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Virginia Politics Blog: July 26, 2009 - August 1, 2009

McDonnell v. Deeds

Tomorrow's Washington Post features columns by prominent supporters of Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds who crossed party lines two weeks ago when making their endorsements. Sheila Johnson, a co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and one of the most politically active Virginia businesswomen, explains her support for McDonnell. Former state senator Marty Williams, who had never endorsed a Democrat in a statewide race before, explains his support for Deeds....

By Anita Kumar  |  August 1, 2009; 3:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Gerald E. Connolly , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2009  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Eric Cantor , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Creigh Deeds , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Election 2010 , Eric Cantor , Gerald E. Connolly , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Barack Obama , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Election 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  General Assembly 2009 , Rosalind Helderman , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman , Timothy M. Kaine  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2010 , Rosalind Helderman  
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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  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Virginia Tech massacre  
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