Archive: November 2009

Connolly vs. Herrity?

Although most conventional wisdom rates Gerald E. Connolly of Fairfax County as the safest of three freshmen Democrats elected to Congress in Virginia last year, that wisdom rests on a rematch with Republican Keith S. Fimian in next year's midterm elections. But what if Pat Herrity, the county supervisor from West Springfield, gets in the race? Herrity's near-win over Sharon S. Bulova in February for county board chairman sent a pretty strong ripple through Fairfax's political community (and Herrity's run was a harbinger of things to come, given Gov.-elect Robert F. McDonnell's win in Fairfax on Nov. 3). Herrity said this week that he's been approached numerous times by supporters to consider entering the race. He has not made a decision, he said. Connolly trounced Fimian in 2008. Connolly was fresh from a re-election victory as county chairman the year before; his name recognition was vast -- and Fimian's was...

By Amy Gardner | November 18, 2009; 11:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

National Islamic group calls for McDonnell to disavow Robertson

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based civil rights group for Muslims, is formally calling on Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell to repudiate recent remarks by McDonnell-donor and longtime ally Pat Robertson, in which the televangelist called Islam a "violent political system" and advocated treating Muslims like communists or fascists. Robertson's remarks came in response to the Fort Hood shootings during the minister's 700 Club television show last week. Tucker Martin, McDonnell's spokesman, has declined to comment on Robertson's remarks a couple of times. This evening, he gave us a statement this evening that doesn't address Robertson directly, but does suggest that McDonnell does not share views on Islam. "The governor-elect has worked closely with Virginia's Muslim community," Martin said. "This community is an important and vital part of Virginia. He respects the Muslim faith and looks forward to continuing to work with Virginia's Muslim community in the years ahead. As governor,...

By Rosalind Helderman | November 17, 2009; 5:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Johnson, Malek among McDonnell inauguration chairs

Gov-elect Bob McDonnell has named six men and women to serve as co-chairs of his Jan. 16 inauguration, as he prepares to return the celebration to Richmond after Gov. Tim Kaine's Williamsburg swearing-in four years ago. In Virginia, the name that will likely draw the most attention is Sheila Johnson, who served in the same role for Kaine in 2005 and completes her campaign-season long alliance with McDonnell by taking on the largely-ceremonial role for the Republican. Will Johnson, a long-time Democratic donor, ever return to the party? It's hard to say, but for now it seems she will enjoy the fruits of her labor on McDonnell's behalf by enjoying his victory celebration. Outside Virginia, a second co-chair might draw a little attention: Fred Malek, who was the national finance chairman for John McCain's presidential bid and is the founder and chairman of Thayer Capital Partners and former president Marriott...

By Rosalind Helderman | November 17, 2009; 2:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

All eyes turn to Fairfax's 37th district

It looks like Democrats have pretty much decided to concede the soon-to-be vacant Virginia Beach state senate district to the GOP, meaning the balance of power in the state senate may soon rest with the Fairfax residents who live in the 37th senatorial district, site of the state's second upcoming senate special election. Democrat Majority Leader Sen. Dick Saslaw said Monday that the party is likely not to put up a candidate to vie to replace Sen. Ken Stolle, who will soon resign from his seat to become sheriff of Virginia Beach. And Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine, speaking Monday at a Washington Post editorial board meeting, said flatly that Democrats will not pick up Stolle's seat. Kaine is way too smart of a political leader to be that dismissive of his party's chances if it were running even a nominal candidate for the seat. Kaine sang a different tune about...

By Rosalind Helderman | November 17, 2009; 8:49 AM ET | Comments (1)

Kaine, McDonnell make joint appearance

Republican Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell joined Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine for the announcement of a $200 million genetic research facility in Fairfax County this afternoon. Kaine's office asked McDonnell if he would like to attend, according to McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin. It was the first time Kaine and his successor have appeared together since the Nov. 3 election, though the two spoke extensively on Nov. 4 after McDonnell easily defeated Kaine's choice for governor, Democrat Creigh Deeds. Ignite Institute for Individualized Health, a nonprofit organization specializing in DNA research, will create 415 jobs in Northern Virginia over the next five years and would partner with Fairfax-based Inova Health System....

By Anita Kumar | November 16, 2009; 6:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Updated: Hamilton resigns from House of Delegates

Del. Phil Hamilton, the powerful Republican lawmaker under federal investigation, resigned from the House of Delegates effective midnight yesterday. Hamilton of Newport News sent a two-sentence letter to House Clerk Bruce Jamerson that was received today. "Effective at the end of the day on November 15, 2009, I am resignining from the position as Delegate of the 93rd House District,'' he wrote. "It has been an honor and a privilege to serve in, what I consider to be, the most distinguished legislative body in the world." Hamilton lost his bid for re-election two weeks ago to Democrat Robin Abbott. He had served in the House for 21 years and was vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Hamilton is under investigation for negotiating a job offer with Old Dominion University before securing state money for the school. A federal grand jury recently served the Newport News school system and ODU...

By Anita Kumar | November 16, 2009; 12:46 PM ET | Comments (1)

McAuliffe backs Allen-Goldman schools proposal

Former gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe will be in Richmond Tuesday to put his stamp of approval on a proposal to pay for expensive school renovations with federal tax credits. The proposal was first suggested by an unlikely pair -- George Allen, former Republican governor and senator, and Paul Goldman, former chairman of the state Democratic party -- in a much-talked about op-ed in the New York Times last month. Allen and Goldman will speak Tuesday night at a meeting of the Richmond Crusade for Voters, an African American political group. McAuliffe will also attend, which may further fuel speculation about the former DNC chairman's future in Virginia politics. Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell supported the Allen-Goldman proposal during his campaign for governor. The proposal calls for President Obama and Congress to change federal law to allow private investors to receive a tax credit for rehabilitating old school facilities and leasing them back...

By Anita Kumar | November 16, 2009; 9:27 AM ET | Comments (1)

GOP picks Howell for House speaker again

House Republicans selected Bill Howell of Stafford to serve as House speaker at the caucus's organizational meeting in downtown Richmond today. Technically, the entire 100-member House must re-elect Howell as speaker when the chamber reconvenes in January, but with 61 GOP members Howell is assured victory. The caucus also re-elected its three top leaders: Morgan Griffith as majority leader, Sam Nixon as caucus chairman and Del. Kirk Cox as majority whip. Republicans picked up six House seats in November's election and are now at a 12-seat advantage in the chamber if a contested Virginia Beach seat switches to the GOP as expected. About 55 of the 61 members attended today's meeting at the state GOP headquarters. Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell was invited to attend, but his spokesman Tucker Martin said he had a scheduling conflict that prevented him from being there in person. McDonnell spoke to the group by phone instead....

By Anita Kumar | November 15, 2009; 8:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

Armstrong re-elected minority leader

Despite losing six seats in last week's elections, House Democrats re-elected Del. Ward Armstrong of Henry as their leader at the caucus's annual retreat outside Richmond this afternoon. Del. Ken Plum of Fairfax was re-elected caucus chairman, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the House. (Plum was first elected to the post in January after Brian Moran resigned to run for governor.) Dels. Jennifer McClellan of Richmond and David Englin of Alexandria were elected caucus vice chairmen. Republicans picked up six House seats last week and are now at a 12-seat advantage in the chamber if a contested Virginia Beach seat switches to the GOP as expected. About 30 of the 39 members attended the retreat. Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell spoke to them yesterday. House Republicans hold their organizational meeting tomorrow at the state GOP headquarters in downtown Richmond. Speaker Bill Howell is expected to easily be re-elected, even though some of...

By Anita Kumar | November 14, 2009; 6:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell announces senior transition advisors

Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell named the senior advisors to his transition team this afternoon. The list includes many familar faces: former U.S. Reps. Tom Davis and Thelma Drake, Ed Gillespie, who served as the campaign's general chairman, and Glen Huff, the founder of the Virginia Beach law firm where McDonnell used to work, among others. The advisors will assist the five transition co-chairs and staff who are preparing for McDonnell to take office in January. Check out the full list below, along with four additional staff appointments. For more information visit the transition Website....

By Anita Kumar | November 13, 2009; 4:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell calls Democratic governors chair

Of all the calls that Bob McDonnell has made since he was elected Virginia's next governor last week, this may be one of the most interesting: McDonnell on Thursday phoned Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat who just happens to lead the Democratic Governors Association. You may recall that Schweitzer flew to Virginia and endorsed Terry McAuliffe in Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial primary. His group spent an unprecedented $6 million to try to defeat McDonnell. "The Governor-elect has made it a priority to reach out to state and national leaders from both parties during the transition process,'' said Tucker Martin, McDonnell's spokesman....

By Anita Kumar | November 13, 2009; 3:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Updated: GOP criticizes Kaine for absence during storm

Republicans blasted Gov. Tim Kaine for being in Arkansas on Democratic National Committee business Thursday while a storm continued to flood parts of the state. Kaine, the DNC's chairman, headlined a fundraiser Thursday in Little Rock along with Arkansas's top elected officials, including Gov. Mike Beebe and Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, according to the Associated Press in Arkansas. "We're not surprised that he cares more about raising money for the DNC than he does for being here at home to show support for flood victims and oversee relief efforts," said Pat Mullins, chairman of the state GOP. Kaine declared a state of emergency late Wednesday in response to the anticipated effects of the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida and a coastal Nor'easter. He left Wednesday and returned to the state last night. He was briefed by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management on the storm this morning and...

By Anita Kumar | November 13, 2009; 12:50 PM ET | Comments (1)

McDonnell heads to Austin as a GOP star

A year ago, as a candidate for Virginia governor, Bob McDonnell flew to Miami to solicit support from the country's Republican governors at their annual meeting. Next week, he will fly to Austin for their annual meeting again -- this time, as the governor-elect and one of his party's newest stars. Since his landslide victory last week, McDonnell has fielded congratulatory calls from a number of high-profile Republicans, many of whom have run or want to run for president. They include: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Louisana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich and House Minority Leader John A. Boehner also phoned. And don't forget that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele spent election night at McDonnell's victory party in...

By Anita Kumar | November 12, 2009; 3:21 PM ET | Comments (17)

Nye Targeted From the Left

As if U.S. Rep. Glenn C. Nye (D) of Virginia's 2nd District in Virginia Beach didn't already face a tough challenge from Republicans next year, this week he is one of a handful of Democrats being targeted in an email campaign by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. The PAC, one of the loudest advocates for including a public option in the health-reform bill (and for ditching the Stupak amendment, which would restrict coverage of abortions), is raising money to hold Nye and nine other "blue dog" Democrats accountable for voting against health care reform. "Poll after poll shows that even voters in conservative states want health care reform and demand the public option," said Adam Green, co-founder of the organization, which boasts 250,000 members. "Glenn Nye voted against his own constituents who desperately need reform, and we're making sure he pays a political price back home for that." View the...

By Amy Gardner | November 12, 2009; 12:06 PM ET | Comments (1)

Updated: McDonnell, House Dems to meet

Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell will meet with House Democrats behind closed doors outside Richmond tomorrow afternoon. House Democrats, led by Minority Leader Ward Armstrong (Henry), invited the incoming governor to speak. About 30 of the 39 members are expected to attend what is an annual retreat for the caucus. Armstrong said the caucus always invites the governor -- or incoming governor -- to talk to the caucus no matter which party he represents. Policy issues that House Democrats and McDonnell may have in common include bipartisan redistricting and increasing the governor's opportunity fund. McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the governor-elect plans to talk about "the importance of finding common ground and working together to create jobs, turn our economy around, improve our schools and fix our roads." Republicans picked up six House seats in last week's elections and are now at a 12-seat advantage in the chamber if a contested Virginia...

By Anita Kumar | November 12, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Updated: Only 9th Street astir on quiet holiday

Capitol Square in downtown Richmond is mostly empty today -- a rainy, cold holiday for the state's 100,000 employees who are off for Veterans Day. But across the street from the Capitol, Gov-elect Bob McDonnell and the 20 or so members of his transition team are working a regular day in the former hotel that serves as the transition office. (McDonnell and his male staffers are wearing ties on a holiday. What's up with that?) The offices are housed in the dated Ninth Street office building (which is in serious need of a renovation) that is now almost vacant except for McDonnell's employees and Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli's transition staff up one floor. McDonnell's transition office has a tiny paper sign on the door that says "Office of the Governor-elect" and a unisex bathroom (a la Ally McBeal but without the dancing babies). The state allots about $350,000 to pay...

By Anita Kumar | November 11, 2009; 4:01 PM ET | Comments (1)

Two Republicans run for Stolle's seat; another Democrat out

If the Democrats settle on a candidate to replace Sen. Ken Stolle in Virginia Beach, they may find themselves already running behind the pair of Republicans who have been campaigning for months -- Jeff McWaters and Rosemary Wilson. McWaters founded a company that strives to improve healthcare for seniors and people with disabilities that eventually became a Fortune 500 company, Amerigroup Corp. He served on the Board of Visitors of the College of William & Mary. Wilson, a former teacher who served on the Virginia Beach School Board, now sells real estate and is a member on the City Council. She was chairwoman of the Hampton Roads Women for McDonnell group. Unlike the trio of Republicans running to replace Sen. Ken Cuccinelli in Fairfax County, McWaters and Wilson have been campaigning for months. Their Websites have been up and running and they have political signs all over the place (so...

By Anita Kumar | November 11, 2009; 2:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Villanueva certified winner in Va. Beach House seat

The Virginia Beach electoral board certified Republican City Councilman Ron Villanueva the winner in a House of Delegates seat in Virginia Beach late Tuesday night. Villanueva led Democratic Del. Bobby Mathieson by 14 votes after the electoral board reviewed rejected absentee votes and provisional ballots. "It just confirms what we knew last week that Ron Villanueva won the election,'' said Gerry Scimeca, Villanueva's campaign manager. "He's looking forward to serving the people in the 21st district." The State Board of Elections is expected to certify those results Nov. 23. Mathieson will then have 10 days to ask for a state-funded recount. Mark Henson, Mathieson's campaign manager, criticized the electoral board for deciding not to count some absentee ballots.  "There are still open questions in this race, and it is in the best interest of the voters of the 21st District to seek a recount,'' Henson said. "Bobby Mathieson will continue...

By Anita Kumar | November 11, 2009; 12:16 PM ET | Comments (2)

UPDATED: Senate special elections shape up

There is still no word on Democrats who are interested in running for the soon-to-be-empty Virginia Beach Senate seat being vacated by the election of Ken Stolle as sheriff. One possibility is that the Democrats might focus almost all of their attention -- and cash -- on the special election for the Northern Virginia seat being opened by the election of Ken Cuccinelli as attorney general. With the Democrats' last remaining bit of control in Richmond possibly hanging in the balance, the party might decide that it should focus all its resources on the Fairfax County seat where the chances of a win might be better. And who will the Democratic nominee for the seat be? All signs continue to point to a likely candidacy by Del. David Marsden, although Marsden said Tuesday that he will make no final decisions on the race until this weekend. He said the Democrats...

By Rosalind Helderman | November 11, 2009; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (3)

Robertson on Islam: "It's not a religion...it's a violent political system"

It was pretty much only a matter of time before Pat Robertson said something controversial, complicating life for Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell. And that time turns out to have been exactly one week since Robertson showed up at McDonnell's victory party, telling a reporter who saw him in the hotel lobby that he was headed upstairs to see McDonnell in his hotel suite while returns rolled in. In a broadcast of the 700 Club Monday night, the Virginia Beach pastor had some choice words about Islam in reaction to the shootings at Fort Hood. Robertson said that Army Maj. Nidal Hasan's troubles were overlooked because of a politically-correct refusal to see Islam for what it is. "Islam is a violent--I was going to say religion--but it's not a religion. It's a political system. It's a violent political system bent on the overthrow of governments of the world and world domination." "They...

By Rosalind Helderman | November 10, 2009; 5:23 PM ET | Comments (16)

In the category of 'not interested'

A few tidbits from the last few days...There had been rumors that Democrats might be encouraging former lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner to run for Ken Stolle's soon-to-be-vacated senate seat in Virginia Beach. Gov. Tim Kaine will call a special election to fill the seat after Stolle submits his letter of resignation, made necessary by his election last week as sheriff of Virginia Beach. Wagner was thought to be a good candidate for a fairly Republican district because she is well known in the district, owner of a well established business and her name recognition was boosted by her recent run for statewide office. But, said a spokesman a few days ago, she's not interested. Wants to spend time with her family, and all that. Also not interested--this time in a job in a Gov. Bob McDonnell adminstration: State Sen. Ralph Ralph S. Northam (D-Norfolk). McDonnell is widely thought to...

By Rosalind Helderman | November 10, 2009; 2:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Attorney General Mims to private sector

Attorney General Bill Mims, a close ally to Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell, will become a partner at Richmond law firm Hunton & Williams at the end of his term in office in January. Mims took over the AG's office from McDonnell after McDonnell resigned to run for governor. He had preivously been McDonnell's deputy and is now serving as co-chair of the gov-elect's transition. Per a release, Mims is joining the firm in Washington and Richmond in the administrative law group, government relations practice. The new gig means Mims will not become McDonnell's chief of staff or counsel, as had been one rumor for his landing place after Inauguration day. It would not preclude him from an appointment to the Virginia Supreme Court, replacing Barbara Keenan, who has been nominated by President Obama for the federal bench and awaits confirmation by the Senate, Mims' other rumored landing pad. "I am pleased...

By Rosalind Helderman | November 10, 2009; 2:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Updated: Joe "You Lie!" Wilson headlines Fairfax fundraiser

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson will headline a fundraiser in Fairfax County next Thursday to help raise money for the GOP nominee running to fill Sen. Ken Cuccinelli's seat. OurVirginiaNow, a new state political action committee, is hosting the reception as a kickoff for its group, which aims to help local candidates get elected across the state. About 40 people are expected. Hosts include Del. Tim Hugo, former state Sen. Jay O'Brien and Kay Cole James, a member of Gov.-Elect Bob McDonnell's transition team. Update: OurVirginiaNow called to tell us that James would not be a host despite her name being on the invitation. Wilson -- as if you don't remember?! -- was the congressman who yelled "You lie!" while President Obama addressed Congress on healthcare earlier this year. He has been a much-sought-after speaker and fundraiser for the conservative branch of the Republican party....

By Rosalind Helderman | November 10, 2009; 1:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hurt signs up LaCivita

State Sen. Robert Hurt has hired veteran Republican operative Chris LaCivita to manage his campaign for Congress next year. LaCivita is fresh off a big win -- helping conservative Sen. Ken Cuccinelli defeat Steve Shannon in the race for attorney general. But some political insiders are speculating that Hurt hired LaCivita to shore up his conservative credentials in what is expected to be a tough primary for the GOP nomination. Hurt is the best known of the five Republicans running against Democratic U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, but some GOP activists question his conservative credentials because he voted in favor of former governor Mark Warner's 2004 tax increase -- one of the defining moments of modern Virginia politics. LaCivita declined to comment today. Hurt did not immediately return calls for comment. Other Republicans running include Feda Kidd Morton, a teacher in Fluvanna County; Michael McPadden, an Albemarle County pilot; Laurence Verga,...

By Anita Kumar | November 9, 2009; 4:33 PM ET | Comments (0)

Poll: On eve of execution, Virginians broadly support penalty

(Cross-posted from Behind the Numbers.) With John Allen Muhammad, the mastermind of the 2002 D.C. sniper attacks, scheduled to be executed tomorrow, Virginia voters are broadly in favor of the death penalty for those convicted of murder, according to new data from a Washington Post poll. Virginia voters favor the death penalty by a better than 2 to 1 margin, with 66 percent supportive of it, 31 percent opposed. And intensity on this issue is with the supporters: 45 percent "strongly" back capital punishment, 18 percent are that solidly opposed. But in Northern Virginia - site of several shootings by Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo - a smaller majority of 56 percent backs the death penalty, compared with 71 percent in the rest of the state. Read Post polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta's full post at the Behind the Numbers blog....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | November 9, 2009; 2:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Health care: How Virginia members voted

Virginia's congressional delegation voted 4 to 7 Saturday night in favor of passage of the landmark health-care reform bill. Two Democrats, Rick Boucher and Glenn Nye, broke with their party and voted no. "Passage of the House bill is but a first step in a long legislative process to final enactment of a reform,'' Boucher said. "I look forward to future steps in that process offering an opportunity for my concerns to be resolved." Read his full statement here. "Health care costs are crippling our small businesses and forcing families into bankruptcy, and any reform plan needs to reduce those costs. Although this version of the bill takes important steps to lower the deficit in the short term, the CBO has said that it does not address the fundamental problem of reducing skyrocketing health care costs," Nye said. See his full press release here. A complete list of how the...

By Anita Kumar | November 8, 2009; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell on Sunday morning talk shows

Virginia Gov.-Elect Bob McDonnell fielded questions on a pair of Sunday morning talk shows about what his landslide victory Tuesday taught Republicans nationwide about running -- and winning. "Stick to your conservative principles and focus on the quality-of life-issues,'' McDonnell told host Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday. McDonnell said he focused on local and state issues, such as jobs and traffic, and a handful of federal issues that residents were concerned about, including the cap-and-trade and card check bills pending in Congress. He also told CNN's State of the Union with John King that it was important to keep a positive message and focus on results. "I think if we do that Republicans have bright days ahead," he said. In answer to questions from both hosts, McDonnell said he would not shy away from social issues but that they would not be his top focus. He gave us a...

By Anita Kumar | November 8, 2009; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell staffs up

Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell is filling out his transition team, largely moving key campaign personnel into similar jobs preparing the way for his January Inauguration. Campaign chief operations officer Janet Polarek was named deputy director of personnel and administration....

By Rosalind Helderman | November 6, 2009; 5:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

TWICE UPDATED: Oleszek and Bulova out for senate, Marsden possibly in

On Thursday, we told you about the Republicans interested in the soon to be vacated senate seat of attorney general-elect Ken Cuccinelli. Now some news on the Democrats. Janet Oleszek, the former Fairfax School Board member who challenged Cuccinelli for the seat in 2007, said this morning that Democratic leadership has asked her not to run for the seat and, in the interest of party unity, she has agreed. She didn't sound terribly happy about it but said she is a loyal Democrat who would not challenge the wishes of her party's top dogs. "I actually think I am the best candidate for this seat, having won in that district for School Board handily, having come within 101 votes to winning in 2007," she said. "I've been working very hard for this. But in the interest of solidarity, I have to step aside so we can unite behind their choice."...

By Rosalind Helderman | November 6, 2009; 11:10 AM ET | Comments (1)

Kaine announces new job

As we reported earlier, Gov. Tim Kaine announced today that he will resume a teaching career in law and leadership at the University of Richmond after the end of his term in January. Kaine accepted a joint appointment in the university's law school and Jepson School of Leadership Studies. He will also have additional responsibilities in advancing the university's strategic plan, The Richmond Promise. "I have always been a believer in the power of education, and I am thrilled to be rejoining the faculty of the University of Richmond this coming semester," Kaine. "I look forward to contributing to the next generation of legal scholars and leaders, while helping the University of Richmond advance The Richmond Promise." Kaine, a Harvard law graduate who served as mayor of Richmond and lieutenant governor of Virginia, previously taught law at the private university, including courses in professional responsibility. "It is hard to imagine...

By Anita Kumar | November 5, 2009; 2:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Cuccinelli names transition team

Ken Cuccinelli, who was elected the state's new attorney general Tuesday, announced today that his transition will be led by a pair of former attorneys general -- Democrat Andrew Miller and Republican Richard Cullen -- along with former state GOP chairman Pat McSweeney. Miller who ran for governor and U.S. Senate in the 1970s is a lawyer in Washington. Cullen completed Jim Gilmore's term as attorney general when he resigned to run for governor and now heads the McGuire Woods law firm in Richmond. He is close to Governor-elect Bob McDonnell. McSweeney in a Richmond lawyer who challenged the constitutionality of a proposed transportation sales-tax referendum and the state's 2007 landmark transportation plan, including its high fees for egregious driving offenses. Republican Bernie McNamee was named transition director. McNamee is Cullen's law partner and a lobbyist who worked for former attorney general Jerry Kilgore and former Gov. George Allen....

By Anita Kumar | November 5, 2009; 2:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

GOP hopes to keep Cuccinelli's seat

Virginia Republicans are eager to hold on to the soon-to-be open seats in the state Senate. Sen. Ken Cuccinelli from Fairfax County was elected the state's attorney general and Sen. Ken Stolle was elected Virginia Beach's new sheriff. Stolle's seat will likely stay in GOP hands but Democrats thinks they can pick up the increasingly left-leaning district held by Cuccinelli. He is the only remaining Republican senator in Northen Virginia. Three Republicans are already running -- Marianne Horinko, a former George W. Bush appointee who runs a consulting firm, Steve Hunt, a former member of the Fairfax County School Board, and Will Nance, executive director of Greenspring Retirement Community. Their Websites went live after Tuesday's election. Democrats who have been talked about for the seat include Dels. David L. Bulova and Dave W. Marsden (D-Fairfax) and Janet Oleszek, a former school board member who ran against Cuccinelli in 2007. Gov....

By Anita Kumar | November 5, 2009; 2:04 PM ET | Comments (2)

Kaine to teach at the University of Richmond

Gov. Tim Kaine will announce today that he is joining the faculty at the University of Richmond after he leaves office in January, sources close to the governor say. Kaine will teach two classes -- one at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies and one at the university's law school. He previously taught an ethics class at the law school. He will teach one class a semester. Kaine will also begin serving full time as chairman of the Democratic National Committee after Republican Bob McDonnell is sworn in as governor. White House officials and the governor said yesterday that Kaine will continue to serve as DNC chairman despite gubernatorial losses for his party Tuesday in Virginia and New Jersey. Kaine held a news conference yesterday in which he talked about returning home to his family's previous house in the Ginter Park section of Richmond....

By Anita Kumar | November 5, 2009; 8:35 AM ET | Comments (2)

McDonnell names transition team

Governor-elect Bob McDonnell announced his transition team at a packed news conference this afternoon at the State Capitol in Richmond. The five co-chairmen will be: Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling; longtime friend Attorney General Bill Mims; Tom Farrell, a high school classmate and president of Dominion Power; Bobbie Kilberg, president of the Northern Virginia Technology Council; and Kay Cole James, who served in George Allen's and George W. Bush's administrations. Kilberg and James were not at the press conference, but Kilberg quickly released a statement saying she was delighted to participate. "The Governor-Elect clearly recognizes the importance of the technology industry to the economic growth of the Commonwealth and we look forward to working with him, his staff, and the incoming administration," she said. Campaign manager Phil Cox will serve as McDonnell's transition director. Tucker Martin will serve as director of communications -- a job he held during the campaign. McDonnell...

By Anita Kumar | November 4, 2009; 7:36 PM ET | Comments (0)

Updated: Kaine's October travel

View Kaine's Travel Adventures in a larger map. KEY: Blue markers are DNC trips, red markers are official state trips, and purple markers included a mix of both or are unclear at this time. Gov. Tim Kaine, who serves as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, spent nearly half the days in October out of state, including 11 weekdays. Kaine spent all or part of 14 days outside Virginia, taking trips to five other states and eight trips to Washington. Kaine's office released his travels for October in keeping with his pledge to do so at the end of each month, which was made following pressure by the media and others to disclose his whereabouts. This month, however, his office waited a few extra days and released the information on Election Day when his schedule would likely be overhadowed by other news. Kaine's spokesman Gordon Hickey said the schedule was...

By Anita Kumar | November 4, 2009; 1:45 PM ET | Comments (4)

Kaine on election, transition, personal future

A morning-after press conference by Gov. Tim Kaine that was billed to be a discussion on transition plans was dominated by postmortem election analysis, as Kaine sought to explain the shellacking Democrats took Tuesday while attempting to shield the president from blame. Asked whether Obama was a factor, Kaine said Obama was not on the minds of voters, but wondered why the president's popularity hadn't been more of a help. ... Huh? Here it is in his own words: "Voters said the races were decided on local issues, that the president was not really a factor in the overwhelming majority of voters' choices," said Kaine, citing exit poll data. But... "With 55 percent of independents nationally saying they approve of the job President Obama is doing, the fact that independent voters in Virginia in the race yesterday supported governor-elect McDonnell by a strong margin is something that we have to...

By Anne Bartlett | November 4, 2009; 1:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

Obama calls McDonnell

We just heard that President Obama called Republican Bob McDonnell, who won a landslide victory over Democrat Creigh Deeds last night in Virginia's governor race. The two men spoke for about 10 minutes in what McDonnell's campaign called a "very friendly conversation." Obama told McDonnell: "The first thing you need to do is thank your wife!" The two also talked about their shared support for charter schools and McDonnell's support of Obama's "Race to the Top" program -- a federal grant for schools committed to closing achievement gaps and getting more students into college. McDonnell frequently parised those programs on the campaign trail. McDonnell is spending the morning at the Richmond Marriott with his wife, Maureen, five children and assorted other family members. He declined multiple requests to appear on news shows today. He will hold a 2 p.m. press conference at the state Capitol. Gov. Tim Kaine also called...

By Anita Kumar | November 4, 2009; 12:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Gibbs calls Deeds underdog, praises Kaine

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters at a gaggle this morning that Democrat Creigh Deeds was always the underdog in the race against Republican Bob McDonnell for Virginia governor. He mentioned a fact that we are well aware of here in Virginia: Since 1977, no party that has won the White House has gone on to capture Virginia's governorship the next year. "Given that sort of history, Creigh Deeds was always the underdog,'' Gibbs said. If you were wondering what the Virginia and New Jersey losses mean for outgoing Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Gibbs's comments should help clarify. "The President is enormously grateful for the leadership that Governor Kaine has and will continue to provide at the DNC,'' he said. "I think if you look at the record, again, of the president in these special elections involving members of Congress, the results are...

By Anita Kumar | November 4, 2009; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Video: Fairfax Republicans celebrate sweep, look to 2010

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | November 4, 2009; 9:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

Discuss last night's results with Post reporters

Anita Kumar and Rosalind Helderman, who spent the past several months trailing the Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds campaigns, will be online at 10 a.m. today to take your questions and comments about McDonnell's resounding gubernatorial victory and the rest of Tuesday night's results. Send in your questions now and watch the discussion at 10 a.m. or read the transcript afterward. You might also want to check out Post columnist Robert McCartney's lengthy live session from Tuesday night. Here's a review sent to McCartney from a reader: Vienna, Va.: No this is not your Dad or Mom -- you've been at this for four hours, and even though I don't agree with many of the opinions you express in your column, tonight's chat has been civil and interesting. Thanks to you and the Post for the back-and-forth. Kudos....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | November 4, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kaine reacts to two Democratic defeats

Tim Kaine, Virginia's governor and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, released a statement tonight reacting to Republican gubernatorial wins in both Virginia and New Jersey. Kaine said that both Democratic hopefuls, Creigh Deeds and Jon Corzine, were strong candidates, but faced uphill battles. Both states tend to vote for the party that is not in power in the White House in their off-year gubernatorial elections. "It would have been historic if not unprecedented to win one or both of these races given historical trends,'' he said. Kaine downplayed the notion that these races were a referendum on President Obama. "These races turned on local and state issues and circumstances and on the candidates in each race - and despite what some will certainly claim - the results are not predictive of the future or reflective of the national mood or political environment,'' he said. Kaine called the Democratic win...

By Anita Kumar | November 4, 2009; 12:24 AM ET | Comments (2)

Reactions to McDonnell's landslide win

Reactions from various corners of the nation were starting to come after 8 p.m. after Republican Bob McDonnell defeated Democrat Creigh Deeds in the governor's race: Here's a sampling: Terry McAuliffe, who lost to Deeds in the Democratic primary: "The voters have spoken, and I'd like to congratulate the next Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia: Bob McDonnell. Creigh Deeds is an outstanding public servant, and I want to thank him for his continued commitment to improving the lives of all Virginians. He ran a hard-fought campaign and I was honored to support him." Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association: "Bob McDonnell proves that when Republicans campaign on solutions to the challenges on voters' minds, we win. His focus on ideas and pocketbook issues will serve as a model for Republicans running next year." U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D) "Eight years ago, we changed the tone...

By Anita Kumar | November 3, 2009; 11:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonnell sidesteps race's national impact

Fresh off his election victory, governor-elect Robert F. McDonnell said he was "ready to work for the people of Virginia" but sidestepped questions of his victory's national implications for the Republican Party. We caught up with McDonnell as he left the stage Tuesday night and asked what this all meant for the Virginia and national political landscape. He gave what you might call a non-answer answer. "I'm going to leave that up to other experts," he said. "I was just running hard."...

By Derek Kravitz | November 3, 2009; 10:42 PM ET | Comments (1)

Democrats speak of a broken "streak" in Virginia

The losing Democratic candidates and their supporters in Virginia had a common theme in their concession speeches moments ago: The party has had a good run in the state, and despite the loss, their work goes on. "We lose an election but we don't give up," said defeated gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds to a crescendo of applause. "We still have fight, we still have spirit, we still have things to say. There's still people that need a voice!...This chapter is closed but the next chapter is yet to be written." Former Gov. Mark Warner and Gov. Tim Kaine both played on the theme that Democrats have gotten "used" to winning in a state that was once reliably Republican. "Eight years ago we started a streak in this state--in a state where Democrats didn't control either house of the legislature, any statewide office, and we turned Virginia around," Warner said....

By Anne Bartlett | November 3, 2009; 10:25 PM ET | Comments (2)

Gilmore: McDonnell win is 'reaction' against Obama

Virginia's last Republican governor said Robert F. McDonnell's election victory was a sign that the national political climate is shifting against President Obama. Shortly after McDonnell gave his acceptance speech, James S. Gilmore III said McDonnell would return Virginia "to the type of government we had eight years ago." "What you see is a reaction against the president, against President Obama," Gilmore said. "President Obama's policies have been rejected here in Virginia." Gilmore, who served as Virginia's governor from 1998 to 2002, said the "national environment is very, very critical" to Tuesday's outcome. He said unemployment and government spending drove voters to the GOP ticket. "The first and only time we swept is when I ran," Gilmore said. "Now we've swept for a second time and I'm really happy about it."...

By Derek Kravitz | November 3, 2009; 10:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deeds pens a letter to supporters

At 10:04 p.m., more than an hour after conceding the governor's race to Bob McDonnell, Creigh Deeds penned a letter to his supporters. Here's the text: First and foremost, I want to take a moment to thank you for your support over the course of this campaign. Whether you donated your time volunteering in an office, gave up your weekend plans to make calls on my behalf, or gave up a few dollars to help our fight - I am truly grateful for everything you have done for this campaign and my candidacy. This campaign has been a long journey, but one I would never give up. I am so touched by all the Virginians I have met in my travels across the Commonwealth and the stories they have shared. I ran for Governor to bring opportunity, prosperity, and hope to every corner of this Commonwealth. While I fell short...

By Anita Kumar | November 3, 2009; 10:17 PM ET | Comments (0)

Say hello to the McBollinelli sweep broom

Yes, that's right. During his election night speech, attorney general-elect Ken Cuccinelli brought out a broom to signify the Republican Party's sweep of the top three statewide posts. The blue-colored broom (oddly not red) was emblazoned with the name amalgam: McBollinelli. Minutes later, a "Don't Tread On Me" flag -- a frequent presence in Cuccinelli's campaign -- was unfurled. It's a symbol, Cuccinelli said, of a "limited government that respects constitutional boundaries." It also got the core conservative crowd hollering....

By Derek Kravitz | November 3, 2009; 9:09 PM ET | Comments (4)

McDonnell to speak at 9:30

Republican Robert F. McDonnell will give his first speech as governor-elect at 9:30 p.m., staffers say. Right now, McDonnell is in his suite with family, friends and campaign advisers, said Crystal Cameron, a McDonnell spokeswoman. A Regent University official also says religious broadcaster Pat Robertson paid McDonnell a visit but the campaign has not confirmed it. After his speech, McDonnell will not take questions from reporters but the ballroom where his party is being held will be open until midnight. At about 9 p.m., the concession speech by McDonnell's Democratic opponent, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), flashed on two giant screens near the center podium. A chorus of boos could be heard until Deeds said, "This chapter is over." Then, as color commentators say, the crowd went wild....

By Derek Kravitz | November 3, 2009; 8:54 PM ET | Comments (1)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Swing Fairfax polling place voted for Deeds

Democrat R. Creigh Deeds lost the statewide race, but defeated his Republican rival Robert F. McDonnell at McLean's Chesterbrook precinct, according to officials at the polling place who just finished tabulating ballots. McDonnell received 612 votes (47%) to Deeds' 685 (53%) at the Fairfax County polling place we've been reporting from these last 15 hours. Just over 1,300 ballots were cast here today, a fraction of last year's total turnout in the presidential election and about 5 percent fewer than in the governor's race four years ago. Deeds' victory at this precinctin the heart of a Democratic-leaning district with an independent streak might bring some solace to Democrats on an otherwise bad night. Despite big GOP gains in a year that wasn't favorable for the president's party, the Democrats retain strong appeal to voters in the growing and affluent area of McLean south of Route 123. The forceful Democratic turnout...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 8:40 PM ET | Comments (2)

The Bob celebration begins

The victory party is beginning. The main ballroom at the Richmond Marriott is getting crowded, as we hear soon-to-be-governor Robert F. McDonnell might come down from the presidential suite within the hour. Former Virginia senator George Allen called McDonnell the "GOP's next star," when we asked him about what the Republican's victory meant. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said a McDonnell win would inspire conservatives. "We're going to roll up our sleeves tomorrow," he said. Cantor took the podium moments later, saying that Bob had stayed true to his conservative creds while "leading us out of the wilderness."...

By Derek Kravitz | November 3, 2009; 8:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Former GOP chair rains on McDonnell parade

Far from the ballroom in Richmond where GOP big shots such as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele were gathering in hopeful anticipation of a landslide sweep at the top of the ticket, Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick, the former head of Virginia's Republican Party, was toweling off after a swim. And then he was dropping off his nanny at night school. And then Frederick, who was sacked last summer in a purge led by other GOP officials who believed he was too conservative and might alienate voters, was going home. But at the end of an otherwise ordinary day--dropping off his daughter at school, voting, going to work, talking to poll workers here and there in his district--Frederick, who declined to seek reelection this year, suggested that one thing was still be very alive among his political interests: an animus for Bob McDonnell, the governor...

By Anne Bartlett | November 3, 2009; 8:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

Many at Deeds party 'not surprised'

Moments after the Associated Press and Washington Post called the race for Republican Robert F. McDonnell, the mood at the Deeds event barely budged. That's because, several in attendance said, this is the outcome they were expecting, deep down. "Basically it's almost like the media has prepared us for this the past few days," said Mike Mohler, president of the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters union and a Deeds supporter. He said he worked a phone bank right up until the polls closed, "in the hopes there might be a surprise." The ballroom is finally starting to fill up, largely with Deeds campaign staff and volunteers, and word is Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) is somewhere in the building and may speak. -- Jonathan Mummolo...

By Anne Bartlett | November 3, 2009; 8:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

Big cheers at McDonnell party

As Fox News called the governor's race for Republican Robert F. McDonnell a little before 8 p.m., along with other media outlets, the crowd of about 500 wine-swirling supporters roared inside the main ballroom at the Richmond Marriott. But McDonnell is not here yet and might not be for another hour. A phrase heard repeatedly: What a difference a year makes....

By Derek Kravitz | November 3, 2009; 8:07 PM ET | Comments (1)

Robert McDonnell: Your next governor

Virginians elected Republican Robert F. McDonnell the Commonwealth's 71st governor Tuesday, halting a decade of Democratic advances in the critical swing state. The state's former attorney general defeated Democratic state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds with a promise to create jobs in the down economy and fix the state's clogged roadways without a tax increase. McDonnell, 55, boosted by a political mood shift that has left many voters cool to Democrats, prevailed with a disciplined economic message and a campaign that steered clear of the hot-button social issues that in recent elections had alienated voters in northern Virginia and other urban centers. The Republican also benefited from a lackluster Democratic opponent voters came to know in good part from a video clip in which he waffled and stammered when asked if he would raise taxes. Read the full story....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | November 3, 2009; 8:06 PM ET | Comments (2)

Kaine gets ready for transition

Gov. Tim Kaine will hold a press conference tomorrow in Richmond to talk about how his office will transition to a new governor. Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will appear on Larry King Live at 9 tonight to talk about the three major races taking place in Virginia, New Jersey and New York. Kaine will also appear on the following show tomorrow: 7:05am - NBC Today Show 7:15am - MSNBC Morning Joe 7:30am - CNN American Morning 1:00pm - MSNBC Andrea Mitchell 4:30pm - CNN Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer...

By Anita Kumar | November 3, 2009; 7:37 PM ET | Comments (2)

The McDonnell party: It's Pat!

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson made an appearance at Republican Robert F. McDonnell's election night party, calling his likely victory a testament to the American public's distaste of President Obama. Speaking to The Washington Post outside the main ballroom at the Richmond Marriott, Robertson said McDonnell was a "true public servant" and that his election as Virginia's governor would "mean a whole lot to me." "I'm president of his alma mater, you know," Robertson said, referring to Regent University in Virginia Beach. A university press crew, cheering for McDonnell from the press table, also showed up at the rally. Robertson, who along with his family donated $40,000 in last-minute contributions to McDonnell's campaign, said that he would not "read too much" into a McDonnell victory but said Americans were "sick to death of Obama's agenda." "I think it could be a signal that there's a good deal of anger out there...

By Derek Kravitz | November 3, 2009; 7:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Is Deeds singing Virginia's song?

(Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post) Right as the polls closed at 7 p.m., the music switched on at the nascent Deeds celebration in Richmond. "Take a load off Annie," sang The Band in their classic tune, "The Weight." "And put the load right on me." It was a somber sentiment for the handful of attendees who mingled outside the ballroom, cocktail-napkin-wrapped beer bottles in hand. The next selection was a bit more fitting for a candidate gunning for victory: Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run." -- Jonathan Mummolo...

By Anne Bartlett | November 3, 2009; 7:26 PM ET | Comments (1)

Chesterbrook Precinct: The stragglers

Less than five minutes before the polls closed, Brian Zimmer screeched up to the entrance of the Chesterbrook precinct on his bicycle. The 63-year-old had biked from his office at 11th St. and Pennsylvania Avenue - where he's the president of a think tank - all the way to the heart of McLean. "I've never made it this fast," he said, taking off his helmet as he collected his ballot. Then, just after a poll worker announced one minute remained before the polls closed, Dave Burg rushed in with his two-year-old daughter Caroline. A consultant who had spent the day in Miami, he didn't land at Reagan National Airport until 5:30 p.m. "I thought I could squeeze in just before seven," said Burg, 40. "And it worked." Neither would say which gubernatorial candidate he voted for....

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 7:19 PM ET | Comments (1)

Barbour: What's changed? President Obama's policies

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a presence on the campaign trail with fellow Republican Robert F. McDonnell, said Virginia's former attorney general ran an issue-oriented campaign -- but he also emphasized the importance President Obama played in the race. "First of all, you got a great candidate in Bob McDonnell. But four years ago he and Creigh Deeds ran a dead heat," he said. "What do I think has changed? President Obama's agenda and the policies of the Democratic majority are very unpopular here in Virginia, too...That's been critically important." Barbour, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, also said McDonnell has been focusing on the issues most affecting Virginia voters, namely taxes and transportation....

By Derek Kravitz | November 3, 2009; 7:06 PM ET | Comments (5)

Some early exit poll data

Washington Post polling director Jon Cohen got an early snapshot of the electorate in New Jersey and Virginia this evening from exit polls, and here's what he passed on that we can report: Economy and jobs top the issue lists in both Virginia and New Jersey (but not as overwhelmingly as it did in 2008), with property taxes a close No. 2 in New Jersey and health care in a distant second place in Virginia. In the early numbers, younger (under 30) voters make up a smaller share of the electorate this year than they did last November. The percentage of African Americans among all Virginia voters is down a bit at this stage compared with a year ago, but in New Jersey it's currently up from the last go-round. (However, the proportions in Virginia are similar to the 2006 Senate race and the 1997 race for governor). Majorities in...

By Sandhya Somashekhar | November 3, 2009; 7:00 PM ET | Comments (5)

Chesterbrook Precinct: An independent sides with McDonnell

Paul M. Hanafin, a 54-year-old executive at a commercial real estate firm, is an independent. He said he voted for Barack Obama one year ago, but he decided to cast his ballot for Republican candidate Robert McDonnell in the final 45 minutes of voting at McLean's Chesterbrook precinct. In the end, his decision was more about the candidate's "temperament" than a national vote of confidence on Obama, he said. Hanafin explained in the darkness outside the polling site that his two most important priorities are Northern Virginia getting more of its share in tax dollars from Richmond and better area roads. He chastised Democrat Creigh Deeds for not getting specific about his transportation plan. "It's almost, in my mind, grounds for disqualification when his major plan for dealing with a big problem is a blue-ribbon commission," Hanafin said. He also faulted McDonnell, though, for saying that he will privatize ABC...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 6:46 PM ET | Comments (1)

The McDonnell party: With candidate in suite, GOP festivities begin

Holed up in the presidential suite at the Richmond Marriott, Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell will be watching the election results come in with his family and a host of state and national GOP figures, including Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Staffers say McDonnell is tentatively scheduled to head down to the hotel's Grand Ballroom for his election night speech at about 9 p.m., although that could change depending on how quickly the results come in....

By Derek Kravitz | November 3, 2009; 6:40 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Deeds party: The candidate makes the early rounds

Both Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. R. Creigh Deeds and attorney general candidate Del. Stephen C. Shannon (D-Fairfax) said moments ago that the name of the game tonight is turnout. The turnout so far inside the Richmond hotel ballroom reserved for their election night bash is sparse. It's scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. With little more than an hour to go before the polls close, the room rented out at the Westin had plenty of reporters, video cameras and campaign staffers--but there were virtually no guests in sight so early in the evening. Candlelit tables covered in white cloth dotted an empty ballroom floor in front of an empty stage, over which a massive banner hung reading: "ALL IN FOR VIRGINIA." Deeds (D-Bath) made the rounds, stopping to chat with various TV networks. The Washington Post caught up with him for no more than 30 seconds in a hallway before...

By Anne Bartlett | November 3, 2009; 6:22 PM ET | Comments (1)

Steele: McDonnell has 'winning formula'

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Robert F. McDonnell developed a "winning formula" during his Virginia gubernatorial campaign, one that will be duplicated by the GOP for the 2010 midterm elections and beyond. Steele showed up at the Richmond Marriott about an hour before the festivities were slated to start for the GOP. He said McDonnell was able to "speak clearly" to voters on a number of contentious state issues while applying his "conservative principles to the 21st century." "There were things that we did here in Virginia, whether it was through technology, whether it was through resource distribution, whether it was through the allocation of manpower," Steele said. "We tried something very different here. We made better use of the Internet. We made better use of the little thing known as the BlackBerry...We hadn't used those tools and those technologies in the past. So that was a very...

By Derek Kravitz | November 3, 2009; 6:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Paper ballots, pokin' sticks: Your polling place experiences

Several commenters today wrote about their experiences at the polls. Their thoughts are compiled below; add your own in the comments section. We're also looking for Election Day (and night) photos. A number of voters reported sparse attendance at the polls today: 1995hoo: I vote at the Kingstowne precinct (corner of Van Dorn and Lake Village Drive). Went at 10.30 and it was the emptiest I've ever seen, even compared to years with Board of Supervisors elections. There were two people on line at the "A to K" checkin and nobody on line at the "L to Z" checkin (the latter is my part of the alphabet). In and out in under five minutes. Given the left-leaning nature of this part of Fairfax County, I'd say it bodes well for the Republican ticket. Now if the Sickles voters stay home, I will be happy. nodebris: At Arlington's Lexington precinct, voting...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | November 3, 2009; 6:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Video: Polling places take swine flu precautions

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | November 3, 2009; 6:12 PM ET | Comments (1)

Chesterbrook Precinct: McDonnell voters laud his transportation plan

Partisan volunteers say they're surprised by how small the line is here at McLean's Chesterbrook precinct at 6 p.m., considering that this is a time many people would normally begin stopping by after work. It's now chilly and dark outside, and some speculate that people may figure that the gubernatorial election isn't competitive. Interviews suggest that Republican candidate Robert McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds are running about evenly with this crowd in the penultimate hour of balloting. Transportation is an issue that's important to many McDonnell backers, especially at this hour of night. Magaly B. Torres, 53 of McLean, is a Republican backing McDonnell. She's convinced Deeds would raise her taxes and wouldn't fix transportation problems. "They raised our taxes too much, and we're not happy with that," she said. "I'm certain he would do it. The government already has a lot of money now so we need to stop...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 6:05 PM ET | Comments (3)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Late support for Deeds?

Republicans are said to vote early, as Democrats vote late. Afternoon turnout here at the Chesterbrook precinct in McLean has stayed fairly low since about noon. But many who have come say they're backing Democrat Creigh Deeds. In fact, we just talked with nine Democrats in a row who backed Creigh Deeds. Statistically, especially given the polls, the chances of this are quite small. But, as statisticians also would say, the group that turns out from 4:30 to 5 p.m. self-selects. "I think it's going to be very close in the end," said David Hunt, a 55-year-old Democrat who backed Deeds. "It's a real late push here," said Louise Klein Hodin, 70, who still thinks Deeds might win. "He came out of nowhere, and he was running against some very prominent Democrats and then he fell asleep at the wheel." "I was not tremendously impressed with Deeds, but there's high...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 5:21 PM ET | Comments (2)

On tap for tonight at washingtonpost.com

Watch the election results roll in live tonight here at washingtonpost.com. On the new local homepage we'll have a county-by-county map of governor's race results and how they compare to previous year's statewide races. For the House of Delegates, we'll keep you up-to-the-minute on the vote count in each race and how it impacts the overall balance of power in Richmond. If you've got questions about the results and how they came to be, send them in to Post columnist Robert McCartney, who starting at 7 p.m. will offer you answers and give you a peek at what we learn from exit polling. And of course there will be the usual array of the Post's excellent reporting, analysis and photography....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | November 3, 2009; 4:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Chesterbrook Precinct: A happy, if divided, marriage

Pat and Beth Echols are happily married, even though he voted for Robert McDonnell and she voted for Creigh Deeds at the Chesterbrook precinct near their home in McLean this afternoon. "Even though we vote differently, we still have a good marriage," said Beth Echols, 85, a self-described "liberal Democrat." Pat Echols, 84, served in the state senate in the late 1960s and always votes for the GOP. These days, he's assisted by a walker. "All this stuff they brought out about him didn't matter," he said, of McDonnell. "You judge a man by his record, not by his thesis. He's done right. Beth Echols said she appreciated Deeds' candor on his transportation plan. "I believe in raising taxes," she said. "I think that's the way to go right now, and he's been very straightforward in saying that's something he'd consider." After each took a turn explaining their vote, the...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 4:01 PM ET | Comments (2)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Deeds voters turning out, even if they think he'll lose

The early afternoon has been much quieter than the first seven hours of the day at the Chesterbrook precinct here in McLean. Only a few dozen people came through between 2 and 3 p.m. The crowd is starting to pick up as 4 p.m. approaches, and workers leave offices. It appears that Deeds may have a narrow majority of those who showed up during this select period early this afternoon, based on interviews and a close watch of who takes the Republican or Democratic sample ballots. While loyal Democrats are turning out, few Deeds voters are confident that their man will win - a trend that we have noticed throughout the day. It seems that only about a dozen people younger than 35 have came to this polling site so far today....

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 3:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Women divided over meaning of McDonnell thesis

We've been asking mothers with daughters at the Chesterbrook polling place in McLean what impact Republican candidate Robert McDonnell's 1989 graduate school thesis had on their voting decision. While Republicans downplay it and Democrats cite it as proof that McDonnell's out of the mainstream, independents don't seem strongly influenced by it. Ann Merchant, 37, is a Democrat who just voted for Deeds. She didn't vote in June's Democratic primary because she didn't feel strongly about any of the three candidates, and she remains lukewarm for Deeds. She's alarmed, though, about McDonnell. "The thesis is a serious problem for me - as a feminist and someone who supports gay rights," she said. "Definitely I feel like he's a reactionary." Tracie Becker, 45, a registered Democrat, is backing McDonnell. In fact, she picked her party's candidate for every office except governor. She said that she doesn't think the Republican really believes what...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 3:39 PM ET | Comments (2)

All eyes on Virginia election today, from London to Leesburg

For you hardcore political junkies, we know, election day rocks. If you can't get enough analysis, spin or just plain news, there's plenty of discussion on the web about the Virginia governor's race and the national implications this off-year contest could have. The race is on CNN's top 10 list of contests to watch today. FiveThirtyEight, which specializes in analyzing polling data, offers this election overview as well as some great reader discussion. For a sense of how the race is playing overseas, check out this take out from the Times of London. Locally, the Prince William County-based blog Black Velvet Bruce Li offers this video from Robert McDonnell's final campaign rally....

By Anne Bartlett | November 3, 2009; 3:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

Va. Some precincts switch to paper ballots

A handful of the state's 2,300 precincts were forced to switch to paper ballot today because of a variety of problems with the electronic machines. The problems varied at locations across the state. Among them: Workers couldn't enter one precinct because keys didn't work so they set up shop outside. Power outages. Equipment failure. A voter jammed a machine when the person used hand sanitizer available at the precinct to help prevent the spread of H1N1 flu. Affected localities include the counties of Loudoun, Chesterfield and York as well as Bristol and Suffolk. Nancy Rodrigues, secretary at Virginia State Board of Elections, said all problems were minor and quickly resolved. In addition, a few voters had registration problems when they appeared in the electronic poll log as absentee voters, and one of the political parties passed out sample ballots that did meet color regulations, Rodrigues said....

By Anita Kumar | November 3, 2009; 3:15 PM ET | Comments (3)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Comstock makes her pitch in delegate race

Eager to shore up her own support at the key Chesterbrook precinct in McLean, Republican delegate candidate Barbara J. Comstock has arrived to join her mom, shake hands and cheer on five of her supporters actively campaigning here on her behalf. Loose and cheerful - still wearing a warm red coat she put on before heading out to do last-minute campaigning in the frigid predawn hours - Comstock told voters she was "very excited" about the results of tonight's election, in which she hopes to unseat Del. Margaret Vanderhye (D). But Comstock didn't go nearly as far as her mother in predicting a landslide victory. The Comstock campaign has aggressively targeted voters in this precinct. The candidate said that her campaign had knocked on every door in Precinct 302. She visited the back-to-school nights and attended meet-and-greets in the neighborhood. "It's been a good response," Comstock said....

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 1:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Deeds voters frustrated with Deeds

Many voters for Creigh Deeds here at the Chesterbrook precinct in McLean are to varying degrees, publicly and privately, expressing a range of dissatisfaction - from frustration to disdain - with the way that the Democrat ran his campaign after winning his party's June primary. The line has thinned out here, and we're in the midday doldrums before an expected afternoon rush. Many voters - a majority of the perhaps 20 or so we spoke with in the last hour - are indeed backing Deeds, but they aren't particularly confident about his chances. And they're frustrated about what they expect will be a significant setback in their quest to build a self-sustaining Democratic coalition that can control the Commonwealth. Greg McLerran, a 75-year-old Democrat, said he voted against Republican Robert McDonnell as much as he voted for Deeds, whom he described as a "terrible candidate" devoid of charisma. "I didn't...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 1:16 PM ET | Comments (2)

McDonnell votes, greets voters

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell voted at 8:30 this morning at the Rivers Edge Elementary School in Glen Allen outside Richmond. He was accompanied by his wife, Maureen, and his four of his five children, and was greeted by volunteers, supporters and reporters. Del. Bill Janis, a Republican, was also on hand. He is running for re-election in the House of Delegates. Check out the video below:...

By Anita Kumar | November 3, 2009; 1:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Comstock's mom predicts big win

Republican challenger Barbara Comstock's mother said outside the Chesterbrook polling place this afternoon that she predicts her daughter will unseat the incumbent, Del. Margaret Vanderhye (D), with 58 percent of the vote today. Sally Burns, 71, is confident Comstock will win. She was one of seven Republicans pushing the party's candidates here, standing in the same spot as her daughter's opponent did one hour before, in a swing precinct of one of the Commonwealth's most competitive delegate races. "It's a family affair," said Burns, who lives with her daughter for half the year in McLean, as she passed out sample ballots in front of the polling places entrance. "There's power in numbers. Barbara has lots of friends. To know her is to love her." Comstock's other relatives are aggressively helping her too, across Fairfax County's 34th district. Her three children--one flew in from his job in California where he works...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 1:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Republicans say today is a referendum on Obama

When Republican supporters of candidate Robert McDonnell are asked why they voted, a surprising number here refer to "he" or "him." The folks at the Chesterbrook polling place in McLean are not talking about McDonnell or his Democratic rival, Creigh Deeds, but President Barack Obama. McDonnell voter Christina Hoag, a 58-year-old who owns a catering business with about 25 employees, said that she hopes a Republican victory would slow the growth of government and send the message to Democrats that they don't have the mandate in Washington they think they do to remake the economy. "There's anger right now within ourselves, and I think most of that comes from uncertainty and fear," she said. "As a nation, we've lost our optimism." Michael Barron, 60, said he's a Republican who has been willing to vote for Democrats occasionally over the years. Not this year. "It's not local politics that's driving this,"...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 1:00 PM ET | Comments (8)

Lieutenant Governor candidates vote

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling tallied at least one vote for himself, and probably two more, as he, his wife, Jean Ann, and his 26-year-old son Matt cast ballots about 10 a.m. in their hometown precinct in Mechanicsville, a suburb of Richmond. Bolling, who is seeking a second term as lieutenant governor, voted at the Washington Henry Elementary School in the Shady Grove precinct, campaign spokeswoman Ibbie Hedrick said. She said the Bollings' other adult son, Kevin, 22, plans to vote after his classes end at James Madison Unversity. Afterwards, Bolling began dialing for votes. Later this evening, Bolling will join his running mates -- Robert F. McDonnell, the former attorney general who is at the top of the ticket, and state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, who is running for Attorney General this year--at the Marriott in Richmond. Farther east, Democratic challenger Jody M. Wagner went to the polls at 6:50 a.m....

By Anne Bartlett | November 3, 2009; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (1)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Comstock wins sign war

More than $1 million will probably have been spent on the House of Delegates 34th district contest when the final reports are filed. It's clear from driving around McLean that a good chunk of that money - at least from Republican candidate Barbara J. Comstock -has gone to buy signs. Comstock dominates her Democratic opponent, incumbent Margaret D. Vanderhye (D), in the contest for most signs near the Chesterbrook polling place, where we've set up shop today. From the entrance off Kirby Road to the entrance into the hall where ballots are cast here in the Chesterbrook precinct, Vanderhye has nine signs and Comstock has 64. That's a greater than seven-to-one advantage. On the other roads leading up to the polling site, Comstock's signs are ubiquitous. At Chesterbrook, Comstock has about as many signs here as the two gubernatorial nominees - Creigh Deeds and Robert McDonnell -- combined. Vanderhye downplayed...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 11:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Vulnerable incumbent delegate visits

Del. Margaret Vanderhye (D), an incumbent facing a tough reelection battle against Republican challenger Barbara Comstock, just finished a visit that lasted more than an hour at McLean's Chesterbrook precinct, pressing the flesh and making a last-dash appeal for votes. It was the delegate's third stop of the morning, which began shortly before 6 a.m. inside her own polling place at Langley High School. She and her campaign aides decided to spend time at this polling place because turnout is usually high here, and she recently had a reception with residents of the Vinson Hall retirement community that went well. Vanderhye is especially perky this morning - giving hugs to her supporters and shaking as many hands as she can. Some are telling her they won't vote for her. A sign touting her endorsements is set up near the entrance to the polling place. "At this point in the day,...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 11:17 AM ET | Comments (0)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Observers say turnout is good

It's shaping up to be a spectacular day in Northern Virginia, with blue skies and warm-but-not-hot temperatures, a great combination for big turnout. People who have stood outside the polling place in previous years said they're surprised by how many people are out after 10 a.m., even after the workday has started. While the suit-and-tie crowd is gone for the morning, there has been a continuing and steady stream of people moving through the Chesterbrook polling place in McLean. At this moment, there are 16 voters in line to cast ballots here. Many who have voted in the last four-and-a-half hours are older -- with kids or grandkids. Very few voters at this particular precinct have been under 35 years old, and a fair number have said they were over 70. That fits with the demographics for this area, where fairly expensive homes keep younger families away and a retirement...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 11:14 AM ET | Comments (3)

Video: Chesterbrook voters explain their choices

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | November 3, 2009; 9:54 AM ET | Comments (0)

No. 21: Deeds votes at tiny Bath precinct

An area that will likely see high turnout today is rural Bath County, the home of Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds. Still, as the second most sparsely populated county in Virginia, that will end up translating to only a couple thousand votes at most. But we've got word from Deeds spokesman Jared Leopold that Deeds cast his own ballot this morning at 6:25 a.m. at the Millboro Ruritan Club. He was voter number 21. Voters 22 through 25 were wife Pam Deeds and children Gus, Amanda and Rebecca Deeds. Deeds's youngest daughter Susannah is 17. Afterward, the family hosted an outdoors reception for Bath residents. Biscuits were served....

By Rosalind Helderman | November 3, 2009; 9:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Deeds poll coverage lags?

Are we in for a stunner of unexpected Democratic turnout? Not if the Internets are to be believed, where Democrats and Republicans are taking to blogs and Twitter to note what feels to them like low turnout in strongly Democratic precincts and poor poll coverage by candidate Creigh Deeds and other Democrats. From Twitter: @Joseph_Taylor Not a single deeds poll worker in nokesville. @AmayaNSugar Not a single Creigh Deeds sign or worker in my area of Hampton Roads either. @npry 2 precincts in Portsmouth (70% Obama) no Deeds signs or volunteers From the two best read liberal bloggers in Virginia politics, who have been somewhat critical (Lowell Feld) and highly critical (Ben Tribbett) of Deeds in recent weeks: Feld at 6:22 a.m., after looking at a tweet indicating no lines in Arlington: After this tweet, I'm almost tempted to call the election for McDonnell/Bolling/Cooch. There should be LONG LINES IN...

By Rosalind Helderman | November 3, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Most Deeds voters aren't too confident

Democrats are definitely turning out to vote for Creigh Deeds here at the Chesterbrook precinct in McLean, but they are fewer in number than the Republicans and independents backing Robert McDonnell. And most aren't very confident that Deeds or Democrats down the ticket will perform well when the count is taken at the end of the day. Nancy Trainer, a 36-year-old stay-at-home mom, voted for all the Democrats on the ballot, but she doesn't think they'll win. She said it's important to turn out so that the Republicans don't feel like they have an outsized mandate. "It's going to be a very tough year for the Democrats, so it's important for us to show our support," she said, accompanied by her 5-year-old daughter Rachel. Wally Larimore, a 66-year-old Democrat who supported Deeds in the primary and general election, is a statistician who runs his own small business from home. He's...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 8:56 AM ET | Comments (0)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Polling place takes swine flu precautions

There's not one person in the entire Vinson Hall Retirement Community who has the flu right now, according to officials here. And they want to keep it that way. At the entrance to the Chesterbrook Precinct in McLean, workers at the assisted care facility on the ground here have set out an oak table with a box full of masks for people to wear if they have flu-like symptoms. Also on the table is a big bottle of Purell hand sanitizer, two signs that advise people to cough carefully and a framed photograph of stuffed animals wearing masks. "We know everyone's nervous about flu so we want folks to feel safe so they can leverage their right to vote without fear of catching the flu," said Donna J. Duss, the director of health care services for the expansive retirement community....

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 8:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

What was your voting experience like? Send your stories and photos.

We've been telling you all morning what McLean voters at the Chesterbook precinct are saying as they leave the polling place. Now we want to hear from you! Please be our eyes and ears at other polling places, whether in Northern Virginia or elsewhere. Use the comments section to report the on-the-ground conditions where you are. Have you noticed a lot of Deeds backers elsewhere? Are people turning out in droves, or is your polling place quieter than you expected this morning? How does it compare to last year when President Obama won Virginia or, to 2005, when Gov. Timothy Kaine (D) won statewide? Also let us know about any irregularities you see and send us your best Election Day photos. -- James Hohmann...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | November 3, 2009; 8:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Virginia

Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2009 Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today. This is it! Election Day has finally arrived. Check back frequently for all of our election coverage throughout the day and night. In the meantime, here's some morning reading to start your day: Republican Bob McDonnell will vote outside Richmond this morning, before greeting voters at his childhood precinct in Fairfax County and at a Virginia Beach precint he represented in the House of Delegates. Democrat Creigh Deeds will vote in Bath County this morning before greeting voters in Charlottesville, which he represents in the state Senate. Both men will spend election night in the capital city. McDonnell will be at the Marriott downtown with Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli, candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general. Deeds will be at the Westin Hotel in Richmond's West End with Gov. Tim Kaine and Jody...

By Anita Kumar | November 3, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Democratic volunteers say there's less energy this year

The mood in the air at the Chesterbrook polling place during the first hours of voting is very different from what t was a year ago, when Barack Obama won this McLean precinct and Virginia. Phyllis Jacobson, 58, had never been politically active until she watched Obama speak last year. Now she considers herself a grassroots Democratic activist. She volunteered at this precinct one year ago today for the then-Illinois senator. She was one of three Democrats volunteering outside the Chesterbrook polling place in McLean. "When I did the Obama campaign, I think everyone was taking sample ballots, and there was just more electricity in the area," she said. But this is a different crowd, she said. Many turned down sample ballots that she tried to hand out with candidates endorsed by the Democrats. She think it's because the people voting in the off-year election are more politically active and...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 7:48 AM ET | Comments (0)

Chesterbrook Precinct: Early votes trend McDonnell

The first vote cast at the Chesterbrook polling site in McLean this morning was for Republican candidate Robert McDonnell. Betsy Gadaire, a self-described independent conservative, wanted to get to her job as an office manager in the District by 6:30 a.m., so she lined up just before the polling place opened at 6 a.m. She likes McDonnell personally, but his positions on the issues are more important to her. "Stop spending money," she said. "We're killing our country with deficits." Across about two-dozen interviews during the first hour of polling at the Chesterbrook Precinct, the early morning crowd seems to lean Republican. They are rushing through the polling place in dress clothes, hoping to cast their ballots so they don't have to wait in longer lines this evening. She was one of several early voters who discussed national issues when asked about her votes on Virginia races. Several McDonnell voters...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 7:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Chesterbrook Precinct: A barometer for what's coming

Good morning! We've set up shop here at Fairfax County's Chesterbrook precinct, south of Route 123 in McLean, to get a sense of how today's elections are shaking out. Precinct 302, which opened at 6 a.m. inside an assisted living home called Arleigh Burke Pavilion, is in the heart of a Democratic-leaning district with an independent streak. So the results here will serve as a barometer for the key Dranesville district, in vote-rich Northern Virginia. If GOP candidate Robert F. McDonnell wins this precinct, which appears quite possible based on recent statewide polling that showed him ahead overall by 11 points, would portend very well for the Republicans' chances. A forceful Democratic turnout might signal that the Republican sweep hoped for by GOP officials will not materialize. President Obama won 54.6 percent in this precinct last November, a small piece in a puzzle that helped him become the first Democrat...

By James Hohmann | November 3, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Pat Robertson and family donate money to McDonnell

Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell received a trio of last-minute donations totaling $40,000 from religious broadcaster Pat Robertson, his son and daughter-in-law. Robertson contributed $25,000 on Oct. 20, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan tracker of money in politics. His son, Tim, donated $5,000 Friday for in-kind services (listed as catering) and his wife, Lisa, donated $10,000 to McDonnell today. McDonnell attended CBN University, the Virginia Beach school founded Robertson and named after the Christian Broadcasting Network, whose studios share the campus. (Yes, this is where he wrote that controversial thesis.) He later served on the Board of Trustees of that school, now named Regent University, for eight years and spoke at its law school graduation last year. McDonnell said in an interview earlier this year that he and Robertson only speak a couple times a year. But Robertson has become one of his biggest donors. Robertson...

By Anita Kumar | November 2, 2009; 10:33 PM ET | Comments (3)

Deeds: 'We got 'em just where we want them'

State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds gave his final plea tonight to his supporters, promising a victory if they could bring out the same voters that put Virginia in the win column for President Obama. In describing his longshot odds, Deeds told the story of Lt. Gen. Chesty Puller, the father of state Sen. Toddy Puller (D-Fairfax), who fought behind enemy lines in December 1950 during the Korean War. "Chesty said the enemy was in front of us, their behind us, they're on our right, they're on our left," said the Bath County Democrat as he stood behind a banner that read, "All In For Virginia." "And we got 'em just where we want them. We're going to win this thing!" More than 150 people crowded into Alexandria's Market Square for the rally near vote-rich Fairfax County, with many of the politicians in attendance extolling the potential impact of the last-minute...

By Derek Kravitz | November 2, 2009; 9:28 PM ET | Comments (4)

Palin, Huckabee call Virginia voters

We told you yesterday that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin recorded a phone message encouraging Virginians to get out and vote on Tuesday. Now, we have learned that a conservative group affiliated with former Christian Coalition founder Ralph Reed asked both Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to make calls to nearly 700,000 voters in Virginia. The Huckabee calls were made Saturday and the Palin calls were made Sunday and today. The recordings make no mention of Republican candidate Bob McDonnell, who has embraced Huckabee but distanced himself from Palin during the governor's race. "Virginia, hello, this is Sarah Palin calling to urge you to go to the polls Tuesday and vote to share our principles," Palin said. "The eyes of America will be on Virginia and make no mistake about it, every vote counts. So don't take anything for granted, vote your values on Tuesday, and urge your...

By Anita Kumar | November 2, 2009; 6:31 PM ET | Comments (3)

Kaine appears on MSNBC on election eve

Tim Kaine, Virginia governor and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said this afternoon on MSNBC that Democrats still have a chance to win both gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey tomorrow, even though polls show both men behind. "For 24 years, the party that wins the White House loses both of these governships in Virginia and New Jersey,'' Kaine said. "So the way we look at it at the DNC is that these are uphill races. We had underdog candidates. They were writing us off in mid-summer, but we fought back strong and we're working awfully strong to break that 24-year string and we feel like we have a good shot tomorrow." Kaine downplayed the significance of the races going into the 2010 midterm elections. "Traditionally these races right after the presidential year are very focused on local issues and haven't been much of a bellwether for the...

By Anita Kumar | November 2, 2009; 4:49 PM ET | Comments (4)

Sensing big gains, Republicans make late donations

From the Virginia Public Access Project comes some fascinating new numbers that show Republicans are making a late play for some seats in the House of Delegates where they were once thought to have little chance for pick-ups. The late donations, from Republican Party of Virginia, Dominion Leadership Trust and candidate committees for Speaker William Howell and Del. Morgan Griffith, is a sign that Republicans are hoping a tidal wave of a win Tuesday could pull even more delegate candidates into the winner's column than they had once thought. It's a stunning turnaround in a year when Democrats had once talked about regaining control of the House for the first time since 1999. Per VPAP, here are late donations from Republican to House candidates just since Friday:...

By Rosalind Helderman | November 2, 2009; 4:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Jim Moran Calls GOP the "Taliban Ticket"

Always good copy, U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) likened the Republican ticket in Virginia this year to Afghanistan's radical Taliban movement in comments broadcast Sunday by WAMU radio. At a get-out-the-vote rally in Fairfax County, Moran said: "I mean, if the Republicans were running in Afghanistan, they'd be running on the Taliban ticket as far as I can see." Moran was talking about Republicans Robert F. McDonnell for governor, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and state Sen. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, who is running for attorney general. By some accounts, the three represent the most conservative Republican ticket to run in Virginia in many years. Moran's comments clearly were aimed to motivate Democratic voters to turn out on Tuesday and vote blue....

By Amy Gardner | November 2, 2009; 1:13 PM ET | Comments (62)

First Click -- Virginia

Monday, Nov. 2, 2009 Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today. The polls open in less than 24 hours! In what has to be one of the last polls before Election Day, Republican Bob McDonnell leads Democrat Creigh Deeds, 53 to 41, in a Mason Dixon poll released this weekend. In the same poll, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is up 13 percentage point over Jody Wagner and Republican Ken Cuccinelli is up 14 percentage points over Steve Shannon in the race for attorney general. Whoever wins the governor's mansion Tuesday will face continuing budget shortfalls and will have to figure out how to pay for ambitious campaign promises. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has recorded a phone message encouraging Virginians to get out and vote on Tuesday, while Gov. Tim Kaine makes calls for Shannon. The last newspaper endorsements came out Sunday, and now it's...

By Anita Kumar | November 2, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

Palin records calls urging Virginians to vote

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has recorded a phone message encouraging Virginians to get out and vote on Tuesday, Palin adviser Meg Stapleton told us tonight. We are awaiting more details about the calls and will bring you the information as soon as we get it. Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, said Palin's calls were not being made at the request of the campaign or the Republican Party of Virginia. He said the campaign had no firsthand knowledge of the calls. Almost all of the Republicans considered top candidates for a 2012 presidential run have made stops in Virginia this year to help McDonnell. But McDonnell has made it pretty clear in recent months that he did not want Palin's help. McDonnell epeatedly and personally asked Palin for help this summer, but by late August Palin learned that the McDonnell campaign no longer wanted her...

By Anita Kumar | November 1, 2009; 11:16 PM ET | Comments (11)

Last-minute endorsements roll in

The last of the newspaper endorsements were published today in the race for Viginia governor. Or at least we think they're the last ones with just two days left until Election Day. The Staunton News Leader endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds over Repubublican Bob McDonnell. "The Deeds we saw and heard in our editorial board interview was a man filled with energy, passion and good ideas for Virginia,'' the paper wrote in its editorial. "We think you will agree he's the man we all want to see in the governor's mansion." Both the Charlottesville Daily Progress and Danville Register & Bee endorsed McDonnell, citing his economic and transportation plans. "If the economy and transportation are the two top crises facing Virginia, then the question is: Which candidate for governor has the best chance of solving those intertwined problems? And the answer has to be: Bob McDonnell,'' the Daily Progress writes....

By Anita Kumar | November 1, 2009; 4:46 PM ET | Comments (5)

McDonnell's money lead grows and grows

It is now not out of the realm of possibility that by Tuesday's election day, Republican Bob McDonnell will have received a three times as much a Democrat Creigh Deeds in late big-dollar donations. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, as of 5 p.m. on Saturday, McDonnell had collected $1.34 million in big contributions since Oct. 21, when the candidates began having to report gifts of $5,000 or more within 24 hours. Deeds had collected only $549,000 in big donations since then. Those numbers included gifts through Oct. 30 and they showed that donations to McDonnell have been snowballing in recent days as poll after poll has shown him with big leads and contributors perhaps look to provide some late help to the candidate they perceive as the likely victor. On Friday alone, McDonnell collected $184,310 in such gifts. Deeds received only $40,000....

By Rosalind Helderman | November 1, 2009; 3:59 PM ET | Comments (3)

Q & A with statewide candidates

The folks at the Richmond Times Dispatch asked all six statewide candidates to answer a series of policy questions and published them today. They didn't break much new ground (after all, we're only two days from election day) but if you're still trying to decide who to vote for, check out the answers on jobs, transportation, college tuition, abortion and off shore drilling. Gubernatorial candidates, Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell are here Lieutenant governor candidates, Jody Wagner and Bill Bolling are here Attorney general candidates, Steve Shannon and Ken Cuccinelli are here...

By Anita Kumar | November 1, 2009; 1:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

One more poll puts McDonnell way up

A final Mason-Dixon poll in the Virginia race shows Republican Bob McDonnell continues to lead big over Democrat Creigh Deeds going into Tuesday's election. The survey, funded by the Richmond Times Dispatch, the Virginian Pilot and other state media outlets, showed McDonnell with a 12-point lead, while his ticketmates Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli led opponents Jody Wagner and Del. Steve Shannon by 13 points and 14 points respectively. What must be most encouraging for McDonnell about all these late polls that have shown with strong, double-digit leads is that they have provided no indication that core Democratic groups are showing late enthusiasm for Deeds. His campaign is insisting it is running an aggressive effort to reach out to voters who helped elect President Obama last year....

By Rosalind Helderman | November 1, 2009; 1:27 PM ET | Comments (3)

 

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