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First Click - Virginia

Amy Gardner

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 Committee who is under fire for seeking a job at a new teacher training center at Old Dominion University at the same time he was securing the center $500,000 in annual state funding.

House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) has called for an ethics investigation, and a bipartisan chorus of state leaders (including McDonnell) has urged Hamilton to resign, but the 21-year House veteran said he won't. McDonnell's stand may neutralize the potential for Hamilton's fate to harm Republicans beyond the 93rd District. But Democrat Robin Abbott, now expected by just about everyone to prevail over Hamilton in November, isn't likely to let the issue alone. Expect this race to remain ugly so long as Hamilton stays in it.

In other news, Orange County supervisors approved a Wal-Mart near the historic Civil War Wilderness Battlefield in the wee hours of this morning. The 4-1 vote granting the retailer a special use permit for a 130,000-square-foot store occurred close to 1 a.m. -- and despite vehement protests from preservationists and Civil War buffs.

The new head of the embattled Virginia Information Technologies Agency reported for work Monday with the task of getting to the bottom of the cost overruns and poor service that have characterized Northrup Grumman's stewardship of the state's largest contract in history.

And I'll leave you with this today. A rural state lawmaker shot and wounded an intruder in his home Sunday afternoon. Any guesses? Actually, it's a trick question. The shooter was state Sen. R.C. Soles of southeastern North Carolina. But hey, it could happen here. Soles' lawyers says it was self-defense.

Until tomorrow.

By Amy Gardner  |  August 25, 2009; 6:45 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , First Click , General Assembly 2009  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Updated: GOP Leaders Ask Hamilton to Resign; He Refuses
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