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First Click - Virginia

Anita Kumar

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 Obama's weekly radio address this weekend. (Okay, so it's not really a response). He kicked off his month-long "New Jobs, More Opportunities" tour at the Patrick County Peach Festival in Stuart. Check out the RV here.

McDonnell, too, plans to unveil four policy proposals this week. Today, he will hold a press conference to release his economic plan for rural Virginia in Martinsville before heading to Danville.

The state Democratic party named a new communications director this morning as it continues to gear up for the general election. Allison Jaslow is moving from Organizing for America, which pushes President Obama's policies, to the party to help counter an increasingly aggressive state GOP. We hear Deeds' campaign plans to make a few changes to its press shop too. Stay tuned for that information.

Congress has left for its month-long summer recess.

Sen. Jim Webb, recently named chairman of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee subcommittee on Asia, left for a two-week, five-nation tour to, you guesssed it, Asia. He will be the first member of Congress to visit Burma in more than a decade and will also go to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia .

Many House members are headed home to hold townhall meetings with residents, some on President Obama's healthcare plan.

The state wrapped up its tax-free, back to school shopping holiday which was a boost to retailers. But the state's financial situation is still dominating the news -- and the campaigns.

Lt. Bill Bolling and his fellow Republicans are accusing opponent Jody Wagner, the state's former finance secretary, of mismanaging the state's budget. But Wagner argues Virginia is in better shape than most states and, in turn, accused Bolling of skipping an important meeting of Gov. Tim Kaine's economy advisory board last week. (For the record, Bolling is not a member of the Governor's Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates, but has been invited to attend. He did send a staffer though).

Meanwile, talk continues about the state's lack of money for roads and transit. Some are asking Deeds to come out and say he will propose a tax increase.Others wonder if he will be able to win by avoiding the question, (and then promptly raise taxes.) For all his talk about transportation, Deeds is unlikely to say that he will raise taxes, but that won't stop Republicans from pressing him on it.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 10, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , First Click , James Webb , Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell  
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