Archive: August 2009

McDonnell Fights Back On Google

Search "McDonnell" and "thesis" on Google, and you'll get a list of stories about the controversy surrounding Republican Bob McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis. But check out the right-hand column of paid advertisements. You'll also see a sponsored link to "Women For McDonnell." Coincidence? Not on your life. McDonnell is pushing against the controversy on many fronts, and one of them, clearly, is the Internet....

By Amy Gardner | August 31, 2009; 7:39 PM ET | Comments (4)

Deeds: California Dreaming

With all the talk about Bob McDonnell's thesis today, you may be wondering why we never heard directly from his rival Creigh Deeds? We wondered too. It turns out Deeds is in Los Angeles today raising money. He flew out of state Sunday night and will return Tuesday night. The Deeds's campaign confirmed that he was in the City of Angels when we asked, but they won't tell us which city he will be in tomorrow (but we hear it's San Francisco) or who is hosting his fundraisers. (Why won't they say?) Deeds is rarely out of state (unlike his former Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe who was always jet setting around the nation). McDonnell has been out of town raising money once this month. He went to Wyoming the first week of August, along with Republican gubernatorial hopeful Chris Christie, to meet with top RNC donors....

By Anita Kumar | August 31, 2009; 7:00 PM ET | Comments (3)

Down-Ticket GOP Candidates on McDonnell's Thesis

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who stepped aside so Bob McDonnell could run for governor and has been campaigning for re-election as McDonnell's running mate, dismissed the GOP candidate's thesis as a 20-year-old academic paper. "A candidate with 18 years of public service in the House of Delegates and as attorney general should be judged by his record in office, not by a term paper he wrote as a college student,'' Bolling said. "Bob's record is clearly one of supporting women and families." State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II of Fairfax County, the Republican nominee for attorney general, said that he had not read the thesis and that his initial reaction was that the Post's article had taken the quotes out of context, and merely wrote about it because it was written while McDonnell was at Regent University. Bolling said the issue will not affect his race against Democrat Jody Wagner....

By Anita Kumar | August 31, 2009; 6:50 PM ET | Comments (4)

Shannon Jumps In on McDonnell Thesis

Remember the Sesame Street song "One of These Things is Not Like the Other?" It might have seemed a little odd when Democratic attorney general candidate Steve Shannon's campaign declined to comment on Bob McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis, just as the rest of the Democratic establishment was racing to condemn McDonnell for the work. Apparently, that wasn't where the Shannon campaign wanted to end up on the story of the day, so spokesman Brian Coy put out a new statement on the issue late this afternoon:...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 31, 2009; 5:11 PM ET | Comments (3)

Va. Democratic Party Video on Thesis: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Is Bob McDonnell's 1989 thesis scary? That's sure what the Democratic Party of Virginia wants people to conclude with the following video, distributed today. Of course, clips of puppies playing in a meadow would be frightening if set to the music used in this video. Is it over the top? Certainly, Republicans will conclude so. What do you think? Tell us in the comments....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 31, 2009; 4:40 PM ET | Comments (4)

Kaine Has 'Grave Concerns' About McDonnell's Thesis

Gov. Tim Kaine said today that he was not surprised by what Bob McDonnell wrote in his thesis. "The views expressed in that paper are views that I have long felt were Bob McDonnell's very sincere and long-held views,'' Kaine said in an interview. "In interactions with Bob on a number of those issues, he has demonstrated to me that I think that many of those views he still holds." Kaine reminded reporters that when McDonnell was attorney general, he told him that he did not have the authority to issue an executive order barring state agencies from discriminating based on sexual orientation. McDonnell said at the time that he did not consider sexual orientation when hiring employees for his office, but that Kaine's order violated the "founders' mandate to separate and limit the power of the executive branch." "I would never challenge someone's personal beliefs. [But] I think they...

By Anita Kumar | August 31, 2009; 3:15 PM ET | Comments (9)

Downticket Dems Take Different Paths on McDonnell Thesis

Might Bob McDonnell's 20-year-old thesis, already the talk of the governor's race, also affect the races for attorney general and lieutenant governor? It's hard to say, especially since the two Democratic campaigns are taking such different positions on the issue. Pete Kavanaugh, an advisor to lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner, said that as a working mother of four, she was particularly disturbed by McDonnell's writing. Wagner is the only woman on either party's statewide ticket. "She proves how successful working women can be," Kavanaugh said. "Our question right now for [Lt. Gov. Bill] Bolling is is this really what he believes? Will he stand with McDonnell through this?" Meanwhile, Brian Coy, a spokesman for Democratic attorney general candidate Steve Shannon, declined to comment. "Steve Shannon is proud to be running with Creigh Deeds and thinks he is the right choice to be next Governor. Steve is running for Attorney General...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 31, 2009; 3:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Who is Jennifer? Another Case of Inter-Campaign Trickery

Bob McDonnell's campaign received a call this morning from a woman who called herself "Jennifer" and claimed to be a freelance reporter from the Connection newspapers in Northern Virginia. She asked for information about McDonnell's schedule. The problem? She isn't a reporter. She actually works for Creigh Deeds's campaign. McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin, who took her call, said the caller ID showed Deeds's campaign headquarters phone number and the words "Deeds for Va." Deeds campaign manager Joe Abbey questioned his staffers after hearing about the call from a reporter. He later said he found out the caller was one of his staffers -- though he did not release the woman's name. "An overzealous campaign worker was trying to figure out where Bob McDonnell was today,'' Abbey said. "We have made it clear to all staff and volunteers that this behavior is not acceptable and should not happen again."...

By Anita Kumar | August 31, 2009; 2:50 PM ET | Comments (8)

McDonnell: Women Support Me

* Earlier: Deeds Camp: Our Phones Are Ringing Off the Hook * We hear Bob McDonnell's response to the story about his thesis is coming soon. It will feature quotes from women who back his efforts, who talk about how supportive he has been of working women... UPDATE: You can find this release here. The women defending McDonnell include Judy Wason Ford, head of Virginians for McDonnell and formerly head of Virginians for (Mark) Warner. "Bob has always respected and supported working women and will continue to do so. Virginians are worried about the future, not a decades-old academic paper," writes Wason, who identifies herself as a pro-choice woman. Other women include Janet Polarek, a top McDonnell aide who managed his 2005 attorney general's campaign, commonwealth attorneys, a deputy attorney general, and business leaders....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 31, 2009; 12:26 PM ET | Comments (27)

Deeds Camp: Our Phones Are Ringing Off the Hook

* Update: McDonnell: Women Support Me * Bob McDonnell's graduate school thesis has the "potential to really change the dynamics of this race." That's the claim (and hope) of Creigh Deeds's communications director, Mike Gehrke, and senior adviser Mo Elleithee, who just held a media call to talk about how they think the thesis is relevant to the race. Is there interest in the story? Judging by the media list who listened in to the call, which included everyone from CNN to Amy Walter of Hotline, absolutely. "Our phones are ringing off the hook," Elleithee said. "Our e-mail box is filing up. People are wanting to know how they can get more engaged in the race. People are coming up to the campaign office and our canvassers and the candidate and asking how they can help because the stakes are too high."...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 31, 2009; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (30)

Holland & Knight Snags Brownlee

John Brownlee, who lost his bid for the Republican nomination for attorney general in May, has landed a job at mega-law firm Holland & Knight. Brownlee, the former U.S. attorney in the western district of Virginia, was named a partner in the firm's white collar defense and government contracts practices. He will split his time between Northern Virginia and the District. Brownlee and David Foster, former chairman of the Arlington County School Board, lost to state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II of Fairfax at the May GOP convention. Cuccinelli faces Del. Stephen D. Shannon in November....

By Anita Kumar | August 31, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click-Virginia

Monday, Aug. 31, 2009 Good morning, Virginia! Here's what's doing in politics across the Commonwealth today. How much impact will this weekend's Post story about Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell's 1989 graduate school thesis have on the race for governor? It's the big political question of the moment as the week begins. Articles about the thesis have appeared in pretty much every Virginia newspaper now, so the story's gotten plenty of statewide attention and it's now time to watch how the campaigns respond. A lot of Republicans are dismissing the writings as an ancient academic exercise that will count for little on Nov. 3. The McDonnell campaign did not make their candidate available to answer questions about the thesis to the Associated Press on Sunday. So far they instead have stuck to a statement on the issue composed before The Post's story appeared. But expect McDonnell to face lots of...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 31, 2009; 8:45 AM ET | Comments (4)

Fact Check: Is Economic Fund a Cure-All?

If you listen to state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D) and ex-attorney general Robert F. McDonnell (R), a little-understood fund run by the governor's office is a quick ticket to economic prosperity in Virginia. Both gubernatorial candidates have called for doubling the state appropriation for the Governor's Opportunity Fund to $20 million, and both say the potential for economic growth is big. But Democrats also charge that McDonnell, as a House delegate from Virginia Beach earlier this decade, voted three times to cut the fund. And Republicans argue that Gov. Tim Kaine (D) isn't using the fund to its full potential, letting millions sit unused. Neither claim is completely accurate....

By Anne Bartlett | August 30, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Republicans Gather In Richmond

More than 350 Republican activists from around the state will gather at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Richmond tonight to hear from the party's three statewide candidates -- Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli. Also speaking: former governors George Allen and Jim Gilmore and former U.S. Rep. Davis. Rep. Rob Wittman, House Speaker Bill Howell and several members of the General Assembly will be in attendance. The "Victory Dinner," an annual fundraiser for the state party, will raise about $250,000....

By Anita Kumar | August 28, 2009; 4:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Ad Watch: "No Good Deeds"

The ads are coming fast and furious. And we told you that when they started, we'd be analyzing the commercials, picking apart claims made by the campaigns and assessing the messages they are intending to send. Here's our latest installment: a Republican Governors Association ad -- the first one of the general election -- attacking Democrat Creigh Deeds, which began airing Wednesday....

By Anita Kumar | August 28, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

First Click - Virginia

Friday, Aug. 28, 2009 Happy Friday! The campaigns are firing more ads into the sky -- as sure a sign as any that Labor Day is approaching. Here's the latest ad from Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, with a tough smack on Republican Robert F. McDonnell linking him to the economic policies of former President George W. Bush. Deeds has a busy day planned: He'll start in Staunton this morning with an event with small business owners, head to Waynesboro for a campaign office opening, swing through Clifton Forge for a quick visit with diners at a local restaurant, speak to the annual dinner of the Virginia Loggers Association in Lexington and then head to Covington for the big game of the day: Alleghany High vs. Covington High. The best part of the schedule appears to be how close it will deposit Deeds to his home in Bath County once this...

By Amy Gardner | August 28, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

House Speaker Pushes for Drilling

In certain districts in Southside, Southwest and along the I-81 corridor, Republicans are hoping the hot-button issue of offshore drilling may work to their advantage in the House of Delegates races. So House Speaker Bill Howell (R) is trying to push the issue to the forefront by sending a letter this week to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking for the federal government to allow for the exploration of oil and gas off Virginia's coast. His letter comes after Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) sent his own letter to Salazar earlier this year asking for a delay in drilling off the Virginia coast. "The expedited lease of the 2.9 million acres 50 miles offshore of Virginia would significantly improve Virginia's - and America's - energy security as well as assist in meeting that growing demand,'' Howell wrote in his letter. "Developing these resources would create thousands of new jobs in...

By Anita Kumar | August 27, 2009; 6:51 PM ET | Comments (2)

Deeds Ad Hits McDonnell on Bush

The governor's race ads are getting tougher. First, the Republican Governor's Association hit Creigh Deeds on spending. Now, Deeds has put out a variant of the happy, shiny ad he first aired last week. It addresses similar themes as his first spot--Deeds will govern like Warner, offer tax credits to businesses that create jobs, audit state agencies. But this time around, instead of merely mentioning that he won't govern like George Bush, Deeds makes the link between Republican Bob McDonnell and Bush explicit. The Deeds camp says the ad will be airing in all Virginia media markets except pricey NoVa....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 27, 2009; 5:07 PM ET | Comments (3)

TV Ads Target Wolf, Cantor

The liberal group Americans United for Change is airing TV ads criticizing U.S. Reps. Frank Wolf of Northern Virginia and Eric Cantor of Richmond for voting against a climate bill that would establish limits on greenhouse gases, create a trading system for emission permits and provide incentives to alter how companies use energy. The group is spending $430,000 on the ads, which began airing this week and will run through Sept. 7. The "Dear Congressman" ads will run on cable TV in Washington (for Wolf) and on broadcast TV in Richmond (for Cantor)....

By Anita Kumar | August 27, 2009; 4:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia Democratic Party to Donate Donation

Creigh Deeds has taken no money from indicted New York financier Hassan Nemazee. But it turns out the Democratic Party of Virginia received a $25,000 check from Nemazee last September. According to Allison Jaslow, the party plans to give the donation to charity. Top Democrats have been racing to distance themselves from Nemazee, indicted for lying about his assets to get a $74 million loan from Citibank. "We found out and decided we'd do the right thing and give it to charity," she said. "We wanted everyone to know that we know."...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 27, 2009; 3:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Kitchen Table: Greenspring Village on the Governor's Race

This week's Kitchen Table takes us to Greenspring Village, a retirement community in Springfield and one of the most politically engaged communities in the state. Just about every candidate running for Fairfax County or statewide office makes at least one swing through this tree-lined 100-acre campus, and no wonder: turnout in last fall's election was 87 percent of its 1,945 registered voters (and just about everyone here is registered to vote). So it's perhaps no surprise that Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D), a former chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors who knows these residents well, on Tuesday held a healthcare town hall meeting at Greenspring Village. (You can meet some of these residents in a video published on washingtonpost.com.)...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | August 27, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

What Might Have Been

Here's one headache Virginia Democrats must be relieved they do not have to face. A top national Democratic financier has been charged with lying about his assets to get a $74 million loan from Citibank and leading Democrats have been racing to return his donations. Hassan Nemazee, son of an Iranian shipping tycoon and CEO of Nemazee Capital, served as co-chair of fundraising efforts for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign last year. And who was Clinton's campaign chairman? Former Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 27, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click - Virginia

Good morning, folks! The gubernatorial candidates are quiet today, but their campaigns and supporting casts -- not so much. Two weeks before Labor Day, the ad wars have officially begun. Here's one from Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, and here's news from the Republican Governors Association. Deeds has one appearance tonight: a visit with supporters in Staunton at the Mill Street Grill restaurant. Republican Robert F. McDonnell has no public gigs today. McDonnell picked up another endorsement yesterday, this one from the Virginia chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. And the Associated Press's Bob Lewis reports that McDonnell has pledged to take a pay cut if elected governor. Sen. Jim Webb visited Norfolk yesterday for a private talk with business leaders and a visit to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, but he's yet to venture out to talk to voters about health care reform. And Rep. Tom Perriello (D) said...

By Amy Gardner | August 27, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds Ad: "Grass Stains"

How can we tell it's almost Labor Day? The campaigns are putting out new ads left and right. Here's the latest radio spot from Creigh Deeds, featuring the two most politically attuned people ever to attend a junior high school football practice. On the sidelines of football field, a man and woman talk about the campaign and Republican Bob McDonnell's comments praising George Bush economic policy. "What I can't figure is why this Bob McDonnell wants to do it JUST LIKE Bush," the guy says. Together, the conclude that Deeds is "that underdog guy" and "a little more Mark Warner, a lot less George Bush." And current Gov. Tim Kaine? Once again for a Deeds ad, he doesn't come up on the sidelines. Listen to the ad here....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 26, 2009; 6:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia Notebook: Regional Differences Challenge Candidates

Do Northern Virginians look at the world differently from residents of the rest of the state? It's been a sensitive question in the commonwealth's recent electoral history, one that has gone hand in hand with an occasional suggestion that those who live north of the Rappahannock River don't hold the same views as those in "real Virginia." When The Washington Post last week published an article featuring the voices of Northern Virginians who had taken part in a recent Post poll, respondents said gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds's rural roots made them anxious about whether he could understand their lives. Some readers said that the story reinforced stereotypes about differences between Washington area suburbanites and Virginians who live in other parts of the state. But drill down further into the survey's results, and this much becomes clear: There are real distinctions between how voters in the northern counties view issues...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 26, 2009; 5:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

Another Day, Another Endorsement

Republican Bob McDonnell received yet another endorsement from yet another business group today. Yes, McDonnell is surpassing rival Democrat Creigh Deeds in endorsements, but the question is, will they translate to actual votes in November? The National Federation of Independent Business, which calls itself Virginia's leading small-business association, endorsed McDonnell and Bill Bolling for lieutenant governor this afternoon. (What happened to the attorney general's race?)...

By Anita Kumar | August 26, 2009; 3:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Updated: RGA Launches Attack Ads

Bob McDonnell goes negative. Sort of. The Republican Governors Association is doing it for him. The RGA's political action committee, Virginia Common Sense, launched TV and radio ads across the state (except pricey Northern Virginia) that criticize Democrat Creigh Deeds for supposedly supporting big government spending. The ads feature footage from remarks Deeds made to a crowd in Lexington April 4 when he said: "In Richmond we don't have earmarks, we have budget amendments. And I had the most budget amendments in 2008 of all."...

By Anita Kumar | August 26, 2009; 2:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

On The Record

Recently, we introduced you to On The Record , a regular feature here on the Virginia Politics blog -- a funny, outrageous or otherwise memorable quote from someone in the state's political world. Have a quote you want to share? E-mail me at kumaranita@washpost.com. Now on to our latest installment: "It used to be that the Republican plan was that you'd run in Northern Virginia and hope you didn't lose too badly. Now you have to run and you have to run strong up here or you will lose. It's why we've lost all these races in the past," Del. Dave Albo (R-Fairfax) said. "For the Democrat, you need to win big. For the Republican, you have to hang in there and do respectfully and not get blown out. It's a critical battleground," Sen. J. Chapman "Chap" Petersen (D-Fairfax) said. The pair of Fairfax legislators were speaking to my colleague...

By Anita Kumar | August 26, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Ad Watch: "This Election"

As the ads begin running in the governor's race, we'll be analyzing the commercials, picking apart claims made by the campaigns and analyzing messages they are intending to send. First up, Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds, whose first ad of the general election campaign began airing Friday....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 26, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Where's Dick Cranwell?

The usually outspoken chairman of the state Democratic party has remained uncharacteristically silent during the escalating scandal over his former House colleague Phil Hamilton. One by one, Gov. Tim Kaine, all six statewide candidates, the chairman of the state GOP and, of course, the House speaker have voiced an opinion on what should be done in Hamilton's case. But not Cranwell. Reporters have been asking for his response for days, but have received nothing from him or his staff -- though they issue multiple attacks against Bob McDonnell each day. All three statewide Democratic candidates - Creigh Deeds, Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon - have called for Hamilton's resignation so it's unlikely Cranwell would stray from that message. But maybe, just maybe, Cranwell doesn't agree with his fellow Democrats and that's why he's silent?...

By Anita Kumar | August 26, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click - Virginia

Greetings, fellow travelers! So have you heard the news about Phil Hamilton? Kidding. It is the dog days of summer, after all, so unfortunately for Hamilton and the GOP, this story is not going away if the Democrats can help it. Virtually every major newspaper and television station in the state has covered, over the past 24 hours, Hamilton's ethics controversy, the growing chorus of Republicans and Democrats calling for his resignation, his refusal to comply, and the secret ethics investigation that is about to start. Here's an interesting look at Speaker William J. Howell's decision to ask for the probe. One question I've not seen answered: Even if Hamilton wins, does he keep his leadership post on the House Appropriations Committee? And if not, what value is he then to the voters of Newport News? But enough about that. In gubernatorial news, Republican Robert F. McDonnell takes a break...

By Amy Gardner | August 26, 2009; 7:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

National GOP Group Gives Pro-McDonnell PAC $2.5 Million

We told you yesterday that a Republican PAC, Virginia Common Sense, was starting to air TV ads for Bob McDonnell this week. Now we know how it's paying for the ads: The Republican Governors Association has just reported giving $2.5-million to Virginia Common Sense, the RGA's political action committee, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks campaign money in the state. McDonnell and the RGA were critical of the Democratic Governors Associaton's PAC, Common Sense Virginia, which spent nearly $3 million on ads opposing McDonnell during the Democratic primary. McDonnell's spokesman said at the time that those Democratic ads were funded by "out of state special interests who have no real interest in the future of Virginia's workers." So what's the difference?...

By Anita Kumar | August 25, 2009; 5:33 PM ET | Comments (0)

More Fallout Over Phil Hamilton

Enough said....

By Amy Gardner | August 25, 2009; 4:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine: I'm an Asset to Deeds

"Are you an asset or a liability for Creigh Deeds?" That's the question Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine was asked today on his monthly call-in show on WTOP. As we reported Sunday, much has been made in recent days about U.S. Sen. Mark Warner -- not Kaine -- appearing in Deeds' first TV ad. And privately, some Deeds staffers have said they realize it's not always politically beneficial for Deeds to be associated with Kaine because of his sagging approval ratings and tie to national politics. But Kaine said today that he is "working my tail off for Creigh as an individual, as a governor and also as DNC chair." "I'm around the country raisiing funds for him. I'm doing events for him,'' Kaine said. "I think it's great to have an ad with Mark in it...I've done radio ads for Creigh that are up and running...I'm sure he's going to...

By Anita Kumar | August 25, 2009; 1:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell's New TV Ad on "Green Jobs"

Republican Bob McDonnell will continue with his mantra of "jobs governor" with his new TV ad that will air in every market in the state except for pricey Northern Virginia starting tomorrow. In the ad, McDonnell speaks about "green jobs" and new sources of energy -- a topic that should be familiar to all of us since he, Creigh Deeds and the former Democratic candidates have been talking about it since the race began....

By Anita Kumar | August 25, 2009; 12:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

House Call: The Republican Rainbow Ticket

Hello, legislative junkies! Yes, the big story in House races this week remains Del. Phillip A. Hamilton, the Newport News Republican fighting for his life amid a bipartisan chorus of calls for his resignation. But by now, the back-room banter among both Republicans and Democrats is that Hamilton is sunk -- and that even if he steps down and the Rs can find a candidate to step in, they'd be hard-pressed to hang on against Democrat Robin Abbott in the ever-bluer 93rd District. And so, like the Republican Party, I'm moving on -- to an entirely different topic: this year's Rainbow Coalition. Let me explain with a question: Which major party is mounting the most diverse ticket of legislative challengers that anyone can remember? And, in two-thirds of those races, which party is facing a slate of incumbents who could be described with perfect accuracy as bunch of middle-aged white...

By Amy Gardner | August 25, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds Brings Out Big Gun

Poll numbers show that President Obama's approval numbers are slipping. But conventional wisdom suggests the Democratic base, where Obama remains wildly popular, is lethargic and not yet jazzed about Virginia's fall election. What's Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds to do? We got part of the answer when Obama came to Virginia to campaign with Deeds earlier this month, appearing in Northern Virginia, where the president's word could do wonders for Deeds with Democratic leaning voters. Today we get another piece of the answer, as Deeds releases his first radio ad featuring the president's voice. The ad will air on African-American radio stations in Richmond, Roanoke and Hampton Roads and includes clips of Obama's speech at the Tysons event, where the president praised Deeds as a family man cut from the same cloth as Govs. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. Listen to the ad here....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 25, 2009; 8:51 AM ET | Comments (2)

First Click - Virginia

Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009 Good morning, politicos! Here's what's happening today. In the gubernatorial universe (is there any other??), Republican Bob McDonnell continues his RV tour of Virginia with stops in Botetourt County, Woodstock, Weyers Cave and Harrisonburg. Democrat Creigh Deeds ... well, if I knew what Democrat Creigh Deeds were doing today, I'd tell you. No word yet from the campaign on his public schedule, other than that he'll be in Northern Virginia at least part of the day. On Monday, in an appearance in Charlottesville, Deeds highlighted his plans to help small businesses. McDonnell, meanwhile, will join Deeds Wednesday on the airwaves. The Republican Governors Association is also launching a TV ad campaign, and national HuckPAC volunteers are pitching in for McDonnell as well. The big news of the day remains the fate of Newport News Del. Phillip A. Hamilton, the beleaguered ranking Republican on the House Appropriations...

By Amy Gardner | August 25, 2009; 6:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Updated: GOP Leaders Ask Hamilton to Resign; He Refuses

We expected Democrats to call for GOP Del. Phillip A. Hamilton to resign in response to emails showing he sought a job at Old Dominion University while securing state money for the school. But now Republicans leaders are calling for his resignation too. In extremely strong statements, gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Pat Mullins, chairman of the state GOP, all said tonight that Hamilton should resign. "From what I have seen of published news accounts containing emails and admissions, it appears that Delegate Hamilton has violated the public trust,'' McDonnell said. "Based on this public information it would be in the best interests of his constituents for him to step down." McDonnell and Mullins called for the resignation, but acknowedge that Hamilton has the right to defend himself in any investigations first if he chooses to do so. Updated: Hamilton said in a statement late tonight...

By Anita Kumar | August 24, 2009; 7:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

McDonnell, GOP Hit the Airwaves

Get ready to see more political ads -- a lot more. Democrat Creigh Deeds went on the air with his first TV ad of the general election a few days ago. Now, Republican Bob McDonnell has decided to go up on TV too. McDonnell will begin airing ads Wednesday, and the the Republican Governors Association's PAC Virginia Common Sense is expected to start ads on his behalf Thursday. (You'll recall that the RGA formed the group only after criticizing the Democratic Governors Association for creating its own PAC called Common Sense Virginia. Don't you just love politics?) No word on yet on what the ads will say, but with McDonnell leading in the polls you can expect his to be positive. The RGA's ad, on the other hand, will most likely be negative. McDonnell aired a slew of TV ads in May before the general election began, and then another...

By Anita Kumar | August 24, 2009; 6:10 PM ET | Comments (1)

National HuckPAC Volunteers are Helping McDonnell

HuckPAC, the political action committee founded by former Arkansas governor, presidential hopeful and Fox News commentator Mike Huckabee, has taken an early and intense interest in Bob McDonnell's run for governor. Huckabee himself has campaigned for McDonnell in Virginia. In the latest show of support, volunteers from across the country made nearly 11,000 phone calls to Virginia voters on Saturday as part of a phone-banking effort organized by the group, talking up the Republican candidate's pro-life record, his support of gun rights and his efforts to create jobs and spur the economy. "One of the things we learned during our campaign is that we're not going to be able to do much by way of money," said Sarah Huckabee, executive director of the organization and daughter of the former governor. "But one of ... our strengths is our grass roots, our ability to get ordinary people to make extraordinary sacrifices...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | August 24, 2009; 6:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

House Democrats Join the Hamilton Fray

House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong of Henry County has weighed in on the flap over Republican Del. Phillip A. Hamilton of Newport News, who is under fire for asking for a job at Old Dominion University while also securing for the school a $500,000 annual state appropriation. Armstrong criticized Republican House leaders for referring the matter to a legislative ethics panel, which he said typically meets behind closed doors, instead of sending it to the House Privileges and Elections Committee, which is open. "Unfortunately, a lack of transparency is what led to this situation in the first place. Delegate Hamilton is a public official, and any investigation into his actions should be conducted in full view of the citizens of Virginia," Armstrong said. "We cannot risk losing the public's trust in our institution by continuing to cloak this incident in secrecy." Still no word from Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F....

By Amy Gardner | August 24, 2009; 5:50 PM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds Highlights Small Business Initiatives

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds on Monday held a small business event in Charlottesville, where he picked up a theme from his Friday address at George Mason University: He would give every business that creates a job a tax credit. "Create a job, get a tax credit," runs a new stump speech line he introduced Friday and repeated Monday. Expect to hear it many times again between now and November. Under Deeds' proposal, any business that creates a new job will get a state tax credit equivalent to the increase in federal payroll taxes paid by the business on the new employee. McDonnell, meanwhile, has proposed a $1,000 per employee tax credit for any business that creates 50 new jobs anywhere in the state or 25 new jobs in economically depressed areas. Other ideas for small businesses highlighted by Deeds include expanding state contracting with minority and women-owned small businesses,...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 24, 2009; 3:31 PM ET | Comments (1)

House GOP Sends Hamilton to the Ethics Police

GOP House speaker William J. Howell and other top House Republicans decided Monday to ask the House Ethics Advisory Panel to look into the actions of Del. Phillip A. Hamilton, the Newport News Republican who is under fire for securing state funding for Old Dominion University while also seeking a job there. Following statements from top Democratic statewide candidates calling for Hamilton's resignation, Howell (Stafford) issued a statement Monday sending the matter to the independent panel "to protect the integrity of the House." Howell said he has not asked Hamilton to resign, and Hamilton said he has no plans to. "The seriousness with which I view this matter dictates determining the facts and finding out if any impropriety occurred," Howell said. Although the panel has 120 days to review the matter, Howell said he asked that the review occur as quickly as possible. He added: "It is important to me...

By Amy Gardner | August 24, 2009; 2:39 PM ET | Comments (2)

Democrats Issue Call for Hamilton's Resignation

All three Democrats running for statewide office have now called for powerful Newport News Republican Del. Phillip A. Hamilton to resign, in response to emails showing Hamilton sought at job at Old Dominion University while securing state money for the school to open a teaching center. Attorney General candidate Steve Shannon was the first to call for Hamilton's resignation Sunday. Now gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds and lieutenant governor candidate Creigh Deeds have hopped aboard too. Democrats are clearly hoping the scandal will have legs. They hope it will tar Republicans with the whiff of possible corruption while also providing a helpful reminder to remind voters, who have been showing anxiety about elected officials of late, that Richmond in leadership is shared between the parties....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 24, 2009; 1:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine Hosts Southern Govs

Gov. Tim Kaine is hosting the nation's southern governors in Williamsburg. The topic? Climate change, energy and the environment. Kaine, the ougoing chairman of the Southern Governors Association, will wrap up the group's conference today after a weekend of panel discussions, a dinner at the Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg and a formal Virginia State Dinner. Former Sen. John Warner participated in a discussion about global warming threat to world peace. Eleven governors are attending the event at the Kingsmill Resort & Spa, though some of the best-known governors skipped the event altogether including Charlie Crist of Florida (he's running for U.S. Senate), Bobby Jindal of Louisiana (he's running for president?) and Mark Sanford of South Carolina (we don't really need to say why, do we?)....

By Anita Kumar | August 24, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

McAuliffe Heads to Harvard

First, Terry McAuliffe took his family on vacation to Turkey. Then, he headed to Las Vegas for pal Bill Clinton's birthday bash. Now we hear that McAuliffe, who lost to Creigh Deeds in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in June, is joining Harvard University's Institute of Politics as a visiting fellow this fall. Other fellows include former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman (who lost to former comedian Al Franken), former Obama campaign advisor Stephanie Cutter and columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan. McAuliffe will head to Boston in October where he will participate in classes, meet with student groups and lead discussions on his experiences. We're betting McAuliffe has a few stories to tell....

By Anita Kumar | August 24, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

First Click - Virginia

Monday, Aug. 24, 2009 Greetings Earthlings, and Happy Monday! Here's what's happening in the ever-exciting world of Virginia politics today. Gubernatorial hopefuls R. Creigh Deeds and Robert F. McDonnell continue their breakneck, pre-Labor Day campaign pace this week. McDonnell will hammer home his message that it's all about jobs with his ongoing RV tour of Deeds Country, I mean rural Virginia. And Deeds, on the air in his first TV ad campaign of the season, will seek to turn the momentum around in a race where he is trailing in polls and where his fortunes seem tied to a souring national mood for Democrats. Deeds remains in his home turf of Charlottesville today for a visit to a small business selling only made-in-Virginia products, where he will tout his plan to boost, you guessed it, small businesses. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Deeds travels on to Northern Virginia for events still...

By Amy Gardner | August 24, 2009; 7:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Fact Check: Did Deeds Go Back on Promise to Stay Away From Abortion?

Virginia's two most recent Democratic governors made sure to shy away from the abortion debate during their respective campaigns, a plan that worked well politically in the state's more conservative strongholds. At first, it appeared that state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds would follow suit. So when Deeds (D-Bath) began a new effort this month to attack his Republican gubernatorial opponent's stance on abortion, it was a noteworthy change for a politician who in recent weeks decried the "politics of division." Robert F. McDonnell, a former Virginia attorney general, has said he is against abortion in almost every instance, including rape and incest, except when the mother's life is in danger. "I think it's an area that shows a clear distinction between us," Deeds said in an interview earlier this month with The Post's Rosalind S. Helderman and Sandhya Somashekhar. "I'm a moderate guy, and I've been a consensus-builder my entire...

By Derek Kravitz | August 23, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

On The Record

Recently, we introduced you to On The Record , a new regular feature here on the Virginia Politics blog -- a funny, outrageous or otherwise memorable quote from someone in the state's political world. Have a quote you want to share? Email me at kumaranita@washpost.com. Now onto our latest installment: "It shows [Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell] just doesn't understand the serious needs in Northern Virginia and the fact that it will take rational leadership based on good thoughtful public policy to solve these problems, not the kind gimmicks he's proposed," Del. David L. Englin (D-Alexandria), said in an interview with my colleague Roz Helderman. Englin was responding to McDonnell's criticism of Gov. Tim Kaine for postoning construction on HOT lanes on interstates 395 and 95 even though private companies, not the state, are picking up the tab. McDonnell has proposed paying for transportation in part by privatizing the state's...

By Anita Kumar | August 22, 2009; 2:00 PM ET | Comments (5)

Get to Know Your Candidates

Happy weekend, Virginia! As part of our continuing series "Get to Know Your Candidates," we are occasionally posing more personal and lighthearted questions to Virginia's gubernatorial candidates. Today's edition, inspired we'll admit by intriguing news from Maryland: How did you propose marriage to your wife?...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 22, 2009; 9:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Updated: Howell, McDonnell "Disappointed" in Hamilton

House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) said in a statement this afternoon that he was "deeply disappointed" to hear that Del. Phil Hamilton sought a job at Old Dominion University while securing state money for the school to open a teaching center. "I believe he certainly did the right thing in resigning his position at ODU and is correct in accepting full personal responsibility for his role in this very unfortunate situation," Howell said. Bob McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, who served with Hamilton (R-Newport News) in the House of Delegates for 14 years and represented the same area of the state, said late today that he was "surprised and very disappointed" in his friend's actions. "Elected officials must maintain the highest levels of integrity and accountability,'' McDonnell said. "I am both surprised and very disappointed in the actions taken by Delegate Hamilton in this matter. Delegate Hamilton was correct...

By Anita Kumar | August 21, 2009; 2:52 PM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds Goes on the Offensive in Speech, Ad

Democrat Creigh Deeds worked to recharge his gubernatorial bid Friday with what his campaign billed as a major address at George Mason University and his first television ad of the general election campaign. You can watch the ad below and read more about the remarks here. The speech contained little that's new in the way of policy proposals -- Deeds said as much to reporters afterward. But he did attempt to sharpen the message he will present throughout the fall. And what's that message? It's all about backwards-forwards. Republican Bob McDonnell will take the state back, Deeds will take it forward. Deeds said he would govern in the bipartisan vein of former governor Mark Warner, recalling what he said was the pivotal 2004 tax fight when Deeds backed Warner's budget and McDonnell was opposed. Deeds said he would create opportunity by giving tax credits to job-creating businesses and expanding access...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 21, 2009; 1:25 PM ET | Comments (10)

UPDATE: House Call: Hamilton's Seat Gets Hotter

Republican Del. Phillip A. Hamilton of Newport News has a little more explaining to do this week regarding the paid job he took with Old Dominion University after helping the school score a half-million-dollar state appropriation for a teacher training program. According to reports in today's Daily Press and Virginian-Pilot, Hamilton actively sought the position before securing the state funding for ODU as the House Appropriations Committee's ranking Republican. The emails Hamilton sent to ODU officials seeking a post with the training center he was helping don't do him much good. They'll sting even more if (when?) Democrat Robin Abbott starts quoting them in radio and TV ads. To then-ODU president Roseann Runte: "...when we talked about the Center last August, I expressed an interest in being associated with the initiative from a professional perspective." Ouch....

By Amy Gardner | August 21, 2009; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (2)

Young Voters Split for the Moment

Does Creigh Deeds have a problem motivating voters in the Democratic base? It's one reason many have proposed for why his poll numbers are not looking so hot two months before Election Day. And given that conversation, this is an interesting figure to contemplate from The Washington Post's first poll of the race: Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell are running about even with voters ages 18 to 34, with Deeds at 44 percent and McDonnell at 42 percent. That's an age group that got particularly excited about President Obama last year. If Deeds is to pull a come-from-behind victory in November, he will probably need to find a way to wow younger voters far more than he has so far. But Deeds might take comfort in some historical perspective....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 21, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

First Click - Virginia

Happy Friday, here's what's happening in Virginia politics today. Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds goes on the offensive, making an 11 a.m. speech in Northern Virginia, where some Democrats say they aren't fired up about his candidacy. He follows the address with his first television ad of the general election and immediately plunges back into rural Virginia with a weekend spin through Harrisonburg, Salem, Roanoke, Christiansburg, Bland, Tazewell and Bristol. McDonnell, meanwhile, continues his RV tour of the state, making stops in Lynchburg, Appomattox and Harrisonburg today. At recent events he has sought to deflect Deeds' attacks on his record opposing abortion, accusing the state senator of being the one who is overly focused on the issue....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | August 21, 2009; 6:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Mark Warner: The Teflon Senator?

How does Mark Warner do it? Despite an increasing national fatigue with Democrats and a more Republican-friendly electorate in Virginia, the Democratic governor-turned-senator continues to receive incredibly high approval ratings. In a Washington Post poll released this week, 68 percent of registered voters approved of Warner's job performace (31 percent of them strongly). By comparison, Virginia's two other statewide Democrats, Tim Kaine and Jim Webb, have approval rating of 55 and 51 among registered voters, respectively....

By Anita Kumar | August 20, 2009; 4:00 PM ET | Comments (3)

Kaine In N.J., Participates in DNC Forum

It's been a while since we told you what Gov. Tim Kaine has been doing as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Here's one thing we heard. This afternoon, he is participating in a virtual town hall meeting with President Obama to talk about health care. He is calling in from New Jersey, where he is helping Gov. Jon Corzine raise money for his re-election campaign. Pat Mullins, chairman of the state GOP, quickly sent out a statement criticizing Kaine for participating in the forum the day after he announced the state had a $1.5 billion budget shortfall. "Tim Kaine was elected to be the governor of Virginia, and there are obviously some very serious fiscal problems here at home he should be addressing," Mullins said. On Tuesday, Kaine and the DNC sent out an e-mail urging people to participate in the health care town hall meeting. "Organizing for America...

By Anita Kumar | August 20, 2009; 2:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Political Memo: Cooch & Connolly - the Next Great TV Detective Series?

As uprisings go, this one had no scythes or pitchforks. But a recent movement spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D) to persuade his party's leaders to roll back a tax provision in the healthcare overhaul may have been all the more effective without them. Connolly, as head of the Democratic Party's freshmen class of congressmen, enlisted the support of 22 other members (including one non-freshman) to persuade House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to reconsider the cutoff for a surtax on wealthy households to help pay for the healthcare makeover. The upstarts, many of whom were Democrats representing prosperous suburbs, also boarded a bus to the White House to plead their case with the president and his staff, attracting the notice of The Wall Street Journal, CBS, CNN and other national media outlets. "It was not really an insurrection," Connolly demurred. "I wouldn't characterize it as an insurrection because the...

By Anne Bartlett | August 20, 2009; 2:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia Notebook: Obama, Kaine and Deeds

In every gubernatorial race in Virginia since 1977, the party that won the White House lost the governor's mansion. Coincidence? Maybe, but Virginia's tradition is understandable. After an administration comes in, people are naturally anxious. Some think the president is moving too fast, some think he is moving too slow. In a Washington Post poll released this week, only 34 percent of registered voters in Virginia think the nation is moving in the right direction, and only 47 percent think the state is -- down from 65 percent in 2005. The poll shows that discontent about the nation and the state -- run by a president and governor who are Democrats -- is helping fuel Republican Robert F. McDonnell's early lead over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in the race for governor....

By Anita Kumar | August 20, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Fact Check: More on McDonnell and Martinsville

Okay, politicos, gather around for another tour through Virginia's premiere sausage factory. Last week, we rifled 10-year-old records of the Virginia General Assembly to shed light on the Democratic Party's claim that Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell ignored the plight of jobless textile workers in Martinsville. It's a serious charge. The city has yet to recover from the collapse of the region's furniture and textile industries 10 years ago, as witnessed by an unemployment rate that hit 21.6 percent in June. Fearlessly venturing into the Legislative Information System and the House Journal --which feels a little like making a study of sausage-making after it's already been through the disposal -- our Fact Check found that while McDonnell did vote against the emergency aid package for Martinsville's workers, the Democrats' charges also lacked some important context. Now, Del. Robert D. Hull (D-Fairfax) wants you to know that there was another,...

By Anne Bartlett | August 20, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click - Virginia

Good morning Virginia, here's what's happening in politics around the state today. The big news was yesterday's special legislative session in Richmond. The General Assembly yesterday voted to change a law governing breath tests in drunk driving cases in a mad dash to accommodate a recent Supreme Court ruling that would have made prosecutions in those cases more difficult. Lawmakers also received a grim update on the budget. Gov. Kaine announced a $1.5 billion shortfall that will require significant cuts, which he'll announce in early September. They also decided to compensate a Norfolk man wrongly convicted of rape with a $633,000 settlement. With the special session over, both men vying for Virginia governor turn their attention back to the campaign. Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, a state senator, participated in yesterday's session. He tries to give a boost to his campaign by spending the day in the Democratic-leaning Washington suburbs, where...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | August 20, 2009; 7:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Updated: Budget Politics in Virginia

It seems like everyone in Richmond has an opinion about Gov. Tim Kaine's announcement Wednesday that the state needs to make up a $1.5 billion budget shortfall this year. There will likely be trims to core services, including education, health care and public safety, but on Wednesday, the talk was less about the cuts and more about -- what else? -- politics. State Senator and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds praised Kaine, criticized George W. Bush (yes, we know he's been gone for months) and talked about his "responsible and comprehensive government efficiency plan" that will save money. Not to be outdone, his Republican rival Bob McDonnell issued a statement praising another Democrat (as has become his practice as he tries to run as a moderate), former governor Doug Wilder, and criticized Deeds for supporting a tax increase (Deeds has said he would support one, though he hasn't proposed one)....

By Anita Kumar | August 19, 2009; 6:25 PM ET | Comments (1)

Special Session Wrap-Up

Lawmakers had a productive day in Richmond on Wednesday, successfully coming to agreement on two bills. Identical versions of the measures have unanimously passed both the House of Delegates and the Senate. One measure is designed to address the issue that brought the General Assembly to town on a blazing hot August day, a Supreme Court decision that requires live testimony from forensic analysts in DUI and drug cases. The bill passed by the legislature allows prosecutors to use written testimony but requires them to alert defendants in advance that they will do so, providing time for objections. The House and Senate have also passed identical bills that would provide more than $600,000 in compensation to a Hampton Roads man who spent 22 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. While in Richmond, Democratic delegates and senators also report receiving a briefing during their closed-door caucus meetings...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 19, 2009; 4:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Special Session Starts With Stop and Go

It's hot outside as Virginia lawmakers cool their heels inside the state Capitol in what has so far been a classic stop-and-go, one-day special session. The House of Delegates and Senate gaveled into session Wednesday at noon, as planned. They have both adopted procedural resolutions that bar consideration of unexpected topics -- fending of rumblings of an effort by a group of lawmakers to bring up the issue of highway rest stops shuttered because of to budget cuts. Both chambers also sent a delegation trooping up to the third floor of the Capitol building to inform Gov. Timothy M. Kaine that they were meeting for business, a bit of required Virginia pomp and circumstance. Kaine had a brief back-and-forth with lawmakers, in which delegates and senators agreed that they were working out some technical differences between bills that they were considering on the subject of the day -- responding to...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 19, 2009; 1:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

Governor Kaine's Remarks on Revenue Forecast

"Chairman Putney, Chairman Colgan, Chairman Purkey, and Members of the Committees: Good morning. I stood before you in August 2007 and told you that Virginia's housing market was in decline and that we needed to take steps to reduce spending and likely access the state's reserve fund in order to manage through a slowing national economy. Many people didn't agree with my warning about our economic situation then. Two years later, we all know that we have been through a uniquely challenging time. And I'm sure that the depth of the national recession was something that none of us--even the most pessimistic--would have predicted. My main message to you today is that, while the national economy continues to create difficulties, Virginia has managed through this extraordinary time with skill and creativity. We have made the tough decisions that the times require and been recognized for doing so. We have more...

By Mike McPhate | August 19, 2009; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Candidates Back at the Capitol

Four of Virginia's six statewide candidates will attempt to take a break -- at least briefly -- from campaigning when they return to the state Capitol at noon Wednesday for a special legislative session. Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds and Republican attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli are both members of the Senate. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling will preside over the Senate while Democratic attorney general candidate Steve Shannon is a member of the House of Delegates. Deeds and Cuccinelli were back yesterday for a meeting of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee to talk about how the state might change law to deal with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on trials. Deeds did briefly attend the meeting after holding a news conference, but then he apparently left. His premature disappearance prompted Cuccinelli to announce on Facebook: Okay, we started this Courts Committee meeting just after 230 p.m. to address...

By Anita Kumar | August 19, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click - Virginia

Good morning Virginia, here's what's happening in politics around the state today. While state lawmakers meet in Richmond today to address a recent Supreme Court ruling that could throw a wrench into many prosecutions, one big piece of news out of the special session will be the additional cuts Gov. Kaine is expected to propose to the budget. Among the attendees will be state senator and gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds (D) . He and GOP opponent Bob McDonnell each picked up a key endorsement yesterday, and today McDonnell spends the day in private meetings and visiting with businesses and law enforcement officials in Hampton Roads, a spokeswoman said this morning....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | August 19, 2009; 6:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Realtors Back McDonnell; Black Caucus Favors Deeds

Gubernatorial candidates Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell held back-to-back news conferences in Richmond on Tuesday to announce endorsements, neither of them of the too terribly shocking variety. McDonnell picked up the support of the political action committee of the Virginia Association of Realtors, the state's largest professional organization. The group represents 33,000 Realtors and, after interviewing both candidates, backed McDonnell as more likely to promote home ownership. The support from the right-leaning business group is not a surprise, although it was also not assured: The group also endorsed Democrat Steve Shannon on Tuesday for attorney general, along with Republican Bill Bolling for reelection as lieutenant governor. Even less surprising was Deeds's announcement that he had received the backing of the legislative black caucus....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 18, 2009; 3:27 PM ET | Comments (0)

First Click - Virginia

Good morning, here's what's happening in politics around the state. Virginia lawmakers struggle with the reality that the piggy bank is empty for transportation. Gov. Kaine has decided to delay part of the HOT Lanes project, a decision that drew an instant rebuke from GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell. The Post uses Virginia as a test case for the health care debate and finds broad skepticism. State lawmakers have begun working on legislation to address a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that could make prosecuting criminals more difficult. The General Assembly meets tomorrow to consider the changes and will likely get some bad news about the state budget too, says the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | August 18, 2009; 7:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Va. Northern Neck GOP Embraces Crabill - Again

Not only is Republican delegate candidate Catherine Crabill not stepping aside, as requested by the state GOP last week, but local party leaders are redoubling their support for her campaign in the Northern Neck against Democrat Del. Albert C. Pollard Jr. Crabill's campaign Monday announced that the top Republican in the 99th legislative district, R. Allen Webb, will chair a grassroots steering committee for her campaign. The announcement came just a few days after state GOP leaders, including all three candidates for statewide office, formally denounced Crabill over her comments last month that her supporters might have to "resort to the bullet box" if not successful at the ballot box. State party chairman Pat Mullins called on her to abandon her run for office. "I'm happy to answer the call to help Catherine Crabill as the Republican Party's 99th District nominee," Webb said in a press release, urging party members...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 17, 2009; 5:23 PM ET | Comments (1)

Moran, Dean to Host Health Care Discussion in Reston

U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) will host a town hall meeting on health care Tuesday in Reston. He will be joined by Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont, presidential candidate and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to discuss efforts in Congress to reform the health care system. The meeting will take place from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday in the South Lakes High School auditorium, 11400 South Lakes Drive, Reston. The event is free, but seating is limited. Doors will open at 6 p.m....

By Amy Gardner | August 17, 2009; 2:37 PM ET | Comments (1)

Pomata To Resign as Va. Information Officer Following AG Opinion

Gov. Tim Kaine's technology secretary, Len Pomata, is expected to resign as chief information officer of the state's technology agency, according to sources close to the governor. His resignation, which could come as early as today, will come days after Attorney General William C. Mims (R) issued a written opinion that Pomata should not be doing both jobs. Earlier today, House Speaker Bill Howell (R) and other House leaders called on Pomata to step down. "There is no question that Governor Kaine and Secretary Pomata need to act immediately to determine in which one government role Mr. Pomata should serve and which one he should resign," Howell said. "Like so many, I await the decision by the secretary or governor so Virginians can be assured that their leaders are acting in accordance with the law." The decision doesn't exactly make Kaine look good. The governor has said repeatedly that he...

By Anita Kumar | August 17, 2009; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

First Click - Virginia

Happy Monday, here's what's happening in politics around the state today. TOP STORIES: Bob McDonnell starts his week with good news: A Washington Post poll conducted last week shows the GOP gubernatorial hopeful with a clear advantage among registered voters, though lots of respondents acknowledged they don't know much about either candidate and Democrat Creigh Deeds still has more than two months to gain some ground, as the RTD points out. National Journal's Charlie Cook, however, argues that a Deeds victory at this point would be a "true upset." The Post's editorial board today weighs in on McDonnell's record on abortion, which Deeds spent last week highlighting. Despite Deeds' efforts to show that the former attorney general is too conservative, the Post poll showed that more registered voters view Deeds as too liberal....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | August 17, 2009; 7:24 AM ET | Comments (0)

Fact Check: Did McDonnell Turn His Back on Unemployed?

To accuse a Virginian politician of turning his back on Martinsville, the beleagured Southside mill town whose unemployment rate hit 21.6 percent in June, is almost like a slur. But that's what the gubernatorial campaign of state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D) did last week, saying that Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell "stood against the workers in the area when textile plants shut down and left nearly 3,000 workers jobless." As a former delegate, McDonnell voted against "a bipartisan emergency relief package" that would have provided enhanced jobless benefits, including health insurance, for laid-off Martinsville textile workers, the Deeds campaign said. The allegation is accurate--but also deserves some context....

By Anne Bartlett | August 16, 2009; 9:27 AM ET | Comments (1)

McDonnell Talks Tourism

Republican Bob McDonnell rolled out a series of proposals today designed to boost Virginia's tourism, hospitality and film industries. He made the announcement from Luray Caverns on what is dubbed Discovery Day, the annual celebration of its discovery in 1868. The proposals include doubling the funding for the Virginia Tourism Corporation, convening a tourism summit, promoting Virginia wine and increasing money for the governor's motion picture fund by $2 million. "There is no better state to visit, no better place to film,'' McDonnell said. "You seemingly can't throw a rock here without hitting a beautiful vacation spot, a former president's home, or a Civil War battlefield,'' McDonnell said....

By Anita Kumar | August 15, 2009; 6:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Virginia Attorney General Opinion Finds IT Conflict

Attorney General William C. Mims said late tonight that Gov. Tim Kaine's technology secretary Len Pomata should not be moonlighting as chief information officer of the state's technology agency. Legislators had asked for Mims' opinion after the former chief information officer was abrupty removed and replaced by Pomata. The General Assembly is investigating the state's unprecedented 10-year, $2 billion contract to upgrade the state's computer system. Kaine has questioned some aspects of the contract, but has said repeatedly that he did not have a problem with Pomata serving as the chief information officer until a new permanent replacement was hired....

By Anita Kumar | August 14, 2009; 9:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Republican Chairman Wants Crabill to Step Aside

No, Bob McDonnell is not attending an upcoming fundraiser with Republican House of Delegates candidate Catherine Crabill. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling won't be there either. Attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli II also will not appear with Crabill. In fact, the Republican Party of Virginia has formally decided it will be giving Crabill no support for her campaign against Del. Albert Pollard, and chairman Pat Mullins has sent word to Crabill that he would prefer that she step aside and not run for the seat. Crabill, who is the Republican nominee running in Virginia's Northern Neck, has said the federal government might have played a role in the Oklahoma City bombing. She was caught on video recently advocating "resorting to the bullet box" if her supporters do not win at the "ballot box." Top campaign aides for McDonnell opponent Creigh Deeds were asked during a press call today about a report,...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 14, 2009; 4:00 PM ET | Comments (4)

Deeds Calls Relative of Virginia Tech Victim

Creigh Deeds is reaching out to families of the Virginia Tech shooting, some of whom actively opposed him in his three-way Democrat primary against Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe, because of his stance on guns. This morning, he called Omar Samaha, whose sister, Reema, was killed in the April 2007 shootings. "Creigh and Omar spoke this morning and had a good, friendly conversation,'' said Mo Elleithee, Deeds spokesman. "As with all the families of the Virginia Tech tragedy, Creigh intends to have an open door and continued dialogue with him." Samaha and Colin Goddard, a victim who survived the shooting (and was in the room when shooter Seung Hui Cho killed himself), issued an open letter opposing Deeds hours before the polls opened in June. Deeds has voted repeatedly against closing a loophole that allows some private vendors at gun shows to make sales without background checks -- a change...

By Anita Kumar | August 14, 2009; 3:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

On The Record

Last week, we introduced you to On The Record , a new regular feature here on the Virginia Politics blog -- a funny, outrageous or otherwise memorable quote from someone in the state's political world. Have a quote you want to share? Email me at kumaranita@washpost.com. Now onto our second installment: Today's quote: "All they've got to do is look at the birth certificate in Hawaii. To me that is convincing evidence...This is a distraction from discussion of real issues that do matter. I'm convinced he was born in United States, that he was duly elected president and he's proposing some really bad ideas for our country," George Allen said in an interview with my colleague Sandhya Somashekhar. Allen, the former Republican senator and governor, was responding to a question about the so-called "birther movement" -- comprised of those who do not believe Barack Obama is a natural born citizen,...

By Anita Kumar | August 14, 2009; 2:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

McDonnell Snags Farm Endorsement

In the end, it didn't matter that Creigh Deeds had performed surgery on farm animals. The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation's PAC endorsed Bob McDonnell today over Deeds in the governor's race. Both candidates spoke a couple of weeks ago in front of the state's farmers at a candidates forum. Deeds grew up on a farm (and performed surgery on animals), but the group selected McDonnell because of his record on property rights as a legislator and attorney general. "Protecting the rights of property owners has been and continues to be a priority issue for the Virginia Farm Bureau," said Wayne F. Pryor, VFBF president and chairman of the Virginia AgPAC board of trustees. The decision wasn't a total surprise. The group endorsed McDonnell over Deeds in the attorney general's race in 2005. The group did not split its ticket. It also endorsed Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli for...

By Anita Kumar | August 14, 2009; 12:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Kitchen Table: Interview With Pew's Scott Keeter

For this week's installment of "The Kitchen Table," a regular feature about Virginia voters, we asked Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center in Washington and one of the nation's prominent thinkers on the subject of voter behavior, some questions about what makes voters tick. Keeter has authored and co-authored several books and papers, including "What Americans Know About Politics and Why It Matters," and "A New Engagement? Political Participation, Civic Life, and the Changing American Citizen." A Virginia resident, he has been a political science professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University. The Post: Why do some people vote and others don't? Keeter: Even though most people realize that their individual vote will probably not be the deciding factor in an election, most people realize that collectively their votes matter in determining the outcome. Still, many people don't vote, especially in off-year elections...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | August 14, 2009; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Virginia

Aug. 14, 2009 Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today. Republican Bob McDonnell heads home to Northern Virginia, where he will speak at the Republican National Hispanic Assembly's convention in Tysons Corner. Tomorrow the McDonnell RV takes a tour of Luray Caverns where he will roll out a policy proposal on -- what else? -- tourism. He spent yesterday on the Eastern Shore talking about outer space. He toured the spaceport on Wallops Island and announced plans to make it the "top commercial spaceport in the country." Meanwhile back in Richmond, his campaign announced a newly-redesigned Web site. Democrat Creigh Deeds will travel to Newport News today for a community day hosted by a mental health agency. Then he's off to Courtland for the Franklin-Southampton County Fair. Funnel cake, anyone? He announced the creation of Nurses for Deeds yesterday in Portsmouth along with fellow state...

By Anita Kumar | August 14, 2009; 8:19 AM ET | Comments (2)

Shake-up or Not, Deeds Campaign is Changing

University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato is standing by his story, circulated yesterday, that Deeds Campaign Manager Joe Abbey will retain his formal title but is no longer steering the ship in Deeds Country. And the Deeds campaign is sticking to their statements from yesterday on this topic, when they said Abbey remains in charge. Monica Dixon, cited by Sabato as the campaign's new real power, said unequivocally that she works for Abbey. The campaign's response could be all spin to protect Abbey and deflect story lines that suggest they think things are going so badly they need a major overhaul. But this much seems clear:...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 13, 2009; 3:48 PM ET | Comments (1)

Does Deeds Play Follow the Leader?

Both candidates for governor found themselves talking about kind of an obscure Virginia topic this week -- the spaceport on tiny Wallops Island. Coincidence? Bob McDonnell's campaign doesn't think so. They say when McDonnell plans to visit a certain part of the state to talk up a certain issue, Creigh Deeds ends up there too. Virginia is only so big, so both candidates are likely to end up in the same places, talking about the same issues some of the time. But McDonnell and the Republicans have been working hard to try to convince people that Deeds is following his lead. As part of the "Me too! campaign," the state GOP has tweaked Deeds for following McDonnell on several issues -- agency audits, charter schools and ABC privatization, just to name a few. "Creigh Deeds is playing a grown up version of follow the leader,'' McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said....

By Anita Kumar | August 13, 2009; 3:20 PM ET | Comments (4)

Virginia Notebook: Where Is McDonnell From?

In campaign literature mailed recently to Northern Virginia residents, Robert F. McDonnell touts himself as a "governor that Fairfax County families can be proud to call their own." In another mailer sent to Hampton Roads residents, he touts himself as "a governor Virginia Beach can be proud to call our own." But McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, doesn't live in Fairfax or Virginia Beach. He lives in Henrico County, just outside Richmond. McDonnell grew up in Fairfax, represented Virginia Beach in the General Assembly for 14 years and then moved to Henrico when he was elected attorney general in 2005. He has been campaigning aggressively in Virginia's suburban core, hoping his strong ties to the state's three most populous areas, and support from traditionally conservative rural areas, will give him enough votes to carry the state in November. "I'm really the candidate who has really lived his whole life...

By Anita Kumar | August 13, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (17)

Issues That Matter to You

This Sunday, we begin a print feature called "Issues That Matter to You," in which we single out an issue of interest in this year's governor's race and do a short write-up on the positions of our esteemed candidates for governor. Since that last word is "you," we'd like your thoughts on some subjects you want the candidates to chime in on. They can be as broad or as narrow as you'd like. Please leave your ideas in the comments area or e-mail me at sandhya@washpost.com....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | August 13, 2009; 10:19 AM ET | Comments (2)

House Call: As Albo Goes, So Goes Virginia

Hello politicos, and welcome to our second installment of House Call! This week we're going to drill down into the Fightin' 42nd District in southeastern Fairfax County, because you know what they say: As Albo goes, so goes the commonwealth. Actually, as far as I know, I'm the only one who said that. But I think it's a reasonable way to describe what should be the Democrats' easiest pick-up of the year. If Republican incumbent Dave Albo hangs on again this year in one of the state's two most Democratic-performing districts currently held by Republicans (the other is Tom Rust's 86th District in Herndon and Loudoun County), then Democrats have little hope of winning the six seats they need to take back the House of Delegates. It's really hard to say what will happen. Albo, when he has a challenger, is always deemed vulnerable. And yet he has always scraped...

By Amy Gardner | August 13, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

First Click -- Virginia

Aug. 13, 2009 Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today. Democrat Creigh Deeds will continue his week-long push on abortion, access to birth control and other women's health issues at a news conference in Portsmouth. Later, he will tour a shellfish hatchery in Willis Wharf and then hitch a ride on a boat to help workers load clam seed. Expect Republicans to continue to gleefully talk up Deeds comments yesterday during an online chat with the Richmond Times-Dispatch about raising taxes. It already has been a long week for Deeds. Criticism (largely conservative, of course) of his abortion strategy and a Confederate flag flap quickly have been replaced by talk of a shake-up at his campaign. Republican Bob McDonnell will spend the day on Wallops and Tangier islands off Virginia's Eastern Shore. (He'll temporarily ditch his RV for a helicopter). He'll tour the spaceport and...

By Anita Kumar | August 13, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

'Yes, I Will Sign that Bill'

That's what Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds told our friend Jim Nolan of the Richmond Times-Dispatch during an online chat today when asked if, as governor, he would sign a bill that raised money for transportation if it included a tax increase. As he has been saying since before the June 9 primary, Deeds told Nolan that improving Virginia's road network is the key to economic development and promised to bring lawmakers to Richmond for a special session in his first year in office to forge consensus about how to raise new money for roads. And, yes, he agreed that if a consensus, bipartisan bill passed with a tax increase, he'd support it. Here was the full exchange: What I will do and what I'll commit to do right now is work with whomever is in the General Assembly after January. Because we've got to get past the obstructionist viewpoints...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 12, 2009; 5:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds Campaign: Abbey Still on Top

The Deeds gubernatorial campaign is shooting down a report by University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato that campaign manager Joe Abbey is keeping his title but is being supplanted by Monica Dixon, who headed Mark Warner's political action committee and has been serving as a senior advisor to the campaign since around the time of the primary. "Joe Abbey is the campaign manager, and I work for him," Dixon said this afternoon. A staff shake up might indicate the campaign is nervous about the direction of the race and looking for change. But communications director Mike Gehrke said the only change at the campaign in recent days has been the addition of Mo Elleithee, a Virginia veteran, as an advisor. The campaign announced that change Monday. "Joe is in charge. He's the fearless leader. When he walks by, we salute," Gehrke said....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 12, 2009; 4:06 PM ET | Comments (1)

McDonnell Donates $300k to State GOP

Republican Bob McDonnell has donated $300,000 to the state GOP in recent months as the beleagured party struggles to reverse its recent problems with fundraising and leadership. The Republican gubernatorial nominee gave the party $50,000 in May and another $250,000 in July, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks campaign donations in Virginia. McDonnell is the party's largest donor in at least two years. McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the campaign made the donation to help pay for the party's "victory" program, which is designed to help the entire ticket including the candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and House of Delegates. The program includes get-out-the-vote efforts, canvassing, regional offices and signs. "We have supported RPV's grassroots efforts because they are critical to our success statewide," Martin said.....

By Anita Kumar | August 12, 2009; 2:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Both Campaigns Address Confederate Flag

The Confederate flag may be the third rail of Virginia politics. Plenty of people are offended by it and think any candidate who fails to refute it entirely embraces Virginia's racist past. Plenty of people believe it's a symbol of their heritage and would disown any candidate who said otherwise. The vociferousness of Bob McDonnell's campaign's reaction to the suggestion that his staffers flew the flag at their booth at a sportsman's show (Not our flag! We're appalled at the suggestion!) got us wondering: Does that mean McDonnell believes there's something wrong with the flag and believes it should not be flown? Likewise, the tweet from Deeds' campaign manager Joe Abbey directing people to the photo had us wondering the same about Deeds, especially given that he told the House of Delegates in 1999 that he had a picture of the flag on his wall as a child. We asked...

By Washington Post Editors | August 12, 2009; 10:56 AM ET | Comments (23)

First Click -- Virginia

Aug. 12, 2009 Good morning. Here's what's happening in politics across the commonwealth today. Republican Bob McDonnell will be in Newport News to roll out initiatives on public safety with GOP attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli. Watch for the Democratic trackers to be out in force for that one, since many Dems are convinced just standing next to the conservative Fairfax senator undermines McDonnell's efforts to run as a moderate. But McDonnell will use the same event to show he's focused on public policy, while Democrat Creigh Deeds is talking about... ...abortion. Which Deeds will apparently discuss during a 12:45 p.m. online appearance at the Richmond Times Dispatch. Both sides are saying this debate is all about priorities. Deeds says he wants to talk about it because it shows where McDonnell has been in all his years in public office. But Republicans are arguing the campaign push shows it is...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 12, 2009; 7:13 AM ET | Comments (1)

McDonnell: Not Our Flag -- With Update from Show Manager

In a posting on Twitter, the campaign manager for Democrat Creigh Deeds is encouraging people to look at a photograph posted on the left-leaning blog Not Larry Sabato that claims to show that Republican Bob McDonnell's campaign displayed a confederate flag in its booth at a sportsman show. But McDonnell's campaign says the flag was not theirs. "The flag was not in our booth,'' McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said. "However, there still is an actual story here. The fact that Creigh Deeds' campaign is actively pushing this falsehood demonstrates their desperation is greater than anyone expected. And it also will cost them a lot of credibility right as the campaign enters the home stretch. Not a good day for them." "To misrepresent a photo for political gain is the worst kind of politics,'' Martin said. Martin said the flag belonged to an adjacent booth, which was selling confederate flags and...

By Anita Kumar | August 11, 2009; 2:18 PM ET | Comments (4)

Dems Attack McDonnell on Rural Va., Day 2

As Republican Bob McDonnell travels from South Boston to Virginia Beach on Route 58 today in his RV, Democrats are attacking him for repeatedly neglecting that same corridor as a member of the House of Delegates. The state Democratic party accuses McDonnell of repeatedly voting against proposals that would boost economic development along Route 58. "While 2009 is full of rhetoric, McDonnell's record shows he opposed progress on Route 58, a key to bringing greater economic development to various areas across Virginia," the party stated in a release. Here are some the votes Democrats cite: In 1999, he voted against $659 million in bonds to help Route 59 and Northern Virginia. In 2002, he voted to cut $10 million from the Route 58 Corridor Development Fund. Three times, in 2002 and 2004, he voted to trim $16 million from the governors opportunity fund, which is designed to lure businesses to...

By Anita Kumar | August 11, 2009; 2:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds: Obama's Paying Attention to Virginia

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, who got to spend a little time with President Obama at a campaign rally last week (video), said the president's comments to him privately showed the leader of the free world had been reading up on the Virginia race -- or at least getting good staff briefings about it. "He's paying more attention to this race than I would think," Deeds said Monday. "He is familiar with the details of the campaign, what's going on. He's familiar with the details of my biography. So he's paying a little attention." Deeds was full of praise for the president, who revved up a ballroom of about 1,500 Deeds supporters last week. "He's a really smart guy. Very thoughtful," Deeds said. "He asked a lot of questions. But mostly there was just banter about our families."...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 11, 2009; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Virginia

Aug. 11, 2009 Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today. Republican Bob McDonnell unveiled a plan yesterday in Southside to bring new jobs to rural Virginia. But Democrats quickly criticized him for what they call his new interest in the economically-distressed area, and said it comes after years of neglect as a legislator. You can always count on House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong for a good quote -- or two. Today McDonnell heads to various events along Route 58 from South Boston to Virginia Beach (look for the blue McDonnell RV on the road), including visits to local newspapers in South Boston, Lawrenceville, Emporia, Franklin and Suffolk. Tonight he will stop by the Republican campaign offices in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. Democrat Creigh Deeds began a week-long attack on McDonnell on abortion (video, pdf). Some newspapers criticized Deeds for talking about abortion instead of the...

By Anita Kumar | August 11, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

McDonnell Unveils Plan; Dems Criticize Him

Republican Bob McDonnell unveiled a proposal today in Henry County (unemployment rate 15.4 percent) that he said would bring new jobs to rural Virginia. The plan calls for designating a deputy secretary to focus solely on rural economic development, forming a rural Virginia taskforce and providing a $1,000 tax credit per job to businesses that create 50 jobs or 25 jobs in economically distressed areas, among other things. Read the full plan here. "From manufacturing to dairy farms, I know that rural Virginia will be a key part of the economic resurgence that we will create in the Commonwealth,'' McDonnell said. It didn't take long for the Democrats to criticize McDonnell....

By Anita Kumar | August 10, 2009; 3:15 PM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds Campaigns with Women in NoVa

Democrat Creigh Deeds kicked off his Women for Deeds tour this morning at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, surrounded by more than 80 activists, most of them women. He insisted his week long push to highlight opponent Bob McDonnell's record on pushing for abortion isn't just about the divisive social issue. Instead, he said the discussion is one of priorities. "My opponent's rhetoric can be confusing. One day, he says his campaign is about jobs, jobs, jobs. The next, he says elections are litmus tests on abortion. But throughout his career, his record and his priorities have been clear," Deeds said. "He's focused on a narrow ideological agenda rather than one that would move Virginia forward." Among the notables in the crowd, Lynda Robb, wife of former U.S. Senator Chuck Robb, Democratic state Sens. Toddy Puller and Mary Margaret Whipple, as well as delegates Kristen J. Amundson, Charniele Herring,...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 10, 2009; 2:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

First Click - Virginia

Aug. 10, 2009 Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today. It's Monday, the start of what promises to be a busy week on the campaign trail. Democrat Creigh Deeds wrapped up his tour of the state's rural areas with a rare visit to his home county of Bath where he announced several proposals to improve government accountability. Deeds is expected to roll out three other policy proposals this week. Today, he will talk about abortion in Northern Virginia as he tries to portray Republican Bob McDonnell as out of the mainstream. The effort is deemed desperate by some, mostly Republicans of course, and has led to a lot of chatter on conservative blogs. But Deeds hopes to energize his lackluster base, and the initial response shows it may be working. McDonnell got a moment in the national spotlight when he delivered the response to President...

By Anita Kumar | August 10, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Tracking the Tracker

Republican tracker Paul Logan, who's been following Creigh Deeds through Deeds Country this week for the state GOP, has spent so much time with the Deeds folks that they've grown kinda fond of him. Here's Logan with Deeds' wife Pam in Martinsville Saturday morning. "We'll win him over yet," Pam Deeds said as she gave Logan a warm hug. Check out this video if you're really fascinated with Logan, who was on hand for Deeds' rally with President Obama last week. He comes on about 15 seconds in. \...

By Amy Gardner | August 9, 2009; 9:31 AM ET | Comments (4)

McDonnell's National Address

Republican Bob McDonnell's address to the nation this morning sounded a lot like other speeches he has given on the campaign trail -- with an emphasis on jobs, the economy and the federal cap-and-trade bill. "As I travel throughout Virginia, I listen to our people who are concerned about the jobs they have, worried about finding the jobs they need, and concerned about what jobs will be available for their kids in the years ahead,'' he said. "As a father of five, I share those same concerns; that's why our main goal is to bring Virginians together to create jobs and more opportunities all across our state." McDonnell also mentioned education (even praising President Obama on the issue), healthcare (opposing the Democrats plans on Capitol Hill), offshore oil drilling and, of course, this being Virginia, transportation. U.S. House GOP leader John Boehner tapped McDonnell to deliver what is commonly...

By Anita Kumar | August 8, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

McDonnell Hits the Road

Bob McDonnell will starting traveling the state in an RV tomorrow as part of his month-long "New Jobs, More Opportunities" tour. The tour kicks off at the Patrick County Peach Festival in Stuart and ends on Labor Day at the Buena Vista Labor Day Parade. In the first week, McDonnell plans to travel more than 1,500 miles and unveil four policy proposals. His wife, Maureen, will accompany him for about half the tour. "There isn't one region of Virginia we won't visit; there isn't one single vote we will write off,'' he said....

By Anita Kumar | August 7, 2009; 5:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

Dems Attack McDonnell on Sotomayor

Virginia Democrats tried to use yesterday's historic confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to bash Bob McDonnell today on his lack of support for the new Supreme Court justice. McDonnell never said he was opposed to Sotomayor, but he never said he supported her either. In a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Emma Violand-Sanchez, an Arlington School Board Member and yes, a Democrat, said she was disappointed McDonnell did not take a position. Carlos del Toro, a business leader and yes, a Creigh Deeds supporter, said McDonnell is being hypocritical on issues important to the Latino community. "Bob McDonnell had an opportunity to come out of the partisan fray," he said....

By Anita Kumar | August 7, 2009; 3:13 PM ET | Comments (5)

The Kitchen Table

Welcome to a new weekly feature on the Virginia politics blog called "The Kitchen Table," which we hope will bring you interesting and illuminating glimpses into the lives of those regular folks who probably don't read this blog but dutifully embrace their democratic responsibilities when called upon to do so. We're talking about voters. Our first installment takes us to the McLean Hilton, where President Obama made his first public appearance with Creigh Deeds (D) yesterday in support of the latter's run for governor. Earlier this week we told you about how some people's anxiety over Obama's domestic agenda could influence their vote for governor this fall, to Republican Bob McDonnell's advantage. But the 1,500 who showed up for yesterday's rally proved that Obama's blessing was still a major plus for a lot of voters. Some, like Bonnae Powers, 43, a human resources director from Fairfax, were drawn by a...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | August 7, 2009; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

Organizing for America and for Deeds?

President Obama may have told supporters in Tysons Corner Thursday to get "fired up" for Creigh Deeds, but it's still a little uncertain how much support Deeds will get from Organizing for America, Obama's grassroots operation. Negotiations are under way between campaign officials and OFA about whether the national group can send more hands over to Deeds Country, several Virginia Democratic sources said this week. Several Obama volunteers said OFA's got them working exclusively on promoting health care reform to work for Deeds. Although Thursday was a good day for Deeds, who joined President Obama at a rally and fundraiser in Tysons Corner, Deeds wants more -- he needs the shoe-leather of those volunteers who manned phones and walked neighborhoods last year on behalf of Obama. Obama urged those supporters to action -- and prompted thunderous cheers -- in a fiery speech at the McLean Hilton. But will his organization...

By Amy Gardner | August 7, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

First Click - Virginia

Aug. 7, 2009 Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today. Lots of news coming out of Virginia. President Obama was here yesterday after all. Obama tried to provide a boost to Creigh Deeds campaign, appearing before 1,500 cheering, sign-waving supporters at the McLean Hilton Tysons Corner. Obama talked up the Democratic nominee for governor, but used the opportunity to defend his own record too. While Deeds was with Obama, Republican rival Bob McDonnell attended former Congresswoman Thelma Drake's annual party on the pier in Norfolk. Deeds was endorsed by the Teamsters yesterday --- though he didn't tell anyone. Expect McDonnell and the Republicans to be more than willing to do it for him as they continued to attack him for being tied to big labor (and therefore anti-business)....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 7, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

President Tells His Backers To Get 'Fired Up' for Deeds

The first Democratic president to win Virginia in more than four decades encouraged his supporters Thursday night to return to the polls in November and elect Democrat R. Creigh Deeds governor. President Obama met first with about 200 of Deeds's top donors and then rallied with about 1,500 cheering, sign-waving Deeds supporters in a ballroom at the McLean Hilton Tysons Corner. Obama said Sen. Mark Warner and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, both Democrats, had created a tradition of pragmatic, bipartisan leadership that helped the state weather the economic recession better than others. "That's not just a stroke of good luck here in the state of Virginia," the president told the crowd. "It's because you stood up and chose that kind of politics. . . . Now you've got the chance to keep moving forward with someone who's cut from the same cloth, somebody who has that same vision for the...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | August 7, 2009; 1:18 AM ET | Comments (1)

Pool Report for Deeds Fundraiser

We were the pooler for the Virginia press corps at the fundraiser with President Obama held just before tonight's rally. Here's the pool report we filed. More coverage of the full event will be posted at www.washingtonpost.com shortly. About 200 top donors crowded an atrium at the Hilton Hotel in McLean, Va., just off the main ballroom, for a closed fundraiser preceding the main event in the room next door. There was a bar along the right-hand wall and a podium at the front of the room backed by a velvet blue curtain. From the pool hold, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine could be heard introducing state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds. "As governor and lieutenant governor, I had a chance to work with everyone in state government," he said. "I got to know Creigh very very well. In tough times, you've got to show you have a backbone, you've got a...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 6, 2009; 9:19 PM ET | Comments (1)

Obama Backers and One Small Protest

A bit of the excitement from the fall Obama rallies pervaded the Hilton ballroom tonight as hundreds hundreds waited for the 6 p.m. program to begin (it was running a little late). Outside vendors peddled Obama merchandise, with a few Michael Jackson pins slipped in for good measure. Inside the jam-packed ballroom, some sipped wine or cocktails while others watched for every twitch of the blue curtain, hoping that one of the evening's political stars would emerge. "I told everybody at work I was going to see the president," said Ally Taylor, 48, a telecom company controller from Manassas. She and her husband, Rob Taylor, 42, sat in chairs away from the crowd and spoke of their hope that Obama's presence would boost Deeds's name recognition. "I think his biggest obstacle is going to be to get people to know who he is and not make it a referendum on...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | August 6, 2009; 6:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine's Timing

Gov. Tim Kaine had three years and seven months to announce his decision to pardon the former sailors convicted of raping and killing a woman in 1997 in the infamous Norfolk 4 case. But Kaine, the outgoing governor and DNC chairman, waited until today--when President Obama is in Virginia to campaign with Creigh Deeds. Strange timing? Campaign staffers, political insiders and reporters were certainly scratching their heads about Kaine's motives. No one really thought he was trying to take the spotlight away from Deeds and Obama, but it kind of worked out that way....

By Anita Kumar | August 6, 2009; 5:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Ballroom Filling for Deeds Rally

So it's not exactly the Comcast Center on the eve of the Potomac Primary last February, when 20,000 people showed up in the bitter cold to hear then candidate Barack Obama. But there's pretty serious energy going in the ballroom of the McLean Hilton, which is rapidly filling as we're about to hit the one-hour mark before the start of tonight's pre-rally. (We're two hours out from tonight's main event, featuring President Obama and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.) (Editor's Note: Streaming video of the rally will not be available after all. Our apologies.) The stage is set rally style, backed by an enormous American flag. A cash bar sits oh-so-close, yet oh-so-far from the roped off media section. Soft cocktail party music is playing. The roads on the way in were lined with Deeds/Wagner/Shannon signs, and the parking lot was full of cars with Obama stickers. There's no sign...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 6, 2009; 4:49 PM ET | Comments (14)

McDonnell 51, Deeds 43

As we've explained before we don't trust all the polls that come out during the governor's race, but here's one that we can tell you about. A DailyKos/Research 2000 poll on the governor's race shows that Republican Bob McDonnell leads Democrat Creigh Deeds among likely voters, 51 percent to 43 percent. Back in mid-June, McDonnell had 45 percent and Deeds 44 percent. Check out the favorable numbers: McDonnell at 57 percent, Deeds at 46 percent. The left-leaning Daily Kos tells us that undecided voters gradually have gotten behind McDonnell with gains coming primarily from independents and a handful of Democrats....

By Anita Kumar | August 6, 2009; 4:17 PM ET | Comments (2)

Kaine's Full Statement on 'Norfolk 4' Case

* Kaine Grants Conditional Pardons in 'Norfolk 4' Case * Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Thursday afternoon granted conditional pardons to three members of the "Norfolk 4," clearing the way for the former sailors to be released from prison, where they were serving life sentences for the 1997 rape and murder of a woman in Norfolk. Read the governor's full statement after the jump...

By Mike McPhate | August 6, 2009; 2:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds Takes Page from Obama; Stay Tuned for Rally Coverage

Creigh Deeds looks to be trying to use tonight's rally with President Obama to inject a little oomph into his campaign for governor. He just announced a new "Join Deeds" effort to build grassroots support, complete with a revamped Web site (now featuring an enormous photo of Obama), a text messaging push (today's message welcomes Obama and tells recipients -- you guessed it -- "yes we can") and two new radio ads recorded by Gov. Tim Kaine. One ad appears aimed at Latino voters -- it's in Spanish, after all. The other talks about education and African-American unemployment rates. Stay tuned to The Washington Post for full coverage of tonight's rally, including streaming video....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 6, 2009; 1:26 PM ET | Comments (2)

Democrats Targets Wolf on Health Care

The health care debate is hitting the road. Expect to hear plenty about it during Congress's monthlong August recess. Here in Virginia, national Democrats have started making calls -- both automated and live -- in Rep. Frank Wolf's Northern Virginia district to push him to to support President Obama's health care plan. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting 25 Republicans as part of a program called "Health Care ER" that includes radio ads, phone calls, mass e-mails, letters to the editor, online petitions and teleconference town halls. "Time and again, Republicans including Rep. Wolf protect a broken system of skyrocketing costs, insurance companies making health care decisions, and record-setting insurance company profits instead of working with President Obama to bring real health insurance reform for middle class families," said Jon Vogel, executive director. Wolf spokesman Dan Scandling called the attack "standard operating procedure," and said his office is receiving...

By Anita Kumar | August 6, 2009; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (3)

First Click-Virginia

Aug. 6, 2009 Good morning. Here's what's doing in politics across the Commonwealth today. It's Obama day. Or rather the day of Obama evening. The president will appear at a rally with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds at the McLean Hilton this evening at 7 p.m. Just before, he'll address a smaller crowd at a closed fundraiser. For all the fretting lately about Obama's dropping approval numbers, the man did get 1.7 million votes in Virginia just eight months ago. This won't be his last trip to Virginia before November. (Did we say 1.7 million? Apologies. That should be *1.96* million votes.) Republican Bob McDonnell will get a national stage on which to respond Saturday, as he delivers the response to Obama's weekly radio/youtube video address. As the candidates make forays onto the national stage, some inconsistencies on both sides about how federal issues should play in the race. Deeds...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 6, 2009; 7:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell to Deliver National Address

Here's just one more sign that the national spotlight is on Virginia's gubernatorial race. Bob McDonnell has been tapped by U.S. House GOP leader John Boehner to deliver the weekly Republican address this Saturday. His comments, which will air on national TV and radio, will focus on opportunities to create jobs in Virginia and in the United States....

By Anita Kumar | August 5, 2009; 4:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Macker Returns

Terry McAuliffe has made his first entry into the gubernatorial race since embracing Creigh Deeds after losing to him in the June 9 primary. In an email to supporters today, McAuliffe encourages people to sign a Deeds petition calling on Republican Bob McDonnell to apologize for Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins' remark that some college students in Wise County "preferred welfare to work." "It's clear that Bob McDonnell has totally lost touch with what Virginians are going through, and we need to put the pressure on him," McAuliffe wrote....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 5, 2009; 4:23 PM ET | Comments (1)

Beyer's Going-Away Party

Tonight, a who's who of Virginia politics will attend a lavish party in honor of the soon-to-be ambassador to Switzerland, Don Beyer. The garden party will take place at the Old Town Alexandria home of David Abshire, a former ambassador himself (to NATO). Hope it doesn't rain. Two hundred people is a lot to have in your house. Unless maybe you are Abshire and have an undoubtedly large house that was featured in the 2000 Kevin Bacon movie Hollow Man. Hosts include Sen. Mark Warner, former senator John Warner and former governor Chuck Robb and their wives. Guest include Susan Eisenhower (yes, that Eisenhower -- granddaughter of the former president), Rep. Jim Moran, William Webster, former director of the FBI and CIA and Mack McLarty, former chief of staff to Bill Clinton. There will also be a few ambassadors in attendance: the ambassador to Liechtenstein, former ambassador to the European...

By Anita Kumar | August 5, 2009; 4:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

House Call!

Hello everyone! And welcome to House Call, the Virginia Politics blog's new weekly feature that will focus on, yep, you guessed it -- the House of Delegates! Call me a geek, but there are few subjects I'd rather blog than the murky depths of this year's down-ballot races. Where else is a senior appropriator in the political fight of his life (and under investigation) for budgeting state money to his future employer? And where else is the seat of the former chairman of the state GOP one of the Democrats' top targets? And where else did a challenger from the Northern Neck urge supporters to take to the bullet box if the ballot box didn't work out? Forget about the fireworks, though. There's a lot of serious business at stake in the House of Delegates, the lower house of the General Assembly where all 100 seats are up for election...

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

Virginia Notebook: Tour Shows Deeds is a Little Bit Country

One thing about "Deeds Country," as the swath of rural Virginia extending through the Shenandoah Valley and down into southwest where state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds has been touring this week has been dubbed by his campaign: It apparently isn't Obama Country. Outside stops in the more urban settings of Charlottesville, Danville and Blacksburg, many of the 20 visits Deeds is making on a nine-day campaign swing that begun Sunday are in places where President Barack Obama was beaten handily by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Appomattox, Hillsville, Tazewell, Floyd. All are areas where Obama did not break 35 percent of the vote....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 5, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (5)

Daily Virginia Roundup

Aug 5, 2009 Good morning. Here's what's doing in politics across the Commonwealth today. The Creigh Deeds team prepares for their big rally with President Obama tomorrow. This as polls show Obama's popularity slipping and some independents in Virginia start to get impatient at the pace of Obama change. All ears will be on the speeches Thursday to see whether Obama plays ball on the Deeds "all Virginia" strategy. Deeds gets to write his own speech. Not so much the president's. Remember those tv ads slamming the Virginia GOP for rejecting unemployment insurance dollars from the stimulus package? Deeds does too. It seemed to be an economic winner for Dems. Deeds says the General Assembly should take up the issue next year. Republican Bob McDonnell is pushing again for more debates, this time seven. Deeds communications director Mike Gehrke says, nah, we're good. (Actually: "As far we're concerned, we've got...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 5, 2009; 7:11 AM ET | Comments (4)

McDonnell: I Am Not a Birther

Okay, he didn't say that exactly. In fact, one might fairly surmise that Republican Bob McDonnell wanted to change the subject pretty darn quickly. But during an online video chat with The Richmond Times-Dispatch, McDonnell had this exchange with reporter Tyler Whitley. Whitley: Do you believe that President Obama was born in the United States? McDonnell: President Obama is a citizen; he is the president of the United States. That's all, folks. Perhaps this issue goes away, perhaps it doesn't. There is much Democratic buzz right now about polls (of varying reputation) showing how many Republicans don't believe Obama was born in the United States. But McDonnell's quick dismissal of the issue, which he has called a "distraction," could suffice. Disclosure: The Times-Dispatch's "Ask the Candidate" chat relied on questions from viewers, including this e-mailed submission from me. For those wanting to listen to the audio directly, here it is....

By Amy Gardner | August 4, 2009; 5:44 PM ET | Comments (5)

Kaine Defends Decision on Va Tech

This morning, Gov. Tim Kaine defended his decision not to reconvene a special panel on the Virginia Tech massacre, as had been requested by more than 60 family members and survivors last week. "There are some who want it re-opened and there are some who definitely don't want it re-opened,'' Kaine told reporters at a news conference. "This is a very, very painful and sensitive subject. The family members are not alike. It would be wrong to expect everyone to grieve the same way." Kaine declined to say how many families have asked him to not recovene the special panel. He said he will accept any factual corrections families wish to make to the report until Aug. 19. At that point, TriData, the independent public safety consulting firm that helped the panel write the original report in 2007, will review proposed corrections and submit a report to the governor. Kaine...

By Anita Kumar | August 4, 2009; 3:44 PM ET | Comments (2)

Cuccinelli Puts His Money Where His Ear Is

Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for attorney general, sure does like his property rights. He's even willing to give up his cell phone to make the point. Cuccinelli switched cell phone companies this week after learning that Verizon, his previous carrier, was supporting Democratic opponent Steve Shannon. Verizon and Cuccinelli have a history of disagreeing over how much power the company should have to lay cable across private property. "They have always been strongly outspoken because of my position," Cuccinelli said. "They have to be respectful to everybody else in the process and that includes the property owner whose land they want to cross, and that's an inconvenience for them." "People don't support me, I'm not going to support them." Cuccinelli was speaking, incidentally, on his new Sprint telephone....

By Amy Gardner | August 4, 2009; 2:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Daily Virginia Roundup

Aug. 4, 2009 Good morning. Here's what's doing in politics across the Commonwealth today. Federal prosecutors in Virginia are quietly but vigorously lobbying for the chance to try big name terror suspects in Alexandria. Bob McDonnell says no thanks. No word yet from Gov. Tim Kaine, who has previously said he has faith in President Obama's handling of the issue or from Creigh Deeds, who has in the past called Gitmo prisoners in Virginia a "bad idea." That's one to watch. Deeds, conveniently still on his tour of rural "Deeds Country," says McDonnell "doesn't get" rural Virginia because of a comment by McDonnell's party chairman Pat Mullins that some college students in Wise preferred welfare to work. Also because he supports Bush economic policies. The GOP says Deeds doesn't get rural Virginia because he supports Obama economic policy. Give this to the folks at Public Policy Poll. They do a...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 4, 2009; 7:15 AM ET | Comments (7)

Text of E-Mail to Va. Tech Families

* Kaine Rejects Request to Reconvene Va. Tech Panel * Dear Families, I am writing in response to your public statement requesting a reconvene of the Virginia Tech Review Panel chaired by Gerald Massengill. The Governor greatly appreciates the concerns you have raised and agrees it is of critical importance that there be as complete and accurate an accounting of the events on April 16, 2007 as is possible. As you know, we committed to you last fall that we would take a look at any suggestions you--and others--have regarding corrections or revisions to the report issued by the Review Panel. We have a process in place to review these suggestions and have asked that submissions be made by August 19. We are engaging TriData, the independent professional staff that worked with the Panel on the original report, to review the suggested changes to the factual narrative and provide a...

By Mike McPhate | August 3, 2009; 3:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds, Cranwell: Mullins Comment Just Like Bush

The great thing about party chairmen is they can say all the hard edged partisan things that rev up the base but probably shouldn't come out of the mouth of a political candidate running as a pragmatic moderate. The difficult thing about party chairmen is they say all the hard edged partisan things that probably shouldn't be said anywhere in the vicinity of a political candidate trying to run as a pragmatic moderate. Democratic Sen. R. Creigh Deeds and Democratic state party chairman Richard Cranwell held a conference call this morning to blast a comment made recently by Cranwell's counterpart, Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins. At a recent speech in Monterey, Mullins told a story about insurance office forced to close in Wise, not because of the economy but because they couldn't recruit needed employees, even at a local college. "They preferred to be on welfare," Mullins said....

By Rosalind Helderman | August 3, 2009; 1:40 PM ET | Comments (3)

On the Record

Today we introduce the first installment of what will be a regular feature here on the Virginia Politics blog -- a funny, outrageous or otherwise memorable quote from someone in the state's political world. Campaign season is in full swing so you can expect many of the quotes to come from the candidates or their staffers. Unless Joe Biden comes to Virginia, then you can expect many of the quotes to come from him! Have a quote you want to share? Email me. Now onto today's quote: Today's quote: "Growing up in southwest Virginia taught me many important values, like the importance of hard work, loyalty, and the power of education," Creigh Deeds wrote in the first line of his email to supporters Sunday. Nice line. The only problem is Deeds didn't grow up in southwest Virginia. He grew up in Bath County, which is the western part of the...

By Anita Kumar | August 3, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Daily Virginia Roundup

Aug. 3, 2009 Good morning, Virginia. Here's what's doing in politics across the Commonwealth today. It's a big week for the Creigh Deeds campaign. Thursday will find Deeds trying to jazz supporters at the side of the popular President of the United States in McLean. He's hoping that will put to an end discussions like this one suggesting he wants Obama's donors and excitement, but not his policies.But what will they talk about? We're betting not health care, if Deeds had his druthers. Maybe George Bush instead? Before and after the NoVa Obama rally, Deeds travels through newly dubbed Deeds Country, southwest and western Virginia, kicked off yesterday in Charlottesville. Mark Warner won the state in part by making a credible play in such communities, long lost to Democrats, edging up in his numbers there and weakening the Republican base. Of course, the last two Democrats to win state office...

By Rosalind Helderman | August 3, 2009; 7:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds Kicks off Statewide Tour

A couple weeks ago we told you how the gubernatorial candidates had been largely absent from the campaign trail, chosing instead to spend much of the summer hunkered down, amassing resources and plotting strategy. Those days are over. Today, Democrat Creigh Deeds kicked off a 21-stop "Deeds Country" tour that will take him to the state's largely Republican-leaning areas -- the Shenandoah Valley, Southside and Southwest -- over the next week. "Because of my rural background, because of where I live, I believe that I am going to do better than a lot of Democrats in areas like that,'' Deeds said. "To often Democrats concede certain areas. I'm not going to concede one square inch of terrority." Not to be outdone, Republican Bob McDonnell plans to spend much of August traveling the state in a Winnebago. "Every region of the state is going to be hard fought,'' McDonnell said. "I'm...

By Anita Kumar | August 2, 2009; 8:17 PM ET | Comments (0)

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 | Comments (6)

 

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