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First Click - Virginia

Sandhya Somashekhar

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. While it's still uncertain if Obama will campaign for Deeds in Virginia a second time, Organizing for America, the political organizing group that grew out of his campaign, has been making robo-calls around the state, according to Huffington Post.

Locally yesterday, media organizations honed in on Republican Robert F. McDonnell's Vienna rally featuring businesswoman Sheila Johnson, whose mocking of Democrat R. Creigh Deeds stammering has sparked a conversation about what some believe to be a significant stylistic disadvantage for the Democrat. Bob Holsworth sees a glimmer of hope for Deeds despite the discouraging poll numbers.

McDonnell picked up his first newspaper endorsement of the fall, from a small Northern Virginia newspaper chain. And in other more puzzzling endorsement news, embattled Republican Del. Phil Hamilton got his own endorsement from a law enforcement association despite being under federal investigation.

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  October 14, 2009; 7:28 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , First Click , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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Next: Obama in Virginia, But Not For Deeds


Well Dirty Deeds, Obama may have bailed on you, but you'll always have your lap dog the Washington Compost..

Posted by: SMWE357 | October 14, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

SOB! How in the Sam could this be? Attention WP: Please find out what the damages clauses specify. They better be in the contract, or else... The outcome of exercising the clauses will be the tell tale. No damages = Virginia at fault. I want to see how much VA recovers from Northrup. After this much time has passed and this much incompetency, proceedings and collections should have already occurred.

Posted by: MonteBristow | October 14, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

The biggest issue with VITA and that contract was that they signed a 10 year contract in 2004 BUT the term of a governor is only 4 years. That guaranteed that the people supervising that contract would change at least 3 times, which makes for poor oversight. They should sign contracts no more than 5 years, so there might be only one changeover during its length.

Posted by: SpotsySteve | October 14, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

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