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Virginia Politics Blog: September 20, 2009 - September 26, 2009

Ad Watch: 'Transportation Contrast'

Republican candidate for governor Robert F. McDonnell took a page from his opponent in a recent television ad, quoting extensively from the Washington Post to promote his transportation plan. It's called "Transportation Contrast." Script: "The Washington Post says Creigh Deeds has 'not even bothered to formulate' much of a transportation plan. On road funding, Deeds's approach is 'as politically expedient as it is irresponsible.' Deeds's '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." Images: The ad features excerpts from a Washington Post editorial, floating alongside unflattering cutouts of Deeds. Ominous music turns more inspiring as the ad transitions to images of McDonnell chatting...

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  September 25, 2009; 4:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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McDonnell Unveils A Pair of New Ads

Republican Bob McDonnell is up on air with two new TV ads today, as predicted in this morning's First Click. The first ad accuses Democrat Creigh Deeds of "disingenuous" and "deceitful" attacks against him. The second is another attempt to appeal to the female vote post-thesis. For this ad, he had his eldest daughter speak about the values her father taught her and her service in Iraq. Read the scripts below:...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 25, 2009; 1:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Campaign Ads , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell Picks Up Another Endorsement

Republican Bob McDonnell scored another endorsement today -- the third day in a row. The political arm of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce announced its support of McDonnell at a morning news conference. The group represents 2,500 member firms that employ nearly 300,000 workers in the state's second-most populous area. "Bob McDonnell's detailed transportation plan and solid stance on strategic business issues were key to his receiving this endorsement," said W. Sheppard Miller III, chairman of the Hampton Roads Business PAC. The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce PAC also endorsed McDonnell this week, citing transportation, economic development and tax policy. Both chambers have given the nod to Republicans in the past, so these endorsements were not a huge surprise. But there's no denying it's been a pretty good week for McDonnell, who also picked up support from the Fraternal Order of Police and scored a victory when former governor Doug...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 25, 2009; 11:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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First Click -- Virginia

Friday, Sept. 25, 2009 Happy Friday, Virginia politicos! Only 39 days to go, but who's counting? The big news Thursday was the long-awaited answer to this question: WWWD (What Will Wilder Do?) Nothing, it turns out; after many weeks of playing footsie with Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell, former governor Doug Wilder decided he will endorse no one in the race. It's a blow for Deeds, particularly because of the energy that both Deeds and President Obama have given to courting Wilder, who was the first elected African-American governor in the nation. The news even made The New York Times, thanks in part to the intervention of the president. Bearing Drift provides some analysis from a former state Democratic Party chair, who finds Wilder's statement more troubling than his nonendorsement. Whether it will affect how black voters cast their ballots Nov. 3 and in what numbers they turn...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 25, 2009; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , First Click  
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Biden Fundraises for Virginia Democrats

Vice President Joe Biden spoke Thursday night at a fundraising reception at the home of former Virginia senator and governor Chuck Robb, for three freshman Virginia House Democrats facing tough re-election campaigns. Biden, speaking inside an open-air pool house inside Robb's McLean mansion, noted that two of the three Democrats in attendance - U.S. Reps. Glenn Nye and Tom Perriello - would face difficult challenges in their more traditionally conservative Virginia districts. "I don't have to tell you that you're in a very competitive state," he said. "You got some tough votes coming up." He noted that the third Virginia House Democrat - U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, a former Fairfax County supervisor - had a "few liberals" in his left-leaning Northern Virginia district. He called the triumvirate "independent minded" and "damn competent," but united on several core Democratic Party themes, including energy policy and health care. "These guys are smart....

By Derek Kravitz  |  September 24, 2009; 9:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz , Election 2008/President , Gerald E. Connolly  
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Deeds Country? Really?

If the Margi Vanderhye sign weren't such a dead giveway, we'd try to be coy and quiz you about where this picture of Democrat Creigh Deeds's signature "Deeds Country" yard sign was taken. Bath County? Southside? Far Southwest? Okay, okay. It's the corner of Georgetown Pike and Springvale Road in Great Falls -- home of tech entrepreneurs and defense contracting execs and where 10,000-square-foot mansions with views of the Potomac River are as plentiful as Starbucks on K Street. In fact, a quick search on Google shows that the median household income in Great Falls is north of $150,000 -- quite possibly the highest in the state. So. Deeds Country? Certainly these homeowners love their land, just as Deeds loves the land he grew up on west of the Blue Ridge. But that mountainscape backdrop does look a tad peculiar up here. And after the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce's...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 24, 2009; 6:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009  
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Rep. Gerry Connolly's Takes Questions on Health Care, Election '09

Northern Virginia U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly took readers' questions earlier today, discussion transportation, health care plans, the environment, Creigh Deeds vs. Bob McDonnell and more. Excerpts follow. Washington, DC: What are your views on DC voting rights? Will you help move the bill through this session? Rep. Gerry Connolly: I support D.C. voting rights. It is unconscionable that 600,000 Americans living in the District of Columbia do not having voting representation in Congress. I am a cosponsor of legislation to give D.C. a vote in Congress and will do everything in my power to make it happen as soon as possible....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  September 24, 2009; 5:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2009 , Gerald E. Connolly , Transportation  
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Ad Watch: 'Why Did You?'

Democratic candidate for governor R. Creigh Deeds unveiled two new ads this week hitting Republican Robert F. McDonnell over issues related to McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis. One is entitled "Why Did You?" Script: Woman: Bob McDonnell, we know what you wrote about working women ... Woman: ... and we've seen all your ads and heard your excuses. Woman: But your RECORD troubles me. Woman: ... 35 bills restricting a woman's choice Woman: And you opposed birth control for married adults. Woman: Mr. McDonnell: We've read your words ... Woman: We've checked your record. Woman: Why did you vote that way? Images: Each line is spoken sternly by a different woman, looking straight into the camera. They are diverse in age and race and are featured in different settings--one in what looks like an office, another in front of a house. The Deeds campaign says the women are Virginia residents--not actors....

By Anne Bartlett  |  September 24, 2009; 4:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Campaign Ads , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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New Ad From Bolling

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) debuted his second television ad of the campaign this week, making use of the ample financial advantage over Democratic challenger Jody Wagner he reported in recent fundraising disclosure forms. In the ad, titled "Plan," Bolling promises to act as the state's first "jobs creation officer," to "continue" creating incentives to attract jobs to Virginia, to "root out" wasteful government spending and to oppose "job-killing" tax increases. "These are challenging times," Bolling says. "We have to do more to create jobs and help families." In Bolling's first ad, "Lessons," the lieutenant governor took credit for writing legislation extending health care to lower-income children, and he promised to increase teacher pay and send more money to classrooms (without raising taxes). "Lessons" has been on the air for two weeks, but the campaign boosted the ad's airtime on Tuesday, so now it is airing everywhere (except pricey Northern...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 24, 2009; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Bill Bolling , Campaign Ads , Election 2009 , Jody Wagner  
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Updated: Wilder Declines to Endorse Deeds

Former Democratic governor L. Douglas Wilder said today that he will not endorse either candidate in the race for Virginia governor despite serious courting from both candidates, Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democration National Committee, and even President Barack Obama. The decision can only be considered a slap in the face to Democrat Creigh Deeds and a victory -- of sorts -- for Republican Bob McDonnell. No one really expected Wilder to endorse McDonnell because he never has supported a Republican, but declining to endorse anyone -- and resisting Obama's personal lobbying --- sends enough of a message. Wilder specifically mentions his opposition to increasing taxes (which Deeds has said he would be open to for road and transit) and his desire to limit the number of handguns. UPDATE: Deeds' campaign responds. "We respect Governor Wilder's decision,'' said Jared Leopold, a Deeds spokesman. "While Creigh and he may not...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 24, 2009; 12:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly Taking Your Questions at 1 p.m.

Northern Virginia congressman Gerald E. Connolly will be at 1 p.m. today to discuss health-care reform, extending Metro's reach to Woodbridge, how he feels stimulus money has been handled in the Washington area, and any other topic you'd like to ask him about. Submit a question for the representative now, or read the full discussion live or after it's over....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  September 24, 2009; 11:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Gerald E. Connolly  
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VEA Airs TV Ads Against McDonnell

The Virginia Education Association is airing TV ads in Richmond and Hampton Roads that criticize Republican Bob McDonnell for opposing money for smaller class sizes and teacher raises, and for supporting vouchers for private schools. The commercial directs viewers to a Web site that gives them the VEA's take on McDonnell's and Democrat Creigh Deeds's education plans and urges them to sign a petition asking McDonnell to change his positions while encouraging Deeds to continue his education efforts. "Our commercial asks those who agree with us to ask the candidates for governor to support our positions for smaller class sizes and increased teacher salaries and against draining dollars from public schools to fund private school tuition vouchers," VEA President Kitty Boitnott said. McDonnell's campaign's response: "Only one candidate in this race is actually advocating bold reforms for Virginia's public education system: Bob McDonnell,'' said Tucker Martin, a McDonnell spokesman. "He...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 24, 2009; 11:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Campaign Ads , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Updated: FOP Endorses McDonnell, GOP Ticket

The Virginia chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed former attorney general Bob McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, this morning at a news conference on Capitol Square in Richmond. The group represents more than 8,000 local, state and federal law enforcement officials and lodges across Virginia. The FOP also endorsed McDonnell's running mates, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who is running for re-election against Jody Wagner, and attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli, who faces Steve Shannon. There were signs that Democrat Creigh Deeds may have trouble securing the FOP endorsement as early as last week when he gave the FOP and another group representing state public safety employees differing answers about whether he supports collective bargaining for law enforcement personnel. McDonnell won the FOP endorsement when he ran against Deeds for attorney general in 2005. In recent elections, the FOP has generally endorsed Republicans in statewide races, including Jerry...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 24, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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First Click -- Virginia

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009 Good morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today. For the fourth year in a row, Forbes.com has ranked Virginia the best place in the country to do business. It's good news for the state, coming on the heels of word that the unemployment rate has dipped and the Commonwealth now has the lowest rate of people out of work of any large state. It's also good news for Democratic candidates for office, who have used the Forbes accolade as proof that Democratic leadership has been good for the state's economy and the candidates took little time to crow. Not persuaded: The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, which Wednesday endorsed Republican Bob McDonnell for governor. The chamber says they believe McDonnell would be more likely to spark private sector growth. The Chamber slammed Deeds for not putting forward a specific funding proposal for transportation....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 24, 2009; 7:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Bill Bolling , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , First Click , Jody Wagner , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Kaine Responds to Joe "You Lie" Wilson

Gov. Tim Kaine sent out an email to supporters this afternoon encouraging them to donate money to Virginia Democrats looking to win three statewide races and pick up seats in the House of Delegates. No surprise that he mentions Bob McDonnell's thesis. But he also pays particular attention to the House, where Speaker Bill Howell and the Republicans are looking to hold onto their six-seat majority. After all, just yesterday, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson sent out a fundraising letter for Howell. Yes, that Joe Wilson -- the same one who yelled "You lie!" while President Obama addressed Congress on healthcare. Wilson happens to be the Republican flavor of the month and Howell is pulling out all the stops to hold onto their majority, and possibly gain a few seats. Here's what Kaine has to say about it: "Today, I woke to find that the Speaker of the House in Virginia...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 23, 2009; 6:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Wilder Watch Continues

It turns out Democrat Creigh Deeds wasn't the only one who met with former governor L. Douglas Wilder this week. Republican Bob McDonnell had a face-to-face meeting with Wilder yesterday -- a day after Deeds, several sources say. Both men are hoping to score an endorsement from the nation's first elected black governor. Wilder said this morning that he would not make any announcement today, but would release something by the end of the week. Remember, that doesn't mean he will actually endorse anyone this week. He may just issue a statement about what he is looking for in a candidate. This is Wilder we are talking about, after all. McDonnell and Wilder, who have had a good working relationship for years, met for lunch in downtown Richmond back in May, and have spoken regularly since then. It's unclear which of them set up yesterday's meeting. Tucker Martin, a McDonnell...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 23, 2009; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Fairfax Chamber Asks Deeds: What Transportation Plan?

Fairfax Chamber of Commerce officials had some harsh words for Democrat Creigh Deeds in explaining their endorsement today of Republican Bob McDonnell in the Virginia governor's race. On a conference call with reporters this afternoon, they faulted Deeds for not having a plan to ease traffic congestion in Northern Virginia. "It was disappointing when we met with Creigh Deeds that not only didn't he have a plan, he also said he was not in favor of using any general fund money for transportation,'' said lawyer Stuart Mendelsohn, chamber chairman. "He objected to even using bonds for transportation and I don't know how you are going to do any of this without bonds." McDonnell's "plan is working toward a solution, whereas Mr. Deeds has not proposed a plan, and we had no way of really comparing what the two had to say,'' said Fran Fisher, chairwoman of the NOVABizPAC, the chamber's...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 23, 2009; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Virginia Notebook: Young Women, Meet Young Bob McDonnell

If you live in Virginia and you're planning to vote for governor in November, if you happen to be between ages 18 and 44 and you also just happen to be a woman, gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds has something he'd like to talk to you about. It has to do with a certain graduate school thesis written by Deeds's opponent, Robert F. McDonnell, in 1989. In the document, McDonnell wrote about how to use public policy to strengthen the traditional family and said that working women and feminism were "detrimental" to the family. McDonnell has said that some of his views have changed since he wrote the paper and cited his working wife and daughters as proof that he does, indeed, support women in the workforce. But Deeds launched an ad blitz this week to publicize the issue, some featuring Virginia women looking straight into the camera and insisting...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 23, 2009; 4:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Virginia Notebook  
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Shannon On the Air

Steve Shannon, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, debuted two television ads this week describing his plans to be tough on sexual predators if he's elected attorney general. According to the most recent campaign finance reports, Shannon holds a more than two-to-one financial advantage over his opponent, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, with $1.6 million in the bank compared to Cuccinelli's $752,000. Shannon has decided to start spending it with a television ad buy in Hampton Roads, Richmond, Roanoke and the Abingdon/Bristol market, as well as a cable buy in Northern Virginia. In the new ads, Shannon touts his background as a prosecutor and his role creating Virginia's AMBER Alert system. He promises to be tough on sexual predators, Internet criminals and gang leaders who recruit children. We all know that the attorney general's office is mostly about providing legal advice to state government and defending state laws in court. But according...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 23, 2009; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Amy Gardner , Campaign Ads , Election 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli , Steve Shannon  
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Warner Rallies Staff at Deeds HQ

Governor-turned-senator Mark Warner stopped by Democrat Creigh Deeds' headquarters in Alexandria unannounced this morning. The goal? Rally the troops as they head into the final six weeks of the grueling governor's race. Warner came armed with a couple dozen donuts, a box of joe from Dunkin' Donuts and, of course, a pep talk for the 40 or so staffers who were present -- many of them who had worked for him last year (including campaign manager Joe Abbey). Warner, arguably the state's most popular politican, told the crowd that they had all been through successful races before, and they could do it again. "There'll be plenty of time to sleep afterward,'' said Warner, in shirtsleeves. Warner, accompanied by spokesman Kevin Hall who has been helping Deeds off and on, then raced to Capitol Hill, where he was helping to organize floor speches on healthcare by the 10 freshmen Democratic senators....

By Anita Kumar  |  September 23, 2009; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Mark Warner  
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GOP Group Donates $200,000 to Cuccinelli

The Republican State Leadership Committee, which calls itself the nation's largest caucus of GOP state leaders, donated $200,000 Wednesday to attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli. The group has contributed $515,000 to Virginia candidates this election cycle, including more than $90,000 to the state Republican party. "Ken Cuccinelli is a common-sense conservative who understands that a competitive Virginia, with state government officials who will keep tax and regulatory burdens low, will allow individuals and businesses to prosper," 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. Virginia changed its campaign finance reporting law after the RSLC gave Bob McDonnell more than $2 million in his 2005 race for attorney general against Creigh Deeds. At the time, the group did not...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 23, 2009; 1:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Moran to Hit the Trail for Deeds

On the day after the June Democratic primary, gubernatorial nominee also-rans Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran both promised to do whatever they could to get victor Creigh Deeds elected in November. McAuliffe's activities have been clear in recent weeks -- he's been sending his supporters a series of e-mails and personally donated $25,000 to Deeds. And Moran? After a summer spent resting and recovering in Maine, expect to see him on the trail starting Friday, when he will appear on Deeds's behalf. Moran will serve as Deeds's surrogate at the 8th Congressional District's Kennedy/King Dinner, as the Deeds campaign begins to lean on Moran to help boost turnout in the Democratic strongholds of Arlington and Alexandria....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 23, 2009; 12:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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Move Over Oprah -- It's the Deeds Book Club

Next week, Democratic candidate for governor Creigh Deeds is asking supporters to organize "book clubs" around the state. The book under discussion? You've got it. Republican Bob McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis. In an e-mail being sent to supporters today, lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner asks that supporters get together in homes around the state with a full copy of the thesis. (You can read it here.) "The Deeds campaign is getting the word out on TV, but that's no substitute for real person-to-person interaction within your own communities," Wagner writes. "Bring along a friend or co-worker who has heard the attacks being thrown towards Creigh on TV and has questions about this race. Each party will include full copies of Bob's thesis so that you can read for yourself exactly what he wrote." House parties are a tried and true method of using word-of-mouth, neighbor-to-neighbor connections to drive up excitement...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 23, 2009; 12:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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House Call: Slicin' and Dicin' the Sept. 15 Reports

Hello, politicos! Welcome to this week's installment of House Call, in which we take a quick look at the state of money in various House races. Last week, we talked of three incumbent Democrats in Northern Virginia being targeted by Republicans. This week, we know that two of these Democrats still squarely hold the financial advantage. The conventional wisdom this fall is that, as a result of the economic downturn and concern about a variety of federal issues such as health care reform, Republicans have an opportunity even in Northern Virginia this year to pick up seats in the House of Delegates. The latest reports, however, show that it's always hard to overcome the financial advantage of being an incumbent. And what does this mean for you and me? Mail. Lots of it. Democrat Chuck Caputo in the 67th District in western Fairfax and eastern Loudoun wrapped up summer with...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 23, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009  
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UPDATED: Fairfax Chamber Endorses McDonnell

The political arm of the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce is expected to endorse Republican Bob McDonnell this morning in the Virginia governor's race. The chamber represents more than 700 member companies and an influential voting bloc in the all-important, vote-rich region of Northern Virginia. As we told you last week, some business groups that have supported Democrats in recent years have not warmed to Democrat Creigh Deeds this year. Instead, many of them are supporting McDonnell who has pledged to create jobs, fix roads, keep taxes and regulation low and protect Virginia's right-to-work laws. In recent weeks, he has been endorsed by groups that represent small businesses, credit unions, Realtors and farmers. We will provide you with more details when they become available later this morning. Update: The annoucement came via press release at 9:30 a.m. "Mr. McDonnell earned the support of NOVABizPAC because of his overall stronger support for...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 23, 2009; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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First Click -- Virginia

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009 Good morning, Virginians! Here's what's happening in the political universe today. Republican Robert F. McDonnell and Democrat R. Creigh Deeds campaigned in the same room at different times twice on Tuesday, first before a group of IT workers in Williamsburg and later at Virginia Union University in Richmond. In Williamsburg, McDonnell levied tough criticism at the beleaguered Virginia Information Technologies Agency, and in Richmond, both candidates pointedly courted the black voters in the room. Deeds published an op-ed piece in today's Washington Post titled "My Transportation Plan," in which he states perhaps in his most direct manner yet his willingness to raise taxes to pay for road improvements across Virginia. ("I'll sign a bipartisan bill with a dedicated funding mechanism for transportation -- even if it includes new taxes.") It's the day of columns, apparently; Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling penned a piece for Bob Holsworth's blog...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 23, 2009; 6:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Election 2009  
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Deeds, McDonnell Court the Black Vote

Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell wooed the all-important African-American vote at a candidate's forum tonight at historically black Virginia Union University in Richmond. Deeds and McDonnell each answered the same 10 questions about felons' voting rights, minority contracting, abortion and urban issues, while avoiding attacking each other as they spoke in front of hundreds of people. Most of those in attendance seemed to have already made up their minds on who to vote for in November. Many waved campaign signs. The candidates did not appear on stage together due a disagreement about the forum's format. (McDonnell says Deeds refused to stand on stage with him, while Deeds says they never agreed to do that). Deeds handed out campaign brochures with a "message" from President Obama though he didn't mention him much in his remarks. McDonnell talked about Sheila Johnson, a Democrat and co-founder of Black Entertainment Television who...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 22, 2009; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Rep. Joe Wilson Helps Va. GOP. No Lie!

It turns out U.S. Rep. Joe "You Lie!" Wilson has some interest in Virginia politics. Wilson e-mailed a fundraiser appeal Tuesday on behalf of the Dominion Leadership Trust political action committee, the PAC organized by House Speaker Bill Howell in 2002 to support Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates. The South Carolina congressman encourages recipients to contribute to the PAC to keep a Republican majority in the House, to counter union money and national support from liberal groups including ACORN and to "send a message to the national Democrats -- Americans won't put up with your big government agenda." It's worth noting that Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell has condemned Wilson's outburst during President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress, citing it as an example of the lack of civility now invading public life. UPDATE: Eric Dell, Wilson's chief of staff, says the congressman sent the...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 22, 2009; 5:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Warner, Chichester Defend 2004 Tax Deal

Woe unto the political candidate who questions 2004. That's what Republican Bob McDonnell did in last week's debate against Creigh Deeds in front of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, when he said the major tax increase of that year was a bad idea. Button pushed. Conference call scheduled. Senators Warner and Chichester, are you on the line? Democrat Mark R. Warner (D) the U.S. senator and former governor, and Republican John H. Chichester, the former state Senate president pro tem, both gladly spoke by telephone to reporters today to defend what they view as their historic stewardship of Virginia's finances five years ago. "What we did in 2004 was not about creating new programs," Warner told a telephone gaggle of reporters this afternoon. "It was not about creating expensive new initiatives. It was about paying our bills." What they did, specifically, was persuade a coalition of business leaders, community...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 22, 2009; 4:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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GOP Candidates Press Dems on Taxes

Last week, Democrat Creigh Deeds said he would consider raising taxes for much-needed road improvements (though he had a little trouble actually saying it) -- something Republican Bob McDonnell has pledged not to do. Now, McDonnell's running mates, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and attorney general hopeful Ken Cuccinelli, are trying to to pin down their Democratic opponents, Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon, on the sticky issue of taxes and whether they agree with the man at the top of their ticket. "Today I am asking Jody Wagner to state in clear terms to the people of Virginia whether or not she supports Creigh Deeds' plan to raise taxes to pay for transportation," Bolling said. "The voters deserve a simple 'yes or no' to this fundamental question." "Will he or won't he stand with Creigh Deeds in support of higher taxes?" Cuccinelli said.. Bolling and Cuccinelli are touting their "strong" records...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 22, 2009; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Jody Wagner , Ken Cuccinelli , Steve Shannon  
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Shannon Hits the Airwaves

Steve Shannon, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, went up on statewide TV today with a positive commercial, "Focused," that touts his background as a prosecutor and talks about what he would do as the state's top cop. Shannon faces Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who has yet to go on air....

By Anita Kumar  |  September 22, 2009; 11:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009  
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Updated: Wilder Watch on Deeds Endorsement Goes On

As promised, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds did indeed meet with former governor L. Douglas Wilder yesterday, meeting with him for more than an hour to discuss the gubernatorial race in what Wilder termed "a very nice conversation." Unlike during a previous such confab, Wilder says this time Deeds did, formally, ask if he would endorse his candidacy for governor. And Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), chairman of the national Democratic party, called shortly after the meeting to appeal for the same thing, adding his voice to that of the president of the United States....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 22, 2009; 11:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Updated: Shannon Mum on Hamilton At Meeting

The most vocal critical of Republican Del. Phil Hamilton -- by far -- has been his Democratic House colleague Steve Shannon. Shannon, who is running for attorney general, was the first to call for Hamilton's resignation, is airing radio ads about him and talks about him frequently on the stump. But yesterday Shannon attended a House Appropriations meeting, alongside Hamilton, and had a chance to publicly call into question whether Hamilton should continue to serve on the House's most powerful committee -- and he said nothing. It was the first committee meeting since the release of emails showing that Hamilton worked to get a job with Old Dominion University while securing state money for the school. He is under federal investigation. Democratic leaders who do not serve on appropriations -- Ward Armstrong and Ken Plum --sent out a statement calling for House Speaker Bill Howell to remove Hamilton from the...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 22, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009  
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First Click -- Virginia

Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009 Happy Autumn, Virginia! And Happy Season of the Television Ad Blitz. Democrat Creigh Deeds is off to the races with, count 'em, three new TV spots -- two of them hitting Republican Bob McDonnell on his graduate school thesis, and the third showcasing Deeds's supreme comfort in the rolling farmland of Bath County. The blitz tells us that Deeds is staking his campaign on recent polling information showing that McDonnell's thesis, which criticizes the role of working women on families, is a potential dealbreaker for voters, especially women -- if only he can reach them. It also makes clear that this race is going to be a mudfest from this day forward. Expect McDonnell not to sit back for too long; that same polling data shows the Republican with an advantage among voters when it comes to dealing with the economy, transportation and the state budget...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 22, 2009; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Lt. Gov. Debate Canceled Following Rules Dispute

One of only two debates in the race for lieutenant governor this year has been canceled after campaigns for incumbent Republican Bill Bolling and challenger Democrat Jody Wagner could not agree over debate rules. No shock here: The Wagner camp is blaming Bolling, the Bolling camp is blaming Wagner, and organizers with host group the Prince William 100 say both campaigns were very good to work with and that they think neither is to blame. Here's what happened, according to Prince William 100 program chairwoman Michelle Trenum. The two campaigns agreed some time ago to participate in a debate this Thursday. Since then, there have been a variety of discussions and negotiations over the debate's format and rules. About a week or two ago, the Bolling campaign came forward to ask that the debate rules include what is known as a "no-use" agreement, which bars both campaigns from using video...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 21, 2009; 4:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman  
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Democrats' Press Call Goes Awry with Mudcat's Candor

Oops. This afternoon, what was billed as a press call to slam former congressman Tom Davis (R) for allegedly anti-rural remarks turned into an all-too-candid strategy session, courtesy of David "Mudcat" Saunders. The longtime Democratic operative apparently wasn't told by party officials or the campaign of gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds (D) that it was in fact a press call, rather than an internal chat about strategy. So for several minutes, Saunders spoke rather colorfully and indelicately about his indignation over Davis' recent comments and about how they could be leveraged to help Deeds. He noted that the remarks might better be spun as anti-working-person, rather than anti-rural, because "From what I've seen up in Northern Virginia, they don't give a damn if people talk s*** about us." And in trying to explain that the comments might also be offensive to those with rural roots who live in Northern Virginia,...

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  September 21, 2009; 4:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar , Thomas M. Davis III  
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Deeds, McDonnell Attend Fundraisers Tonight

Both candidates for governor will be trying to raise some money tonight. Republican Bob McDonnell will attend a fundraiser with Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and possible presidential hopeful, at the offices of the American Gas Association in the District. About 100 people are scheduled to attend the fundraiser, which is expected to bring in about $100,000. The fundraiser prompted a response from the Democratic National Committee, which has been critical of Romney and McDonnell in recent days. "I suppose if Mitt Romney's trying to burnish his right wing credentials to make up for the credibility gap with his party's base that his serial flip-flopping has earned him, embracing a candidate so extreme that he believes that women shouldn't work outside the home, victims of rape and incest should be denied medical options, and even married adults should not have access to contraception, is a good way to go," DNC...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 21, 2009; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Updated: Deeds Unveils News Ads on Thesis

Democrat Creigh Deeds hits the airwaves today with two hard-hitting new TV ads that attack Republican Bob McDonnell on his 20-year-old thesis and social issues, including abortion. Updated: McDonnell's campaign responds: "With only six weeks to go until election day, it's disappointing that Mr. Deeds continues to wage these negative and false attacks against Bob McDonnell,'' said Crystal Camerson, a McDonnell spokeswoman. "This is just another example of how desperate he is to rally his own base. It's no surprise Mr. Deeds doesn't want to talk about himself --- he has no plan for transportation, supports a cap and trade scheme that will kill Virginia jobs, bragged about being the biggest spender in Richmond, and has said he will a partner for big labor after accepting millions in campaign contributions."...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 21, 2009; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Wilder: Obama Made a Pitch for Deeds

Former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder says he received a call directly from President Obama about three weeks ago to discuss a variety of issues, but, top among them, was the Virginia governor's race. Wilder said the call was confidential and he would not reveal his exact back and forth with the president, whom Wilder strongly supported last year. But, he said, Obama made clear that he would like the former Democratic governor to get off the fence and endorse Democrat Creigh Deeds. "I'll just say he called and made his position known and made it clear, he's a Democrat, Mr. Deeds is a Democrat and obviously, the president would like to see a Democratic victory," Wilder said....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 21, 2009; 9:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Union Sends Mailers for Deeds

First, we told you how labor unions are pouring money into Democrat Creigh Deeds's bank account. Then, how they started making recorded calls to potential voters. Now come the mailers. The Virginia AFL-CIO has started mailing campaign brochures to potential voters on Deeds' behalf. Mailers have been received in Richmond, and possibly other locations across the state. One side of the mailer features a photo of former governor Mark Warner and says: "Eight years ago Mark Warner put Virginia on the road to prosperity. Only Creigh Deeds will keep Virginia moving forward." On the flip side, with a nice photo of Deeds and a not-so-flattering picture of Republican Bob McDonnell, the mailer claims that Deeds voted to accept $125 million in federal money for Virginia's unemployed workers while McDonnell opposed it. "In difficult economic times like these, it's more important than ever to continue the common sense policies started by...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 21, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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First Click -- Virginia

Happy Monday, Virginia politicos! Oh, and Happy Last Day of Summer. Only 43 days to go until Election Day -- and, yes, we're counting. It was a relatively quiet post-Labor Day weekend for our gubernatorial contenders, with Democrat Creigh Deeds sweeping through central Virginia and Republican Bob McDonnell campaigning Sunday at the Redskins season opener in Landover. McDonnell's wife, Maureen, relived her days as a Redskinette by hitting Fedex Field for a cheerleader reunion and a little dancing to Michael Jackson. The big news was yet another poll (our own this time) showing that Deeds has narrowed McDonnell's summertime lead, due largely to gains among independent women in Northern Virginia. The poll indicates significant effects of the publication of McDonnell's controversial graduate school thesis, but it also shows that the Republican remains for many voters the better choice to contend with the economy, transportation, taxes and the state budget. In...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 21, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2009  
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More on All-Important Business Support

On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that Democrat R. Creigh Deeds is struggling to make the sale with Virginia business leaders. One detail in that story worth fleshing out is how Deeds and McDonnell have done in the area of campaign contributions. Thanks as always to David Poole and the Virginia Public Access Project for their outstanding compilation of donor data and a big assist on this analysis in particular. We started with a baseline of all those donors who have given to both Democrat Mark R. Warner and Republican Tom Davis, two politicians with a long history of popularity with the state's business community, particularly the high-tech corridor of Northern Virginia. We then looked at how those donors performed through Election Day in 2005 -- and how they're behaving so far this year. Here's what we found:...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 20, 2009; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Scary Music Award: Cuccinelli

State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for attorney general from Fairfax County, wins the Scary Music Award this week for a new Web ad he is circulating linking his Democratic opponent, Steve Shannon, to ACORN, the troubled liberal political action group. In the ad, Cuccinelli slams Shannon for remaining silent about ACORN'S substantial troubles (including the embezzlement of nearly $1 million by a top officer as well as a video capturing two people posing as a prostitute and pimp receive counseling from ACORN workers that could help them evade federal tax laws). The ad also hits Shannon for receiving money from the powerful Service Employees International Union, which also has given money to ACORN. "SEIU, ACORN, Steve Shannon: A trio Virginia can't afford to put in power," the narrator says. Shannon's campaign manager, Mike Henry, quickly put out an email to supporters making fun of Cuccinelli's ad and comparing...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 20, 2009; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli  
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Fack Checker: McDonnell and School Funding

For some time now, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D) has been bashing Robert F. McDonnell, his Republican opponent in the governor's race, for his stance on school funding. Deeds and fellow Democrats accuse McDonnell of wanting to raid K-12 education funding to fix the transportation mess in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. In a press release earlier this month, the Deeds campaign said McDonnell "has pledged to take $5.4 billion from our schools to pay for roads." Deeds made similar claims in an Aug. 21 speech at George Mason University and again at Wednesday's debate sponsored by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce in McLean....

By Anne Bartlett  |  September 20, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Governor's Race Fact Checker , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Fredrick Kunkle , Robert F. McDonnell , Transportation  
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The Week in Review, the Week Ahead

LAST WEEK the governor's race came to Northern Virginia in a big way. R. Creigh Deeds (D) and Robert F. McDonnell (R) clashed at their second debate of the general election, sparring on a wide range of issues -- from health care to transportation -- in front of business leaders in Northern Virginia, and leaving the chattering classes with plenty to talk about afterward. Pundits picked apart the response Deeds delivered when the moderator, David Gregory, asked him, "Are you an Obama Democrat?" Deeds replied that he was "A Creigh Deeds Democrat." Deeds's critics also reveled in the Democrat's misstep on taxes, when he said he would not raise them but immediately added that he would find new funding for transportation. And McDonnell continued to respond to questions about his graduate school thesis and how his views have changed since he wrote that working mothers and feminists were detrimental to...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  September 20, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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