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Virginia Politics Blog: September 13, 2009 - September 19, 2009

Mrs. McDonnell to Perform at Redskins Game

If you were lucky enough to score Redskins tickets for Sunday, or even if you plan to watch on TV, make sure you pay special attention to the ladies performing at the halftime show. Maureen McDonnell, the 55-year-old wife of Bob McDonnell and former "Redskinette," will join other former cheerleaders on the field to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their alumni association. She will be wearing black pants and a Redskins Jersey (with McDonnell and the number 76 on the back) as they dance to Michael Jackson tunes. McDonnell will be campaigning (and tailgating) before the game and then in the stands watching when his wife takes the field. The former Maureen Gardner loves to tell the story of how she became a cheerleader at campaign events. In case you were wondering: It was her father's idea. He wanted the free tickets that came with the job. Can you blame...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 18, 2009; 6:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell Snags More Business Support

Republican Bob McDonnell announced endorsements this afternoon from Mark Kington, managing director of X-10 Capital (and Sen. Mark Warner's former partner) and John Luke, CEO of MeadWestvaco, as he unveiled the formation of a business coalition of more than 200 leaders from across the state. "The men and women on this list know this is the campaign on the side of Virginia's job creators and workers,'' McDonnell said. "They know where I stand on the issues crucial to Virginia's economy in the years ahead." Kington said he has supported Republicans and Democrats in the past, although he supported Republican Jerry Kilgore in 2005. He has donated $78,500 to McDonnell. "Bob McDonnell is focused on the issues that matter to Virginians and how they lead their daily lives -- job creation, education excellence, transportation solutions -- and I proudly support him as our next governor." See the full list of coalition...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 18, 2009; 4:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Questions About Questionnaires Plague Candidates

It looks like bungling the answer to questions about collective bargaining on organizational questionnaires is contagious. Republicans hit Democrat Creigh Deeds this week when he blamed a staffer for incorrectly filling out a Fraternal Order of Police questionnaire on the topic. But look who did much the same thing. Republican Lt. Gov Bill Bolling, who told the business group Virginia Free that he "strongly supports" collective bargaining for public employees. In a statement, Bolling spokesman Matt Wells said Bolling "misread the question in an online survey." He notes that though Bolling checked a box indicating his support for binding arbitration, collective bargaining and meet and confer rights, he went on to explain that he "also strongly opposes card check legislation currently pending before Congress."...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 18, 2009; 3:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Bill Bolling , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman  
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Deeds: North Carolina Bound

Demoratic gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds will travel next month to North Carolina, where the governor will roll out the welcome mat. Gov. Bev Perdue and former longtime Gov. Jim Hunt -- both Democrats, of course -- will host a fundraiser for Deeds Oct. 1 in downtown Raleigh. The suggested contribution is $500. Perdue was elected governor last year after two terms as lieutenant governor. Like her counterparts across the nation, she has faced a financial crisis and, as a result, sagging approval ratings. Her ratings are in the 20s -- among the lowest in the nation. Deeds is rarely out of state (unlike his former rival Terry McAuliffe) but he did fly to Los Angeles and San Francisco last month to meet with some Hollywood types and a business mogol or two. (No word yet on how much he raised on the west coast. We'll let you know when the...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 18, 2009; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009  
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Humane Society Endorses McDonnell, Shannon

The Humane Society's legislative arm has endorsed Republican Robert F. McDonnell for governor and Democrat Steve Shannon for attorney general, and had some sharp words for Shannon's opponent, Republican Ken Cuccinelli. The animal welfare organization praised McDonnell and Shannon for supporting stiff penalties against animal fighting. The group singled out McDonnell for special praise, in part because of his stand opposing so-called "crush videos," which depict scantily clad women killing kittens, puppies and other small animals, sometimes using their high heels. "Bob McDonnell included a crackdown on animal fighting as part of his anti-crime agenda, and he understands that the way we treat animals is a reflection of our basic attitudes and values in society," said Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, in the endorsement letter. "Virginians deserve a governor like Bob McDonnell who has demonstrated strong and consistent leadership in protecting animals from cruelty and abuse."...

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  September 18, 2009; 12:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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McDonnell 50, Deeds 43

As we've told you a few times we don't trust all polls, but here's one that we don't mind telling you about. A DailyKos/Research 2000 poll on the governor's race shows that Republican Bob McDonnell leads Democrat Creigh Deeds among likely voters, 50 percent to 43 percent -- virtually unchanged since an August poll. Back in mid-June, McDonnell had 45 percent and Deeds 44 percent. But once again the favorable numbers prove quite interesting: McDonnell at 56 percent, Deeds at 47 percent. The left-leaning Daily Kos tells us that McDonnell is aided by support from independent voters, who support him by a 13-point margin, 51 to 38 percent. And in case you were wondering the poll shows Deeds narrowly leads among women -- 47 to 44 percent -- but he has all along. No change this month due to McDonnell's thesis....

By Anita Kumar  |  September 18, 2009; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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First Click - Virginia

Happy Friday, Virginia, here's what's happening in state politics today. The news offers political junkies two interesting indicators about the gubernatorial contest between R. Creigh Deeds (D) and Robert F. McDonnell (R). The two men sparred over a wide range of issues, from the economy to energy to gay adoptions, at a debate in Tysons Corner yesterday, which was tense from the very start. Afterward, Deeds was asked by a scrum of reporters about an apparent contradiction in his position on raising taxes for transportation. The line of questioning provoked a snippy response to a female reporter, which was caught on tape. Bob McCartney was not impressed with Deeds' performance....

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  September 18, 2009; 7:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Creigh Deeds , Debates , First Click , Polls , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar , Transportation  
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The Kitchen Table: The Reston Farmer's Market

So, we haven't actually taken you into someone's kitchen yet for "The Kitchen Table," our sorta-weekly feature bringing you the voices of Virginia's voters, but at least this one is food-related. Play Video VIDEO | Virginia Voters Express Their Views on the Governor's Race You know fall is coming when the early-season apples show up at the farmer's market and you can't buy a baguette there without someone trying to stuff your eco-friendly reusable bag with campaign literature -- particularly Democratic campaign literature....

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  September 18, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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McDonnell Airs Transportation Ad

Republican Robert F. McDonnell began airing a TV ad in Northern Virginia today contrasting his transportation plan with that of his Democratic opponent, R. Creigh Deeds. Or, more accurately, taking credit for having a transportation plan at all. Here's the ad script, helpfully furnished by the McDonnell campaign: "The Washington Post says Creigh Deeds has not even bothered to formulate much of a transportation plan. On road funding Deeds' approach is as politically expedient as it is irresponsible. Deeds' approach to transportation funding is to sidestep the subject. Bob McDonnell's transportation plan deserves credit for the extent and specificity of its proposals like selling state liquor stores to invest a half billion dollars to widen I-66, improve I-95 and expand metro to Dulles. I'm Bob McDonnell, candidate for governor, and my campaign sponsored this ad." Deeds spokesman Jared Leopold responded that the ad conveniently leaves out details from those same...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 17, 2009; 2:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Fairfax Chamber Debate: The After Scrum

The Republican Party of Virginia is circulating this video of Democrat R. Creigh Deeds explaining how he's not for taxes except when he is after the close of his debate with Republican Robert F. McDonnell today at the Capital One center in Tysons Corner. It's pretty self-explanatory, is probably not terribly helpful to Deeds, and undoubtedly is coming soon, all or in part, to a McDonnell television ad near you....

By Amy Gardner  |  September 17, 2009; 2:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Video Highlights: Fairfax Debate

After the jump, see clips from today's Virginia governor's race debate in which the candidates clashed on McDonnell's graduate school thesis and Deeds's references to it (posted now), as well as support for cap-and-trade legislation and women in the workplace (posted soon)....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  September 17, 2009; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell's Money

Now that we have told you a little about Democrat Creigh Deeds's money, we thought we would tell you a bit more about Republican Bob McDonnell's cash. McDonnell's top donors in the two-month period that ended Aug. 31 were a combination of businesses, longtime Republican donors and, of course, the Republican National Committee, which gave him $350,000. Top individual donors include Edward and Lynn Via of Roanoke ($150,000), chemical company executive Bruce C. Gottwald ($50,000), Dominion resources president Tom Farrell ($15,000), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's political action committee ($5,000). Top non-individual donors include: the Virginia Association of Realtors ($60,000), Fluor Enterprises -- the company helping build HOT lanes on the Beltway -- ($15,000), law firm McGuire Woods's political action committee ($18,000) and the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly ($5,000). Notably absent: Sheila C. Johnson, the billionaire co-founder of the Black Entertainment Television network, who has been a major donor...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 17, 2009; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Fact Check: Jobs

In his closing statement during today's debate, Deeds said McDonnell "never wrote a bill to create a job." Afterward, a reporter asked McDonnell about this accusation. Here's how he responded: "I carried the historic welfare reform bill in 1995. Do you know what that bill did? It put women to work. It created the transportation and health-care benefits and tax support so that women could go back to work, and then a year after that I introduced a tax credit bill to give businesses the ability to receive tax credits for hiring people." Okay, so neither exactly created jobs. But the welfare bill did require people to work to get state welfare benefits. We wrote more on that bill and McDonnell's repeated references to it in this campaign....

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  September 17, 2009; 12:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race Fact Checker , Creigh Deeds , Debates , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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Live Blog: The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce Debate

Greetings from the glass-and-concrete fortress that is the Capitol One headquarters in Tysons Corner. We'll be live-blogging today's debate between Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell. The debate will be kicking off shortly and so will we. Follow to the jump to read along....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 17, 2009; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Fact Check: Working Women

Here's the thesis again. Creigh Deeds just went after Bob McDonnell for not supporting working women, and Bob McDonnell reacted pretty powerfully. "I'm offended," McDonnell said, that Deeds would say he doesn't support working women when his wife and daughters, including a daughter who served as a platoon leader in Iraq, were sitting in the front row here at the Capital One center. Men and women, McDonnell said, should be judged on merit, on their character and "on their love for Virginia." In his graduate thesis 20 years ago, he described working women and feminists as "detrimental" to the family. McDonnell also voted against a resolution in the House of Delegates in support of equal pay for women. McDonnell said in response to inquires about the thesis: "Like everybody, my views on many issues have changed as I have gotten older." He said that his views on family policy were...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 17, 2009; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race Fact Checker , Amy Gardner  
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Fact Check: I'm Not Going To Raise Taxes

That's what Creigh Deeds just said when asked point-blank by David Gregory. But then he said he wants to find new sources of revenue for transportation. How do you find new revenue without raising taxes? Deeds also has said in the past that he is open to new taxes, so today's remark sounds like a departure....

By Amy Gardner  |  September 17, 2009; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Governor's Race Fact Checker , Amy Gardner  
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Fact Check: Cap-and-Trade

This has become a common accusation from Bob McDonnell: That Creigh Deeds supports cap-and-trade. McDonnell uses as an example the fact that a larger employer and Deeds's back yard in western Virginia, paper manufacturer MeadWestvaco, supports him and not Deeds. Deeds never has said he supports the bill in Congress now. Today, Deeds said it more clearly than he's done before: "I don't support the bill." He supports "long-term" efforts to thwart climate change, but he won't support any bill that has the effect of increasing fuel prices during a recession....

By Amy Gardner  |  September 17, 2009; 11:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Governor's Race Fact Checker , Amy Gardner  
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Fact Check: Contraception for Married Couples

Well it didn't take long for the thesis to come up. By way of contrast to what Bob McDonnell wrote in his controversial graduate school thesis in 1989, Creigh Deeds just said that he didn't say, at age 34, that the state should get involved in regulating contraception for married couples. But neither did McDonnell. McDonnell did say that the Supreme Court was "radical" and "illogical" when it ruled that the government cannot intrude into married relationships -- and, later, unmarried relationships -- by barring access to contraception. He also says now that he does not support banning contraception. Here's a look at McDonnell's legislative record: As a state lawmaker from Virginia Beach from 1992 to 2006, McDonnell voted for a bill to give pharmacists a "conscience clause" allowing them to not fill prescriptions. He also voted for a bill barring the morning-after pill from public college health clinics and...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 17, 2009; 11:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Governor's Race Fact Checker , Amy Gardner  
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Fact Check: Governor's Opportunity Fund

Good morning from Tysons Corner, folks! In his opening remarks, State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds just brought up one of our favorite topics, the Governor's Opportunity Fund, charging that his opponent, Republican Robert F. McDonnell, has voted against putting money into what most folks call the state's "deal-closing" kitty to bring businesses and jobs to Virginia. Here are some of the facts. 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....

By Amy Gardner  |  September 17, 2009; 11:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Governor's Race Fact Checker , Amy Gardner , Fredrick Kunkle  
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Unions Help Deeds With More Than Money

We told you today about how much money labor unions are pouring into Democrat Creigh Deeds's bank account, but that's not all they're doing. The AFL-CIO has started making recorded calls to potential voters on Deeds's behalf. Calls are being made in Richmond, and possibly other locations across the state. Here is the script: Hello. This is Julie calling from the AFL-CIO with important information about the upcoming election for governor. Creigh Deeds is the only candidate for governor who has a track record of standing up for our working families. He supported a plan to invest federal resources to create jobs and help turn around our economy. And Deeds voted to help workers by accepting $125 million in federal aid for Virginia's unemployed workers. Bob McDonnell opposed resources to protect our jobs and failed to support aid for recently laid-off workers. That's why the AFL-CIO has endorsed Creigh Deeds...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 17, 2009; 10:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Debate Coverage

The Post's Virginia politics team is gearing up to bring you extensive coverage of today's key gubernatorial debate between Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell hosted by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce. We'll be live-blogging the event beginning shortly before the 11 a.m. debate start time. There will also be streaming video from the venue. And we'll be fact-checking some of the candidates' claims and promises live during the debate and bringing you full coverage of the event after it ends. So join us at 11, and be sure to check back later as well. For now, let us know what you're looking for out of this debate. What questions would you want asked?...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 17, 2009; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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First Click -- Virginia

Good morning Virginia, here's what's happening in state politics today. R. Creigh Deeds (D) and Robert F. McDonnell (R) face off today in a much-anticipated debate before Northern Virginia's business community, to be moderated by David Gregory of "Meet the Press." A lot is at stake today for both gubernatorial candidates, as McDonnell seeks to move beyond the thesis that has dominated headlines in recent weeks and Deeds aims to overcome the unfriendly atmosphere for Democrats nationally....

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  September 17, 2009; 8:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Creigh Deeds , Debates , Election 2009 , First Click , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar , Timothy M. Kaine , Virginia Notebook  
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Shannon Calls for Reform in Response to Hamilton Scandal

Steve Shannon, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, was the first statewide candidate to call for Del. Phil Hamilton of Newport News to resign after e-mails showed he worked to get a job with Old Dominion University while securing state money for the school. He then aired ads on the topic. And now today, he's back -- unveiling a plan to Virginia's government more transparent and accountable in the wake of the scandal. "I was both shocked and outraged -- not only at Del. Hamilton's behavior but at the system that allowed this to occur,'' Shannon told reporters today. "This episode has left a stain of public corruption on the legislature and on one of our public universities." Shannon hopes the Hamilton scandal can help, particularly since his Republican rival, Ken Cuccinelli, is the only statewide candidate not to call on Hamilton to step down, saying the voters should decide...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 16, 2009; 4:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009  
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Forbes, Gingrich, Cantor Help Bolling Raise $165,000

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling may have raised less money than his Democratic rival in the most recent fundraising period, but he already has a good start on the next report with several events with a slew of high-profile Republicans this month. Today, Bolling expects to raise $50,000 at a fundraiser headlined by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at the Northern Virginia home of U.S. Rep. Tom Davis. About 160 people are expected to attend. He raised another $75,000 at a fundraiser attended by 180 people yesterday in Richmond with Steve Forbes, publishing tycoon and former presidential candidate. Two weeks ago, U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor helped him raise another $40,000 at a Sept. 2 event attended by 90 people in Newport News. And on Friday morning, he will appear with Mitt Romney -- former Massachusetts governor and possible presidential hopeful -- at the home of Fran and Gant Redmon in Alexandria....

By Anita Kumar  |  September 16, 2009; 4:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Election 2009  
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Kaine To Announce New Corporate HQ in Tysons

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) is expected to announce next week the relocation of Science Applications International Corp.'s corporate headquarters from San Diego to Tysons Corner, several sources said. Speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of negotiations, several government and business leaders said the move would bring more than 1,000 high-paying jobs to SAIC's existing Tysons operations. In an interview today, Kaine would say only that he will make a major economic announcement next week. SAIC, one of the region's largest federal contractors, employs 45,000 around the world, including roughly 16,000 in the Washington region. In Tysons, SAIC occupies a building on Leesburg Pike in front of a future Metro station on the Silver Line, which is under construction from Arlington to Dulles International Airport. With the addition of so many new employees in Tysons, SAIC could become a cornerstone of planned redevelopment there. An SAIC spokeswoman...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 16, 2009; 3:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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Romney to Raise Money for McDonnell

Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and possible presidential hopeful, will headline a fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell on Monday in Washington. The event will be held at the offices of the American Gas Association on Capitol Hill. About 100 people are scheduled to attend the fundraiser, which is expected to bring in about $100,000. Romney spent two days in Virginia in May campaigning for Virginia's top Republicans, including McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, and received an enthusiastic welcome when he spoke at a sold-out fundraiser of 1,300 for the state party in Richmond. Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty campaigned with McDonnell last week. A slew of other Republican stars have helped out McDonnell, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour....

By Anita Kumar  |  September 16, 2009; 10:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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First Click - Virginia

Good morning, Virginia, here's what's happening in politics around the state today. The campaign finance numbers are in, and they're big. R. Creigh Deeds, the Democrat running for governor, raked in a record $3.48 million in July and August, about a half million dollars more than Republican Robert F. McDonnell. But McDonnell, who didn't have a primary challenge, has more money in the bank, $5.8 million, compared with Deeds's nearly $4.4 million. It's a good news, bad news day for Deeds. According to a recent poll of registered voters, McDonnell's lead has slimmed to five percentage points (the poll was conducted by live interviewers, which is critical to meeting the Post's standards). But the Democrat is facing questions about seemingly contradictory responses he gave two groups about collective bargaining. Both men are in Richmond today at a forum sponsored by Virginia FREE. Sorry, you weren't invited....

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  September 16, 2009; 7:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2010 , Eric Cantor , First Click , Ken Cuccinelli , Polls , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Gov Hopefuls Attend Closed Candidate's Forum

Both candidates for Virginia governor will speak at a forum today in Richmond but you aren't invited. That's the right. The public is not invited. Virginia FREE, a Richmond-based coalition of businesses from across the state, is hosting all six statewide candidates, including gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell, at a gathering of more than 100 of its members. Bob Holsworth, political commenator and author of the Virginia Tomorrow blog will be the moderator. The group made the decision to close the event so its members could have a "candid and open discussion" with the candidates, said Clayton Roberts, the group's executive diector. It's the same thing Virginia FREE has done for two decades. Deeds will speak around 9 a.m. McDonnell will talk about an hour later. We'd tell you what they said if we could but alas, we are not invited either....

By Anita Kumar  |  September 16, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell Responds on Energy

Republican Bob McDonnell is hitting back at Democrat Creigh Deeds over energy prices. His campaign announced a new ad this evening, running in the same markets where Deeds put up a spot last week that claimed McDonnell had approved energy rate hikes as attorney general. (Read more about that claim here.) In McDonnell's ad, he takes credit for saving consumers money on energy and slams Deeds over the national Democrat's green house emissions bill that would include a cap-and-trade provision for energy companies. (Deeds has said he opposes the cap-and-trade as it is now written though he believes that action needs to be taken to address global warming.) Watch the ad here. Deeds spokesman Jared Leopold responded: "With tightening polls Bob McDonnell is starting to resort to false attacks. Bob McDonnell was sitting in the room last week when Creigh Deeds said again that he doesn't support the House cap...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 15, 2009; 7:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell: $2.9 Million in July-August

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell raised half a million dollars less than Democratic rival Creigh Deeds in the two-month period ending last month. But McDonnell, who did not have a primary opponent, has more money in the bank -- $5.8 million compared with Deeds's nearly $4.4 million. McDonnell reports receiving donations from 6,239 donors -- significantly more than Deeds's 3,764. About $350,000 came from national groups. Phil Cox, McDonnell campaign manager, said the 2,500 additional donors "is reflective of the grass-roots energy we have seen building throughout our campaign." We'll be taking a closer look at these numbers and bringing you our findings....

By Anita Kumar  |  September 15, 2009; 4:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Updated: RNC Pledges $7 Million to McDonnell, Va. GOP

The Republican National Committee pledged Tuesday that it will pour a whopping $7 million into the Virginia governor's race this year. The number will include money that will go directly to gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell and some that will go to the Virginia Victory committee, a joint effort between the state and national party, for organization and coordination efforts. The RNC transferred $400,000 to McDonnell on Tuesday. It has already given $2 million to him this year. "Bob McDonnell is a proven leader in the state of Virginia and the RNC is fully committed to ensuring that the campaign has the resources necessary to elect Bob McDonnell the next governor of Virginia," said Katie Wright, a spokeswoman for the RNC. The RNC is certainly trying to outdo its Democratic counterpart. The DNC, chaired by Gov. Tim Kaine, announced a couple of weeks ago that it will spend $5 million to...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 15, 2009; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Deeds: $3.5 Million in July and August

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds has beaten Republican Bob McDonnell to the punch in getting out his fundraising numbers for the July and August period. According to the campaign, Deeds raised $3.48 million, including from 2,284 new donors. They say 90 percent of his donors were from Virginia and 68 percent of them gave $200 or less. According to the campaign, that haul exceeds fundraising totals for gubernatorial candidates of both parties over July and August in both 2001 and 2005. Campaign officials say he had $4.38 million on hand as of Aug. 31. They say his top individual donations included $37,500 from Washington Capitals and Mystics owner Ted Leonsis and $25,000 from Northern Virginia real estate executive Robert H. Smith. We'll be taking a closer look at these numbers and bringing you our findings, as well as reporting McDonnell's haul, today and tomorrow....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 15, 2009; 12:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Money Game: Lieutenant Governor Candidates

Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who is running for re-election, raised a little more than $546,000 from 3,225 donors in the two-month period ending Aug. 31, according to his campaign. Bolling has $1.3 million in the bank. Jody Wagner, his Democratic opponent, outraised her better-known opponent. She raised $636,074 and has $593,067 cash on hand, according to her campaign....

By Anita Kumar  |  September 15, 2009; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Bill Bolling , Election 2009 , Jody Wagner  
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Money Game: Attorney General Candidates

Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican attorney general candidate, raised $617,382 from 2,196 donors in the two-month period ending Aug. 31, according to the campaign. Cuccinelli has $752,291 cash on hand. Steve Shannon, the Democratic nominee, raised more than $534,000. He has far more than Cuccinelli in the bank -- $1.6 million -- but that can largely be attributed to Shannon having no primary opponent....

By Anita Kumar  |  September 15, 2009; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Election 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli  
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Warner: No. 5 Wealthiest Congressman

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner has been ranked the fifth-richest member of Congress, according to Roll Call, a newspaper covering Capitol Hill. Warner, a wealthy venture capitalist who co-founded Nextel, is worth about $75 million, according to the newspaper's analysis of his financial disclosure reports. And like many of his colleagues, Warner reports he lost money in the past year. No other Virginians are on the top 50 list, which you can view here. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts is ranked the wealthiest member of Congress -- for the second year in a row....

By Anita Kumar  |  September 15, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Mark Warner  
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House Call: A Reverse Trend in Northern Virginia? (Updated)

Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009 Welcome, race fans! And sorry for the House Call hiatus. Things happen. This week, let's take a quick look at three seats held by Democrats in Northern Virginia that are attracting more and more attention as Nov. 3 gets close. We've told you that Republican lawmakers Dave Albo and Tom Rust are vulnerable. For about six years we've told you: They're always vulnerable to the inexorable march of the Democrats trampling across Northern Virginia. But the story line has shifted this year, yes? The march is not so inexorable? President Obama's approval ratings have sagged. The economy has tanked. Angst is growing about health-care reform and government spending. Suddenly, folks are talking about Northern Virginia Democrats who might be in trouble this year. Chuck Caputo, David Poisson and Margi Vanderhye: This one's for you....

By Amy Gardner  |  September 15, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009  
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GOP Group Donates $250,000 to Va Candidates

The Republican State Leadership Committee, which calls itself the nation's largest caucus of GOP state leaders, has donated nearly $250,000 to Virginia candidates this election cycle. This week, the group gave more than $90,000 to the state Republican party (which let's face it, desperately needs the money) and Chris Stolle, a House candidate in Hampton Roads (and yes, brother of the state senator.) "We believe that the Republican candidates are well-positioned for victory in November because they understand the private sector, not the public sector, will create the road to recovery and keep Virginia competitive,'' said Scott Ward, the group's president. The RSLC is a national organization with more than 75,000 donors that works to elect Republicans to state legislatures as well as to the offices of attorney general, lieutenant governor and secretary of state. You may recall that Virginia changed its campaign finance reporting law after the RSLC gave...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 15, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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First Click - Virginia

Good morning, Virginia, here's what's happening in state politics today. Today is the deadline for candidates in November's election to file their summer campaign finance reports, including gubernatorial hopefuls R. Creigh Deeds (D) and Robert F. McDonnell (R). The reports will provide a valuable glimpse into the kind of support each man is attracting, as did yesterday's announcement that Deeds has been endorsed by the state firefighters and McDonnell got the nod from the NRA, which supported Deeds in their last match-up four years ago. Observers will also be on the lookout for evidence of the national groups that are expected to pour resources into one of the first big races since last year's history-making presidential election. Both men attend a candidates forum at a Bar Association event in Norfolk today, offering a preview of Thursday's debate in Fairfax....

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  September 15, 2009; 6:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Election 2009 , First Click , General Assembly 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Rove, Romney helping out Comstock in Mclean

Republican Barbara J. Comstock, who is challenging state Del. Margi Vanderhye in the McLean-based 34th House District, will hold a fundraiser Tuesday headlined by Karl Rove. And Comstock will appear with former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Sunday at a fundraiser in the home of former solicitor general Ted Olson and his wife, Lady Booth Olson. Comstock comes by her big-name contacts naturally: She is the former director of public affairs for the Department of Justice; the former chief counsel for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and a former senior aide to U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.). She is a founding partner of Corallo Comstock, a lobbying and public relations firm. Comstock's Washington connections have served her campaign purse well. At the end of June, Comstock had outraised first-term delegate Vanderhye, with $167,000 in the bank, putting the 34th District on the map as one...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 14, 2009; 7:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009  
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Fairfax Urges Kaine to Re-Start HOT Lane Project

Fairfax County leaders are urging state officials to restart their plan to build express lanes on two traffic-clogged highways in Northern Virginia, saying the delay or termination of the I-395/95 HOT lane project would exacerbate a "commuting nightmare" for Beltway residents. In a letter dated Tuesday to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova (D) wrote that county officials had "very grave reservations" about the HOT lanes project delay, asking that the state re-evaluate its decision. The I-395/95 HOT lanes would extend south from the Pentagon to Massaponax in Spotsylvania County, intersecting the Beltway at the Springfield interchange. Construction was to have begun by next summer. (Check out What's Next for Virginia's HOT Lanes by Dr. Gridlock)...

By Derek Kravitz  |  September 14, 2009; 7:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz , Fairfax County Board of Supervisors , Transportation  
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Brady Campaign Responds to NRA

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, has issued a statement responding to the National Rifle Association's endorsement of Bob McDonnell for governor. According to Helmke, the "one critical issue" that separates Virginia's candidates for governor on gun rights is the tightening of rules for buying weapons at gun shows--the so-called gun show loophole. "Creigh Deeds agrees with the families of the victims of Virginia Tech that the most dangerous people, prohibited by law from purchasing guns from federally licensed gun dealers, shouldn't be able to get around those laws by buying them from non-licensed gun sellers at weapons bazaars," Helmke said in his statement. "Bob McDonnell, who now refuses to acknowledge that this gaping loophole in Virginia gun laws even exists, appears eager to do whatever the gun lobby wants him to. That's playing politics with public safety, and the voters should judge the candidates...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 14, 2009; 4:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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NRA Backs McDonnell

What a difference four years makes. When Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell ran against each other for attorney general in 2005, the National Rifle Association's political action committee took the unusual step of endorsing Deeds, the rural Democrat, over McDonnell. Not this year. Chris W. Cox, the NRA's chief lobbyist, announced this afternoon that the group has endorsed McDonnell for governor and will urge the NRA's 120,000 Virginia members to vote for the Republican. Cox told reporters in a conference call that the group was impressed by an amicus brief McDonnell filed in 2008 along with 30 other state attorney generals urging the Supreme Court to strike down Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban. He also praised McDonnell for standing against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has contended that criminals buy guns in Virginia because of its less restrictive laws and take them to New York. Cox, meanwhile, declared that NRA...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 14, 2009; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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First Click -- Virginia

OMG, did you hear what Kanye West said at the MTV video music awards? Kidding, here's what's happening in Virginia politics today. The candidates for Virginia governor stump in separate parts of the state today, with Republican Robert F. McDonnell addressing attendees at a rural summit in Lynchburg and Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, where he is planning to announce what his campaign has billed as a "major endorsement." The ad wars took a sharp turn late last week, and the two men will clash in person at their second debate of the season Thursday in Fairfax....

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  September 14, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Bill Bolling , Creigh Deeds , First Click , Jody Wagner , Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Fact-Checker: McDonnell and Energy Rate Hikes

If you believe a new television advertisement circulating in Roanoke and Bristol this week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell supported $180 million in electric power rate hikes while he served as attorney general. But while it's true his office did recommend rate hikes, the attorney general's Office of Consumer Counsel actually supported the increases because it was legally obligated to weigh in by state law. And the recommendations from McDonnell's office were in line with the final numbers eventually approved by independent state regulators. Deeds launched the new TV ad Thursday, which questions McDonnell's support for the power rate increases for the Appalachian Power Co. between 2006 and 2008, when he served as attorney general. In the ad, a narrator says: "In tough times, what kind of politician sides with Appalachian Power? Bob McDonnell. He recommended $180 million dollars in rate increases that would cost $360 dollars for each of...

By Derek Kravitz  |  September 13, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Governor's Race Fact Checker , Derek Kravitz  
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