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Virginia Politics Blog: September 27, 2009 - October 3, 2009

Kaine Responds to Transportation Criticism

Gov. Tim Kaine said today that he was "completely surprised' that the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee sent him a blunt letter accusing him of being slow in spending the state's share of federal stimulus money for transportation. "Look, do you want to spend it fast or do you want to spend it best?" Kaine said in an interview. "We're going to spend it best." U.S. Rep. James Oberstar wrote in a letter yesterday that Virginia had started construction on only about 17 percent of millions of dollars worth of transportation projects -- making the state last in the nation to spend its money. Kaine blamed the ranking on the White House and Congress using two different ways to report spending. Virginia, he said, is following the administration's guideline. "This House committee is doing their own analysis and they do it differently,'' Kaine said. "It...

By Anita Kumar  |  October 3, 2009; 6:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Deeds Country Comes to Richmond

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds received a warm welcome at the annual Second Street Festival this afternoon in the historically black neighborhood of Jackson Ward in Richmond. The event -- known by locals as the Two Street Festival or the Deuce -- was truly Deeds Country. The predominately African American crowd gathered around Deeds, dressed casually in khakis and a polo shirt, to shake his hand, snap his picture, wish him luck. Most were wearing blue Deeds stickers. There were no McDonnell stickers in sight. "I think you're going to win,'' one man yelled over the crowd. "Governor! I'm going to call you governor already!" another man said as he reached out to grab his hand. Deeds was accompanied by Gov. Tim Kaine, a festival regular since 1995, and most of the city's African American leaders, including Mayor Dwight Jones, Del. Jennifer McClellan and Sens. Don McEachin and Henry Marsh....

By Anita Kumar  |  October 3, 2009; 5:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Steve Shannon , Timothy M. Kaine  
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A McCain-McDonnell Event on the Horizon?

Will Arizona senator and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain be headlining a rally for gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell sometime soon? Maybe. While shaking hands at a fall festival in Manassas today, McDonnell told a voter that McCain would be holding a veteran's rally for him. But asked about McCain shortly after, McDonnell sounded less certain. He said McCain, who held a fundraiser for McDonnell back in March, told him months ago he was interested in holding an rally for veterans, likely in Hampton Roads, but there is no date. "I know we were working on that," he said. He promised his staff would be back in touch to provide the "straight scoop" on any event. "I must have misspoken on that," he added....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 3, 2009; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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RNC Survey Suggests Draft, Welfare Expansion Are on 'Obama Agenda'

Cross-posted from 44. The Republican National Committee has sent Virginia voters a questionnaire suggesting that the president and Congressional Democrats want to expand welfare benefits with "no time, education or work requirements" and re-institute the military draft -- all while raising the budget deficit well beyond what is projected by nonpartisan experts. The fundraising survey, received this week by a Post reporter who lives in Northern Virginia, is called the RNC "2009 Obama Agenda Survey" and comes as less than a month remains in the hard-fought gubernatorial race between Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Robert McDonnell for control of the swing-state. The survey on an array of divisive hot-button topics was accompanied by a letter from GOP chairman Michael Steele describing the items in the survey questions as "Obama's top priorities" and declaring, "I want you to know that the Republican Party is not dead."...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  October 3, 2009; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009  
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Democratic Congressman Criticizes Kaine

In a stern letter today, U.S. Rep. James Oberstar, chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, criticized Gov. Tim Kaine for being slow in spending the state's share of federal stimulus money for transportation. In Virginia, construction has started on about 17 percent of the millions of dollars worth of transportation projects -- making the state last in the nation to spend its money. Oberstar sent a letter to states that were slow to spend their money in August, urging them to do so immediately "to create and sustain family-wage jobs" to help the nation recover from the worst recession since the 1930s. Some states moved quickly in starting projects. "Regrettably, Virginia is not among these states,'' Oberstar wrote. "Based on the state progress reports submitted to the committee in September 2009, Virginia has fallen behind other states in putting to work its Recovery Act highway formula funds." This...

By Anita Kumar  |  October 2, 2009; 9:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Schweitzer: Dems Have Better Shot in New Jersey

The head of the Democratic Governors Association suggested Friday that Democrats would have a better shot at winning the governor's race in New Jersey than in Virginia, although he said the revelation of Republican Robert F. McDonnell's controversial thesis could hurt the GOP in the commonwealth. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said in an interview that Democrat R. Creigh Deeds is "a good candidate," but was more laudatory of Gov. Jon S. Corzine's campaign in New Jersey. Schweitzer believed Corzine would win re-election despite many public polls showing the Democratic incumbent lagging behind Republican Chris Christie. In Virginia, Schweitzer said McDonnell's graduate thesis detailing his conservative social views shows him as "out of step with most of Virginia." "Creigh Deeds is a good candidate, he'd be a strong governor and he's building his coalition in the way that he sees fit," said Schweitzer, who was in Washington this week for a...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  October 2, 2009; 8:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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New Deeds Ad: Elections Matter"

Democrat Creigh Deeds has been the star of the most recent Republican ads in the governor's race. Now Deeds is making Republican Bob McDonnell the star of his most recent spot. This ad is designed to the be exclamation point on the Deeds argument that social issues have been the driving force in McDonnell's public career, using footage of McDonnell telling the National Right to Life Committee last year that elections are important because they determine whether pro-life lawmakers reach office. The Deeds campaign says it will air statewide from now until Nov. 3. Watch the ad here:...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 2, 2009; 4:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Campaign Ads , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Two New McDonnell Ads Are Up . . .

... and boy, are they tough. The first, called "Trust," shows a series of women defending Republican Bob McDonnell's record of working with women and advocating on behalf of women and children. The second, called "Reality TV," mirrors the new Republican Governors Association piece that shows video of Democrat Creigh Deeds answering questions last month after the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce debate about whether he would raise taxes. It features a starring role for Washington Post columnist Bob McCartney. One interesting note about "Trust" is that McDonnell's campaign did what Deeds refused to do when the Democrat launched an ad of women criticizing McDonnell: He provided the names and affiliations of the women in the spot. All are current or past co-workers of McDonnell's who are supporting him for governor. Another interesting note about "Trust" is that it sure seems like the McDonnell campaign is placing new emphasis on...

By Amy Gardner  |  October 2, 2009; 1:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Campaign Ads , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Cuccinelli and Shannon Go At It

A contender for Best Debate of the Year wrapped up on WTOP radio, where Mark Plotkin moments ago finished moderating a slugfest between Republican state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli and Democratic state Del. Steve Shannon, the two candidates for Virginia attorney general. Cuccinelli came out of the starting blocks by hammering Shannon during his opening remarks for agreeing to only two debates. Ahem ... one wonders how much this matters to listeners, but we're grateful for the feisty and entertaining tone that the Republican's opening remarks set. Shannon went after Cuccinelli for his "strict constructionist" philosophy of interpreting the Constitution and suggested that Cuccinelli would not uphold laws pertaining to abortion rights because he doesn't believe that Roe v. Wade is constitutional. Cuccinelli said that while it's true he would not defend unconstitutional laws, it wouldn't apply in cases where courts have already weighed in. Cuccinelli continued: "You mean you would...

By Amy Gardner  |  October 2, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Amy Gardner , Election 2009  
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The Fix: RGA Plays Hole Card Against Deeds

Cross-posted from The Fix. In a move we've been waiting on for several weeks, the Republican Governors Association is using footage of Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D) fumbling his way through an answer on whether he would raise taxes in a new blitz of television advertising aimed at critical northern Virginia voters. The ad excerpts comments Deeds made in the aftermath of a Sept. 17 debate in a impromptu press conference with reporters in which he appears to argue simultaneously that he will not raise taxes and that all options to fund transportation improvements are on the table. (Note to candidates: DO NOT hold press availabilities after debates. Risk of stepping on message: High.) It's well worth watching: The the full post at The Fix....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  October 2, 2009; 10:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009  
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First Click -- Virginia

Fri., Oct. 2, 2009 Happy Friday! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today. With a new push in Northern Virginia, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell and his friends at the Republican Governors Association are now airing twice as many ads than Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds, even counting ads run by the Virginia Education Association. The Democratic Governors Association spent millions in the spring trying to tarnish McDonnell while the Dems were fighting it out before the June primary. Was that a mistake? Will Gov. Tim Kaine let his DNC be outspent by the RNC? Will President Obama let that happen? Talk to us Nov. 4. At a forum attended by a who's who of Virginia politics, both Deeds and McDonnell endorsed awarding tens of thousands of new college degrees in future years. Neither said much about how they would pay for that....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 2, 2009; 7:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , First Click , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Timothy M. Kaine  
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RPV Blasts Deeds for GOP-Backed Bill

The Republican Party of Virginia held a conference call this afternoon with physicians Del. John O'Bannon and delegate candidate Chris Stolle, as well several other doctors, to slam Democrat Creigh Deeds for sponsoring a 1999 bill that would have raised Virginia's cap on medical malpractice settlements from $1 million to $3 million. "During our last real malpractice crisis, to triple the cap is just real bad judgment," O'Bannon said. But here's something kind of interesting about that bill: Though co-sponsored by Deeds and then-delegate, now Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman C. Richard Cranwell, its chief sponsor was Republican Del. Terry Kilgore, brother of the GOP's last gubernatorial nominee, and himself a possible future Republican candidate for Congress....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 1, 2009; 5:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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NVTC Endorses Shannon, NRA Back Cuccinelli

We told you earlier that the Northern Virginia Technology Council endorsed Republican Bob McDonnell for governor. Now the group is also supporting Democrat Steve Shannon for attorney general. NVTC, the largest council of technology companies in the nation, has about 1,000 member companies representing more than 200,000 employees and is considered one of the premier business groups in the region. "As attorney general, Shannon will be a strong partner with the private sector to ensure we have the legal framework, critical infrastructure, and public policies in place to support Northern Virginia's status as a global technology center," said Dendy Young, TechPAC chairman and chairman and chief executive of McLean Capital LLC. Two days ago, Shannon received the endorsement of the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, which also backs McDonnell. Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association backed his Republican rival Ken Cuccinelli. "Ken Cuccinelli has been a leader in the Virginia State Senate...

By Anita Kumar  |  October 1, 2009; 5:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli , Steve Shannon  
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Robert McCartney's Scorecard: Bob Ads Up a Win

Post columnist Robert McCartney is judging the Virginia governor's race candidates, tallying the blows week by week until the Nov. 3 election. Here's his analysis of the past week: "It was a slow week with both candidates busy raising money before a Wednesday deadline, and I was tempted to declare a draw. But McDonnell wins by a hair, as it emerges that his side is putting out more advertising, partly because of support from outside groups such as the Republican Governors Association. The Republican also steadily picked up endorsements, including that of the Northern Virginia Technology Council. (Deeds got the Police Benevolent Association.) The latest polls aren't statistically reliable, but for what it's worth, they all still have McDonnell in the lead." Check out how McCartney has scored the race so far....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  October 1, 2009; 4:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Campaign Ads , Election 2009  
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Environmental Groups Back Deeds

Put this one into the rather large and growing file of not-very-surprising endorsements: the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters joined today to endorse Democrat Creigh Deeds for governor. They noted Deeds has received an 86 percent on the LCV's legislative scorecard; Republican Bob McDonnell got an 18 percent. They praised Deeds for his work preserving rural land in Virginia and said they believed he was better-positioned to help Virginia become a leader in alternative energy technologies. And they slammed McDonnell's transportation as relying on a "false promise" of future oil drilling revenues. "Creigh Deeds is going to work for a common sense solution on that rather than offering false promises that do nothing but dig us in deeper," said Lisa Guthrie, executive director of the Virginia LCV....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 1, 2009; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Biden to Headline Deeds Fundraiser

Details are starting to emerge about Vice President Joe Biden's work for Creigh Deeds on Oct. 8. Biden will be headlining a Deeds fundraiser at a private home in Alexandria that morning. According to an invitation for the event, tickets for a special host reception go for $2,400 a person, and general reception tickets will cost $1,000 a head. The event will be held at the home of Shaista and Rafat Mahmood. Rafat Mahmood's an investor who originally supported Brian Moran for the Democratic nomination. Biden previously hosted a Deeds fundraiser at a Richmond home....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 1, 2009; 2:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Joe Biden , Rosalind Helderman  
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Updated: Northern Virginia Tech Group to Endorse McDonnell

Republican Bob McDonnell picked up the support today of the Northern Virginia Technology Council's PAC -- marking his second major business endorsement in the all-important vote-rich region. The political arm of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce endorsed McDonnell over Democrat Creigh Deeds last week. The NVTC has about 1,000 member companies representing more than 200,000 employees and is considered one of the premier business groups in the region. The TechPAC board voted to endorse McDonnell after interviewing both candidates this week and examining their voting records on issues of importance to Northern Virginia's technology community. "The trustees determined that Bob McDonnell is a strong leader with specific proposals to ensure Virginia remains a competitive and innovative global technology center," said Dendy Young, TechPAC chairman and CEO of McLean Capital. "McDonnell has a consistent history of working closely with our technology industry and will build on his record of developing...

By Anita Kumar  |  October 1, 2009; 1:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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GOP Governors Group Features Deeds in New Ad

It's never a good thing for a candidate when he is the star of the video clips used in campaign ads by the other side. But as soon as the media scrum concluded after the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce debate, it was pretty obvious that Republicans would be using footage of Creigh Deeds's bumbling answer on taxes for transportation in an ad sometime soon. And now they have. The Republican Governors Association will spend $1.7 million over the next three weeks to air "Deeds Uncut" in Northern Virginia. Also featured prominently in the ad is our colleague Bob McCartney, pressing Deeds on taxes. Watch the ad here....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 1, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Campaign Ads , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Shannon Receives $225K Boost

The Democratic Attorneys General Association donated $225,000 to Steve Shannon, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks campaign donations in the state. The group gave Shannon $25,000 in May and an additional $50,000 in August. It is by far his largest contributor. The latest donation came Wednesday, the final day of the one-month reporting period, when candidates are scrambling to raise every last cent. As of Aug. 31, Shannon had a two-to-one financial advantage over Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who faced two Republicans to win his party's nomination. Shannon had $1.6 million compared with Cuccinelli's $750,000, according to VPAP....

By Anita Kumar  |  October 1, 2009; 11:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli , Steve Shannon  
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First Click -- Virginia

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 Good morning! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today. We hope everyone really lurves those campaign ads. For those of us in Northern Virginia, the pace is picking up significantly today, as a big three-week, $1.7 million blitz by the Republican Governors Association for Bob McDonnell hits the airwaves. McDonnell joins Democrat Creigh Deeds, Gov. Tim Kaine and others today at a forum to discuss higher education organized by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council. Post columnist Bob McCartney thinks neither gubernatorial candidate has said enough about how they would pay for their ambitious higher ed proposals. Sometime afterward, Deeds heads to North Carolina, where will attend a fundraiser hosted by Gov. Bev Perdue and former longtime Gov. Jim Hunt in downtown Raleigh. McDonnell will tour a charter school in Richmond. Have we mentioned before our reservations about polls that perform automated robo-calling? Right,...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 1, 2009; 7:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , First Click , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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RGA Spends $1.7M on Ads, DGA Donates $500K

The Republican Governors Association plans to spend $1.7 million on TV ads for Bob McDonnell in Northern Virginia starting tomorrow, according to several sources familiar with the ad buy. The RGA has been airing $2 million worth of ads across the state since late August, but this will be the first time the group is spending money in the pricey Washington market. The $1.7 million will pay for ads for the next three weeks. Meanwhile, the Democratic Governors Association wrote Creigh Deeds another check this week -- this one for $250,000. The DGA gave Deeds a total of $500,000 in September on top of $500,000 in June. The DGA has spent more on this year's Virginia governor's race -- $4 million in cash and TV ads -- than any other race in the group's history....

By Anita Kumar  |  September 30, 2009; 8:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Kaine's September Travel

View Kaine's Travel Adventures in a larger map. KEY: Blue markers are DNC trips, red markers are official state trips, and purple markers included a mix of both or are unclear at this time. Gov. Tim Kaine, who serves as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, reported spending all or part of 12 days out-of-state this month, including five trips to Washington. Kaine's office released his travels for September in keeping with his pledge to do so at the end of each month, which was made following pressure by the media and others to disclose his whereabouts. His out-of-state travel included trips to Burlington and Norwich, Vt. (Wed., Sept. 2), Dallas, Brownsville and Austin, Tx. (Wed., Sept. 9-Sat., Sept. 12), New York and Greenwich, Conn. (Mon., Sept. 21-Tues., Sept. 22). He also reported spending part of four weekdays and one Saturday in Washington. Much of the out-of-state travel was likely...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 30, 2009; 5:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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New Deeds Radio Ad for Northern Virginia

Democrat Creigh Deeds has a new radio ad, versions of which will play in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Both are about jobs, education and transportation, slamming Bob McDonnell's plans on the topic and then transitioning to praise for Deeds's proposals. It opens by trying to make McDonnell regret accepting that Chris Wallace invitation to appear on Fox News last weekend. The ad's got a woman and man talking to each other. "So this Bob McDonnell is not all he's cracked up to be..." the woman says to the man. "I know, Fox News just said his jobs and transportation plan just doesn't add up," the man says. And she responds: "Fox News?" Take a listen to the Nova version here:...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 30, 2009; 5:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Campaign Ads , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Virginia Notebook: Wilder Again Plays His Hand Alone

It's one of the most popular parlor games in Virginia politics: guessing who, if anyone, will get former Democratic governor L. Douglas Wilder's endorsement. This year, the game came to a swift end when Wilder announced last week that he would sit out the Virginia governor's race. The decision itself wasn't shocking (he had done the same in prior years), but it was surprising this year considering he had been courted by President Obama and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, his party's national chairman. Wilder said in a lengthy statement that he could not endorse Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in his race over Republican Robert F. McDonnell because Deeds supports a tax increase to pay for road and transit improvements ("This is not the time in our Commonwealth to talk about any kind of tax increase") and boasts a pro-gun record ("I do not see how endorsing a proposal to have...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 30, 2009; 4:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Governor's Race Fact Checker , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe  
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Updated: Is Bolling Criticizing McDonnell, Too?

In recent days, Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has been attacking Democrat Jody Wagner for quitting her job as state finance secretary to run for office. "Ms. Wagner quit to run for higher office, putting her own personal political interests ahead of Virginia's interests and the fulfillment of her responsibilities as Secretary of Finance,'' Bolling wrote in a news release yesterday. Bolling, of course, remained in his part-time job to run for reelection. But wait a minute. His friend and running mate, Bob McDonnell, quit his job as attorney general to run for governor. Is Bolling criticizing McDonnell, too? The folks at the state Democratic Party want to point out this obvious disconnect. ''Do you think Bolling has ever confronted McDonnell about his decision to step down as Virginia's Attorney General to run for governor?'' the party wrote in a news release. "Judging by his willingness to campaign with McDonnell...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 30, 2009; 2:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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AFSCME Drops Another $400K on Deeds

This will brighten Democrat Creigh Deeds fund-raising report for the month: the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees yesterday donated another $400,000 to Deeds' campaign. The national union was already one of Deeds' largest donors, along with the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Governors Association, giving him $500,000 in June. The Republicans will surely use the donation to continue a campaign against Deeds for accepting money from big national unions. But $400,000 is nothing to sneeze at--it almost buys you a week on television in pricey Northern Virginia....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 30, 2009; 1:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman  
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Excerpts: Post Reporters Take Questions on Governor's Race

Washington Post staff writers Amy Gardner and Sandhya Somashekhar were online Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss Virginia politics and the Race to Richmond. See some of their answers to readers' questions below, or read the full transcript. Aldie, Va.: When the Post broke the thesis story, did you detect a shift in Deeds's focus on issues? Aside from social concerns, what issues does Deeds talk about the most on the campaign trail? Amy Gardner: Hello, and thanks for the question. There's no question that Deeds's campaign strategy shifted pretty significantly after the story of the thesis broke on Aug. 30. Certainly his campaign was planning to focus on Bob McDonnell's record of conservatism, particularly on such social issues as abortion and covenant marriage. But since then it's been pretty much a blitz about McDonnell's thesis and the votes he's taken in the General Assembly that have...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  September 30, 2009; 12:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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VPBA Endorses Deeds, Four Years After Backing McDonnell

The Virginia Police Benevolent Association has endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds for governor. The group's announcement comes on the heels of the Fraternal Order of Police's endorsement of Republican Bob McDonnell last week. But the FOP also endorsed McDonnell in 2005 when the two ran against each other for attorney general. The VPBA, on the other hand, is switching teams -- after endorsing McDonnell in 2005, this time the group has gone with Deeds. And, to put an exclamation point on their bipartisan nods, the same group is also backing incumbent Republican Bill Bolling for reelection as lieutenant governor. Deeds Country helpfully notes that McDonnell called the VPBA's endorsement one of the "most important endorsements that a candidate can have" when he received it in 2005. (Full context: McDonnell's quote referred both to the VPBA and the FOP nods in 2005. "These are the most important endorsements that a candidate can...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 30, 2009; 11:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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First Click -- Virginia

Wed., Sept. 30, 2009 Good morning! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today. Remember soccer moms? And security moms? The Virginia election this year is shaping up to be a battle for working moms--and other women--as Democrat Creigh Deeds senses opportunity and makes an explicit appeal to the group that make up 54 percent of registered voters and Republican Bob McDonnell works to defend ground with the group. In the category of the not very surprising, Gov. Linwood Holton, Virginia's first Republican chief executive since reconstruction and, oh yes, Gov. Tim Kaine's father-in-law, endorses Deeds. McDonnell joins Republican attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli to talk mental health....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 30, 2009; 7:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , First Click , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Updated: Police Group Backs Bolling

Four years ago, the Virginia Police Benevolent Association endorsed Democrat Leslie Byrne over Republican Bill Bolling for lieutenant governor. This year, the group is going with Bolling. The PBA, which represents more than 2,000 law enforcement officers in the state, endorsed Bolling today. "Lt. Governor Bolling has demonstrated his support for the issues that are important to law enforcement,'' PBA President Jason Knorowski said. "The Virginia PBA encourages all Virginians to support strong, effective law enforcement by re-electing Bill Bolling as our Lieutenant Governor." The group cited Bolling's support of efforts to increase the number of state-funded local law enforcement positions, increased retirement benefits for law enforcement officers and funding for a task force on internet sexual predators. In his press release, Bolling again criticizes his Democratic opponent, former Secretary of Finance Jody Wagner, for "mismanaging" the state's finances to the point that $150 million has had to be cut...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 29, 2009; 6:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Election 2009  
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Virginia's Regional Divide on the Issues

Our colleagues on the polling team have put up an interesting analysis of perceptions of the Virginia governor's race in Northern Virginia versus the rest of the state in the most recent Washington Post poll on their blog, Behind the Numbers. Take a look here....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 29, 2009; 5:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Polls , Robert F. McDonnell  
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New Deeds Ad: 'Detrimental'

Democrat Creigh Deeds has a new McDonnell thesis-related ad going up in television markets statewide. The new ad begins, "What kind of person writes a thesis calling working women 'detrimental to the family' ... then lies about his opponent to cover up his own record?" I don't think we're supposed to conclude a very good one! As this race gets nastier and nastier, the ad relies heavily on newspaper clips to slam Republican Bob McDonnell as a guy running a deceptive campaign. (In that regards, it's similar to a McDonnell ad that went up last week that makes the same claims about Deeds.) You can watch the new spot here:...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 29, 2009; 3:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Fairfax Chamber Splits Ticket, Endorses Shannon

Democratic candidate for attorney general Steve Shannon said Tuesday that he couldn't say why he picked up the endorsement of the political action committee of the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce when fellow Democrat, gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, did not. Chamber leadership said Shannon won out over opponent Ken Cuccinelli in a vote that required approval of 60 percent of the group's trustees. Shannon was cited as a "go-to" delegate on business issues. "We recognize his hard work in promoting and protecting the interests of our members," said Fran Fisher, chairwoman of the NOVABizPAC. Shannon said he could not answer why such groups are backing his effort but not his ticket mates' and could only say that they have backed him because he's been a "reliable advocate in the House of Delegates."...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 29, 2009; 3:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Updated: McDonnell, Cuccinelli Talk About Mental Health

Republican candidates Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli released their plans to improve mental health care in the state on a conference call today with reporters. The proposal includes improving services for children, adolescents and veterans, allowing people who are receiving in-patient care to transfer to out-patient care with oversight, requiring that temporary detention orders be issued by 72 hours from detention to hearing, encouraging partnerships between schools and mental health providers, providing better care at jails and allowing trained law students to represent willing petitioners with behavioral health issues. "Mental health care is a critically important issue that unfortunately often is overlooked,'" McDonnell said. "We must improve and expand community based mental health care." Read the full plan here Update: Democrats criticize McDonnell and Cuccinelli for supporting a trabsportation plan that they say will divert from the general fund for core services, which could include mental healthcare. "The Republican campaign...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 29, 2009; 12:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Kaine Says He Was Unaware of Paterson Discussions

On what was otherwise a fairly sedate episode of WTOP's monthly "Ask the Governor" segment featuring Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), Mark Plotkin broke in at the last minute to ask Kaine the hardball question of the hour: What did you know about the White House's attempt to persuade New York Gov. David Paterson (D) not to run for his seat next year? Not much, Kaine responded -- though he declined to say whether he supports President Obama's position that Paterson should bow out. By way of background, The New York Times recently reported that President Obama had asked the beleaguered Paterson not to seek a full first term next year, an unusual intervention into state affairs by a president. Plotkin's question was aimed at Kaine because of Kaine's second job as chairman of the Democratic National Committee....

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  September 29, 2009; 11:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Election 2010 , Sandhya Somashekhar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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McDonnell Receives Another Business Endorsement

We told you before that Republican Bob McDonnell is the choice of many of Virginia's business groups -- or at least the groups that endorse in the governor's race. Here's another sign: This morning, McDonnell was endorsed by yet another business group -- this time the Virginia Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, representing more than 600 construction and related companies across the state. "Bob McDonnell is a proven leader with a record of protecting the free enterprise system,'' said Pat Dean, the group's president. "He is the candidate best prepared to get our economy back on track and help Virginia's business owners create great jobs statewide." McDonnell has been endorsed by the Fairfax County and Hampton Roads chambers of commerce as well as groups representing realtors, farmers, credit unions and small businesses....

By Anita Kumar  |  September 29, 2009; 11:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Where Wilder's Deeds Rejection Fits on the Endorsement Scale

According to The Fix, it doesn't -- so he had to adjust. To this list, we add -- in honor of Doug Wilder -- the non-endorsement endorsement, which clocks in between the obligatory endorsement and the pariah endorsement in terms of its influence (or lack thereof). ... Late last week, Wilder not only decided not to endorse Deeds but put out a long statement detailing why he had made that decision. Wilder hit Deeds for his support of a tax increase to pay for transportation improvements ("This is not the time in our Commonwealth to talk about any kind of tax increase," said Wilder) and for his past support for gun rights provisions ("For this situation to exist and for Democrats who lead our party to say nothing is puzzling and inexplicable."). Wilder did add that his decision not to back Deeds was "not intended to detract from Mr. Deeds...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  September 29, 2009; 11:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009  
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Former Gov. Holton Endorses Deeds

Former Virginia Gov. Linwood Holton, who in the 1960s became the first Republican elected to statewide office since Reconstruction, endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds this morning. The nod was not exactly a surprise -- Holton is Gov. Tim Kaine's father-in-law and has been backing Democrats for office for a while now. Holton lives in Richmond, but the campaign chose the Clarendon Metro stop as the location for a press conference on the announcement -- all the better to get on D.C. area television to talk about, what else, transportation....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 29, 2009; 10:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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First Click -- Virginia

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009 Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today. Election Day is exactly five weeks away. And it feels like it. The campaigns are in full swing -- working around the clock, rolling out policy plans, airing new TV ads. Democrat Creigh Deeds heads back to a metro station this morning -- this time, to unveil an endorsement from former Republican Gov. Linwood Holton. (Didn't we already know Holton supported Deeds? After all, he's Gov. Tim Kaine's father-in-law and he's endorsed Democrats in most recent statewide elections, including Barack Obama). Deeds debuted a TV ad yesterday featuring U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, arguably the most popular politician in the state. Republican Bob McDonnell rolls out another policy -- on mental health -- this morning on a conference call with reporters. McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling released the second part of their good government...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 29, 2009; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , First Click , General Assembly 2009 , Jody Wagner , Ken Cuccinelli , Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Warner Blitz for Deeds Is Under Way

Democrat Creigh Deeds debuted a new campaign ad today featuring Mark Warner, the U.S. senator and former governor whose popularity surpasses any other elected official in Virginia. Expect to see plenty more of Warner between now and Nov. 3. Warner has committed to work every weekend for Deeds between now and Election Day; he's also hosting a fundraiser at his home in Alexandria. Here's the script of Deeds's new ad "Senator." View the ad below. Mark Warner into camera: The choice in this election for Governor is really pretty simple: Do we move Virginia forward by continuing the pro-business economic policies that I helped put in place... ...Or do we go backwards with the failed economic approach that ruined our economy?...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 28, 2009; 5:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009  
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All Aboard! Deeds Campaigns on Metro

Yes, that really was Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds riding the blue line through Northern Virginia this morning. No, he wasn't commuting to his Alexandria office. Deeds rode the blue line nine stops from Franconia-Springfield to Rosslyn, shaking hands, handing out literature and introducing himself to potential voters from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. He got out at some of the stops, including King Street, where he was accompanied by son, Gus, and Alexandria Mayor William Euille (who did a Q&A for this weekend's Post Magazine)....

By Anita Kumar  |  September 28, 2009; 5:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Shannon, Cuccinelli: Dueling Ads, Endorsements

Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for attorney general, released his first TV ad today, a week after his Democratic rival Steve Shannon released his first two ads. Cuccinelli also released endorsements from 77 sheriffs, commonwealth's attorneys and other elected law enforcement officials from across the state at a news conference today in Richmond. Some commended him for calling on Gov. Tim Kaine (D) to convene a special session this summer to revise laws to conform to new standards set by the Supreme Court that live testimony is needed to introduce scientific reports in criminal trials. "When justice was denied here in Virginia this summer, Ken Cuccinelli stepped up to the plate,'' Chesterfield Commonwealth's Attorney Billy Davenport said. Meanwhile, Shannon announced the endorsements of 40 law enforcement and first response organizations and officials from across the state, including the Virginia Police Benevolent Association, the Fairfax Coalition of Police, the Virginia Professional...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 28, 2009; 4:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli , Steve Shannon  
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Updated: McDonnell, Bolling Unveil Good Government Plan

Republicans Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling rolled out the second part of their "good government plan" to bring more fiscal responsibility to Richmond through changes to the way the state budgets and spends money. The plan includes a more accurate revenue-forecasting model, increasing the size of the rainy-day fund and instituting performance audits of major agencies. Read the whole plan here. Back in May, they released a plan calling for bipartisan redistricting, limits on political contributions to executive branch officials, creation of a watchdog group to eliminate waste in state agencies and greater lobbyist disclosure. "We must put an end to the roller coaster spending by Richmond,'' McDonnell said. "That will require exercising spending restraint, not just in bad times but in good times, too." McDonnell used the call to -- again - to criticize Democrat Creigh Deeds for supporting a tax hike and to praise former governor Doug Wilder,...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 28, 2009; 2:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Jody Wagner , Robert F. McDonnell  
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UPDATE -- Everyone Owns Bob McDonnell

Have you noticed how many local ties Republican Bob McDonnell has across Virginia? Fairfax's Own! Virginia Beach's Own! As McDonnell has said again and again: "I'm basically your local candidate all over the state. It doesn't matter where you live." We wrote about this topic a while back, but those yard signs keep popping up showing McDonnell's personal ties to [community name here], so the time has come for a proper photo gallery. We're also launching a contest to name the next generation of signs. Certainly "Henrico's Own" is in the offing, as that's where McDonnell lives now. And "Richmond's Own", where he's worked for the past four years. How about "Third Crossing's Own?" or "Notre Dame's Own?" What other slogans can you think of? McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin was happy to speak seriously about his candidate's ties to different parts of the state. "Bob has deep and personal connections...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 28, 2009; 1:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Deeds Airs Another Ad on Electric Rates

First, Democrat Creigh Deeds aired an ad accusing Republican Bob McDonnell of supporting power rate increases during an economic downturn. Then, McDonnell responded with an ad saying he saved $300 million in rate increases as attorney general. Here we go again. Deeds is back with another ad about rate increases in response to McDonnell's ad. Deeds' campaign did not initially release the ad or post it on its Web site, leading the McDonnell campaign to issue this press release: "After multiple editorials finding Creigh Deeds's attacks on Bob McDonnell regarding electricity rate increases to be completely without merit and false, the Democrat has now gone up with a NEW ad reiterating the same erroneous claims. As of this press release, it does not appear the Deeds' campaign has posted this new ad to their website, perhaps aware of the new lows the ad reaches." Post reporter Derek Kravitz fact-checked the...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 28, 2009; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Campaign Ads , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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UPDATED: Jindal Raises Money for McDonnell Tonight

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will headline a fundraiser for Republican Bob McDonnell tonight at the McLean home of Dwight Schar, founder of NVR Inc, one of the nation's largest homebuilders. The event will be attended by about 20 people and is expected to raise about $250,000. For those who need a quick math calculation, that means the guests would donate an average of $12,500. McDonnell will be joined by Sheila Johnson, the wealthy co-founder of Black Entertainment Television who endorsed him earlier this year despite being a major Democratic fundraiser. Schar donated $5,000 to McDonnell last year, and was a major fundraiser for Republican John McCain in Virginia last year. McDonnell has campaigned with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Arizona Sen. John McCain, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. This is Jindal's second trip to...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 28, 2009; 12:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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O'Malley Helps Deeds Raise Money

Democrat Creigh Deeds will make a brief stop in neighboring Maryland next week to raise money as he heads into the final month of the governor's race. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan Turnbull will host a fundraising reception for Deeds Oct. 8 at the Potomac home of lobbyist Barbara Goldberg Goldman. "Our friends and neighbors just across the Potomac River and the entire Democratic Party need our help!'' according to the invitation. "Here is an opportunity to help Creigh continue serving the fine people of Virginia, and to keep Virginia blue! This race is in the home stretch with just under 37 days to go and, according to recent polls, is neck and neck." Read the full invitation below:...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 28, 2009; 11:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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First Click -- Virginia

Monday, Sept. 28, 2009 Busy, busy, busy! Our statewide candidates scurried around over the weekend, and many of us scurried after them. Republican Bob McDonnell endured a tough interview with Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday, during which Wallace asked pointed questions about his transportation plan, his support of the Governor's Opportunity Fund and, yes, his thesis. With friends like these... FOX News invited Democrat Creigh Deeds, but he declined to appear with McDonnell, Wallace said. Instead, Deeds toured Southwest Virginia and appeared before a group of Arab-Americans in Vienna Sunday night, with former Republican Tom Davis serving as McDonnell's proxy. And his campaign has begun holding those book clubs we told you about last week, including this one in Roanoke with the mother of Mayor David Bowers. Today, McDonnell will appear with U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes in Suffolk (a roundtable on modeling and simulation!); he will also make a...

By Amy Gardner  |  September 28, 2009; 6:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , First Click  
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McDonnell Appears on FOX News Sunday

Anyone who thinks FOX News goes easy on Republicans should check out Chris Wallace's interview with Republican Bob McDonnell this morning. McDonnell faced a barrage of tough questions on FOX News Sunday including: Why did he vote to slash the the governor's opportunity fund if he now supports it? Will he cut education to pay for transportation improvements? Did he introduce any bills to create jobs in his 14 years in the legislature? How does he explain the "radical agenda" he wrote his graduate school thesis 20 years ago? McDonnell mostly held his own, providing the national audience with many of the same answers he has been giving here in the state during the campaign. "I've spent a lot of time in my legislative career and as attorney general finding ways to reduce the tax and regulatory burden on folks, to create tax credits for jobs creation -- all of...

By Anita Kumar  |  September 27, 2009; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Fact-Checker: How Much Does Virginia Spend on Classrooms?

Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell says Virginia needs to pony up and increase the amount it spends in public school classrooms, arguing that administrative offices get far too much funding. Many Virginia schools say they spend enough -- 65 percent or more -- on teaching. Who's right? The quick answer: It depends on whom you ask. The federal government says Virginia spends 61 percent on classroom instruction; Virginia school officials say they spend closer to 65 percent. The difference comes down to a narrow interpretation of whether things like libraries and guidance counselors constitute classroom instruction. Earlier this month, McDonnell, a former state delegate and Virginia attorney general, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who is running for re-election, unveiled the fourth part of their state education policy proposal -- a plan to boost classroom coffers by $480 million by upping the required funding amount for school instruction to 65...

By Derek Kravitz  |  September 27, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race Fact Checker , Derek Kravitz  
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Deeds, McDonnell and Northern Virginia Promises

The Washington Post asked Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell to pen op-eds explaining what they would do to help Northern Virginia if they were elected governor. The exact question they were asked: "If you're elected, what will you do to improve the lives of the people in Northern Virginia? Please be as specific as you can." Their responses were printed in today's newspaper. Read Deeds' response here and McDonnell's response here....

By Anita Kumar  |  September 27, 2009; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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