some taxes and increased regulation of oil companies, but McDonnell's campaign explained that he was referring to her record of shrinking the state budget and suspending the state fuel tax as governor and cutting small business inventory taxes and personal property taxes as a mayor). Some had speculated that McDonnell would not want Palin to campaign for him after her surprising announcement last week that she will resign...

By Anita Kumar | July 8, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Kaine Declines -- Again -- to Release Records

It should come as no surprise that Gov. Tim Kaine today refused to release information about his travel on behalf of the Democratic National Committee to the Associated Press. Kaine's office has declined similar requests by the Washington Post and the Republican Party of Virginia citing state law that exempts the "governor's working papers" from open records. Kaine's office typically releases a public schedule of gubernatorial events that includes speeches, bill signings and news conferences -- but does not include appointments in his office, activities for the national party or fundraisers for his in-state political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward. Kaine has said that anyone who wants to know where he is can just ask him when they see him, but he won't let his spokesmen say where he is when he is not around. That answer has not stopped a growing firestorm by open-government advocates, newspapers and critics over...

By Anita Kumar | July 7, 2009; 9:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Renews Debate Request

Republican Bob McDonnell isn't dropping his debate challenge. McDonnell renewed his request today for a series of 10 debates with Democrat Creigh Deeds after his campaign said Deeds rejected the original offer last week. "There is a hunger for robust political discourse in this campaign," said Tucker Martin, McDonnell's spokesman. Deeds spokesman Jared Leopold said Deeds never rejected the challenge but that the campaign will continue to work with potential organizers to devise a list of debates across the state on their timetable, not McDonnell's....

By Anita Kumar | July 7, 2009; 5:12 PM ET | Comments (1)

Governor, Senator, Author

Former Governor and U.S. Senator George Allen has signed a publishing contract with Regnery Publishing to write a book, "The Triumph of Character: What Washington Can Learn from the World of Sports. " The book, to be released in June 2010, will bring together two all-American passions -- politics and sports -- and reveals what Washington could learn from the principles found in athletic competition and team sports, according to a press release. Allen, the son of a NFL Hall of Fame Coach, played football and rugby at the University of Virginia. He is the founder and chairman of the American Energy Freedom Center and president of George Allen Strategies, LLC....

By Anita Kumar | July 7, 2009; 4:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Courting of Wilder Continues

Doug Wilder continues to keep everyone guessing. That's just the way he likes it. The nation's first elected black governor has said some not-so-nice things about Creigh Deeds in the past and in the 2005 attorney general's race he refused to back Deeds because of his position on guns. Now Deeds has won the Democratic nomination for governor but the cagey Wilder still won't say whether he will support him on or not. Wilder said in a recent interview that Deeds has called him a couple times since the June 9 primary, but that the two keep missing each other and have now scheduled a meeting in the coming weeks. But he also said Republican Bob McDonnell has come a-calling too. The two men speak regularly....

By Anita Kumar | July 7, 2009; 1:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Heads to Minneapolis

Gov. Tim Kaine will spend Friday in Minneapolis in his role as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Also, this week: Kaine will spend the afternoon working out of the DNC headquarters in Washington Wednesday after attending an economic development event in Falls Church. That night he will attend a fundraising event for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds at the McLean home of Mark Lowham, senior vice president of WEST*GROUP. (who endorsed Deeds last week)....

By Anita Kumar | July 6, 2009; 4:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Palin to Campaign in Virginia? You Betcha.

Gov. Sarah Palin's stunning annoucement that she would resign later this month in part because she wanted to be free to help other candidates made us wonder if she has plans to come to Virginia -- one of only two states with governor's races this year. Bob McDonnell, Virginia's Republican gubernatorial nominee, attended a meeting of the Republican Governor's Association late last year. Many governors, including Palin, Rick Perry (Tex.) and Charlie Crist (Fla.), pledged to help him. McDonnell's campaign has not heard from Palin's staff to set up a specific event, but it's been made pretty clear in recent days she plans to spend some time here this fall....

By Anita Kumar | July 6, 2009; 11:54 AM ET | Comments (21)

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 | Comments (4)

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 | Comments (1)

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 | Comments (1)

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 | Comments (0)

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 | Comments (0)

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 | Comments (0)

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 | Comments (0)

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 | Comments (4)

 

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