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First Click - Virginia

Sandhya Somashekhar

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.

Today, McDonnell's campaign has him in Charlottesville, where he will hold a roundtable at the University of Virginia to discuss textbook costs and higher education. Later, he holds a town hall with State Farm employees and heads up to these parts to visit the Prince William County Fair. Deeds, meanwhile, spends the day in Hampton Roads.

The other big news in Virginia politics this weekend was Sen. Jim Webb's successful trip to Burma, where he secured the release of an American who was sentenced to seven years in jail for visiting opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The Post poll also showed that a slim majority of voters, 51 percent, approve of the job Webb has been doing.

IN OTHER NEWS:
Also in The Post this weekend, former state attorney general and chairman of McGuireWoods Richard Cullen, a Republican, defends Gov. Kaine's decision to pardon 'the Norfolk 4.'

Reporter Anita Kumar examines McDonnell's Northern Virginia roots, and Fredrick Kunkle fact-checks Deeds' assertion that McDonnell turned his back on Martinsville.

Here's an update in the controversy over a $2 billion state contract with Northrup Grumman to upgrade computer systems. Meanwhile, RTD's Jeff Schapiro considers why Bob McDonnell isn't making more hay of the debacle, which the newspaper has been covering in depth.

And if you haven't seen it, Malcolm Gladwell has a great piece in the New Yorker about Atticus Finch, the crusading lawyer in the high school staple, "To Kill a Mockingbird," and "the limits of southern liberalism."

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  August 17, 2009; 7:24 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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