Archive: October 2009

Campaigns use new media to get the vote out

Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell are concentrating much of their get-out-the-vote efforts on traditional neighborhood canvasses and phone calls, but are also using online ads, Facebook and Twitter. McDonnell's Website features an absentee ballot application and an interactive map where voters can look up their precinct location. The campaign is urging Facebook members to donate their profile photo or status to McDonnell so their status can say things like: "Today is Election Day. Please don't forget to vote for Bob McDonnell and the Republican ticket." Facebook users can add a yard sign. McDonnell's campaign has used their Website, email lists and GOP-friendly bloggers to get the word out about signing up for volunteer shifts. It has gained more than 2,500 interested volunteers via social media and the Website. Deeds's campaign is reaching out to voters through Facebook ads in which President Obama's image is used and voters are...

By Anita Kumar | October 31, 2009; 4:06 PM ET | Comments (2)

With Scozzafava out, McDonnell might be sharing limelight Tuesday

It had appeared increasingly possible that Virginia Republican Bob McDonnell could be the only GOP victory Tuesday, despite all the talk about the national mood turning the party's direction one year after President Obama's election. That's because Republican Chris Christie is locked in a head heat with Democrat Jon Corzine in the race for New Jersey governor. And it had been because it looked like Democrats might pick up a seat in Congress in a special election in New York, where a deep split had erupted in the GOP between supporters of the party's nominee and a third party conservative. But, no longer....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 31, 2009; 2:55 PM ET | Comments (3)

Get a mop? Va. GOP says get a broom

Republicans rallying this morning in Springfield had a new prop: A broom that read "McBolliNelli" on the handle. The Republican ticket is stumping throughout the state Saturday but began with a traditional GOP pep rally at Interstate Van Lines in Springfield. Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell was joined by ticket mates Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, attorney general candidate Sen. Ken Cuccinelli and a variety for Republican luminaries, including Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association. It was Cuccinelli-- introduced to the crowd as Ken "Don't Tread on Me" Cuccinelli -- who held up the broom, which he had been handed as he made his way to the load dock that served as a stage....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 31, 2009; 1:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell on FOX News's Hannity show

GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell said in a live interview tonight on FOX News that Republican wins in Virginia and New Jersey next week could provide momentum going into the 2010 mid-term elections -- much like Republican wins in both states did in 1993. "There's a lot of national in this race obviously,'' McDonnell said. "I do think that (people are saying) if McDonnell and (Chris) Christie win there are some opportunities for some added momentum for 2010." In a five-minute interview, McDonnell told conservative host Sean Hannity that he has been able to win over many independents that had voted for Democrats in Virginia in recent years in part because of discontent with President Obama and Congress. "Some of the policies that this Congress has pursued and supported by the president like cap and trade and card check and tax increases and intrusions on the free enterprise system and...

By Anita Kumar | October 30, 2009; 9:53 PM ET | Comments (8)

McDonnell urges voters to go to polls

Earlier we told you what Democrat Creigh Deeds's final message to voters will be, now we are showing you what Republican Bob McDonnell's final contact with Virginians will be before Tuesday's election. We have the final mailer going out from the Republican Party of Virginia on behalf of McDonnell as well as the doorhanger that volunteers are leaving at houses through Election Day supporting the entire GOP ticket -- McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli. McDonnell's message is the same one we have heard for months: Improvements to the economy, education and transportation will be made without new taxes. (And, of course, there's also a photo or two of his family). "We need to work together to bring jobs and opportunity to all Virginians,'' he says on the doorhanger. "I have specific plans and new ideas to create jobs, cut wasteful spending, make government more...

By Anita Kumar | October 30, 2009; 8:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Despite odds, Deeds camp working to rouse voters

State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, trying to counter a string of bad campaign news and discouraging poll numbers, made four stops in Northern Virginia on Friday, trying to excite his Democratic base and last year's many first-time voters. Deeds (D-Bath) brought with him a host of state politicians touting his ability to come back from what some analysts have called an insurmountable deficit (read Michael Gerson's and E.J. Dionne Jr.'s takes). Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William) predicted the "greatest upset since Harry Truman." U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) argued that Deeds come-from-behind victory in the Democratic gubernatorial primary was proof that he could close out a race. He touted the work of 14,000 Virginia volunteers during his own Senate campaign in 2006. "In Virginia, in the off years, voters tend not to focus until the final days," Webb said. "The trick is to appeal to people's self-interest and motivate...

By Derek Kravitz | October 30, 2009; 7:16 PM ET | Comments (5)

Trick or Treat!

Happy Halloween, politicos! And welcome to our first (and only?) All Hallows/Election Eve costume contest! How are you dressing up for Halloween this year? Democrat R. Creigh Deeds drew a few yucks (and groans) by promising earlier today to come as himself -- unlike Republican Bob McDonnell, who is "masquerading" as a moderate. Team McDonnell was prepared for some fright-night fun too, with this retort from spokesman Tucker Martin: "Halloween is spooky, but Creigh Deeds's plan to raise taxes is flat-out scary." Actually, and bear with us here, Martin had more. McDonnell is dressing up as himself for Halloween, Martin said, but if he WERE going to go in costume, he'd dress up like the GEICO money stack with eyes -- "to represent how much money he will save Virginians by stopping Creigh Deeds from raising our taxes." Oof......

By Amy Gardner | October 30, 2009; 3:45 PM ET | Comments (5)

Updated: Warner misses Deeds events due to flu

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has a case of the seasonal flu, prompting Virginia's junior senator to cancel several planned campaign stops with Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds. Warner showed up to Deeds' first campaign event Friday, at Cheeseburger in Paradise in Woodbridge, but he was visibly ill and told Democratic supporters and Deeds staffers that he was sick and would be leaving early. Warner spokesman Kevin Hall said the former Virginia governor visited a doctor Thursday and got the flu diagnosis, adding that Warner "regretted missing the events but he is contagious." Hall said Warner's illness is regular seasonal flu, not H1N1, known as swine flu. One sign-holding supporter at the Woodbridge event was overheard asking whether Warner had a case of the "bad-poll-number virus," referring to Deeds' underdog status in his race with Republican Robert F. McDonnell. -Derek Kravitz Updated: We just learned that Warner's illness will...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 30, 2009; 3:19 PM ET | Comments (10)

Planned Parenthood criticizes McDonnell's comments

Planned Parenthood is protesting Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell's statement this week on Laura Ingraham's conservative radio show that he would veto any attempts to use tax dollars to fund their organization. Ingraham asked McDonnell: "Can you promise that as governor you'll use the veto pen to ensure that Virginians' tax dollars are not used to fund Planned Parenthood or abortion?" McDonnell responded: "Yeah, I've said that I would do that. We shouldn't be doing that in Virginia...That's common sense...That'll be part of what we'll get done." Planned Parenthood, which serves 30,000 women in the state a year, is eligible for state money, but does currently not receive any. (In 2008 and 2009, attempts to make Planned Parenthood ineligible for funding were killed in the General Assembly.) But a change could mean the organization's clinics would not be reimbursed for providing healthcare to patients who receive Medicaid, a state-run program....

By Anita Kumar | October 30, 2009; 12:50 PM ET | Comments (26)

The McCartney Scorecard: The final bell

Post columnist Robert McCartney is tracking the governor's race for readers, tallying up the blows week-by-week. Here's his take on the past week: The Washington Post's last poll before Election Day shows McDonnell with his biggest lead yet, 11 points, and no sign of flagging. Obama campaigns with Deeds in Norfolk, but 7 in 10 likely voters said their view of Obama wouldn't affect their vote. With this result, McDonnell's won six out of nine rounds on this scorecard, going back to late August. But remember: The only referee that matters is the electorate. No matter which brawler you prefer, get out and vote! Read the full McCartney Scorecard....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 30, 2009; 11:51 AM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds campaign urges Obama backers to send a message

We've gotten to take a look at the final mailers going out from the Democratic Party and the campaign of Democrat Creigh Deeds, as well as doorhangers that volunteers will be leaving at houses through Election Day. And the message of them is clear: Your president needs you. There are a bunch of different versions, but what they all have in common are pictures of Deeds and President Obama together, Obama campaign font (if you were awake in America in 2008, you know what we mean), and a strong message that a vote for Deeds is a vote for the same kind of politics Democrats elected last year. This is all in an effort to get voters who backed Obama last year but don't typically vote in off-year elections out for Deeds and the Democratic ticket Tuesday. Read the least subtle version of this mailer here. It begins, "Time to...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 30, 2009; 9:45 AM ET | Comments (2)

First Click -- Virginia

Friday, Oct. 30, 2009 Good morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today. With just four days until Tuesday's election, we are now at the stage where there is nothing new for the candidates to say. Just many more people for them to say it to, and quickly. Each have launched their final sweeps through the state, as Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds start multi-day, many stop stumps. McDonnell's five-day, 25-stop "New Jobs, More Opportunities: It Starts Now!" tour began yesterday, with stops in Glen Allen, Danville, Martinsville and Rocky Mount. Deeds was in Richmond and Roanoke. Both candidates finished their days Thursday greeting spectators tailgating at the Virginia Tech-UNC football game. The fans surely were eager to discuss issues of importance to the Commonwealth. Or, perhaps they were drunk and excited for the opportunity to hand their cellphones to a candidate, after shouting to...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 30, 2009; 7:11 AM ET | Comments (6)

Shannon highlights endorsements in new ad

Steve Shannon, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, unveiled a new ad today designed to highlight endorsements he has received from newspapers, law enforcement groups and other nonpartisan organizations. Take a look:...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 29, 2009; 7:07 PM ET | Comments (1)

Trump donates to McDonnell

Donald Trump, the wealthy real estate magnate and reality show host, donated $25,000 to Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell today, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks campaign contributions in the state. You may recall that The Donald gave $25,000 to Terry McAuliffe in the Democratic primary, which caused rival Brian Moran to bark: Democrats don't need "Trump-like money" to win. Trump bought the 800-acre Lowes Island Golf Club in Sterling in April with grand plans to create a world-class golf course and renamed it Trump National. Of course....

By Anita Kumar | October 29, 2009; 5:44 PM ET | Comments (4)

Immigrants urged to back Deeds

Immigrants, who traditionally are not well represented at the polls, are being encouraged to get out and vote Tuesday for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds. Organizers of the effort say they want to get the same immigrants who turned out in record numbers for Barack Obama to turn out for Deeds because of his stances on the economy, education, healthcare and, yes, illegal immigration. Deeds and McDonnell have not spoken much about illegal immigration on the stump, but organizers say that Deeds would treat immigration as a federal issue, while McDonnell would not. (Read more about McDonnell's record on immigration and other issues as attorney general here.) The Virginia New Majority and Mi Familia Vota Civic Participation Campaign are working to get the targeted immigrants to the polls through canvassing, phone calls, mailers and commercials. The effort kicked off Sept. 15. The goal is to reach 60,000 potential voters in...

By Anita Kumar | October 29, 2009; 5:05 PM ET | Comments (9)

House Call: Are dueling Loudoun race mailers accurate?

In the online world of opposition research, data can sometimes be misleading. In our latest look at state House races, we examine two campaign fliers circulating around Loudoun County. One claims that state Del. David E. Poisson (D-Sterling) was late in paying his personal property taxes for four separate years between 1993 and 2001. The mailers were circulated by Poisson's Republican opponent, Ashburn businessman Thomas "Tag" Greason. Virginia's Republican Party has made the race between Greason and Poisson a competitive one, pouring $147,000 into Greason's campaign. Poisson himself has received $107,000 from the state Democratic Party and $35,000 from the state House Democratic caucus. In a district that could has trended blue but could go red with a Robert F. McDonnell surge in the governor's race, every little bit helps. But back to the mailer. Poisson, a Sterling lawyer in private practice, said he didn't move to Loudoun until 1995....

By Derek Kravitz | October 29, 2009; 2:50 PM ET | Comments (3)

Tweeting through the finish line

Want to keep up with the major players and pundits in the governor's race through Election Day? Check out our new Virginia politics Twitter aggregator, where you can follow the candidates, bloggers, journalists and staffers who are playing key roles in the final buildup to next Tuesday's voting. Think we should add someone to our watch list? Let us know in the comments....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 29, 2009; 2:35 PM ET | Comments (3)

McDonnell gets last-minute biz endorsement

Less than a week before Election Day, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell picked up the endorsement of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, a key business group in the D.C. metro region. The group endorsed Democrat Mark Warner in 2001, but declined to endorse in the 2005 race between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Jerry Kilgore. "We believe Bob McDonnell will focus the attention needed to improve this region's transportation crisis and enhance economic development efforts throughout the commonwealth, which in turn helps strengthen the entire greater Washington region," said John M. Kane, board chairman and president of Office Movers, Inc. Kane said the group endorsed after interviews with McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds. Issues of importance to the group include transportation, emergency preparedness, energy and the needs of the region's workforce....

By Anita Kumar | October 29, 2009; 12:19 PM ET | Comments (2)

Obama push for Deeds continues

Ever receive a letter from the president of the United States? About 330,000 Virginians are about to get one, as the Democratic Party of Virginia puts a letter in the snail mail from President Obama to voters identified as part of the "surge" who came out to the polls to elect Obama last year and are now seen as critical to closing the gap between Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell. The letterhead includes a nifty presidential symbol with the words, "A special message from President Barack Obama." In the letter, Obama writes, "To make real changes in this country, it will take more than just my presidency - it requires your continued vigilance in the cause of progress. To move this country forward, I need the support and partnership of good governors who are ready to help lay the foundations of change. And this November 3rd is your...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 29, 2009; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (12)

Despite scandal, Hamilton endorsed

The only two newspapers that offer home delivery in the 93rd House district have both endorsed Del. Phil Hamilton for re-election. This is interesting, of course, because the powerful Republican lawmaker from Newport News is under federal investigation. The Daily Press and the Virginia Gazette both say that even with the scandal, Hamilton is the better choice. Hamilton is under investigation for negotiating a job offer with Old Dominion University before securing state money for the school. A federal grand jury served the Newport News school system and ODU with subpoenas and search warrants. "Phil Hamilton was way out of line on the ODU pay-to-teach scheme, but his value to the 93rd House as an experienced legislator trumps that. If he remains on the Appropriations Committee, all the better,'' the Gazette writes in its editorial. Both newspapers are owned by the same company, but do not share articles or editorials....

By Anita Kumar | October 29, 2009; 9:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Virginia

Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009 Good morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today. Five days until the election, and the candidates continue their mad dash last campaign sweeps around the state. A day after President Obama came to town for Democrat Creigh Deeds, Republican Bob McDonnell gets help from some of his party's biggest stars. Likely 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney traveled with McDonnell Wednesday. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani campaigned on McDonnell's behalf in Fredericksburg and Fairfax, telling crowds that he hopes McDonnell sparks a national Republican resurgence akin to the one that began in 1993 with his own election as mayor and George Allen's election as Virginia governor. McDonnell today visits Glen Allen, Danville, Martinsville, Rocky Mount and then concludes the day tailgating at the Virginia Tech football game in Blacksburg. Deeds yesterday was in Charlottesville, Reston and Sterling and today has several events...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 29, 2009; 7:06 AM ET | Comments (2)

Can you shame people into voting?

Building on an unusual scientific study about getting out the vote, a new and mysterious nonprofit organization purchased a registration list of Virginia voters that included their voting histories and the voting histories of their neighbors. Next, the organization prepared a mass mailing with those histories and planned to send them out to 350,000 Virginian voters. The idea? To let them know that someone--including their neighbors--would be watching to see whether they perform their civic duty next Tuesday. Critics of the idea called it shaming people into voting. Others complained about an invasion of privacy, though the information is already public. But Debra Girvin, a suburban businesswoman from the suburbs of Richmond who saw herself as nothing more than an idealistic do-gooder--thought this could be a revolutionary exercise in democracy in action. Her organization, The Know Campaign, was just about to send the mailings, too -- when inquiries from reporters...

By Anne Bartlett | October 28, 2009; 8:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Wagner and Bolling trade more attacks

The way Democrats reckon, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's attendance at the Virginia Military Advisory Council during his four-year term has been perfect--as in, a perfect zero. In what has become the cornerstone of Jody Wagner's campaign for lieutenant goveror, the Democrat dinged her Republican opponent again this week for being a no-show. In a press release, the campaign accused Bolling of not showing up for Tuesday's meeting of the Virginia Military Advisory Council, one of a handful of boards and commissions to which the lieutenant governor is a member by law. The Wagner camp also reiterated its assertion that Bolling has missed 64 of 68 meetings in the last four years, an attendance record of less than 6 percent. "Either Bill still doesn't understand the role of the Lieutenant Governor, or he's too busy devoting his time to being a health insurance executive to care," the campaign said. What...

By Anne Bartlett | October 28, 2009; 8:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Romney stumps with GOP ticket

Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and possible presidential hopeful, spent a long ay flying across the state with the Republican ticket -- Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinell. "This is a team that has the experience and qualifications to be able to get this state rolling again, creating jobs,'' Romney said. "This is a jobs ticket." The four appeared together at a fundraiser in Virginia Beach on behalf of McDonnell, a rally in Roanoke and a press conference in Richmond. They flew in a borrowed plane belonging to Dan Banker, who owns Lynchburg-based Banker Steel, which is helping put together the foundation for the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero. Romney also headlined a pair of fundraisers for Bolling today -- one this morning in Charlottesville and one tonight outside Richmond. The two events will bring in about $150,000. His fundraiser for McDonnell brought in $100,000. "We will feel pretty...

By Anita Kumar | October 28, 2009; 6:31 PM ET | Comments (2)

Deeds makes rounds in Northern Virginia

A day after Tuesday's much-anticipated campaign rally with President Obama, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds visited two Northern Virginia schools in his final-week push to bring out the young, enthusiastic voters who gave the president an Election Day surge one year ago. Deeds (D-Bath) spent Wednesday afternoon speaking to students at Northern Virginia Community College's Loudoun County campus in Sterling, touting his higher education proposals and college scholarship program. He also stopped by South Lakes High School in Reston, where he spoke with members of the Young Democrats club before canvassing a nearby neighborhood. "We have six days. We will win this race but we have a lot of work to do," Deeds told the South Lakes crowd. But facing grim poll numbers and lingering questions from within his own party about his campaign, the path to victory does not seem easy. A recent Washington Post poll (poll data) showed...

By Derek Kravitz | October 28, 2009; 5:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds airs closing argument

Democrat Creigh Deeds has now released his positive, final days television ad. The spot talks about Deeds' endorsement by three of the state's four largest papers and implores voters to elect "substance over style." The campaign says the ad will air statewide. The question in these closing days for the Deeds campaign will be one of money. Chances are, no matter where you live in Virginia, you'll be seeing the new spot released by Republican Bob McDonnell a heck of a lot more frequently than this new Deeds ad. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, McDonnell had a cash advantage on Oct. 21 that's only grown since then. Since that day, McDonnell has taken in more than $850,000 in donations of $5,000 or more. Deeds has received only $367,000 in big dollar gifts....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 28, 2009; 5:08 PM ET | Comments (3)

McDonnell airs new TV ad

In one of his final TV ads in the race for governor, Republican Bob McDonnell sticks with the positive. In the ad, "Hope" McDonnell lays out his vision for the state, which includes keeping taxes low and controlling spending, while noting his service as an army officer and attorney general. Oh, and he also asks Virginians for their vote next Tuesday. Watch it here:...

By Anita Kumar | October 28, 2009; 3:38 PM ET | Comments (2)

Updated: Steele campaigns in Virginia

Expect to see a lot of Michael Steele this week. The chairman of the Republican National Committee will rally volunteers at a campaign office outside Richmond tonight as they begin another night of calling potential voters. Thursday and Friday, Steele will be with Bob McDonnell and the entire Republican ticket as they campaign in Southside, Southwest and Central Virginia. In an interview, Steele told us that he expects to spend election night with McDonnell in Richmond too. Does that mean he expects to win the governor's mansion in Virginia, and not New Jersey? Of course, he didn't say that. He said he expects to spend time in the Garden State earlier on Tuesday. Updated: For those of you who are wondering, Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will also be In Richmond on election night. Kaine will spend the evening at Deeds's party. Steve Shannon and Jody...

By Anita Kumar | October 28, 2009; 3:09 PM ET | Comments (1)

Log Cabin Repubs praise McDonnell, slam Cuccinelli

Yesterday, the Log Cabin Republicans praised Republican Bob McDonnell for his "inclusive" statements promising never to discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. Today, the group of Republican gay activists slammed McDonnell's ticket-mate, Ken Cuccinelli, for the reverse. Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for attorney general, was quoted in the Virginian-Pilot newspaper declining to commit to the state's nondiscrimination policy against gays and lesbians. "My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong," Cuccinelli told the newspaper. "They're intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law based country it's appropriate to have policies that reflect that. . . They don't comport with natural law. I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society." David Lampo, vice president of the...

By Amy Gardner | October 28, 2009; 2:28 PM ET | Comments (1)

Excerpts: Post reporter, polling analyst answer questions

Post reporter Anita Kumar, who has been trailing the Deeds campaign, and Post polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta were online earlier today to discuss the Virginia governor's race and the week remaining in it. Read the full transcript or check out some excerpts from the chat below. Fairfax County, Va.: Looking at the poll story and the graphics and table provided, it appears that Deeds is polling about as well in northern Virginia as, say, Mark Warner, but doing much worse in the rest of the state than anybody else you list -- Barack Obama, Tim Kaine, or Warner. Yet Deeds is the guy who's emphatically not from northern Virginia (admittedly Kaine isn't either). What gives? washingtonpost.com: McDonnell's edge over Deeds grows stronger (Post, Oct. 27) Jennifer Agiesta: Thanks for the question, Fairfax! The regional split is one of the most interesting things we found in this last poll. Deeds' victory...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 28, 2009; 2:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Q&A with Deeds and McDonnell

The folks at Style Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Richmond, sat down with gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell to ask them a few final, pressing questions before Tuesday's big day. Who is your political hero? When is the last time that you were moved by a piece of great art? If you were to invite us over for dinner, what's the best meal you could make? And this final interesting question: Can you name one good reason that someone should vote for your opponent? Read the answers here....

By Anita Kumar | October 28, 2009; 1:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

Get your governor's race questions answered

Washington Post staff writer Anita Kumar and Post polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta will be online today at noon to discuss the race for governor of Virginia in the final week of the campaign between Democrat R. Creigh Deeds and Republican Robert F. McDonnell. Kumar covered Deeds's rally with Obama yesterday, while Agiesta can explain The Post's polling in the race. Submit your questions now or return at noon to read the discussion....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 28, 2009; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (1)

First Click -- Virginia

Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009 Good Morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today. With just a week to go before Election Day, President Barack Obama sweeps into Norfolk for a brief but spirited rally for Democrat Creigh Deeds' bid for governor. A presidential visit--with its Hail-to-the-Chiefiness and its Air Force One photo ops--is all-consuming to the news cycle of a state race, a fact obvious from a quick glance at this morning's Virginia media. Every outlet in the state carried news of the president, his exhortation "I don't believe in can't," and his plea for his supporters to ignore polls and pundits and work to get Deeds elected....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 28, 2009; 7:12 AM ET | Comments (4)

Obama, Deeds: funny names

President Obama and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds share at least one thing in common: funny names. Or at least that's what Obama said at his rally for Deeds at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. "I said before, look, I would have liked this guy no matter what, because he's got a funny name like Barack Obama,'' Obama said as he and the audience broke into laughter. "So we both overcome these hardships." More laughter. "Served in the state legislature, just like me. So me and him, we're like that." The crowd of nearly 6,000 interrupted Obama's speech several times with applause, shrieks and laughter as he delivered a rousing 20-minute speech for Deeds. "Again and again, Creigh has been there for the people of Virginia, and now he needs you to be there for them,'' he said. Read the story here. Read Obama's full remarks below:...

By Anita Kumar | October 27, 2009; 10:00 PM ET | Comments (4)

Gibbs: Virginia as 'purple as it can get'

Speaking to reporters on board Air Force One en route to this afternoon's rally in Norfolk, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Obama will not be returning to Virginia for Creigh Deeds after today. "Not that I'm aware of," he said, before noting that he will be returning for a day of stops for Democratic governor Jon S. Corzine (N.J.). "Look, certainly at a federal level, I mean, we were happy to see the progress in the commonwealth, but also understanding that Barack Obama was the first Democratic candidate to carry that state since 1964," Gibbs said, according to a transcript of the gaggle, explaining why Deeds is not doing better in the polls against Republican Bob McDonnell. "So I think everybody understands that it was -- you know, Virginia is a -- is probably as purple as it can get, certainly among a presidential state, given the fact...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 27, 2009; 4:27 PM ET | Comments (3)

VPAP crunches finance numbers, with fascinating results

The Virginia Public Access Project has been working hard to slice and dice finance reports submitted by the campaigns yesterday and has already reported some very interesting findings. For instance, there are 87 people and organizations who contributed a total of almost $504,000 to Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine in 2005, who this year have given to Republican Bob McDonnell instead, to the tune of almost $494,000. By contrast, there are only 50 such people and groups who gave to Republican Jerry Kilgore four years ago and who have contributed to Democrat Creigh Deeds this year. They have given Deeds a total of just under $150,000. We'll be looking through the list of donor switchers for interesting names and stories. VPAP also shows us that of the $16.95 million Deeds has raised for his campaign committee, he has taken in $9.4 million from Virginians and $7.4 million from outside the state....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 27, 2009; 3:04 PM ET | Comments (2)

Obama wants his 'friends' to come out for Deeds

As if there was any doubt that in these closing days, the strategy for Democrat Creigh Deeds is AAO (all about Obama), the Democratic National Committee today releases a new highly targeted Facebook ad touting the president's support for Deeds. The ad will appear only on pages of Virginia Facebook fans of Obama, people who live within 50 miles of Norfolk, Richmond or Fairfax and students of Virginia colleges and universities. The goal here is to reach voters who backed Obama last year but may not be inclined to vote in a state election. Such voters, particularly young ones, are notoriously hard to reach through traditional means. (It is assumed that they are probably not reading this blog, for instance.) But Facebook is one way to find them. The exclamation point on the effort, of course, comes this afternoon with the Norfolk rally for Deeds, which Obama is headlining. Stay...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 27, 2009; 1:58 PM ET | Comments (1)

First Click -- Virginia

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009 Good morning, Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today. Virginia voters go to the polls one week from today. Which makes news that Republican Bob McDonnell now leads Democrat Creigh Deeds in the race for governor by 11 points in a new Post poll all the more exciting for Republicans and worrying for Democrats. Though Deeds often talks about past races where he overcame a deficit in the polls, the numbers this year have all been moving towards McDonnell in the last few weeks and time is running out. Plus, McDonnell has already been outspending Deeds and he will continue to do so through Nov. 3--as new reports from the Virginia Public Access Project show he raised more than Deeds in the first three weeks of October. The big news today will take place at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, where Deeds rallies...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 27, 2009; 7:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

Holtz, McDonnell share some laughs

Lou Holtz, the legendary football coach who led Notre Dame to a national championship and is now an ESPN analyst, cracked jokes and shared stories with a standing room only crowd of Bob McDonnell supporters in Richmond tonight. A sampling of Holtz's quips: What do you call a former Redskins player with a Super Bowl ring? "Senior citzens." What was the most important thing you learned while coaching at William & Mary? "We had too many Marys and not enough Williams." "I know we have Democrats in here. I tried to use small words." "Well, they may have a few more people with the president tomorrow, but it won't be as entertaining,'' McDonnell proclaimed. About 200 people sipped wine and munched on cheese and crackers at the Willow Oaks Country Club as Holtz spoke. Former Lt. Gov. John Hager attended, as did many McDonnell staffers and lobbyists. McDonnell was accompanied...

By Anita Kumar | October 26, 2009; 9:19 PM ET | Comments (7)

Huckabee draws a crowd in Richmond

Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor turned FOX News commentator, said the White House's feud with FOX is only helping the network. "The ratings are already at the top and now they are soaring to new levels,'' he said in a press conference Monday afternoon. "The sad thing is it's not just FOX news. [Obama] is taking on the Chamber of Commerce and the insurance companies. It seems like if people disagree with him, it becomes very personalized. It's unfortunate. I think it's going to be very troubling to the White House if they continue this tact." Huckabee will headline the Family Foundation's gala Monday night at the convention center in Richmond. About 1,300 people are expected to attend, including House Speaker Bill Howell, who will introduce Huckabee. Statewide candidates Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli are on the campaign trail and will not attend. Huckabee will headline a...

By Anita Kumar | October 26, 2009; 6:15 PM ET | Comments (8)

Deeds meets a surprise 'feisty' woman at forum

State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds had an unlikely encounter with a political opponent during a town hall-like forum Monday afternoon -- the sister of the top Democrat in Virginia's General Assembly. During the question-and-answer portion of a Deeds' visit to Greenspring Village, a Springfield retirement community, a 74-year-old Alexandria woman asked Deeds about his transportation plan. She was fed up, she said, with having to "literally make an appointment to pull out" of her driveway off of Duke Street, where she has lived for more than 14 years. But when Deeds, a Democrat from Bath County who is facing Republican Robert F. McDonnell for governor, started to answer her question, the woman cut him off. Deeds had talked about the difficulties Virginians face with congested roads and needed improvements; Ellie Schendell said he was being evasive. "You don't get off the hook that easy," she interjected....

By Derek Kravitz | October 26, 2009; 5:51 PM ET | Comments (7)

Updated: Deeds raises $3.1 million, McDonnell $4 million

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds raised $3.1 million in the first three weeks of October, while his Republican rival Bob McDonnell raised $4 million during that same period, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan tracker of money in Virginia politics. Deeds had nearly $1 million cash on hand going into the final weeks of the race, while McDonnell has almost double that, or $1.8 million, according to VPAP. Deeds's campaign reported 2,392 total donors -- 68% who contributed less than $200. The campaign received contributions from 1,471 new donors. "We are proud of the work the campaign has done to attract support and grassroots involvement in every corner of Virginia," Deeds campaign manager Joe Abbey. "This support will be vital as we get our message out in the final 10-days of this election and look to turn out an unprecedented vote for the Democratic ticket." McDonnell's campaign...

By Anita Kumar | October 26, 2009; 5:45 PM ET | Comments (1)

Updated: Fundraising numbers start to roll in

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling raised nearly $500,000 during the first three weeks of October and had $524,000 going into the final two weeks of the race, according to his campaign. His Democratic opponent, Jody Wagner, raised $464,000 and had $237,365 in the bank, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks campaign finance. Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Steve Shannon, candidates for attorney general, both raised about $532,000 during the same three weeks. Shannon had $955,000 cash on hand, while Cuccinelli had $154,000, according to VPAP....

By Anita Kumar | October 26, 2009; 4:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bolling Unveils New Ad on Record

A week before Election Day, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling released a positive new TV ad today highlighting Bolling's accomplishments. The ad mentions Virginia's Children's Health Insurance Program, securing funding for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, expanding the Governor's Opportunity Fund in economically depressed areas of the state and his opposition to higher taxes....

By Anita Kumar | October 26, 2009; 1:03 PM ET | Comments (1)

New Post poll coming today

With just a little more than a week to go until Election Day, the Post will release the results of its final poll in the Virginia governor's race later today. Among other key findings, the poll will reveal whether perceptions about President Obama are a factor among likely voters, whether Creigh Deeds has managed to convince core Democrats to vote and whether it appears that Republican Bob McDonnell's arguments on taxes have been effective. And, of course, the poll will tell us who's ahead and by how much. Check it all out later today....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 26, 2009; 9:58 AM ET | Comments (11)

UPDATED: New Wagner ad for NoVa, elsewhere

Privately, a lot of Democrats are saying they think Jody Wagner's campaign to knock of incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is showing signs of life, even while their hopes dim about a win at the top of the ticket. Given those sentiments, it would not be surprising to see Wagner take in some last minute money that will help her air more ads like this one. Today's spot, released this morning, hits what has become a central theme in her campaign--that Bolling was a no-show at state boards and commissions on which he sits. Bolling has said Wagner's math is unfair, for instance, not accounting for meetings missed due to presiding over the state senate. There are three very similar versions--the one for Northern Virginia mentions Wagner's endorsement by the Post editorial board. One in Hampton Roads calls Wagner "Virginia Beach's own" and mentions her endorsement by the Pilot...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 26, 2009; 9:29 AM ET | Comments (1)

Live Discussion With Creigh Deeds

Democratic candidate for governor R. Creigh Deeds will be online at 11 a.m. today to answer your questions about the governor's race and his plans for running the state. Submit your questions now and tune back in at 11 a.m. to see his answers....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 26, 2009; 9:27 AM ET | Comments (4)

GOP group to air ad during Monday Night Football

The Republican Governors Association will air a new TV ad across the state tonight during the Washington Redskins-Philadelphia Eagles game on Monday Night Football. The topic? Taxes, of course. The ad refers views to the Website www.deeduncut.com. "Deeds' game plan to raise taxes is what will result in Democrats turning over the governorship,'' RGA spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. Watch the ad here:...

By Anita Kumar | October 26, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

First Click -- Virginia

Monday, Oct. 26, 2009 Good Morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today. Eight days and counting until Election Day. The big event of the week is tomorrow's rally by President Obama in Norfolk for Democratic candidate for governor Creigh Deeds. It comes just a few days after some of the president's senior aides were quoted anonymously saying they see virtually no chance for a Deeds victory against Republican Bob McDonnell and preparing to blame Deeds--and not their boss--for the loss. Awkward alert! But Deeds supporters are working hard to prove those unnamed Cassandras wrong--including working to pump up Obama supporters over the weekend. McDonnell brings in a celeb of his own today, holding a rally in Richmond with former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz. Deeds today campaigns at two retirement communities in Fairfax with U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly. Campaign finance reports are due today covering...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 26, 2009; 12:07 AM ET | Comments (1)

Kaine rallies the troops

Gov. Tim Kaine spent the day in the Richmond area rallying volunteers at several stops, encouraging them to knock on doors and make calls on behalf of the Democratic ticket -- Creigh Deeds, Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon. "Again and again these three who are on the Republican ticket have been standing in the way,'' Kaine told a group of about 40 vounteers. "Fighting against us on unemployment insurance, on transportation, on pre-K, on banning smoking, on non-partisan redistricting...They know what they're against and that's virtually everything." Kaine was joined by Wagner, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, Tom Shields, who is running against Republican Del. John O'Bannon and two of Deeds's four children, Gus and Amanda. The group visited campaign offices in Henrico and Chesterfield and Lucille's Southern Fused Cuisine. (A union-sponsored bus (Building Trades United for Deeds) was parked outside.) Tonight, Kaine will headline a fundraiser for Wagner,...

By Anita Kumar | October 25, 2009; 5:37 PM ET | Comments (13)

Big endorsements arrive on morning stoop

The remaining big Virginia newspapers made their endorsements this morning in the race for governor. No big surprises in the bunch, as papers' editorials boards largely went with the candidate's from the parties that best represented their well known policy stands. The Richmond Times Dispatch backed Republican Bob McDonnell, as did the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. The Roanoke Times backed Democrat Creigh Deeds. So did the Virginian-Pilot. That last editorial provided the only moment of intrigue for the moment. For one, choosing Deeds meant going against hometown candidate McDonnell. But, for the other, the endorsement is marked by a lack of enthusiasm for the chosen candidate. The paper's board chose Deeds as the better bet to fix transportation and manage state finances. But they called his campaign "chaotic" and generally slammed sophistication of the arguments advanced by both sides....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 25, 2009; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (2)

Fact Checker: Is that $7,800 number accurate?

Earlier this month, the GOP launched two television ads claiming that that Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds' support for a statewide gas tax and federal cap-and-trade legislation would result in $7,800 in additional taxes per Virginia family every four years. Deeds (D-Bath) has fired back, debuting his own ad in southwest Virginia that called on Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell to "knock off the lies" about the Democrat's support for the cap-and-trade bill. So who is right and how did McDonnell reach that $7,800 number? McDonnell's $7,800-figure ads were based primarily on two assumptions. The first is that Deeds would support a 20-cent-per-gallon state gas tax to raise the $1 billion he has said is needed for road and transit improvements. Deeds has yet to support such an increase....

By Anne Bartlett | October 25, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Anne Holton gets out the vote in Alexandria

Perhaps it was the intermittent rain today, but only about a dozen Democratic activists showed up this afternoon at Ben Brenman park in Fairfax County for a plea by First Lady of Virginia Anne Holton for volunteers to get out the vote for gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds and the entire Democratic ticket. Delegates Charniele Herring and Dave Englin and Alexandria Vice Mayor Kerry Donley joined Holton by the big gazebo at the park, which sits on a former Army base south of Alexandria, for what was billed as a rally but ended up a more subdued affair. The group enjoyed a brief respite from the windy, wet weather on a day when volunteers for virtually every candidate on the ballot in Virginia would be out knocking on doors. Holton told the gathered volunteers that it was imperative that they motivate the masses who turned out last fall to elect...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 24, 2009; 5:00 PM ET | Comments (3)

NAACP Berates Shannon, Bolling

Virginia NAACP Executive Director King Salim Khalfani repeatedly criticized Democratic attorney general candidate Steve Shannon and Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling for failing to attend the group's candidate's forum last night. Khalfani mentioned their absences multiple times in front of the more than 100 people gathered at the Richmond Marriott for the candidate's forum as part of the group's annual conference. He told the audience how Shannon initially agreed to come but then canceled two days ago with a phone call in which he said he assumed his Republican opponent Ken Cuccinelli was not attending either. Actually, Khalfani said, Cuccinelli was the first of six statewide candidates to RSVP and did so personally. He also said that Bolling's campaign called for the first time an hour before the event to say Bolling could not attend and offered to send a surrogate in his place, but the NAACP told the campaign...

By Anita Kumar | October 24, 2009; 1:24 PM ET | Comments (7)

RNC sends money to downticket candidates

Just how excited is the Republican National Committee about Virginia this year? Today, the RNC transferred $300,000 to Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli and House Speaker Bill Howell on behalf of his members. "From the Virginia delegate races all the way to the Governor's mansion it is the top priority of the Republican National Committee to help Virginia Republicans win again,'' RNC Chairman Michael Steele told us in a statement this afternoon. "All of our efforts are focused on rebuilding our Republican majority and we see Virginia as the first step in achieving that goal." The RNC has made an unprecedented committment to Virginia -- nearly $8 million -- that is being directly given to candidates and being spent on getting voters to the polls Nov. 3. The RNC and the state GOP together coordinate the state's get-out-of-the vote efforts with 30 offices and 40 staffers...

By Anita Kumar | October 23, 2009; 4:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Pssst! McDonnell stumps in ... Arlington

Republican Robert F. McDonnell continued his "New Jobs, New Virginia" tour with a stop at a flower shop in the Cherrydale area of Arlington -- but don't tell the neighborhood! Owner John Nicholson hosted the event this afternoon at the request of the National Federation of Independent Business, which is supporting McDonnell. Nicholson is a past chairman of the Virginia NFIB's Leadership Council. "My wife said, 'Are you sure you want to do this? Our customers might picket us,'" Nicholson said with a laugh, making a reference to Arlington's overwhelmingly Democratic electorate. Nicholson went through with the event anyway, giving McDonnell a short tour of his flower shop, Company Flowers, and talking about what he views as the bigger challenges facing small business today -- the Business and Professional Licensing tax and the high cost of health insurance, among others. Surrounded by greeting cards and Halloween decorations and the heavy...

By Amy Gardner | October 23, 2009; 3:21 PM ET | Comments (7)

New NRA ad for McDonnell

The National Rifle Association is airing new TV ads on behalf of Republican Bob McDonnell that appeal to those who are worried about government intervention. Check it out here: Meanwhile, two Italian American organizations are calling on McDonnell to ask the NRA to o take down a previous TV commericial because of its "offensive characterization of Italian American." "This type of negative imagery reinforces defaming stereotypes about an entire ethnic group and undermines the progress made in ending prejudice against all groups in our country,'' says a joint statement by the Columbus Citizens Foundation and the National Italian American Foundation: "We would hope that gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell would appeal to the electorate through substantive policy discussion on issues of importance to the State of Virginia rather than appealing through negative stereotyping."...

By Anita Kumar | October 23, 2009; 1:31 PM ET | Comments (2)

Potts takes Deeds off-message on charter schools

Former state senator Russ Potts, a Republican who backs Democrat R. Creigh Deeds for governor and stumped for him Wednesday in Winchester, took a little detour off the message train by criticizing Republican Robert F. McDonnell for supporting charter schools. Um, Deeds supports charter schools. And so does President Obama. And Deeds doesn't need to give Obama supporters another reason to think he's not fully supportive of the president. (And that's probably why McDonnell's campaign shopped around the reference to Potts's remarks, which were published yesterday in the Northern Virginia Daily). Here's an excerpt from the article: "One candidate is for charter schools, Bob McDonnell, the other is opposed to charter schools," Potts said. Few charter schools have been created in the Old Dominion for a simple reason, Potts said. Communities that considered it "were very happy with the public education system in Virginia." McDonnell does support charter schools, and...

By Amy Gardner | October 23, 2009; 1:09 PM ET | Comments (2)

McDonnell grilled on health care

Republican Robert F. McDonnell today held a brief town hall meeting at the Manassas offices of Micron Technology Inc., which employs about 1,600 people in Virginia. The Idaho-based semiconductor microchip manufacturer's political action committee has contributed at least $10,000 to McDonnell over the years and its CEO, Steve Appleton, delivered a warm introduction before McDonnell's remarks. That's not to say McDonnell was handed softball questions. More than 100 employees gathered in a large conference room to hear McDonnell speak, among them Charles McClure, an electrician who delivered the hardball of the day: How, he asked, will you ensure that Virginians receive the same quality of health insurance you do as a public employee? McDonnell was typically on message, though clearly less comfortable on this issue than the topics he has been talking about regularly on the trail, such as job creation and energy independence. "Anywhere from 5 to 15 percent...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 23, 2009; 11:55 AM ET | Comments (2)

More ads on cap-and-trade in Southwest

Democrat Creigh Deeds is out with a new ad--we're at that point in the campaign where that's going to be the story, for both sides, pretty much every day. This one's on jobs and is running in southwest Virginia and Harrisonburg. It features just folks calling on Republican Bob McDonnell to "knock off the lies" about Deeds and the cap-and-trade bill. Deeds has said he supports efforts to reduce global warming but opposes the cap-and-trade bill now pending in Congress. You can watch the ad here:...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 23, 2009; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (1)

Steele to rally in Virginia today

The Republican National Committee just announced that chairman Michael Steele will be making a pair of last-minute stops in Virginia today, rallying volunteers at two GOP campaign offices in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell has seen a slew of prominent Republicans come into the state, but Steele has made only one public appearance and has made few statements about the race. We're still waiting to talk to him about the governor's race from a request made two weeks ago. Steele appeared at a rally in May with McDonnell in Bristol. Information about today's two Steele events are below....

By Anita Kumar | October 23, 2009; 10:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

Democrats work on getting out the vote

Want to guess whose photo appears with Democrat Creigh Deeds on blue fliers encouraging people to vote being hung on doorknobs acoss the state? Not Barack Obama. Not Tim Kaine. Again, Deeds turns to U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, the state's most popular politician. Deeds and Warner appear together on the brochure with the title "Move Virginia Forward." "Rebuilding confidence in our economy starts with responsible leadership from a new governor like Creigh Deeds," Warner says. Tonight, Warner will headline two Richmond events for Deeds -- a fundraiser at the home of Susan Swecker, an ABC commissioner and former Deeds campaign manager, and a happy hour at a restaurant in the Shockoe Slip area. Warner and Deeds will campaign together this weekend in Lynchburg, Roanoke, Blacksburg and Hampton Roads....

By Anita Kumar | October 23, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

New women's group airs McDonnell attack ad

A new state political action committee called Working Women for Virginia will start airing TV ads in Northern Virginia today to oppose Republican Bob McDonnell's views in his race for governor against Democrat Creigh Deeds. We told you last week that the group registered with the state three weeks ago, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. It has been raising money through word of mouth, social networking and online advertising to pay for the TV commercials, said Margie Omero, a Democratic pollster who helped form the group. Watch the ad here:...

By Anita Kumar | October 23, 2009; 9:45 AM ET | Comments (4)

Deeds meets with IP workers

In campaign world, Thursday was the day Democrats in Washington began preparing for a loss by Creigh Deeds in the Virginia governor's race by blaming him for running a poor campaign. In the real world, it was the day International Paper announced they were closing their paper mill in Franklin County, resulting in the loss of 1,100 Virginia jobs. Both campaigns put out statements expressing sympathy to the workers, as did Gov. Tim Kaine. From twitters, we see that Deeds made a detour from his campaign schedule to meet with workers at the gate last night. Late last night, he tweeted: Shook hands at IP gate. Devestating. Met employees of 41, 36, 31 years. We have much to do to restore hope We're told he was with workers until almost midnight, then got up to do the early morning shift today as well....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 23, 2009; 9:08 AM ET | Comments (2)

First Click -- Virginia

Friday, Oct. 23, 2009 Good morning, Virginia! Just 11 days to go until Election Day, and today we have some news for you. Democrat R. Creigh Deeds took a body blow Thursday from the White House, where senior administration sources said they were deeply frustrated with his failure to more fully embrace President Barack Obama on the campaign trail. Preparing for a Deeds loss, these officials seem to be trying to minimize any damage to the president or his agenda by laying the blame squarely at the candidate's feet. Deeds appeared before the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Hampton Thursday night, while surrogates continued the campaign's "Educational Opportunity" school bus tour across the state in a school bus. Republican Robert F. McDonnell continued his "New Jobs, New Virginia" tour yesterday with a stop in Culpeper and the debut of a new ad, "Jobs." He also reiterated, as forcefully as one...

By Amy Gardner | October 23, 2009; 7:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell talks health care on FOX News

Republican Bob McDonnell criticized the health care package being written on Capitol Hill in a live interview today on Your World with Neil Cavuto on FOX News. "I know our voters are telling us that they're concerned,'' McDonnell said. "While they think it's legitimate to address the cost and access to health care, turning over the greatest medical system in the world to the federal government is probably not a good idea." McDonnell said Virginians are worried about increased costs, decreased choices and a interruption in the doctor-patient relationship. Cavuto said Democrat Creigh Deeds was invited to appear on the show, but that he never heard back from Deeds' campaign. This is the third time in recent weeks that McDonnell has appeared on national TV alone with Deeds either declining or not responding to a interview request....

By Anita Kumar | October 22, 2009; 7:06 PM ET | Comments (6)

Shannon accuses Cuccinelli of 'states' rights' stance

Stephen C. Shannon, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, accused Republican rival Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II today of planning to fight the federal government in a way reminiscent of the state's opposition to civil rights legislation in the past. At a debate in Richmond, Shannon said Virginians who opposed federal law supported slavery, shut down schools instead of integrating them, prevented inter-racial marriage and sterilized the mentally retarded. "Our history in Virginia of states' rights is not a flattering picture,'' Shannon said. "When he's talking about states' rights, you have to understand the mistakes we have made in the past." Cuccinelli called Shannon a "race baiter" and later told reporters that his opponent took his allegations too far. "That is truly desperate and over the line,'' he said. "He was just literally trying to throw a grenade in and, frankly, it's terribly inappropriate."...

By Anita Kumar | October 22, 2009; 6:44 PM ET | Comments (7)

McDonnell airs new ad: 'Jobs'

Republican gubernatorial contender Robert F. McDonnell debuted a new ad titled "Jobs" to coincide with his four-city "New Jobs, New Virginia" tour, which was in Culpeper today and comes to Arlington on Friday. Here's the ad's script: "Creigh Deeds job-killing policies: A billion dollars in new taxes. A new energy tax that would kill up to 56,000 jobs. Deeds pushed a billion dollars in new spending. Creigh Deeds, higher taxes, job-killing policies" "Bob McDonnell: a jobs governor. Job-creating policies endorsed by Virginia businesses. Bob McDonnell, no to higher taxes and wasteful spending. Yes to innovative policies to create jobs. Bob McDonnell: a jobs governor." And view the ad here:...

By Amy Gardner | October 22, 2009; 5:37 PM ET | Comments (1)

McCartney Scorecard: This Week Endorsed by Deeds

Post columnist Robert McCartney is tracking the governor's race for readers, tallying up the blows week-by-week. Here's his take on the past week: Deeds takes the round on points. He receives a ringing endorsement from The Washington Post's editorial page, and early enough to use it in television ads. Deeds also gets Obama to commit to campaign with him again, despite White House grumbling that he's run a poor campaign. All this help might well come too late for the Democrat, who's been well behind in the polls and didn't land any big blows in the fourth and final debate. Read the full McCartney Scorecard. McCartney also was on News Channel 8 earlier today to discuss his column about GOP attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli. You can watch the clip below....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 22, 2009; 2:40 PM ET | Comments (8)

McDonnell: I will not raise taxes

Would Republican Bob McDonnell ever be willing to raise taxes? Our colleague Lee Hockstader suggests in a column that he might. He questions whether the gubernatorial candidate might in fact be leaving himself some wiggle room to support a tax increase after the economic recession is over. The McDonnell campaign says no. McDonnell usually says he won't raise taxes in "this tough economic time," though he has on occasion dropped those last few words and stated unequivocally that he would not raise taxes under any circumstances. "Bob McDonnell will not raise taxes as governor,'' McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said. "Creigh Deeds, on the other hand, has pledged to raise taxes immediately, even in a recession. It's a defining difference in this race." Deeds has said he would be willing to raise taxes for transportation, though he has not said which taxes or how much. He has said he would sign...

By Anita Kumar | October 22, 2009; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

A second Deeds ad on The Post endorsement

We noted that a Northern Virginia ad that Democrat Creigh Deeds released several days about Deeds's endorsement by The Washington Post featured only lines praising Deeds -- and none of the endorsement's criticism of Republican Bob McDonnell. It turned out, the Deeds campaign was saving those tidbits of the piece for a second ad, this one all about McDonnell. The ad began running Thursday morning and features pretty much nothing but quotes from The Post ed board about McDonnell, against a white background. Watch it here....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 22, 2009; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (3)

Updated: McDonnell up on black radio

Republican Bob McDonnell will start airing a radio ad today mentioning three prominent African American leaders -- President Obama, former Virginia governor Doug Wilder and businesswoman Sheila Johnson -- as he tries to cut into the usually Democratic black vote. All three African Americans in the ad are Democrats, and only Johnson has endorsed him. The ad mentions that McDonnell, worked as attorney general with Wilder to reduce gang violence, holds the same views with Obama on charter schools and is supported by Johnson, wealthy co-founded of Black Entertainment Television. "Bob McDonnell is a bipartisan leader who gets results,'' Johnson says in the ad. "That's the kind of governor we need. And that's why this Democrat strongly supports Bob McDonnell.'' The positive 60-second ad is airing on African American stations in Hampton Roads. Listen to the ad here: Update: Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) and Del. Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake) responded to...

By Anita Kumar | October 22, 2009; 11:18 AM ET | Comments (3)

GOP All-Stars to campaign for McDonnell

Democrat Creigh Deeds may be holding rallies with Presidents Obama and Clinton, but we hear Republican Bob McDonnell has a few bold names coming into the state for him too. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who serves as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, all are scheduled to campaign for McDonnell in the next two weeks. All have been mentioned as possible candidates for president in 2012. In addition, Hall of Famer Bruce Smith -- a Norfolk native and Virginia Tech alum -- and former NFL quarterback Steve Beuerlein will hold a rally for McDonnell in Virginia Beach Saturday. College football Hall of Famer Lou Holtz, a former Notre Dame coach-turned-TV commentator, will hold a meet-and-greet with McDonnell Monday in Richmond. All four possible GOP presidential hopefuls have been in the state for McDonnell before,...

By Anita Kumar | October 22, 2009; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (10)

GOP group launches Deeds ad on public option

We knew this was coming. The Republican Governors Association launched a new ad in Northern Virginia today seizing on what it calls Democrat Creigh Deeds's conflicting statements about whether he would consider opting out of a public health insurance option if Congress extended that possibility to the states. "Creigh Deeds waffles more than IHOP after church lets out on Sunday," RGA spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. "But unlike their customers, Deeds leaves 'everything on the table.'" Deeds made the comments at Tuesday night's final debate in Salem. Immediately after the debate, he tried to explain to reporters that he believed the public option might help reduce health care costs and expand coverage, but he is not certain it is the best way to achieve those goals. "It may be one way, it might not be the best way," he said. Watch the ad here:...

By Anita Kumar | October 22, 2009; 9:27 AM ET | Comments (3)

First Click -- Virginia

Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009 Good morning politicos! Twelve days to go until Election Day, and the campaigns for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and House of Delegates are sprinting along. The narrative remained largely static Wednesday, with more encouraging poll numbers for Republican Bob McDonnell and more evidence that Democrat Creigh Deeds is banking on a last-minute surge of support from supporters of President Obama. Public Policy Polling, which uses a methodology that our in-house polling experts don't love, released numbers Wednesday giving McDonnell a 12-point lead over Deeds, a large jump from three weeks ago, when the same firm put Deeds within five points. Deeds announced that Obama would campaign with him next Tuesday at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. Deeds also launched a new TV ad featuring Obama campaigning for him in Tysons Corner. McDonnell launched his "New Jobs, New Virginia" tour yesterday with a stop at a...

By Amy Gardner | October 22, 2009; 7:35 AM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds takes heat online over public option comments

Left-leaning blogs and Democratic twitters are giving Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds a hard time over his comment at Tuesday night's final debate in Salem, indicating that he would consider opting out of a public health insurance option if Congress extended that possibility to the states. Daily Kos has run some items taking Deeds to task over his wishy-washy support for the public option, for instance. That's not to mention Virginia bloggers Ben Tribbett and Lowell Feld. After the debate, Deeds tried to explain to reporters that he believed the public option might help reduce health care costs and expand coverage, but he is not certain it is the best way to achieve those goals. "It may be one way, it might not be the best way," he said. (His campaign also circulated a statement today about the issue saying that "if the public option proves to be the...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 21, 2009; 7:15 PM ET | Comments (15)

Excerpts: Post reporters discuss election

Rosalind Helderman and Amy Gardner of The Post were online earlier today to answer questions about the governor's race and the down-ballot campaigns. Read the full discussion transcript. Excerpts follow. Richmond, Va.: You've reported several times that Deeds is having a tough time energizing Democrats and Obama voters and that was something he was going to emphasize over the next two weeks. However, last night he waffled on his support for the public option. Combined with his distancing himself from many of Obama and Congressional Democrat policies, is Deeds contradicting his proclaimed path to victory? Amy Gardner: Great question. I think this speaks to the heart of Deeds's challenge -- the fact that he is a conservative Democrat, many of whose positions are to the right of President Obama, but who is seeking election in a year when the clear path to victory for a Democrat is to rally Obama...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 21, 2009; 4:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

Obama signs email for Deeds

More signs that Democrat Creigh Deeds has made a late turn to Obama Democrats, in hopes of revving up the Democratic base behind his candidacy for governor: An email went out Wednesday to supporters of Organizing for America in Virginia, Obama's political organization. Unlike last week's missive that come out under the hand of the group's executive director, this email was signed by the man himself. "We've worked too hard and come too far to let Virginia slip back. Creigh Deeds has embraced the movement you started by speaking directly and honestly to Virginians about the challenges ahead and the ideas that will move us forward," writes President Obama in the email. OFA sent out in an email in Obama's name once before, the day after Deeds won the Democratic primary. Click through to read today's email in full....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 21, 2009; 2:58 PM ET | Comments (2)

Cuccinelli: Shannon doesn't know the job

Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for attorney general, is up on the air new with a new TV ad that accuses his Democratic opponent Steve Shannon of not knowing much about being attorney general. At their last debate, Cuccinelli asked Shannon to name all the divisions in the attorney general's office. Shannon said he would get back to the question, but that first he wanted to return to a previous issue. Later, when he did return to the question, he said it didn't matter. He never did answer the question. "Shannon didn't answer the questions ... because Shannon doesn't know the job,'' the ad says at the end. Check out the ad here: (For the record, Office of the Attorney General spokesman David Clementson shared the following divisions off of the department's internal organizational chart: Administration; Civil Litigation; Financial Law and Government Support; Health, Education and Social Services; Technology Real...

By Anita Kumar | October 21, 2009; 1:38 PM ET | Comments (6)

Questions about the race? We'll answer them today.

Post reporters Rosalind Helderman and Amy Gardner will be online at 2 p.m. to discuss their stories today on the debate and Bill Clinton's Virginia visit, as well as any other aspect of the Virginia governor's race. Submit questions now or read the full discussion. Earlier today, Post editorial board member Lee Hockstader took questions about the board's decision to endorse Deeds in the race -- read some excerpts from that discussion after the jump....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 21, 2009; 1:12 PM ET | Comments (3)

Va. gun rights group endorses GOP top three

A gun-rights political action committee in Virginia has given its endorsement to the GOP's top three candidates this year, partly because none of the Democrats completed the group's candidate survey, its chairman said Wednesday. The blessing from VCDL PAC, which is affiliated with the Virginia Citizens Defense League, is not exactly a surprise. The National Rifle Association's political wing has also given its seal of approval to Republicans Robert F. McDonnell, who is running for governor; Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who is seeking reelection; and Attorney General candidate Ken Cuccinelli. But the VCDL's leaders say their group does not follow the NRA in lockstep. They said the VCDL, which claims about 5,000 dues-paying members and an email list of at least 13,000, has endorsed Democrats and independent candidates in the past. And the statewide gun-rights PAC could back some non GOP candidates when it issues its list of endorsements in...

By Anne Bartlett | October 21, 2009; 12:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

Obama in Norfolk for Deeds next week

We told you we'd let you know when we had more details about President Obama's Oct. 27 foray into Virginia to campaign with Democratic gubernatorial hopeful R. Creigh Deeds. Here you go: A "Rally for Virginia" featuring Obama and Deeds will take place at the Ted Constant Convocation Center at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. The Deeds folks say further information will be available in the coming days....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 21, 2009; 12:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

GOP supporter defects from Deeds camp

Former Roanoke state Sen. Brandon Bell, who had been among some prominent Republican supporters of Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds earlier this year, announced Wednesday that he changed his mind and now supporters Republican Robert F. McDonnell, the McDonnell campaign announced today. "I've watched this campaign unfold since both candidates secured their respective nominations," Bell said in a statement issued by the McDonnell folks. "In the four months since that time, Bob McDonnell has impressed me with his campaign, and his determined focus on rolling out specific policy proposals for Virginia's future." Two steadfast Republican supporters of Deeds, former state senator Russ Potts of Winchester and former delegate Jim Dillard of Fairfax, are on the road in Northern Virginia today talking up his education plan. Mike Gehrke of the Deeds campaign today simply said, "We're still proud of the support we have from Republicans who know Bob McDonnell and...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 21, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (7)

U.S. Chamber Targets NoVa Drivers

As we told you earlier this week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is airing radio and TV ads in the pricey Washington media market to target Northern Virginians stuck in traffic. The hard-hitting ads accuse Democrat Creigh Deeds of having no plan for transportation, while Republican Bob McDonnell has proposed widening I-66 inside the Beltway and extending Metro to Dulles airport. "Tell Creigh Deeds we need a real transportation plan now,'' a narrator says at the end. The transportation TV ad -- as well as a second one airing in the rest of the state on the so-called federal card-check legislation -- are part of a significant ad buy by the chamber that began last week. McDonnell and his backers, which include the Republican Governors Association, the NRA and the chamber, continue to significantly outspend Deeds and his supporters on advertising. Check out the ads after the jump....

By Anita Kumar | October 21, 2009; 11:31 AM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds releases ad featuring Obama

If there was any doubt that R. Creigh Deeds has President Obama in a bear hug in the final two weeks of the gubernatorial campaign, it should be erased today. The Democratic hopeful has just released an ad called "Fired Up," which features the president at his inspirational best, calling on supporters to throw their support behind Deeds as a continuation of his history-making campaign last year. As we've reported before, Deeds lags Republican Robert F. McDonnell in the polls and must whip up the Democratic base in the two weeks left before the election. "Last year, Virginia, you helped lead a movement of Americans who believed that their voices could make a difference," Obama says in the ad. "I need every one of you to get fired up once again so that we can go towards the future, with Creigh Deeds leading the great Commonwealth of Virginia."...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 21, 2009; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (2)

First Click -- Virginia

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2009 Good morning, politicos! Though perhaps not if you're a Virginia Democrat. Several new polls this week show Republican Robert F. McDonnell with a comfortable, even growing lead against Democrat R. Creigh Deeds -- and the word from Public Policy Polling, which releases new numbers this morning, seems to indicate more of the same. (Usual caveat: Our polling experts don't love the methodology on these polls). PPP's Tom Jensen wrote in a blog item yesterday that even Democrats planning to vote are unenthused, and that many more are simply sitting this one out. "We're looking at a McCain +6 electorate this year in a state that was Obama +6 last year," Jensen wrote. "There's no path to victory if that stays true through election day. We'll see how much good the visits from Obama, Bill Clinton, and other leading national Democrats do in the last few weeks...

By Amy Gardner | October 21, 2009; 6:51 AM ET | Comments (3)

Moderator Proves Tough in Salem

Moderator Jay Warren is tough on both guys tonight. Here's a rough exchange he had with Democrat Creigh Deeds, pushing him on his transportation plan. Warren: "What tax would you see increase under creigh deeds?" "What tax would you see increase under creigh deeds?" Deeds asked incredulously. "I can answer that," McDonnell said, as the crowd laughed. "No you can't," Deeds responded. "What I've said is that anything that has a nexus to transportation," Deeds began. "What does that mean? Sales tax on cigarettes? Alcohol?" Warren asked. "Anything that has a nexus to transportation. Anything that involves all the people who use the transportation system, both people who live in state and out of state."...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 20, 2009; 6:57 PM ET | Comments (4)

Roanoke College Prepares for Final Debate

Greetings from the campus of Roanoke College in Salem, Va., where Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds are 9 minutes from taking the stage for their final debate before the Nov. 3 election. Both candidates have enthusiastic supporters outside and went out and visited with their people before the kickoff. We'll give you a couple live updates as the debate progresses....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 20, 2009; 6:43 PM ET | Comments (2)

Supervisors: Loudoun County budget picture 'bad'

Loudoun County's budget outlook is getting worse, prompting officials to warn of looming employee layoffs and deep cuts to services. Supervisor Jim Burton (I-Blue Ridge), chairman of the Board of Supervisors' budget planning committee, said the county is looking at "tremendously large reductions" in services caused by a 7 percent decline in the county's tax revenue. Foreclosures have not let up and the 30 percent of Loudoun County households that bring home less than $75,000 per year are getting hit hard, he said. "The revenue situation its not getting better," Burton said. "It's still declining." Some critics have accused Burton of living in the weeds, so to speak, and offering increasingly pessimistic visions of the county's budget future. The numbers offered up at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting are preliminary, budget officials say, and there's still three months let to go in the season. But with three new schools and...

By Derek Kravitz | October 20, 2009; 6:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lobbyist confirmed for Loudoun health post

Despite an aggressive campaign to get her kicked off Loudoun's chief advisory health board, a lobbyist who worked against autism legislation last year in Richmond was confirmed Tuesday to a third term. On a 5-4 vote, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors approved the reappointment of Mindy M. Williams, a lobbyist with Fairfax-based Access Point Public Affairs, to the Loudoun Health Council. Her lobbying work against autism legislation during last year's General Assembly session caused Supervisor Stevens Miller (D-Dulles) to call for her ouster. The Loudoun County delegation to the Virginia General Assembly supported bills that, if enacted, would have required insurers to pay for therapy for children under the age of 6 who have been diagnosed with autism-spectrum disorders. "Parent after parent of autistic children have come to me, asking for us and the Chamber to some gesture of compassion and send someone else to Richmond," Miller said Tuesday...

By Derek Kravitz | October 20, 2009; 5:10 PM ET | Comments (3)

Clinton: 'Governor Deeds' is 'the best choice'

Your Browser Does Not Support IFrames. Former president and Democratic celebrity Bill Clinton dropped into Virginia today to fire up the ground troops for Creigh Deeds, who is racing to catch up to Republican Robert F. McDonnell with just 14 days to go until Election Day. Clinton spoke to about 300 supporters and a bank of TV cameras crowded into his friend Terry McAuliffe's old campaign headquarters in Tysons Corner. With McAuliffe and Deeds at his side, the former president praised Deeds's plans to create jobs, improve access to college, protect education funding and find new money to fix Virginia roads. "Senator Deeds -- Governor Deeds. It sounds pretty good, huh?" Clinton said. The room was filled with local elected officials and party organizers, many of whom expressed private doubts about Deeds's ability to overcome McDonnell's lead. But supporters greeted Clinton, McAuliffe and Deeds with excitement and cheers -- and...

By Amy Gardner | October 20, 2009; 3:43 PM ET | Comments (6)

GOP spoofs ads touting Post endorsement of Deeds

Good Samaritans that they are, Virginia's Republicans Tuesday put up a new Web ad that fills in some lines omitted from a Washington Post endorsement that heartily endorsed the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds. The GOP ad, entitled "Second Cut," slyly juxtaposes lines about Deeds' pledge to raise taxes for roads, if necessary, with images lifted from a Democratic ad that touts Deeds' receipt of the newspaper's endorsement. The GOP ad throws in some other choice lines from other Post opinion pieces, too, to drive home the point Deeds' stand on taxes may not be as popular with voters as it is with the editorial board. To be fair, this ad omits some choice lines of its own -- including the editorial board's assertion that Republican candidate Robert F. McDonnell is a culture warrior who "has staked out the intolerant terrain on his party's right wing." To read...

By Anne Bartlett | October 20, 2009; 2:57 PM ET | Comments (3)

The Kitchen Table: Disenchanted Obama voter, revisited

In August, we brought you the story of Chris Ann Cleland, a real estate agent from Prince William County whose buyer's remorse over voting for President Obama last fall was coloring her view of the Virginia governor's race. Obama was not the change agent he promised to be, Cleland said. "I feel like I've been punked." The quote so resonated that it got picked up by New York Times columnist Frank Rich and scored Cleland an interview on Fox News. But two months later, we wondered what she had finally decided about the governor's race. Well, she settled on Democrat R. Creigh Deeds. The reason, she said, came down to two words: liquor stores. A few weeks ago, Cleland was so busy with her work and so tired of what she perceived as politics as usual that she thought she might not even vote in the election this year. But...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 20, 2009; 2:49 PM ET | Comments (5)

Shannon blasts Cuccinelli for 'personal political agenda'

Steve Shannon, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, released two new TV ads today. Both ads attack his Republican opponent, Ken Cuccinelli, for having what Shannon calls a "personal political agenda." "Unfortunately, my opponent has not released a single public safety proposal,'' Shannon said. "Instead, he has focused on divisive issues and his personal political agenda, and has even said won't enforce laws he disagrees with." Watch the ads here:...

By Anita Kumar | October 20, 2009; 11:41 AM ET | Comments (2)

First Click -- Virginia

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009 Good morning, politicos! Just 14 days to go until Election Day, and things are looking good for the GOP/bad for the Dems. A new poll gives Republicans Robert F. McDonnell a substantial lead over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds. We have a few issues with this poll, but there's another one out this morning from Clarus that shows McDonnell up by 8 points, 49 to 41. Democrat Creigh Deeds says he's still got plenty of time, and that his campaign will now focus on drawing out supporters of President Obama and core Democrats generally. The candidates for lieutenant governor, incumbent Republican Bill Bolling and Democrat Jody Wagner, took the proverbial gloves off last night in a televised debate. And Steve Shannon, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, unveiled a tough new ad accusing Republican Ken Cuccinelli of not being tough enough on public corruption because he hasn't...

By Amy Gardner | October 20, 2009; 6:52 AM ET | Comments (12)

McDonnell for president?

Republican Bob McDonnell pledged to serve his entire four-year term -- and not run for president in 2012 -- if he is elected Virginia governor Nov. 3. We never really considered McDonnell a serious contender for president in 2012, but In an interview with Ryan Nobles of Richmond's NBC12 McDonnell puts a stop to any presidency rumors that are out there. "I think those are all pipe dreams down the road. You know there are a number of national political pundits that are paying an exceptional amount of attention to Virginia,'' he said. "I am running to be governor of Virginia, this is a state that I have lived in virtually my entire life. I love this state we have great opportunities ahead for the state to create more opportunity and prosperity for our citizens, in so many ways, I am fully committed to four years as Virginia's governor." But...

By Anita Kumar | October 19, 2009; 10:35 PM ET | Comments (2)

Va. lieutenant governor candidates duke it out

By Fredrick Kunkle Virginia's candidates for lieutenant governor duked it out in their one and only face-to-face debate in Salem Monday night with feisty and sometimes personal exchanges over taxes, jobs, education and each other's competence. In a one-hour debate hosted by Roanoke College, Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling repeatedly blamed Democratic challenger Jody M. Wagner for making poor decisions as a top finance official that complicated Virginia's efforts to cope with the recession. Bolling said Wagner, who served as secretary of finance under Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, had muffed important revenue forecasts while preparing the current two-year budget, forcing the governor to cut jobs and take other drastic measures to keep the books balanced. "We're in this mess because four years ago we adopted a budget that was based on a totally unrealistic fiscal foundation," Bolling said. He also accused Wagner of wanting to raise taxes at every turn....

By washingtonpost.com Editor | October 19, 2009; 10:21 PM ET | Comments (1)

Another polls shows a big McDonnell lead

A new poll out this evening from the Virginian-Pilot, WVEC television, the ABC affiliate in the Hampton Roads area and Christopher Newport University shows Republican Bob McDonnell with a hefty lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds in the race for governor. The poll is out this evening but involved interviews with 506 likely voters from Oct. 8 to 13. It showed McDonnell with a 14 point lead over Deeds, leading the Democrat by 44 to 30 percent. But the poll also showed that 22 percent of likely voters were undecided, a figure that would mean the race remains far from decided. And it's worth recalling that the poll is now a week old. CNU professor Quentin Kidd told the television station that one reason the poll indicates so many undecided voters is that the results do not included so-called "leaners," people who told the pollsters that they their decision was not...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 19, 2009; 7:24 PM ET | Comments (2)

New ad pushes Deeds as hometown choice

Another new ad from the Deeds campaign today, this one for the Bristol and Harrisonburg markets. The spot is designed to get votes for Deeds as the hometown kid. It features footage of Deeds with a shotgun and notes his A rating from the NRA; it does not mention that the NRA has endorsed Republican Bob McDonnell this year. "For too long...our part of Virginia has been forgotten. Forgotten by Richmond when it comes to jobs, roads and schools. But this election we have a chance to change all that by voting for Creigh Deeds," the narrator says. It's a message that Deeds has hit hard before and that could go over well in rural Virginia where many people do feel forgotten. It may not be as well received in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia, where many voters think too few of their tax dollars stay in their regions already....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 19, 2009; 7:10 PM ET | Comments (3)

GOP activist questions Deeds's contributions

Longtime Republican activist Gary Byler is asking the State Board of Elections to investigate whether Democratic gubernatorial Creigh Deeds violated state law by receiving contributions from labor unions. Byler, a longtime friend of GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, claims that Deeds and his backers, including the Democratic Governors Association, have accepted millions of dollars from groups that have not registered with the state or disclosed donors. In a letter sent Monday, Byler asked the board to look into whether $3.7 million from the DGA and $1.1 million from unions comply with state laws....

By Anita Kumar | October 19, 2009; 5:26 PM ET | Comments (4)

Updated: U.S. Chamber airs ads in governor's race

Have you heard or seen the radio or TV ads being paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the Virginia governor's race? They've been airing since last week in Northern Virginia and will be up through Election Day. The topic is transportation. But the chamber, which has not endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds or Republican Bob McDonnell, refuses to share the ad, script or message with us. It's an odd strategy -- considering that the ads are already on the air in the state. What is the nation's largest business group trying to hide? In addition, the chamber is airing TV ads across the state on the so-called card check legislation that would remove the secret ballot from union elections. They won't give us any information on that one either, but we know where chamber officials stands on that issue: They oppose the bill. McDonnell has repeatedly tried to...

By Anita Kumar | October 19, 2009; 4:47 PM ET | Comments (3)

Fairfax gearing up for federal illegal immigrant checks at jails

Fairfax County officials are pushing to get the local sheriff to hurry up and institute a new federal program that will automate illegal immigrant fingerprint checks at local jails. "Immigration reform and enforcement is an extremely sensitive and complex federal issue but one with very real local impact, and one this board should have a detailed discussion on soon," said Supervisor Patrick S. Herrity (R-Springfield). "One area where I think we all do agree is that those who are here illegally and commit serious or violent crimes should be removed from the community and deported." This past fall, Herrity asked Fairfax County Sheriff Stan Barry about the Secure Communities program, a federal effort to streamline fingerprint checks on suspected illegal immigrants arrested on suspicion of other crimes. Barry said his office's application to the federal 287(g) program -- essentially a local agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold and...

By Derek Kravitz | October 19, 2009; 4:16 PM ET | Comments (4)

Shannon links Cuccinelli to Hamilton in new ad

Steve Shannon, the Democrat running for attorney general, released a new ad today titled "Cronies," in which he ties his opponent, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, to embattled Del. Phil Hamilton (R-Newport News). Cuccinelli was the only statewide candidate this year not to ask Hamilton to resign after it was revealed that Hamilton sought a job at Old Dominion University while also trying to get state money for the school. In August, Cuccinelli said he believed that the voters should decide Hamilton's fate. "The circumstances that Delegate Phil Hamilton is involved in are disappointing,'' he said at the time. "My understanding of those circumstances suggest that it is in an issue between Del. Hamilton and voters in his district. The issue is now on the table in that race and will be part of the decision voters in that district make as they consider who will represent them in the state house...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 19, 2009; 2:40 PM ET | Comments (2)

Bolling links Wagner to Deeds in new ad

Well, this is a first. We got a response from Democrat Jody Wagner on Republican Bob Bolling's new attack ad before Bolling even released the ad. Bolling started airing his fourth television ad, "Bring," across the state Monday, including in Northern Virginia. It seeks to link Wagner with gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds on their support for higher taxes and "dishonest" campaigns. "Jody Wagner knows that Virginians won't support her plan for higher taxes, which is why she has been engaging in negative and dishonest attacks against Bill Bolling,'' said Bolling campaign manager Matt Wells. "It's ironic that the candidate who ran the first false negative ad of this race would use yet another misleading attack to complain about negative campaigning,'' Wagner campaign manager Elisabeth Pearson said....

By Anita Kumar | October 19, 2009; 2:11 PM ET | Comments (6)

One day later, Deeds gets Post nod in ad

That didn't take long. Democrat Creigh Deeds will begin airing a television ad today in Northern Virginia using lines from Sunday's endorsement by The Post editorial board, praising Deeds on education, transportation and the economy. It worked to spark momentum for the Deeds campaign during the Democratic primary -- Deeds hopes it can do the same this time. The ad is all positive, including only lines from the editorial that support Deeds and resisting the temptation to use some of the choice language the ed board had for opponent Republican Bob McDonnell. Watch the ad here....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 19, 2009; 11:24 AM ET | Comments (10)

Watts helps Va. GOP get out the vote

With two weeks left, there's no shortage of national Republicans willing to help the GOP ticket win on Nov. 3. Tonight, former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma will headline a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Virginia's get-out-the-vote efforts. About 100 people are expected to attend the event at the Alexandria home of Sandy Liddy Bourne, a Republican activist and daughter of former Watergate figure G. Gordon Liddy. Bourne, a one-time candidate for the House of Delegates who works for a conservative think tank, was mentioned as a possible successor to former state chairman Jeff Frederick in the spring, but she declined to run. The fundraiser is the last one for the state party before the election. Tickets are $50 to $500. The event is expected to raise about $50,000....

By Anita Kumar | October 19, 2009; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (4)

Get to know a candidate: Hair edition

Welcome to Get to Know a Candidate, an occasional Virginia Politics blog feature about the the more light-hearted personal side of the gubernatorial candidates. Today, we consider the topic of the two men's hair. There are probably some metaphors to be drawn about the campaign from the topic. The coif of Republican Bob McDonnell, who has run a largely smooth and disciplined campaign, appears unshakable, with never a hair out of place. Democrat Creigh Deeds sometimes does television interviews with his hair still mussed from the wind. This item was inspired by Julian Walker's profile of McDonnell in Saturday's Virginian-Pilot, where Walker took on directly the issue of whether the Republican dyes his hair. "McDonnell laughed when asked whether he uses dye to conceal the silver strands in his never-out-of-place head of hair. He insists that he doesn't apply color; wife Maureen said a combination of natural extracts like chamomile...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 19, 2009; 8:30 AM ET | Comments (4)

First Click -- Virginia

Monday, Oct. 19, 2009 Good morning, politicos! Just 15 days to go, and boy has it gotten busy. Republican Robert F. McDonnell and state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds have transformed the race for governor into a sprint, with both zooming through mostly friendly crowds over the weekend to rev up their bases. On Saturday, McDonnell rallied veterans in Virginia Beach with U.S. Sen. John McCain -- but coverage of the event didn't turn out exactly as planned when McDonnell was asked for his views on climate change. McDonnell went on to attend a Norfolk State-Hampton University football game in Norfolk, a seafood festival in heavily Republican Poquoson, a voter event in Glen Allen with House Minority Whip Eric I. Cantor and a Hispanic reception at a Mexican restaurant in Richmond. Deeds flooded the zone too, rallying across Northern Virginia Saturday with various ethnic groups seen as crucial to Democratic turnout:...

By Amy Gardner | October 19, 2009; 7:56 AM ET | Comments (3)

McAuliffe tells Fairfax Dems: Don't count out Creigh

So if former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe is betting Gov. Jon Corzine takes New Jersey by seven, what about his former opponent Creigh Deeds in Virginia? "Deeds by two," McAuliffe said this evening at the Fall Festival of the Dranesville Democratic Committee, at his McLean home. Dozens of longtime Democrats were greeted by an enormous plastic pumpkin in front of the home before heading inside for the fundraiser and general pep rally. They crowded into the McAuliffe's kitchen to hear from Del. Margi Vanderhye and Del. Jim Scott, lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner, McAuliffe and Deeds' campaign manager Joe Abbey. A laminated copy of this morning's Washington Post endorsement of Deeds was propped up on the kitchen table....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 18, 2009; 7:43 PM ET | Comments (5)

On Fox, McAuliffe and Rove Wager $5 on Va., N.J.

Former Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe appeared this afternoon on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, along with Karl Rove, mostly to discuss recent charges by the White House that Fox's news coverage is slanted. But as the interview concluded, the two got into a brief but spirited debate over the outcomes of the Virginia and New Jersey races. It started as Wallace was wrapping up the piece, with McAuliffe shouting out, "Democrats big win, Virginia and New Jersey, coming up!" That prompted Rove to pull out a folder he had brought for the occasion and hold up a print-out of a story from the Richmond Times Dispatch that ran just before the June 9 primary between McAuliffe, Brian Moran and now Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds. Headline: McAuliffe says Deeds Can't Beat McDonnell "I agree with Terry McAuliffe," Karl Rove said. "I said Deeds can win. Of course he can...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 18, 2009; 2:36 PM ET | Comments (7)

In the Morning Papers, Endorsements Start Arriving

The editorial boards of Virginia's newspapers are starting to make their endorsements for governor. The Daily Press this morning backed Republican Bob McDonnell. So did Inside Nova, which includes both the Manassas News-Messenger and the Potomac News. Also endorsing McDonnell this weekend were the Winchester Star and the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record. The Washington Post's editorial board endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds this morning. Do newspaper endorsements matter?...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 18, 2009; 11:49 AM ET | Comments (5)

Deeds, McDonnell Make Their Cases

The Richmond Times Dispatch published op-eds today from Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell on why Virginians should vote for them on Nov. 3. Both candidates for governor talk about jobs, traffic, schools and energy. Read Deeds's response here and McDonnell's here....

By Anita Kumar | October 18, 2009; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (1)

Fact Check: Fueling the Debate Over Taxes

In a campaign that has lately shifted the debate to taxes, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, the Democratic Party candidate for governor, says Republican candidate Robert F. McDonnell is exaggerating the potential cost that Deeds' proposals would cost Virginia's families. Leaving aside the GOP's questionable claim that Deeds' total tax tab would amount to about $7,800 per family -- which would require yet another foray into the thicket of computations and counter-computations of the impact of cap-and-trade regulation on American consumers -- let's focus for the moment on the bill for transportation. Deeds says Virginia needs at least $1 billion in new revenues every year to fix its transportation woes. He does not specify where the new money will come from, other than to say that he will not use any money that now supports the state's public schools. He tells a scrum of reporters that he will not raise...

By Anne Bartlett | October 18, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Does Bob McDonnell Believe in Global Warming?

Yes. Well, sort of. Republican Bob McDonnell said today that he believes the world has gotten warmer but declined to blame manmade carbon emissions. "I think it's a real concern, and we need to find ways to be able to reduce (carbon dioxide) emissions," he told reporters after a rally with Sen. John McCain in Virginia Beach. "Well, there's some debate that various scientists are going on. I think the temperature of the earth, from the science I've seen, has gone up and what we need to do is promote reductions" in cardion dioxide. But does he believe manmade carbon emissions created the problem? "Look, it's not going to affect my policy decisions. What the policy decision needs to be is to find ways that are creative to be able to reduce" carbon dioxide, he said. "I am going to accept the science that's out there, and the science is...

By Anita Kumar | October 17, 2009; 6:18 PM ET | Comments (3)

College Dems Bus in For Deeds

The Wolverines have arrived for Democrat Creigh Deeds. Among about 100 canvassers who rallied with Deeds at the Mason District Park amphitheater in Annandale on this rainy afternoon were 30 students from the college Democrats at the University of Michigan. The group is spending their fall break knocking doors for Deeds. A recent Washington Post poll showed that young voters appeared likely to make up a smaller portion of the electorate this year than in last year's presidential election, when they comprised 20 percent of the electorate. But Sam Marvin, 21, a senior at the University of Michigan, said his group hopes to help get Obama voters engaged for Deeds. "It's about mobilizing those people. They would vote for him. I don't think there's anyone out there who would vote for Obama and not vote for Mr. Deeds. But it's about making sure they understand this is an important race...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 17, 2009; 5:17 PM ET | Comments (7)

McCain Rallies McDonnell Supporters

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, headlined a packed veterans rally for Virginia's Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell on a cold, rainy Saturday morning. About 300 supporters crammed into a Veterans of Foreign Wars post that had been decorated with massive red, white and blue "Veterans for McDonnell" signs. "This is the man who will bring about fiscal discipline, who understands what it means to balance a budget, who understands what pork barrel spending is, who understands that we have an obligation not just to our present citizens and out present veterans but to our children and our grandchildren and not hand them an unsustainable debt,'' McCain said. "That's Bob McDonnell. He will be a fiscal conservative."...

By Anita Kumar | October 17, 2009; 3:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Obama to Return to Va. for Deeds on Oct. 27

The date is set: President Obama is returning to Virginia to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds on Oct. 27. The Deeds campaign surely hopes the visit, confirmed by the White House and the campaign, will motivate core Democratic voters inspired by Obama's effort last year. It should also put to rest some of the chattering about whether the White House was backing off Deeds' effort, with polls showing him trailing. We'll bring you details when we have them. UPDATE: The Deeds campaign has put out a formal release about the Obama rally. "Further details will be announced in coming days," according the release....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 16, 2009; 6:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Goracle Lands in Virginia

We learned today that if you bring Al Gore into a state to campaign, you're headed for a discussion about the politics of climate change. Gore, the former vice president (and almost, but not quite president), who won an Oscar for his documentary An Inconvenient Truth and Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming, is attending a fundraiser dinner tonight with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds at a McLean home. (Tickets are $5,000). Republicans accused Deeds and Democrats of supporting a "devastating" cap on greenhouse gas emissions. Democrats accused Republican Bob McDonnell and the rest of his ticket of failing to believe in the concept of global warming....

By Anita Kumar | October 16, 2009; 6:43 PM ET | Comments (2)

Democrats Make a Weekend Push In Va.

Organizing for America, an arm of the Democratic National Committee, is asking supporters from other states to travel to Virginia this weekend for gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds. The group sent emails to thousands of members in D.C. and Maryland, asking for volunteers to door-knock for Deeds, with a goal of working 5,000 hours by next weekend. "Because this race isn't just about Virginia -- it's about standing up for the progress we've all fought so hard for and making sure our entire country keeps heading in the right direction,'' Mitch Stewart, the group's director, writes in the email. Deeds will appear at six events with DNC Chairman and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and Jody Wagner, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, in Northern Virginia. McDonnell will appear a veterans rally with Sen. John McCain tomorrow morning in Virginia Beach. He will appear with U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor in Richmond in...

By Anita Kumar | October 16, 2009; 6:34 PM ET | Comments (4)

Loudoun to Consider Asking Kaine to Buy Foreclosed Land

Loudoun County is considering asking the state to purchase 4,100 acres of foreclosed property originally slotted for residential development to turn into a state park. In August, four properties owned by developer Greenvest LC were sold in a foreclosure auction to its creditor, New York-based iStar Financial, for $69 million. Three years earlier, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted against a proposal to build 15,000 houses on the properties -- an ambitious plan that the Vienna-based developer had promised would make turn the region into new Reston or Columbia, 35 miles west of Washington. It was the largest planned development in Loudoun County's history....

By Derek Kravitz | October 16, 2009; 6:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds On Air With TV Ad Accusing McDonnell of Misrepresentation

Democrat Creigh Deeds started airing a new TV ad today in Southwest Virginia accusing Republican Bob McDonnell of mispresenting Deeds on taxes. The ad refers to the Roanoke Times and the nonpartisian Factcheck.org, both of which have questionned a McDonnell ad claiming Deeds supports a gas tax increase and the federal cap-and -rade bill. Deeds has said he opposes the cap and trade bill, and has never said what specific tax increase he would support. "He's running ads fabricating numbers for proposals Creigh Deeds doesn't support,'' Deeds campaign spokesperson Jared Leopold said. "The only thing clear from this ad is that Bob McDonnell will say or do anything to get elected."...

By Anita Kumar | October 16, 2009; 2:10 PM ET | Comments (7)

Women's Group Forms to Oppose McDonnell

A new state political action committee called Working Women for Virginia recently formed to oppose Republican Bob McDonnell's views in his race for governor against Democrat Creigh Deeds. The group is trying to raise enough money to air a TV ad in Northern Virginia during the last week of the election, said Margie Omero, a Democratic pollster who helped form the group. The group registered with the state two weeks ago, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. It has raised $1,600 in the last day through word of mouth, social networking and online advertising. "Whatever we raise will be used solely to spread the word about McDonnell's extreme views on women,'' Omero said.  "I don't think the prospect of more false, divisive and backwards-looking attack ads from Deeds and his national Democratic allies will please Virginians who are roundly rejecting one of the most negative campaigns in the commonwealth's...

By Anita Kumar | October 16, 2009; 1:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Airs New Ad on Cap-and-Trade

Republican Bob McDonnell began airing a new ad today in Roanoke and Southwest featuring an official from MeadWestvaco talking about the impact of the so-called cap and trade bill. The ad says that Deeds supports the federal climate change legislation, though he has said in recent appearances that he is opposed. Meadwest, a paper and packaging company, has a plant in Deeds's state senator district. The company has donated $15,000 to McDonnell and John Luke, its chairman, has given $10,000....

By Anita Kumar | October 16, 2009; 12:54 PM ET | Comments (1)

Clinton to Campaign for Deeds

The President's coming to Virginia for Democrat Creigh Deeds. Former President Bill Clinton, that is. Clinton will hold a rally with Deeds somewhere inside the Beltway in Northern Virginia on Tuesday, the Deeds campaign confirms. Also in attendance will be Clinton buddy and Deeds's rival during the primary campaign, Terry McAuliffe. Clinton did several appearances for McAuliffe before the June 9 primary. His work for Deeds comes as national Democrats swing into action to try to rev up a party base that polls have shown is unenthusiastic about Deeds's candidacy. This evening, Deeds holds a fundraiser with former vice president Al Gore....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 16, 2009; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (1)

Fairfax Employees' Union Starts Contest to Save Money

Facing a massive county budget shortfall next year, Fairfax County's employee union is sponsoring an unusual contest to find the best idea to save taxpayer money. The Everybody Wins contest (no connection to the reading mentor program of the same name) will award $500 to the Fairfax employee with the best idea, and the Fairfax County Government Employees Union has pledged $5,000 in seed money to the county to institute the idea. "These are the folks who are on the front lines of public services," said Karen Conchar, the president of the Fairfax union and an engineer at the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services. "They know exactly how taxpayer dollars are spent and where there could be savings." Fairfax County officials announced in July that they are expecting a $315.6 million shortfall in 2011, which could mean significant cuts and the consolidation of more than 50 county agencies....

By Derek Kravitz | October 16, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click - Virginia

Happy Friday Virginia! Here's what's happening around the state in politics. More evidence today that Republican Robert F. McDonnell has the advantage with less than three weeks left in the race for governor. As of Oct. 1, McDonnell had $4.5 million in the bank, $1.8 million more than his opponent Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, and in September had about 6,400 donors compared with Deeds's 3,800. Lots more information on the recent reports from all the Nov. election candidates -- and on all things campaign finance -- available from our friends at the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. Deeds comes to Northern Virginia today, where Organizing for America, the Democratic group that grew out of President Obama's historic campaign, launches a major canvassing push this weekend. While there's still no word on a second campaign visit by Obama to the state, Obama's opponent from last fall, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), headlines...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 16, 2009; 7:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

Obama "Will Be Back," Says Deeds

For the second time in week, Democrat Creigh Deeds has virtually promised that President Obama will be back to campaign for him before the Nov. 3 election, even though no date for such an event has been set. In an interview with Ryan Nobles of Richmond's NBC12, Deeds said, "President Obama will be back in Virginia." Nobles asked the candidate, "Within the next 19 days, we will see you and Barack Obama, standing on a stage in Virginia?" And Deeds answered, "You will, yes." Deeds told Mark Plotkin something similar last week on WTOP. Yet, Obama has announced a rally for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and so far, no such love for Deeds. Deeds also tried to explain why he called himself a "Creigh Deeds Democrat" when asked at a recent debate whether he was a "Barack Obama Democrat." Was he trying to distance himself from the president? "You...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 15, 2009; 6:57 PM ET | Comments (5)

Deeds Raises $3.5M, $2.7M in the Bank

Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds raised $3.5 million in September and had $2.7 million in the bank going into the final month of the race. In September, the Democratic Governors Association gave Deeds $257,500 while the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees gave him $400,000, one of several large checks Deeds received from national unions. As of the end of September, Deeds had raised $14.2 million and McDonnell $18.9 million, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks campaign finance. By this point in 2005, Democrat Tim Kaine had raised $15.9 million and Republican Jerry Kilgore had raised $17.4 million. Deeds' latest totals reflect the single highest fundraising month for the campaign so far. The campaign raised more money from more donors in September than in either of the previous two months. Deeds received money from 3,763 total donors. Of those 2,489 of these contributors were new...

By Anita Kumar | October 15, 2009; 5:22 PM ET | Comments (1)

McDonnell Raises $3.8M, Has $4.5M in Bank

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell raised $3.8 million in September and had $4.5 million in the bank going into the final month of the race. The campaign raised more in September than July and August combined. McDonnell had 6,440 unique donors. Of those, 4,819 were new contributors and 4,454 gave less than $100. "With three weeks left in the race we have great momentum and the resources we need to continue to get Bob McDonnell's new ideas and positive vision out to voters across the state,'' said Phil Cox, McDonnell campaign manager. The Republican National Committee donated $400,000, and several national Republican stars helped McDonnell raise more than $600,000 last month. Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and possible presidential hopeful, headlined a fundraiser at the offices of the American Gas Association on Capitol Hill. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal hosted fundraiser for McDonnell at the McLean home of Dwight Schar, founder...

By Anita Kumar | October 15, 2009; 5:07 PM ET | Comments (3)

Fairfax Credit Rating Boosted to Triple-A

The City of Fairfax's credit rating was boosted Thursday to triple-A by Standard & Poor's, in what the New York rating agency called an indication of how well the city's stable economic base has fared during the recession. The city previously had a rating of AA+. Fairfax County has had a triple-A rating from all three major credit agencies for more than a decade, one of only a few jurisdictions to hold that distinction. In its evaluation, Standard & Poor's cited the city's "affluent suburban community" within the Washington region; its large property tax base; its wealthy median income and buying income levels and its strong financial performance. "We believe officials will sustain the city's strong financial performance and position and manageable debt burden, evidenced, in part, by continued healthy general fund reserves," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Jesse Brady. "The absence of tax-supported debt in the city's current...

By Derek Kravitz | October 15, 2009; 4:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

McCartney Scorecard: Nothing Changes, McDonnell Wins

Post columnist Robert McCartney is scoring the Virginia governor's race blow-by-blow, round-by-round. Here's how he graded this past week: The campaign turns static with McDonnell holding the lead. Deeds does better than expected in the first prime-time television debate, but expectations were low and he didn't do anything to turn it around. Deeds is still waiting for Obama to schedule a another event with him in Virginia -- and the delay is highlighted when White House says the president will campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Corzine in New Jersey. Who do you think won? See and comment on the full McCartney Scorecard....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 15, 2009; 2:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

UPDATED: AG Candidates Report Fundraising

Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for attorney general, raised $672,315 in September, according to records released by his campaign. Cuccinelli had $936,045 in the bank heading into October -- solid numbers for someone who had a tough three-way fight for his party's nomination earlier this year. As of Aug. 31, Democractic nominee Steve Shannon had a two-to-one financial advantage over Cuccinelli. Shannon had $1.6 million compared with Cuccinelli's $750,000. Shannon may still have more cash on hand, but Cuccinelli may have outraised him in September. We'll you know when we hear from Shannon's campaign. UPDATE: As we predicted, it looks like Cuccinelli outraised Shannon by a bit in September, but not enough to erase the Democrat's money advantage. According to his campaign, Shannon raised $531,965 in the month of September, ending the month with $1,420,859 on hand. That gave Shannon about a $500,000 lead on Cuccinelli at month's start. The...

By Anita Kumar | October 15, 2009; 1:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Updated: Wagner, Bolling Report Fundraising

September finance reports are due to the state board of elections today at 5 p.m., but we now have our first numbers directly from a campaign. They're from Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner and they're impressive. According to Wagner's campaign, she raised more than $465,000 in September, leaving her with $875,800 in cash on end at the end of the month to fund the remainder of her effort. We've just heard that Republican Bill Bolling raised $476,144 in September. He had $1.2 million cash on hand -- also a very impressive number going into the final full month of the campaign. "Our fundraising success is a testament to the broad support my campaign has received from every part of Virginia," Bolling said. "Raising nearly $500,000 from almost 2,000 donors in just one month speaks to the momentum and excitement behind our campaign." Wagner had double the cash on hand...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 15, 2009; 12:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

National Democratic Jewish Group Makes Push in Virginia

The National Jewish Democratic Council launched a major push Thursday in Virginia, its largest ever in the commonwealth, the organization said. The group will send at least three paid organizers to the state, including one based at the University of Virginia focusing on students, and is also organizing a Virginia Volunteer Corps. There will also be literature drops, phone calls and other grass-roots canvassing. NJDC Political Director Linda Berg said the group's members were excited by Virginia's turning blue last year and determined to keep the state in the Democratic column this year -- particularly given the national attention on Virginia as harbinger of the 2010 midterm elections....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 15, 2009; 12:32 PM ET | Comments (10)

Five Va. Governors Sit Down for a Chat

Ever wonder what Tim Kaine, Doug Wilder, George Allen, Jim Gilmore and Linwood Holton would say to each other if they were in the same room? Well, you can find out. The five men sat down with Charlottesville's NBC station for a 30-minute special that aired earlier this week, and is now available online. Check it out here. The men, seated in the governor's mansion on Capitol Square in Richmond, talked about blogs, "groveling and begging" for money, being a lame duck and the possibility of serving two terms. Yes, Gilmore mentioned the car tax a few times. Noticeably absent? The state's most recent former governor, Mark Warner, who defeated Gilmore for a U.S. Senate seat last year. Maybe the two men didn't want to be in the same room?...

By Anita Kumar | October 15, 2009; 12:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

UPDATED: Gaffe or No, McDonnell Puts Johnson in Ad

Here's how much Republican Bob McDonnell thinks of calls for him to distance himself from businesswoman Sheila Johnson, after video surfaced of Johnson mocking opponent Deeds' speaking style: McDonnell's latest campaign ad features Johnson. In the spot, airing as of this morning on Northern Virginia television, the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and prominent supporter of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine looks straight into the camera and says, "I'm Sheila Johnson, a Democrat business woman. I know what it takes to start and grow successful businesses and create jobs. That's why I support Bob McDonnell for governor." She goes on to list some of McDonnell's resume before concluding, "That's why this Democrat strongly supports Bob McDonnell for governor." Johnson apologized for her comments at a McDonnell event in which she adopted a faux stutter in mocking the way Deeds speaks. Her joke drew condemnation from the National Stuttering Association and others...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 15, 2009; 9:10 AM ET | Comments (16)

Jones, McClellan Headline Deeds Fundraiser

Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Del. Jennifer McClellan will headline a fundraiser for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds tonight in downtown Richmond. The 28-member host committee is a diverse group that includes grocery chain founder Jim Ukrop, developer Mark Merhige, ophthalmologist Shantarm Talegaonkar and lawyers David Gammino, Lakshmi Challa and Nupa Agarwal. Others include Dominion executive Irene Cimino, Rosa Finch, finance manager at management and technology consulting company BearingPoint and Alice Tousignant, executive director of Virginia Supportive Housing. Today is the deadline for Deeds, Republican Bob McDonnell and all candidates to turn in their campaign finance reports for September. We'll be bringing you the numbers as we get them throughout the day, so check back often....

By Anita Kumar | October 15, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

First Click - Virginia

Good morning Virginia! Here's what's happening on this rainy fall day in state politics. Today is the deadline for candidates in November's election to submit their campaign finance reports for September, offering the latest snapshot of the state of the fast-approaching race. Our friends at the Virginia Public Access Project are expected to post the information on their Web site by 6 p.m., and executive director David Poole joined with the Post's Amy Gardner yesterday to answer reader questions about campaign finance. President Obama came to Virginia yesterday -- but not for Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds, giving fodder to the chattering classes who have been wondering aloud about whether Obama has given up on the Democratic nominee. The questioning intensified yesterday when news broke that Obama has committed to a campaign stop for the other Democrat running for governor this year, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 15, 2009; 7:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Shannon Blasts Cuccinelli in New Ad

Steve Shannon, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, launched a new TV ad today that criticizes Republican Ken Cuccinelli for what Shannon calls a "weak" record on drunk driving legislation. "My opponent has not released a single plan to combat drunk driving in Virginia, and in the state Senate he has consistently voted against tougher penalties for drunk drivers,'' Shannon said. "Virginia needs better public safety leadership than that."...

By Anita Kumar | October 14, 2009; 8:14 PM ET | Comments (2)

Democrats Hit McDonnell on Stimulus

U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner will host a low-dollar fundraiser tonight for Republican Bob McDonnell at Jones Day law firm in Washington. More than 100 young professionals are expected to attend. Democrats didn't say anything the last time the two campaigned together but this time, they seized on the news -- sending out multiple statements criticizing McDonnell for appearing with a congressman who opposes the federal stimulus package and accusing him of opposing it too. "The question every Virginia voter should ask: why is Bob McDonnell more than happy to take John Boehner's money when it benefits his political campaign, but not willing to take money for roads and infrastructure projects benefiting all Virginians?" DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan said. It's true that Boehner did oppose the federal stimulus money, but it's not clear McDonnell did. He said he wasn't a huge fan of the package, but would accept federal...

By Anita Kumar | October 14, 2009; 6:22 PM ET | Comments (1)

Obama Commits to Corzine, but No Word on Deeds

President Obama has not yet agreed to campaign again for Virginia Democrat Creigh Deeds--but he's made time for the nation's other Democratic gubernatorial candidate. New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine's campaign announced today that Obama will be holding a rally for his reelection effort at Fairleigh Dickinson University next Wednesday. The news comes as Corzine's effort has pulled even with Republican Chris Christie, even as Deeds trails Republican Bob McDonnell by nine points in a recent Washington Post poll. Obama did visit Virginia today, to tout the impact of the federal stimulus package at the Fairfax County Parkway extension construction project, the largest project of its kind in Virginia and a federal highway project partially funded by stimulus dollars. But the event was not a campaign stop and Deeds was not present. Also not on site: Democratic Governor and Obama ally Timothy M. Kaine, who stood at the very same project...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 14, 2009; 5:54 PM ET | Comments (3)

McDonnell Opposes Regent Hiring Policy

Democrats including Creigh Deeds have been criticizing Republican Bob McDonnell since news broke about the hiring policy of his alma mater Regent University. But when we asked today, we were told McDonnell opposes Regent's non-discrimination policy that pledges equal opportunities for men and women, consistent with Biblical teachings that men are the head of households. "Bob McDonnell supports hiring and promoting individuals based solely on merit and ability, and regardless of gender, race, creed, religion, national origin or sexual orientation. He supports equal pay for equal work,'' said Tucker Martin, McDonnell's spokesman. "He does not support any policy to the contrary." That seems pretty clear, right? So why then did McDonnell serve for eight years (1998 to 2005) on the Board of Trustees at the Virginia Beach college founded by televangelist Pat Robertson when he opposed the hiring policy? Here's the answer we got, though it doesn't answer the question:...

By Anita Kumar | October 14, 2009; 5:30 PM ET | Comments (5)

VaTech Families Target Albo

Relatives of victims of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre have been among the most vocal proponents of a change to state law that would close the state's so-called gun show "loophole," which permits private gun show vendors to sell to customers without first conducting a background check. Now, some of those same family members are campaigning against a member of the House of Delegates whom they say betrayed them in that fight: Del. Dave Albo (R-Fairfax). Funny thing is, Albo says he agrees with the familes that the law should be changed and even voted that way as chairman of the Virginia State Crime Commission. But some of the Tech families believe Albo is paying lip service to his more liberal Northern Virginia constituents while obstructing the families' efforts behind the scenes to appease pro-gun Republicans....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 14, 2009; 4:42 PM ET | Comments (7)

Excerpts: Post Reporter, Fundraising Expert Take Your Questions

Washington Post staff writer Amy Gardner and David Poole, executive director of Campaign Finance for the Virginia Public Access Project, were online today to discuss the Virginia governor's race between Creigh Deeds (D) and Bob McDonnell (R) and the candidates' campaign financing. Excerpts follow. Read the full transcript here. Charlottesville, Va.: Has the recession played much of a role in fundraising this year for Deeds and McDonnell? What about in the down-ticket races? David Poole: Yes, the recession seems to be a factor. We know this anecdotally from talking to political fundraisers. People who are worth $25 million don't feel rich because, well, last year they were worth $50. We've seen this in the numbers, too. Here is a chart showing the trends in spending for the last few gubernatorial cycles. You can see things have been on a fast-growth pace. You can ignore this year, because the numbers are...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 14, 2009; 3:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

DNC Facebook Ad Links McDonnell, Regent Policy

The Democratic National Committee is launching new ads on Facebook today that will be directed at women, students and supporters of Republican Bob McDonnell. The ads target McDonnell on his alma mater Regent University, which has a non-discrimination policy that pledges equal opportunities for men and women, consistent with Biblical teachings that men are the head of households. McDonnell served for eight years on the Board of Trustees at the Virginia Beach college founded by televangelist Pat Robertson. He received both a law and master's degree at the school in 1989. The DNC is trying to spread the word about the school's hiring practice here. "McDonnell's support for this discriminatory policy can be directly traced to his belief articulated in his thesis that working women were 'detrimental to the family,' " DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan said. "We wanted to ensure that Virginians knew that, despite his denials, Bob McDonnell's radical...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 14, 2009; 12:43 PM ET | Comments (6)

Obama in Virginia, But Not For Deeds

President Obama is in Fairfax County today. But not to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds. Snap! Instead, Obama visits the Fairfax County Parkway extension today with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to talk about federal stimulus spending. After days of very public discussions about whether Obama will choose to visit Virginia again on Deeds behalf before Nov. 3 and whether the president is trying to limit his exposure in the swing state in anticipation of a possible Deeds loss, that's got to hurt. The campaign points out that it's not unusual for Obama to make quick hops across the Potomac to talk about how federal policy is affecting people in the states. And that it would be rare to co-mingle a political event with a policy event. And Jake Tapper of ABC twittered yesterday the White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said time is being carved out for the...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 14, 2009; 10:19 AM ET | Comments (2)

First Click - Virginia

Good morning, Virginia, here's what's happening in politics around the state today. Today's big news in state politics comes not from the Virginia governor's race but from the latest chapter in the Virginia Information Technologies Agency fiasco. A state audit released yesterday shows that the bungled $2 billion contract with Northrup Grumman to upgrade computer systems could end up costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars if canceled. The news did prompt some response from the two men running for governor, with Democrat R. Creigh Deeds blaming Republican Robert F. McDonnell, who was attorney general at the time, and McDonnell's spokesman blaming Democratic leaders. The Virginia governor's race continues to get national scrutiny for what the outcome might say about President Obama's presidency. Earlier this week it was the New York Times; last night it was the Newshour on PBS, whose Judy Woodruff moderated Monday's gubernatorial debate in Roanoke....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 14, 2009; 7:28 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Politics of Virginia's Computer Contract

In light of today's stinging legislative audit detailing massive computer problems, Democrat Creigh Deeds accused Republican Bob McDonnell, the former attorney general, of failing to help safeguard the state in its 10-year, $2 billion contract with Northrop Grumman. "Today's news, coupled with previous reports that Bob McDonnell's office knew of problems in the contract, calls his record into question,'' Deeds said in a statement. "McDonnell owes Virginians answers to questions of what he knew about problems in the contract, when he became aware of them, and whether he did anything at all about it." The state looked for a private company to oversee its computer system in 2003 after a legislative review showed that its technology was out of date and increasingly expensive to maintain. Then-governor Mark Warner, now a U.S. senator, received approval to consolidate computer operations into one agency and overhauled the system to make it more efficient...

By Anita Kumar | October 13, 2009; 7:09 PM ET | Comments (3)

Jody Wagner Campaigns in Fairfax

At the Democratic Club meeting in Fairfax County's Greenspring Village retirement community, there was no hemming and hawing Tuesday about whether Virginia should boost the gas tax to fix Northern Virginia's roads. From the mouths of lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner, fellow Democrat Del. Vivian E. Watts, and several folks in the audience, the message was: Bring it on. "I drive the roads, and I don't like sitting in long lines, so I don't mind paying more, because I'm using it," a man asked from the back of the room during the Q&A. "Why can't we add 10 cents more? Would that do it?" The man noted that Virginia ranks among the lowest in the U.S. for its gas tax. Wagner, after noting that it took her more than an hour to drive about six miles from a hotel in Herndon to a meeting in Tysons Corner, did not explicitly...

By Anne Bartlett | October 13, 2009; 7:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Pr. William Delegate Lashes Out Over Opponent's Mailer

You know Election Day is approaching when things get this ugly. Late last week, Republican House of Delegates candidate Rich Anderson sent out a mailer to voters that dropped a bombshell about his opponent, Del. Paul Nichols (D-Prince William). Nichols, it said, had been arrested in North Carolina in 2006 for assaulting a police officer, and it implied that Nichols may have been intoxicated at the time. Problem is, the mailer failed to note that a judge dropped the charges against Nichols, who has said it was the police officer who got aggressive with him when he came to the aid of a friend who had been pulled over. The mailer, which called Nichols "A Different Kind of 'Slugger,'" also included excerpts of a police report that displayed Nichols's Social Security number. In addition, a judge in September of this year granted Nichols's request that the documents be expunged. Anderson's...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 13, 2009; 4:30 PM ET | Comments (1)

Johnson Stumps for McDonnell, Makes Less Inflammatory Joke

Northern Virginia businesswoman Sheila Johnson hit the campaign trail again Tuesday with Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell, vowing not to be "intimidated for crossing party lines" only days after she came under fire for comments she made mocking McDonnell's Democratic opponent. Johnson, the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and managing partner of the Washington Mystics, had ridiculed the speaking style of state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds at a Sept. 25 campaign event, saying, "The other people I talk to, especially his op-op-op-o-opponent, di-di-did this all through my interview with him." On Tuesday, Johnson -- a Democrat who has previously supported President Obama and Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) in their respective races -- opened up with another joke (prefaced by at least one audible gasp in the crowd). The topic? What the Bible's three wise men would have been like if had been women. "They would have asked...

By Derek Kravitz | October 13, 2009; 2:17 PM ET | Comments (4)

Excerpts: Post Columnist Discusses Gov. Race

Washington Post Metro columnist Robert McCartney was online earlier today to discuss the Monday night Virginia governor's race debate, the Deeds and McDonnell campaigns and his recent columns. Some excerpts follow. Read the entire discussion transcript here. Northern Virginia: I thought that Deeds (in addition to talking issues) worked harder to introduce his biography to voters who are just "tuning in" -- the great uncle's summer camp "all in" philosophy, the four $20 bills going to college, the older Virginians in his family. Do you agree? We did learn about McDonnell's father's Alzheimer's, which is such a shame, but that was the only really personal or emotional thought from him. Robert McCartney: Yes, Deeds talked a bit more about personal stuff than McDonnell. I've heard Deeds use some of those anecdotes before in public, but he probably figured it made sense to repeat them since this was the first debate...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 13, 2009; 1:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hamilton, Under Investigation, Endorsed by Police

Here's one of the most interesting endorsements this campaign season. Del. Phil Hamilton was endorsed today by the Virginia Police Benevolent Association. Yes, you read correctly. The powerful Republican lawmaker from Newport News who is under federal investigation got the backing of more than 2,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officials. Hamilton is under investigation for negotiating a job offer with Old Dominion University before securing state money for the school. A federal grand jury served the Newport News school system and ODU with subpoenas and search warrants. "We will ask our members, their friends and families, and all citizens who respect the strong and efficient enforcement of our laws to cast their ballots in the upcoming election in your favor,'' William B. Gordon, Newport News Chapter President of PBA wrote in a letter to Hamilton. Does the PBA know something we don't know?...

By Anita Kumar | October 13, 2009; 12:43 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Now: Post Columnist Robert McCartney Takes Your Questions

Got questions about last night's debate or the Virginia governor's race in general? Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney is answering those questions, as well as any about his recent columns, right now in a live online discussion. Click here to submit a question or click here to read the discussion....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 13, 2009; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Wagner Rips Bolling's Attendance in Second TV Ad

Jody Wagner, the Democratic challenger running for lieutenant governor, unveiled her second television ad of the fall this morning and it's a negative one. The 30-second spot called "Work," which is airing in Richmond, Charlottesville and Norfolk and on cable in Northern Virginia, follows a line of attack Wagner has been pursuing about Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's (R) attendance record on the boards and commissions to which he has been appointed. It also points out Bolling's second job in the private sector as an insurance industry executive, and concludes: "Virginia has full-time challenges. We can't afford a lieutenant governor like Bill Bolling, who's never there." Full script after the jump....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 13, 2009; 11:04 AM ET | Comments (8)

First Click - Virginia

Good morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics around the state today. Just about every Virginia publication has a story about last night's bitter debate between gubernatorial candidates R. Creigh Deeds (D) and Robert F. McDonnell (R), who covered the same wide range of issues that have dominated the race, including transportation, education and the economy. Deeds's performance -- he accused McDonnell of "lying" then acknowledged the language might have been too harsh to reporters later -- will likely do little to appease critics who have said the Democratic nominee has been too negative. More on that from Politico and Talking Points Memo. Deeds, who is behind in the polls, embarks on his second day of his "Hope and Opportunity Tour" of rural Virginia. McDonnell heads back to Northern Virginia for a Vienna rally with businesswoman Sheila Johnson, whose mocking of Deeds' speaking style apparently did not damage her standing...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 13, 2009; 7:11 AM ET | Comments (2)

Live-Blog: Virginia Governor's Debate

Beginning at 8 p.m. tonight, the Post will have live video, blogging and more from the debate between governor's race candidates Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell in Richmond. For a look at what each candidate needs to accomplish tonight, read the preview by Rosalind S. Helderman and Anita Kumar. UPDATE 6:18 p.m.: Apparently our TV partners will not be showing the debate live after all, which means we will be unable to stream it. C-SPAN appears to be streaming the debate live on its Web site, however. It also will be broadcast on WETA and C-SPAN3 in the D.C. area. UPDATE 7:49 p.m.: We're getting started here. Questions for all of you out there: What could Deeds do to reverse the momentum in this race? How big a gaffe could McDonnell commit and still score a win on Nov. 3? Post your thoughts in the comments. Click through for the...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 12, 2009; 9:00 PM ET | Comments (8)

Kaine Stumps for House Candidates, Calls Nobel 'Great Thing for Our Country'

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) paid a visit to Northern Virginia today in the hopes that his appeal among suburban voters might rub off on four fellow Democrats running for the House of Delegates: Incumbents Paul Nichols (Prince William) and Chuck Caputo (Fairfax/Loudoun), and newcomers John Bell (Loudoun/Prince William) and Mark Keam (Fairfax). If you'll recall, Kaine won the 2005 gubernatorial race in part by emphasizing the issues that mattered to suburbanites: traffic, development and education. He became the first Democratic gubernatorial candidate in two decades to win Loudoun and Prince William counties, and he still enjoys a 71 percent approval rate in Northern Virginia, according to a recent Washington Post poll -- despite Republican efforts to paint him as a part-time governor because of his second job as chairman of the Democratic National Committee....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 12, 2009; 6:45 PM ET | Comments (1)

Updated: Limbaugh Calls Deeds 'Mealy-Mouthed Idiot'

Here's a friend Republican Bob McDonnell probably wasn't looking for. Conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh decided to put on his well-worn pundit's hat and weigh in on the race for Virginia governor. Wouldn't you know, he thinks Democrat Creigh Deeds has been too negative? He gleefully told listeners that McDonnell remains ahead despite Deeds's attempt to paint McDonnell as "an anti-female caveman." Why? Because Americans have sourced on the "radical" Democratic agenda. But here's the part that might be just what Deeds needs to get pumped for tonight's televised debate. "I'll tell you what I think's going on out there. I think the New York Times must not see the ads in Virginia, the Democrat, the mealy-mouthed idiot named Creigh Deeds." Mealy-mouthed idiot? Ouch! Read his full comments here. Updated: Deeds responded to Limbaugh's comments after the debate tonight. "I feel I've hit the big time!'' he said with...

By Anita Kumar | October 12, 2009; 6:02 PM ET | Comments (6)

Johnson's Apology Complete, McDonnell to Campaign Again With Her

Republican Bob McDonnell holds a rally for women tomorrow with Sheila Johnson, a top endorser who apologized last week after video of her surfaced at a previous campaign stop mocking Democrat Creigh Deeds's speaking style. "We need someone who can really communicate," said Johnson, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television. "And Bob McDonnell can communicate. The other people that I talk to, especially his o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-opponent ... could not articulate what needed to be done." McDonnell declined opportunities last week to apologize for sitting quietly while Johnson poked fun at Deeds. And he clearly does not think the incident made her persona non grata for his campaign, despite condemnation from the National Stuttering Association and others in the disabilities community. He rallies with Johnson and other women supporting his effort at the Tysons Corner Marriott tomorrow. Johnson was a top supporter of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine but endorsed McDonnell, arguing that he...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 12, 2009; 3:20 PM ET | Comments (1)

Cuccinelli Airs New Ad; Shannon, Kaine Protest

Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for attorney general, has a new advertisement running across Virginia accusing his Democratic opponent, Steve Shannon, of not helping fix state law to address a Supreme Court decision that could have jeopardized thousands of DUI and drug convictions in Virginia. The ad is so objectionable to Shannon and other Democrats that he and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine held a conference call with reporters to offer their version of events. View the ad here: At issue is a recent Supreme Court ruling in the Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts case that says live testimony is needed to introduce scientific reports in criminal trials. After the ruling, Cuccinelli was the first lawmaker in Virginia to publicly ask Kaine to call a legislative session to address the issue. Both Shannon and Kaine were among those who sought to fix the issue administratively, without legislative intervention. Shannon went so far as...

By Amy Gardner | October 12, 2009; 3:08 PM ET | Comments (4)

GOP Launches New Ad on Deeds and Taxes

The Republican Governors Association is out this morning with a new TV ad in Northern Virginia. Guess what this one is about? You guessed it. Taxes again. The new ad shows Democrat Creigh Deeds making what appears to be conflicting statements on taxes during and after the last debate. "No amount of political double-talk can hide the fact that Creigh Deeds wants to hike taxes," RGA spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. Update: By the way, in case you are wondering, McDonnell's and Deeds's campaigns signed an agreement not to use footage of the debate afterward it was over, but the RGA was not part of that agreement....

By Anita Kumar | October 12, 2009; 9:20 AM ET | Comments (5)

Deeds Ad Suggests McDonnell is Robertson's, Not Fairfax's Own

Democrat Creigh Deeds is not backing off negative campaign ads against Republican Bob McDonnell, at least in the Northern Virginia area. The campaign this morning releases a new spot already airing in the Washington area, which attacks McDonnell's claim, featured on many campaign signs, that he is "Fairfax's Own" because of his Northern Virginia childhood. "Bob McDonnell says he's from Fairfax County," the narrator says. "But that was before he attended Pat Robertson's law school. And served on its board." Before, the narrator continues, he wrote that working women are detrimental to the family, he introduced 35 bills on abortion or voted against equal pay for women. "So no matter what McDonnell claims, all signs say he's not from around here...anymore," it concludes....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 12, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (17)

First Click - Virginia - UPDATED

Good morning Virginia! Twenty-two days before Election Day, but who's counting. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today. After a brutal week of discouraging poll numbers and questions about his electability, Democrat R. Creigh Deeds will try to make good on his reputation as a strong finisher and turn the race for governor around in its waning weeks. In the face of criticism over what voters perceive as his negative focus, Deeds launched a positive ad yesterday focused on education. And he will have an important opportunity to make his case to Virginians tonight in Richmond, when he faces off against Republican Robert F. McDonnell in the men's first prime time televised debate....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 12, 2009; 7:21 AM ET | Comments (1)

New Deeds Ad on Education

Democrat Creigh Deeds is out with a new ad, a spot that does not mention his Republican opponent at all and instead focuses on Deeds' education proposals. The ad particularly highlights Deeds' Virginia Forward scholarship proposal, in which Deeds has said he would offer a 50 percent scholarship to any Virginia student at a Virginia public college who maintains a B average and commits to spending two years in public service after graduation. The ad begins airing now in Richmond and will expand to other markets next week--no word yet on which. Watch it here....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 11, 2009; 4:59 PM ET | Comments (4)

Cuccinelli Calls Obama's Nobel "A Joke"

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell may have been "delighted" that President Obama was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize, but his ticket-mate, attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli, feels a little differently. "Well, it's official, the Nobel Peace Prize is officially meaningless," Cuccinelli opened his Cuccinelli Compass newsletter to supporters Friday. He went on to quote commentator John Podhoretz about what Cuccinelli termed the "Nobel hilarity." Podhoretz argued that the win is not surprising because Obama represents the Nobel committee's highest ideals because he is "an American President queasy about the projection of American power." "I suspect that whoever nominated him actually did it as a joke. And how about that, it really did turn out to be a joke," Cuccinelli concluded on the subject....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 11, 2009; 3:11 PM ET | Comments (164)

Mason-Dixon Shows McDonnell by 8

Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which like the Post does live interviews and not automated robocalls, is out with a poll in the Virginia governor's race. And it shows a similar spread to the Post poll last week--Republican Robert F. McDonnell over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds by eight percentage points. Like the Post, Mason-Dixon, which was funded by the Richmond Times Dispatch and other Virginia press outlets, has McDonnell way up with independents, which will be encouraging to his campaign. The new poll shows him ahead by 15 with that group--a striking lead though not quite the 21 point gap the Post showed last week....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 11, 2009; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (10)

Fact-Checker: Did McDonnell Support Dropping Mammograms From Health Plans?

It was an alarming advertisement, claiming Virginia's former attorney general supported a bill that would have allowed employers to drop mammograms and cancer screenings from health care plans -- made more alarming by the claim that Robert F. McDonnell was one of only nine attorneys general in the U.S. to do so. The radio ad, circulated this month by Democratic state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, noted that his Republican opponent McDonnell was one of the nine who had not signed on to a 2006 letter opposing federal legislation that would have allowed employers to not carry such state-mandated benefits. McDonnell's campaign says the attorney general was also opposed to the legislation, but didn't receive the draft letter. It was sent to the office of his chief deputy, William C. Mims, on April 21, 2006, a Friday, the campaign said. The deadline was Monday, April 24, and the letter was sent...

By Derek Kravitz | October 11, 2009; 9:21 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Kitchen Table: Americans for Prosperity

Today, we told you about how Republicans are more energized about the governor's race this year than Democrats, in part because of disillusionment with Democratic leadership in Washington. Well, "disillusioned" is an understatement for the deep concern felt by many of the folks who attended the "Defending the American Dream Summit" in Crystal City last Saturday, sponsored by the conservative Americans for Prosperity. The controversial group has played a prominent role at the some of the tense "Tea Party" and health care reform protests around the country, and has been among those loudly asserting that current events in Washington are leading the nation on a path to socialism. AFP receives most of its funding from a foundation run by two brothers who control an oil-and-gas conglomerate in Kansas. A frequent target of liberal critics, AFP leaders insist that their efforts aren't mere industry-funded "astroturfing," saying that their bus tours around...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 10, 2009; 6:34 PM ET | Comments (9)

McDonnell Airs New Ad on Jobs

Republican Bob McDonnell launched a new TV ad in Southwest Virginia today that talks about his desire to be a "jobs governor." It's the second ad in a week that accuses Democrat Creigh Deeds of costing families $7,800 -- a number that includes the estimated costs of a gas tax increase and the federal cap and trade bill. The ad assumes Deeds would support a gas increase, which he has voted for many times in the past, to raise the $1 billion that he says is needed for road and transit improvements, and that he favors a climate proposal with a greater emissions cap than the one being considered by Congress. But Deeds has never said what, if any, gax tax increase he would support as governor and has specifically said he does not support the cap and trade bill. Read the script below:...

By Anita Kumar | October 10, 2009; 5:34 PM ET | Comments (2)

Palin: McDonnell Personally Asked for Help

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell repeatedly and personally asked former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for help this summer in his campaign for Virginia governor, a Palin spokeswoman said. But by late August, Palin learned that the McDonnell campaign no longer wanted her assistance, Palin adviser Meg Stapleton said in an interview tonight. Earlier this week, McDonnell reacted with a bit of sarcasm when asked whether Palin would be campaigning with him. "There was a time earlier on when she was governor when I thought she would come here,'' he said. "But I think she seems to be busy with books and other things like that. We've still got about 20 different events scheduled down the road and she's not one of them." But Stapleton says Palin is not too busy to come. She says that her boss offered to help McDonnell numerous times both in conversations with him and his...

By Anita Kumar | October 9, 2009; 8:51 PM ET | Comments (37)

Palin a No-Show in Virginia

After the election last year, Republican Bob McDonnell expected former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to campaign with him. In the summer, even after Palin's stunning announcement that she was resigning as governor of Alaska, McDonnell said he would welcome her to Virginia. This week, McDonnell made it clear that would not happen. "There was a time earlier on when she was governor when I thought she would come here,'' McDonnell said after a candidates' forum in Loudoun County earlier this week. "But I think she seems to be busy with books and other things like that. We've still got about 20 different events scheduled down the road and she's not one of them." But Palin adviser Meg Stapleton told Politico that her boss offered to help McDonnell. Calls and e-mails to Palin's political action committee were not returned. Her PAC donated $2,500 to McDonnell this summer. Palin's visits to...

By Anita Kumar | October 9, 2009; 6:00 PM ET | Comments (6)

Conservative Group Targets Deeds

A political action committee tied to the conservative Family Research Council began airing TV ads accusing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds of flip-flopping on the issues of same-sex marriage and partial-birth abortion. The Virginia Values Voter PAC ad is airing for one week on cable TV in Southwest Virginia. "Creigh Deeds is willing to do anything to appease the most radical special interest groups within his party,'' PAC president Connie Mackey said. "His rhetoric doesn't match his votes. It appears he will do and say anything for votes except stick by his own." Deeds voted for a ban on partial-birth abortion but later changed his mind because he said he worried that the bills were unconstitutional. He, voted to put on the ballot a state constitutional amendment prohibiting civil unions and same-sex marriage, but said he came to regret his decision and to believe that the language was discriminatory and...

By Anita Kumar | October 9, 2009; 5:07 PM ET | Comments (1)

McDonnell "Delighted" Obama Won Nobel

Don't include Virginia gubernatorial candidate Republican Bob McDonnell among those conservatives who are deriding the Nobel Committee for awarding its Peace Prize to President Obama less than a year after he took office. "I'm delighted to see the President of the United States bring honor to our country by receiving the Nobel Peace Prize," McDonnell said this afternoon. His Democratic opponent Creigh Deeds issued a statement early this morning praising the committee for its selection. McDonnell said that he's been on the road and has not extensively read the committee's reasoning for the award, other than that it had to do with Obama's diplomatic efforts. But he said he was pleased with anything that "brings accolades to the United States." And then he repeated, "I'm delighted to see him win the award." McDonnell's answer stands in stark contrast to others in in his party, including Republican National Committee Chairman Michael...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 9, 2009; 4:18 PM ET | Comments (5)

Two Lt. Gov. Candidates, Same Endorsement

On Wednesday morning, Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling issued a press release proudly announcing an endorsement from the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce political action committee. On Thursday afternoon, his Democrat rival Jody Wagner also issued a press release proudly announcing her endorsement from the very same PAC. Did one of the candidates make a mistake? Or did the group change its mind? Actually, it's neither. It turns out the chamber endorsed both candidates for lieutenant governor. Do they know that's not how it works? And that if you endorse both candidates, it's not really .... well, an endorsement. "I understand,'' said Ira Agricola, chamber senior vice president. "It would not be my personal preference." The PAC's 12-member board voted to endorse both candidates for the first time in its history -- clearly split between the incumbent who has campaigned on business issues and the challenger who hails from the...

By Anita Kumar | October 9, 2009; 2:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds on Obama: 'Yes, He Will.'

Will President Obama be back in Virginia before the Nov. 3 election? The Deeds campaign has spent days saying that they would love to see the president and believe he and the Democratic National Committee will be helpful in the final weeks of the governor's race. But everyone's been careful not to say that Obama will definitely be back, with no date yet offered by the White House. Until this morning. Asked by Mark Plotkin on WTOP if President Obama will campaign for him, Deeds responded, "Yes, he will." Plotkin then asked where Obama will appear and Deeds answered, "I don't know that yet. I know he will be back in Virginia before Nov. 3."...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 9, 2009; 11:49 AM ET | Comments (4)

Sagging in Northern Virginia, Deeds Introduces New Rural Ads

New poll results suggest that Democrat Creigh Deeds do more to sell himself to Northern Virginians, including the traditionally left-leaning inner Washington suburbs, and that voters believe his campaign has become largely negative. Today we get positive ads from Deeds ... aimed at convincing rural Virginians that he's fighting for them to get their "fair share" from Richmond. And that Deeds will fight for "small towns." And that he understands "your part of the state." And that he's "From Here. For Here." There's a new "Hope and Opportunity" tour in the Shenandoah Valley and Southside. This is all going to give the political pundits something to chew on. His campaign did make a nod at healing tensions with the White House and energizing Obama Democrats with a statement praising the Nobel Committee for awarding their Peace Prize to the president. "I join the Nobel Committee in standing by President Obama...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 9, 2009; 9:54 AM ET | Comments (4)

First Click -- Virginia

Friday, Oct. 9, 2009 Good morning and happy Friday everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today. Big news. The Washington Post released a new poll showing that Republican Bob McDonnell has widened his lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds. The entire GOP ticket is up by a hefty nine points. The poll shows a lack of enthusiasm among many voters who elected President Obama last year and raises questions for the Democrats as they head into the 2010 mid-term elections. Democrats continue to wonder what Deeds's message will be and what the White House's role will be in the remaining weeks of the campaign. Deeds will be a guest on Mark Plotkin's radio show on WTOP at 10 a.m. Listen here. Tonight, he'll join fans at the Riverbend High football game in Fredericksburg. McDonnell will attend the Patrick County Rally with former U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode in Stuart...

By Anita Kumar | October 9, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Biden: Virginia Governor's Race "Winnable" for Deeds

Vice President Joe Biden appeared at a fundraiser for R. Creigh Deeds today and simply gushed about the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, whose possibly strained relationship with the White House has been the talk of Virginia politicos of late. He said Deeds could yet win his race against Robert F. McDonnell (R) despite the gloomy poll numbers. "I hope to God you understand this race is winnable," Biden said toward the end of his remarks. "I was told another good friend of mine running for governor in another state, they declared him dead two weeks ago. He is now ahead. We are going to win that race." He was referring to New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D), who is in a tight race with Republican Chris Christie. Speaking to a group of about 70 Deeds contributors at the elegant, riverside home of a Fairfax County backer, Biden -- who met Deeds...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 8, 2009; 4:28 PM ET | Comments (2)

Fairfax Gets Enough Signatures for Dulles Rail Tax

Fairfax County has scrapped together enough signatures of landowners to create a special tax district, the "missing piece" in the public-funding plan for 23 miles of Metro stations from Reston to Dulles International Airport and beyond, officials said Thursday. An announcement is scheduled for Friday. "I'm delighted. This brings us another step closer to having stations in the Herndon-Reston area as part of rail to Dulles," said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova (D). The Western Alliance for Rail to Dulles, a nonprofit group made up of Fairfax landowners, has worked to collect a 51 percent majority of affected landowners to create the tax district, which would pay for about $330 million in capital funding for the project. To implement the district, the group needs support from either a majority of the affected landowners or from owners controlling a majority of the land in the area. The petition...

By Derek Kravitz | October 8, 2009; 4:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Post Poll: McDonnell's Lead Widens; Deeds Slips in NoVA

Republican Robert F. McDonnell has taken a commanding lead over R. Creigh Deeds in the race for governor of Virginia, as momentum the Democrat had built with an attack on his opponent's conservative social views has dissipated, according to a new Washington Post poll. McDonnell leads 53 to 44 percent among likely voters, expanding on the four-point lead he held in mid-September. Deeds's advantage with female voters has all but disappeared and McDonnell has grown his already wide margin among independents. Deeds, a state senator from western Virginia, is widely seen by voters as running a negative campaign, a finding that might indicate his aggressive efforts to exploit McDonnell's 20-year-old graduate thesis are turning voters away. Read the full story and see the raw data....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 8, 2009; 3:55 PM ET | Comments (5)

McDonnell: White House's Support for Deeds Not Deciding Factor

Speaking at an event in Herndon to announce a new plan directed at Virginia retirees, Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell said that while a visit from the president or vice president could lend some "prestige" to his Democratic opponent, it would not be a deciding factor in the race. "What wins this election is not who endorses who, it will be about who has the vision to lead Virginia," he said when asked by a reporter about the White House's support of Deeds' campaign. ""That's what this election is all about." White House support for Deeds has become an issue among Democrats following recent news reports that Obama is distancing himself from Deeds. McDonnell spoke this afternoon at the Herndon Senior Center, visiting with members of the Silver-Light Asian Senior Association to announce a plan to create a discount card program for seniors, toughen penalties for crimes committed against...

By Derek Kravitz | October 8, 2009; 2:02 PM ET | Comments (2)

Kaine Can't Confirm Obama Visit to Help Deeds Campaign

Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said today that President Obama's support is crucial for Democrat Creigh Deeds to win the Virginia governor's race, but said he could not confirm that Obama would return to the state to campaign. "The way to win is to energize the huge upsurge of Obama '08 voters,'' Kaine said. "We registered an awful lot of people and we got a lot of them to turn out...We've got to have folks that care passionately about the president and care passionately about Creigh." So is the president coming? "I can't say one way or another,'' he said. But Kaine denies recent news reports that Obama and the White House are distancing themselves from Deeds. "Obviously the White House is very focused on this,'' Kaine said. "What we are doing at the DNC, ramping up our involvement is definitely in consultation with the White...

By Anita Kumar | October 8, 2009; 1:25 PM ET | Comments (2)

Deeds Airs Transportation Ad

It doesn't appear that Democrat Creigh Deeds is taking the advice of some of his party's elected officials to stop going negative. Deeds today released a new statewide TV ad, entitled Dishonest, that, well, is negative. It outlines what some newspapers are saying about Republican Bob McDonnell's transportation plan -- calling it "dishonest" and "dead on arrival." "This ad proves two points,'' said Tucker Martin, a McDonnell spokesman. "First, Creigh Deeds and The Washington Post editorial board both agree on hitting Virginians with a massive tax hike in the middle of a recession. Second, Terry McAuliffe still knows his politics. He presciently noted yesterday "Creigh pretty much doesn't have to say anything because the Washington Post is out there every day doing it." Read the script below:...

By Anita Kumar | October 8, 2009; 1:24 PM ET | Comments (12)

Coming Soon: New Washington Post Poll

This week, The Washington Post had a survey taken of 1,001 likely voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We'll have the data and analysis up later this afternoon. For reference, here's what our previous two polls during this elections season showed. Deeds Shows Big Gains In Va. Poll | Data (Sept. 20) McDonnell Ahead In Governor's Race | Data (Aug. 16)...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 8, 2009; 11:45 AM ET | Comments (3)

NRA Airs Ad for McDonnell Featuring Bloomberg

The National Rifle Association is airing TV ads on behalf of Republican Bob McDonnell targeting New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- and the mob, too. In the ad, a mobster explains to Virginia voters that it would be in their best interest not to vote for McDonnell if they "know what's good" for them. "When Mayor Bloomberg got down here, your guy, Bob McDonnell, kicked him out of Virginia, and it was very disrespectful," the man says. "When you vote, I strongly suggest you forget about your freedoms and your Mr. Second Amendment Bob McDonnell." "I haven't seen the ad; heard about it. I'll leave Virginia politics to Virginians and worry about the politics here," Bloomberg told the New York Times....

By Anita Kumar | October 8, 2009; 11:32 AM ET | Comments (3)

Kaine Goes Hollywood

Gov. and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine will lead a diverse of group of Hollywood stars in helping to pick a 30-second commercial that will air nationally promoting healthcare reform. Judges include musician Will.I.Am, actors John Cho, Dulé Hill and Brandon Routh, actresses Rosario Dawson, Kate Walsh and Olivia Wilde and 'Family Guy' creator Seth MacFarlane. Organizing for America sent an email to members soliciting videos ads that would explain the need for healthcare reform. Submissions will be accepted until Oct. 18. A winner will be announced in next month. The state GOP, which has been critical of Kaine's role as party leader, immediately seized on the issue as an example of the governor paying more attention to national politics, than Virginia. "You really can't make this stuff up," said Pat Mullins, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. "You've heard people say, 'Oh, that story is so crazy, it's not...

By Anita Kumar | October 8, 2009; 9:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Volunteer Effort Revs Up

That call you got last night just as you were settling down to dinner? There's a good chance it came from a volunteer for one of your hardworking candidates, rallying support with less than a month to go before Election Day. We know, because we watched some of these dedicated volunteers make those very calls when we dropped by unannounced at a couple of campaign offices yesterday evening. The first stop was around 5:30 at the Fairfax County GOP headquarters, a homey office suite off Chain Bridge Road in Fairfax abuzz with staffers and volunteers, among them about a dozen high school students making phone calls for community service credit. About an hour later we showed up at the Democrats' coordinated campaign headquarters, which took up the entire fourth floor of a mid-rise office building in McLean....

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 8, 2009; 9:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Virginia

Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009 Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today. Vice President Joe Biden returns to Virginia for a second time to help Democrat Creigh Deeds raise some cash at a mid-day event in Alexandria. It's a busy fundraising day for Deeds. Tonight, he appears with Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley at the Potomac home of lobbyist Barbara Goldberg Goldman. Republican Bob McDonnell will discuss plans to aid senior citizens at the Herndon Senior Center. Yes, McDonnell is still rolling out policy proposals less than four weeks before the big day. Questions continue to arise about Deeds's negative message and whether he can make his case to voters in the last month of the race -- with or without help from President Obama. The Wall Street Journal weighs into the Virginia governor's race for the second day in a row. This time, the paper reports...

By Anita Kumar | October 8, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Cuccinelli and Shannon Go At It -- Again

It wasn't a James Brown concert but it sorta felt like one when supporters of state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for Virginia attorney general, filed into tonight's candidate debate in Prince William County draped in yellow "Don't Tread on Me" flags. Again proving that Cuccinelli-Shannon is the most dramatic down-ballot matchup of 2009, the two candidates were not shy about attacking one another on a range of issues. Cuccinelli criticized Shannon for not supporting a special session last summer to address a Supreme Court decision that could have caused thousands of drunk-driving cases to be thrown out. Shannon criticized Cuccinelli for not demanding the resignation of Republican Del. Phil Hamilton, the embattled Newport News Republican who is under investigation for accepting a part-time job from Old Dominion University while securing the school a $500,000 state appropriation. Cuccinelli criticized Shannon for having a "100 percent" pro-union voting record and...

By Amy Gardner | October 7, 2009; 9:33 PM ET | Comments (0)

Excerpts: Post Reporters, Bob Holsworth on Gov. Race

Earlier today, Post reporters Anita Kumar and Rosalind Helderman -- who are assigned to the McDonnell and Deeds campaigns respectively -- and former VCU professor Bob Holsworth (now blogging at Virginia Tomorrow) answered readers questions about the Virginia governor's race. Some excerpts follow. Read the entire discussion here. And come back next Wednesday for another chat with Post reporters, who will be joined by fundraising watcher David Poole of the Virginia Public Access Project. Excerpts: Alexandria, Va.: I want to like Deeds but feel he is taking NoVA for granted because it generally skews highly democratic. Does he have any plans for flyers, ads, appearances in the area that would help him convey his stances on the issues or plans for Virginia? So far, he hasn't done that at all (at least as far as I have noticed). He really needs to step up his game and come out with...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 7, 2009; 3:49 PM ET | Comments (5)

House Call: And in Virginia Beach ...

Hello politicos! And welcome to another installation of House Call. We haven't spent much time outside of Gotham this election season (that would be Northern Virginia), but today we're going to travel to the other urban powerhouse of Virginia electoral politics -- Hampton Roads. Two House races in particular are shaping up to be quite competitive this year. Both seats are in Virginia Beach, and both are currently held by first-term Democrats. One is R.W. "Bobby" Mathieson of the 21st District, a longtime Virginia Beach city police officer who unseated Republican John J. Welch III in 2007. Mathieson faces Virginia Beach City Council member Ron A. Villanueva. The other Democratic incumbent fighting for survival at the Beach is Joe F. Bouchard of the 83rd District, a former Naval commander who is in a rematch against Republican Chris P. Stolle, an obstetrician and brother of soon-to-retire state Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle....

By Amy Gardner | October 7, 2009; 3:01 PM ET | Comments (2)

GOPAC Helps McDonnell, Va GOP

GOPAC, a national organization dedicated to electing Republicans to state and local office, is donating $100,000 to gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell and Virginia's House of Delegate candidates. More is expected to come. The group is assisting several Republican House candidates in Northern Virginia including Del. Dave Albo (42nd district), Jay McConville (44th), Barbara Comstock (34th), Rich Anderson (51st) and Jim LeMunyon (67th). "We are going to win because Bob McDonnell and Republicans running for the House of Delegates have better solutions to the issues that concern voters: low taxes, adequate transportation funding and patient-centered health care," Chairman Frank Donatelli said. In the spring, GOPAC launched its first ever multi-media campaign to support McDonnell that includes cable TV ads and run ads online using Google search engine advertising, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other media. It also trained House candidates on how to best communicate GOP positions on healthcare and taxes....

By Anita Kumar | October 7, 2009; 2:28 PM ET | Comments (2)

Boehner Lends McDonnell A Hand

We don't know yet how much Republican Bob McDonnell raised in September, but we are starting to get some hints. We told you that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal raised $250,000 for him, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich raised $100,000, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney raised $100,000 and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty raised $75,000. Now we learn that on the last day of the one-month reporting period, Sept. 30, U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner headlined a fundraiser at the Alexandria home of lobbyist Bruce Gates, which brought in about $120,000. For those of you who are doing the math, that's more than $600,000. We'll get his fundraising report on Oct. 15....

By Anita Kumar | October 7, 2009; 1:21 PM ET | Comments (2)

National Democrats Step Up Effort for Deeds

National Democrats are stepping up efforts to demonstrate they remain fully supportive of Virginia candidate Creigh Deeds. A new email is going out today from President Obama's Organizing for America to 500,000 Virginia voters urging them to help Deeds and check out Republican Bob McDonnell's 1989 thesis. It ties Deeds directly to the president, opening: "As President Obama said, Creigh Deeds' pragmatic and bipartisan approach to politics "has an ability to bring people together, build consensus and deliver results." There are also new ads going up on Facebook today urging voters to look into the thesis. You can read the full OFA email after the jump....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 7, 2009; 1:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Will Obama Be Back?

Will he or won't he? Will President Obama be campaigning in Virginia again for Democrat R. Creigh Deeds? It's the question of the moment as a story appears in this morning's Wall Street Journal citing a source who says the White House is backing off support for Deeds, and Gov. Brian Schweitzer, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, is quoted over the weekend suggesting that the Dems' chances in the New Jersey race are stronger than in Virginia. No event has yet been announced, and the Deeds campaign continues to say only that they hope one will occur and they are working closely with the White House. They also insist that all is well with the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Governors Association, as the three groups hold daily conference calls and coordinate closely. The DGA pumped $250,000 into the campaign last week, and Deeds senior adviser Mo Elleithee...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 7, 2009; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell Airs New TV Ad

Republican Bob McDonnell launched a new TV ad today that calculates the cost of a pair of proposals that Democrat Creigh Deeds has indicated he supports -- a gas tax increase and the federal cap and trade bill. The ad assume Deeds would support a gas increase, which has voted for many times in the past, to raise the $1 billion that he says is needed for road and transit improvements. In Virginia, the gas tax produces roughly $50 million per penny, and would take a 20-cent increase to produce $1 billion a year. McDonnell's ad uses information from the state Department of Taxation to determine that a 20-cent increase would cost a household with two cars an average of $300 a year. The ad assumes Deeds supports a climate proposal with a greater emissions cap than the one being considered by Congress. The cap and trade number comes a...

By Anita Kumar | October 7, 2009; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (4)

Get Your Questions Answered, and Debate the Transportation Plans

Today the Post brings you two opportunities to discuss the Virginia governor's race with our reporters and editors and your fellow readers. At noon today, Post reporters Anita Kumar and Rosalind Helderman, who are assigned to the two campaigns, will take your questions and comments on the race. They'll be joined by former VCU professor Bob Holsworth, who now runs his Virginia Tomorrow blog. Submit your questions, then watch the discussion from noon to 1 p.m. Those interested in digging deeper into Creigh Deeds's and Bob McDonnell's competing transportation plans can use our annotation tool to comment on and debate specific points in the candidates' proposals. Click here to see McDonnell's plan or click here for Deeds's....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 7, 2009; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Virginia

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009 Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today. Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds shared a stage twice yesterday. Well, sort of. First, they appeared at a candidate's forum sponsored by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce. Later, they participated in interviews as part of a previously taped hour-long TV special where Deeds blamed Washington woes for his problems. Today, McDonnell will shake some hands at the Chesapeake Sheriff's Great American Food Fest while Deeds will discuss his higher ed plans with students and faculty at the University of Virginia. Sen. John McCain will hold a veterans rally for McDonnell this month, while the Wall Street Journal is just the latest newspaper to wonder if McCain's former opponent, President Obama is distancing himself from Deeds's campaign. The flap over billonaire BET co-founder Sheila Johnson's remarks about Deeds' speaking styleis not quite...

By Anita Kumar | October 7, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

McDonnell Appears on CNBC

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell had to be pleased with his performance on national TV tonight. In his seven-minute interview on the Kudlow and Company show on CNBC, McDonnell got to tout the federal issues he loves to talk about, received no questions about his 20-year-old thesis and gave his spin on how to fund transportation. And to top it off, host Larry Kudlow mispronounced Democrat Creigh Deeds's name (It's Cree) and the show flashed an unflattering photo of Deeds (His mouth was hanging open). Kudlow mentioned that McDonnell was up in the polls, and asked him if Republican wins in Virginia and New Jersey this year will help GOP candidates in 2010. "The answer is yes,'' he said. "If we are able to win and Chris (Christie) wins in New Jersey, I think people will look at this, in part, as a referendum of left-leaning policies the United States...

By Anita Kumar | October 6, 2009; 8:30 PM ET | Comments (3)

Deeds v. McDonnell on Politico

Democrat R. Creigh Deeds and Republican Robert F. McDonnell faced off -- well, sort of; they were taped separately in back-to-back interviews -- at a forum moderated by WJLA's Leon Harris and Politico's John Harris and broadcast live tonight. The two Harrises touched on all the usual subjects -- transportation, taxes, the thesis -- and the two candidates offered all the usual answers. But there were a few interesting moments. Deeds was shown a video from a similar forum in during the Democratic primary in which he said he was "itchin'" to debate McDonnell in the fall -- and then he was asked why he agreed only to a forum with consecutive instead of joint appearances. "I do not control the schedule at all," Deeds offered as a defense. Really? McDonnell, meanwhile, was asked not only to defend his 20-year-old thesis, but to explain the fact that he had a...

By Amy Gardner | October 6, 2009; 7:42 PM ET | Comments (4)

PAC for People with Disabilities Demands McDonnell Apology

A political action committee in Northern Virginia that advocates on behalf of people with disabilities is calling on gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell to apologize for remarks made by a top supporter that mocked state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds's manner of speaking. The controversy arose after Sheila Johnson, the billionaire co-founder of Black Entertainment Television who is backing McDonnell, mimicked Deeds's talking style during a Sept. 25 campaign event as she criticized his inability to communicate effectively. A video of her remarks has received a lot of play on the Web since its posting this week by liberal blogger Ben Tribbett. "Sheila Johnson enjoys the same freedom of speech that all Americans have, but we are appalled and saddened that she used a political speech and introduction of the Republican candidate for Governor Bob McDonnell to laugh at people who have speech impediments," said Martha J. Toomey, a co-founder of...

By Gene Fynes | October 6, 2009; 5:53 PM ET | Comments (11)

McCain to Hold Rally With McDonnell

Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee and former prisoner of war, will hold a veterans campaign rally with Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell Oct. 17 in Hampton Roads. Lou Holtz, the former Notre Dame football coach turned TV commentator, will hold a meet-and-greet with McDonnell on Oct. 26 in Richmond. McDonnell has appeared with many prominent Republicans, but most events were closed-door fundraisers. These two events are being billed as open to the public....

By Anita Kumar | October 6, 2009; 2:20 PM ET | Comments (3)

McDonnell Responds to Johnson Flap

Leaving a forum this morning hosted by the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, Republican Bob McDonnell was asked what responsibility he bears for Sheila Johnson's videotaped comments mocking Democrat Creigh Deeds's speaking style and whether he would apologize for it. McDonnell did not apologize. Instead, he said that he knew that Johnson had issued a statement "she believed was appropriate." He went on to try to explain what he thought Johnson was trying to express in her comments. "Listen," he told reporters. "Senator Deeds hasn't had any problem for the last two months viciously attacking me on any number of things that misrepresented my position. So I think he's a very good spokesman for his cause. ... The reason she's supporting me, that she said at the announcement speech, is that she believes I've got the best ideas on jobs, the economy and economic development." "What she was saying, is what...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 6, 2009; 1:30 PM ET | Comments (18)

After the Unfortunate Remarks ...

Here's a fun fact on a Tuesday afternoon, 28 days until the big day -- Election Day, that is. Republicans have been reminding us with some frequency about the number of viewers who have taken a look at the video of Democrat Creigh Deeds's post-debate scrum with reporters in which he struggles to explain whether he would raise taxes and snaps at a female reporter. Well, check this out: The clip of Deeds's post-debate scrum with reporters from Sept. 18 now has 52,050 views (and that's with nearly three weeks worth of Web ads directing viewers to the video) But the video clip of Sheila Johnson, the billionaire co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and Bob McDonnell supporter who mocked Deeds's speaking style, now has 61,212 views after a mere 24 hours. And, in case you aren't one of these thousands of people, you can see both videos right here:...

By Anita Kumar | October 6, 2009; 1:15 PM ET | Comments (7)

Bolling Airs Wagner Attack Ad

Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling began a new statewide TV ad today -- and his first one attacking his Democratic opponent, Jody Wagner. What's the attack? Taxes, taxes, taxes. We saw that one coming. Bolling accuses Wagner, the former state treasurer and secretary of finance, of supporting "every major tax increase proposed over the last eight years." "During a time of record unemployment and significant economic decline, Virginians should be very concerned about Jody Wagner's consistent support of job-killing tax increases," said Matt Wells, Bolling campaign manager. "Bolling and his campaign once again proved they just do not understand the state's finances if their chosen line of attack is to degrade Jody Wagner's fiscal record -- a record that includes balanced budgets, the two largest investments in education in Virginia history, two 'Best Managed State' awards, eight 'Best State for Business' awards, and maintaining our AAA credit rating," said Elisabeth...

By Anita Kumar | October 6, 2009; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (7)

Live Blog: Loudoun Chamber Forum

Good morning. Greetings from Lansdowne, Va., and the National Conference Center in Loudoun County. We'll be live-blogging today's candidates forum, sponsored by the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce. Our Internet connection is a bit weak, so bear with us here. But the introductions are getting started and both candidates are in the room so we'll get going shortly. This is an area we know well. In 2005, we did a series of stories all about the voting precinct that includes the National Conference Center. It was a place where just about every residence had been built in the four years since the 2001 election. In '05, this precinct went for Democrat Tim Kaine. Kaine won Loudoun and won the election. Ever since, this has been a pretty Democratic-leaning area -- President Barack Obama won it last year. We'd note, however, on an organizational level, that Republican Bob McDonnell blanketed the area...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 6, 2009; 8:34 AM ET | Comments (3)

First Click -- Virginia

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009 Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today. Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell will appear at a candidate's forum sponsored by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce this morning. (We will be live blogging so be sure to check back around 8:30 a.m. for a full report). Deeds will spend the rest of the day meeting residents at Leisure World, a private senior community in Leesburg, talking up higher education plans at Shenandoah University in Winchester and holding a rally at James Madison University in Harrisonburg. McDonnell will attend a veterans event in Arlington with his daughter, Jeanine, who served in Iraq. Tonight, Deeds and McDonnell will participate in interviews as part of a previously taped hour-long TV special. Tune in to ABC 7/WJLA-TV or Politico's Web site at 7 p.m. to watch. We're just four weeks from Election Day!...

By Anita Kumar | October 6, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

McDonnell-Whitman Event Canceled

Democrats said today that Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO and current Republican candidate for California governor, canceled a campaign event with Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell because she did not want to be tied to the views he expressed in his 20-year-old graduate thesis. McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the event was canceled more than a week ago and would not be rescheduled because the two campaigns could not work out an alternate date. The McDonnell campaign provided confidential emails to The Wasington Post that made clear that the event was canceled 10 days ago due to a miscommunication. The fundraiser was set to take place Thursday at the Northern Virginia home of businessman John Backus, who has known Whitman since the 1980s. Backus said in an interview that the McDonnell campaign notified him last Monday that Whitman could not attend this Thursday. He said he initially wanted...

By Anita Kumar | October 5, 2009; 7:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

NRA Airs Ads for McDonnell

Get ready for even more TV ads. The National Rifle Association is spending more than $500,000 on TV and radio ads for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks campaign spending. We told you last week that McDonnell and his supporters were outspending Democrat Creigh Deeds and his backers nearly 2 to 1 on TV ads. The NRA ad buy is only going to add to McDonnell's advantage. Deeds's gun-friendly record earned him the NRA's endorsement in 2005 but cost him the support of former governor L. Douglas Wilder. This year the NRA switched to McDonnell, citing his record as attorney general and Deeds's "flip-flop" on the gun show loophole. The NRA refused to disclose any details on the radio or TV ads -- so let us know when you see or hear them!...

By Anita Kumar | October 5, 2009; 5:27 PM ET | Comments (1)

Sheila Johnson Apologizes for Deeds Remark

We just received the following statement from Sheila Johnson, about the video clip of her appearing to mock Democrat Creigh Deeds's speaking style: "Two weeks ago I made reference to Creigh Deeds' inability to clearly communicate effective solutions to the serious problems facing Virginia. I shouldn't have done it in the manner in which I did and for that I apologize for any offense he, or others, may have taken," she said. Does that end this campaign kerfuffle? We'll see....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 5, 2009; 4:46 PM ET | Comments (15)

Does Creigh Deeds Have a Stutter?

As the National Stuttering Association releases a statement condemning comments made recently by McDonnell supporter Sheila Johnson, in which she mocked Democrat Creigh Deeds's speaking style, his consultants fielded question after question this afternoon about whether the Democrat, in fact, has a stutter. "It's something he's dealt with his whole life," said senior adviser Mo Elleithee in a call with reporters. "He's never sought any type of medical attention for it." So does he have a stutter? "He sometimes stumbles over his words. He's spoken that way his entire life. He's never sought medical attention for it. There are people out there who have much worse problems. Many of them stutter," Elleithee went on to say....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 5, 2009; 4:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Moran Advises Deeds: Give People a Reason to Vote for You

U.S. Rep. Jim Moran says Democrat Creigh Deeds is very much in a position to win his campaign for governor, but says he counseled his party's nominee last night that he needs to push back against consultant advice to run negative ads, and run positive spots instead. Moran said Deeds is being supported by an anti-McDonnell vote but now must give voters a reason to vote for him instead of against the other guy. "We had a conversation last night," Moran said. "I said: 'All your consultants are going to tell you to go negative, just like they told my brother. And spend all your money on negative because positive ads don't move anything.' ... I said: 'You've got to go with your instinct. You're a genuine guy. People relate to you.' " "That's how Creigh won the primary and I think that's how he'll win the general, by showing...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 5, 2009; 3:15 PM ET | Comments (4)

Sheila Johnson on Deeds's Speaking Style

This video clip of Sheila Johnson, a supporter of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine now backing Republican Bob McDonnell for governor, has been making its way around the Internet, starting on Ben Tribbett's blog. In the clip, Johnson, who co-founded BET, talks about her feeling that Democrat Creigh Deeds has trouble articulating his views for Virginia and seems to mock his stammering speaking style. Deeds senior adviser Mo Elleithee called Johnson's imitation of the rural senator a "petty personal attack." Deeds himself said at a campaign stop today that he was "disappointed" in Johnson's comments. "I'm disappointed and I'll be honest. If it's about being smooth or being a slick communicator, I'm never going to win that discussion. But I work as hard as I can to be honest and forthright and tell people what I think and I'm going to continue to work toward creating opportunity and hope and prosperity...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 5, 2009; 2:16 PM ET | Comments (13)

Wagner Goes Up On Air

Jody Wagner, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, began airing her first TV ads of the general election today in Richmond, Norfolk and Roanoke. The positive ad highlights Wagner's role as treasurer and secretary of finance for Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and touts her role in cutting billions of dollars to balance the budget during the worst national recession in decades. Her Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, has been on the air for several weeks. The script is below:...

By Anita Kumar | October 5, 2009; 2:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Updated: GOP Blasts Kaine on Transportation Spending

Republicans continued to blame Gov. Tim Kaine -- and his would-be successor Creigh Deeds -- for being slow in spending the state's share of federal stimulus money for transportation. U.S. Frank Wolf and Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity, among others, criticized Kaine this morning on a conference call for not using the money for much-needed existing projects in congested Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. "We could use that money desperately,'' Wolf told reporters. "We're in a critical situation. The economic growth and the opportunities here depend on improving transportation. There are a lot of things up here that that money could be used for." Republicans have been talking nonstop about transportation stimulus money since Friday, when the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee sent Kaine a stern letter that said the state is the last in the nation to spend its money. "These projects have all been...

By Anita Kumar | October 5, 2009; 12:22 PM ET | Comments (3)

RGA Airs Ad About Deeds's 'Young Lady' Comment

Remember when Democrat Creigh Deeds made that sharp remark to a female reporter who asked him about his plan to pay for road improvements? "I think I made myself clear, young lady," Deeds said. The exchange, which was quickly posted on YouTube and sent out by the state Republican Party, has now made it into a TV ad paid for by the Republican Governors Association and airing in Northern Virginia. Watch it here: Some wondered whether Deeds might have hurt his attempts to appeal to women voters when he made that comment after the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce debate. Deeds later called to apologize to the reporter, Chelyen Davis of the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, who said she was not offended by the remark....

By Anita Kumar | October 5, 2009; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (4)

Education Group Airs New Ad Against McDonnell

The Virginia Education Association has launched a new TV ad, accusing Republican Bob McDonnell of opposing smaller class sizes and teacher raises while supporting vouchers for private schools. The group, which has been airing ads for two weeks in Richmond and Hampton Roads, directs viewers to a Web site that compares McDonnell's and Democrat Creigh Deeds's education plans. (Check out The Post's take on their education plans)....

By Anita Kumar | October 5, 2009; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

McAuliffe BBQ Nets $100,000 for House Dems

Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is following through on a promise made in the spring to raise money for Democratic candidates for the House of Delegates, yesterday hosting a barbecue at his McLean home for House caucus chair Ken Plum's political action committee. It may not be the millions he was rumored to have pledged to candidates if he were the nominee -- though Del. Plum insists the two had never talked numbers -- but Plum said the event netted about $100,000 for his Invest in Virginia committee. That's a pretty sizable figure given that Plum, who had endorsed McAuliffe, says the fund likely will raise $400,000 to $500,000 total this campaign season. And Plum said most attendees at the event were friends of McAuliffe who might not have given to the PAC otherwise. "I never had an expectation he would necessarily do anything if he didn't get the...

By Rosalind Helderman | October 5, 2009; 10:24 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Virginia

Monday, Oct. 5, 2009 Good morning! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today. One month and counting until Virginia voters go to the polls. Have you registered to vote yet? Today's the deadline! This may be a critical week in the campaign, as pretty much everyone who is going to vote is starting to pay real attention to the governor's race, even these highly sought late-deciders. Is the national Democratic party doubling-down on Sen. Creigh Deeds in attempt to close the gap with Republican Bob McDonnell? The DNC will give him $1 million more to spend on his effort. But meanwhile national Democrats begin to say quietly they think they may have better chance in New Jersey than Virginia. Those doing the talking, very diplomatically include Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, head of the Democratic Governors Association....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 5, 2009; 7:11 AM ET | Comments (1)

'Fairfax's Own' Pays Homage

Bob McDonnell's visit to a Fairfax County GOP breakfast pep rally yesterday was a homecoming of sorts. The Burke Fire Department hall was surrounded with those familiar "Fairfax's Own" signs, and the more than 300 activists getting pumped over coffee and pancakes were more than happy to claim him as their own. But the visit also offered an acknowledgement of the role the county has played this year in reviving Republican hopes after a morale-crushing few years in the once-red state. McDonnell, who leads Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in the polls, gave a particular shout-out to Fairfax supervisors Pat Herrity and John Cook, whose better-than-expected performances in a couple of elections (along with the success of Republican Frank Fannon and GOP-endorsed independent Alicia Hughes in Alexandria and a close House of Delegates special election in Arlington) helped create momentum for Virginia Republicans this year. ""Pat Herrity and John Cook, the...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | October 4, 2009; 11:18 PM ET | Comments (1)

Warner to Campaign for Deeds Again

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D), who recent polls have suggested may not be just Virginia's most popular sitting politician but perhaps it's more popular in decades, is stepping up his efforts on behalf of fellow Democrat Creigh Deeds as Election Day approaches. Already, Warner is featured in a television ad airing around the state. Monday, he campaigns with Deeds in Northern Virginia. Warner will greet the lunch crowd with Deeds at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington. Also there to lend a hand will be the Moran brothers, U.S. Rep. Jim, as well as former delegate and contender for the gubernatorial nomination Brian, and state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple....

By Rosalind Helderman | October 4, 2009; 5:34 PM ET | Comments (1)

McDonnell Launches New TV Ad on Transportation

Republican Bob McDonnell began airing a new TV ad on transportation today in traffic-clogged Northern Virginia. McDonnell hopes to pick up some votes in the left-leaning region by touting his plan to fund road and transit improvements and by accusing Democrat Creigh Deeds of only having a vague plan that may include raising taxes (though the ad does not specifically mention Deeds.) McDonnell has proposed paying for transportation by shifting state money and relying on funding sources that don't involve tax increases, such as privatizing the state's liquor stores and adding tolls on some highways, though some have criticized him for offering a plan that would take money from core services....

By Anita Kumar | October 4, 2009; 2:18 PM ET | Comments (1)

DNC To Donate Another $1 Million to Deeds

The Democratic National Committee will announce tomorrow that it is donating another $1 million as well as additional in-kind contributions to Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds. That brings the DNC commitment in Virginia to more than $6 million -- roughly equal to the Republican National Committee's pledge of $7 million to aid candidate Bob McDonnell. The DNC, chaired by Gov. Tim Kaine, made the decision to donate more money and other resources to Deeds after seeing McDonnell's lead narrow considerably in recent weeks. "We see a real strong opportunity here,'' said Brad Woodhouse, DNC communications director. "We're real pleased with the direction of the race." The DNC's $1 million check will be sent to Deeds tomorrow. "We're thrilled with the additional commitment from Governor Kaine and the DNC,'' said Mo Elleithee, a senior adviser to the Deeds campaign. "The fact that they are digging so deep shows that they're fully...

By Anita Kumar | October 4, 2009; 11:29 AM ET | Comments (10)

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 | Comments (1)

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 | Comments (1)

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 | Comments (1)

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 | Comments (2)

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 | Comments (1)

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 | Comments (0)

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 | Comments (4)

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 | Comments (6)

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 | Comments (6)

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 | Comments (0)

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 | Comments (0)

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 | Comments (1)

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 | Comments (0)

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 | Comments (0)

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 | Comments (1)

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 | Comments (1)

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 | Comments (1)

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 | Comments (0)

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 | Comments (0)

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 | Comments (6)

 

© 2009 The Washington Post Company