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Virginia Politics Blog: July 19, 2009 - July 25, 2009

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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Debates , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Barack Obama , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Barack Obama , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Barack Obama , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2009  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Gerald E. Connolly  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Gerald E. Connolly  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Timothy M. Kaine , Virginia Tech massacre  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bill Bolling , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Frank R. Wolf , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell  
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