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Democrats Issue Call for Hamilton's Resignation

Rosalind Helderman

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.

Hamilton apologized for his actions late last week and told the Daily Press that he had considered resigning but decided, instead, to let voters sort out the situation at polls in November.

Republicans are so far not publicly calling for Hamilton's resignation but have been distancing themselves from his actions. Speaker of the House Bill Howell and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell have both said they are disappointed in Howell.

No word yet from the Republican or Democratic Party, nor from Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, but we'll bring them to you when they make statements.

Here's what Deeds had to say on the issue: "For the past seven years, Virginians from all walks of life have worked hard to earn our ranking as the best managed state in the nation. Phil Hamilton's actions and subsequent denials not only undermine that effort, but more importantly, betray the public trust. His conduct deserves far more than simple 'disappointment.' It deserves our outrage. We cannot turn the other cheek to this type of behavior. He should resign from the House of Delegates immediately."

Jody Wagner said this: ""Delegate Hamilton abused his position as a public servant for personal gain. His apologies and denials fall short. Virginians deserve elected officials who maintain the highest standards of integrity and honesty, and anyone who fails to meet those should resign. I believe Delegate Hamilton should step down immediately, as he can no longer effectively serve the 93rd District."

Among top Democrats, only Gov. Tim Kaine has so far held off a call for resignation. He told the Daily Press this Sunday that Hamilton had acted wrongly but the issue "really needs to be sorted out between Phil and his voters."

By Rosalind Helderman  |  August 24, 2009; 1:37 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Next: House GOP Sends Hamilton to the Ethics Police

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